TechCrunch is excited to announce the judges of the next round of Startup Battlefield. They pick the finalists and winner of the startup competition held at Disrupt London. The judges come from all walks of life. Some are venture capitalists, some tech marketers and some are engineers. Some are product managers and some are technologists. But they all know what they’re talking about and are experts in their fields.
We’ll start each day with panels and one-on-one discussions featuring TechCrunch writers and editors, special guest speakers, leading venture capitalists and entrepreneurs addressing the issues of the day. In the afternoon, we host the Startup Battlefield competition which culminates in six finalists taking the stage at the end of the event for a shot at winning the Disrupt Cup, and taking away a £30,000 check.
Here are our Startup Battlefield Judges:
Sonali De Rycker
Sonali De Rycker joined Accel in 2008 and helps lead the London office. Sonali focuses on consumer, software and financial services businesses. She led Accel’s investments in Avito, Lyst, Spotify, Wallapop, KupiVIP, Top10, Calastone, Wonga and SilveRail. She is also an independent director of IAC (public). Prior to Accel, Sonali was with Atlas Ventures. She grew up in Mumbai and graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Business School.
Known as ‘The Queen of Start Ups’, Bindi has devoted much of her career in and around the startup ecosystem. She acted as the Venture Capital/Emerging Business lead at Microsoft UK for five years. Bindi sits on many industry advisory boards, and has recently been appointed a trustee for Up Global. In 2014, London Evening Standard named Bindi as part of the Silicon 60 and Top 1000 Influential Londoners, and GQ Magazine named her in Britain’s 100 Most Influential Women List. In 2013, The Guardian named her as one of the Ten Women in Tech to meet; Tech City News named her as one of the 25 faces behind the success of Europe’s fastest growing Tech Cluster. Bindi has also been on the Wired UK Top 100 Digital Power Broker list from 2010-2012, on 2012 Girls in Tech Euro 100 Women’s list, one of the Six Most Connected Women in the UK (IoD) in 2011. She recently left the post of Vice President at Silicon Valley Bank (‘SVB’), focusing on SVB’s early stage banking efforts in Europe, to go independent.
Carlos Eduardo Espinal
Carlos joined first round fund Seedcamp as Partner in 2010. Seedcamp invests smart capital into pre-seed and seed stage startups, providing up to €200k and a lifelong platform of Learning, Network and Capital to support the most ambitious Founders. To date it has invested in almost 200 companies. Prior to Seedcamp, Carlos was a venture capitalist at Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, an early stage investment firm based in London. There he honed his understanding of what investors look for when considering an investment. Before Doughty Hanson, Carlos was an engineer for the Advanced Communications Technologies group of The New York Stock Exchange (SIAC) where he focused on the next generation of wireless and mobile trading platforms for the exchange and developed a strong love for cutting edge technologies. Prior to SIAC, he was a network security consultant for the professional services division of Baltimore Technologies where he worked with global clients in the telecommunication and data services sectors. Carlos holds an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University. In 2015 Carlos published the “Fundraising Field Guide”, which aims to decipher the secrets to raising capital from investors for early-stage, high-growth startups and therefore provide those ambitious founders with the right information to take their company to the next level. Get it now at the fundraisingfieldguide.com.
Alexandre is a Faber Ventures Co-Founder and its Managing Director, having over 15 years of experience in business innovation and growth. His previous experiences as entrepreneur of technology related businesses, executive manager and strategy consultant include serving as Co-Founder and CEO of Innovagency, as CEO of Atlântico and Blueticket and as Associate at Oliver Wyman.
Alice, 29, has been working hard to make the Paris tech ecosystem less toxic for startups. After graduating from EMLYON Business School, she launched Le Camping, the first startup accelerator in France in 2010. When she accepted the job, she had one condition: she wanted to travel all over Europe, discover other tech ecosystems and leverage this experience as an inspiration for the French market in order to create a unique accelerator. 3 seasons, 36 startups and 18 fundraising rounds later, it was time to leave for a new adventure. She is now the co-founder and CEO at TheFamily, a new accelerator in the tech ecosystem with a very ambitious mission statement: aligning the interests of the main local actors by educating and offering unfair advantages to startups, investors, corporate executives and officials. Alice is working very hard to foster changes in the French corporate culture, which traditionally promotes elitism over youth or diversity.
Brent recently became Chairman and Co-Founder of Founders Factory, a corporate backed incubator/accelerator based in London. Brent is Chairman and Co-Founder of made.com, a direct-from-factory consumer crowdsourced homewares retailer in the UK. Brent co-founded PROfounders Capital in 2009. Brent also co-founded lastminute.com in April 1998. He was CEO from its inception and the team took the company to profit and gross bookings of over $2bn. lastminute.com acquired 14 businesses after the IPO to supplement the annual growth of the core brand which was over 100% from 1998 – 2004. In 2005 lastminute.com was sold to Sabre for $1.1bn. Brent sits on the Advisory board for LetterOne Technology (a $16bn investment fund) and the UK Government Digital Advisory Board. Brent is also a Non-Executive Board Director of TalkTalk PLC & Shazam. He is a YGL and Prime Minister’s Business Trade Ambassador. Brent was awarded a CBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honour’s List. Brent co-founded and chairs Founders Forum; a series of intimate annual global events for the leading entrepreneurs of today and the rising stars of tomorrow. Founders Forum also has an innovation consultancy for top corporates (Founders Intelligence) and a recruitment company (Founders Keepers). It has launched SmartUp.io, a new business in gamified mobile learning for entrepreneurs, which Brent co-founded and chairs.
Danny Rimer is a general partner at Index Ventures, based in San Francisco. He currently serves on the boards of Flipboard, Patreon, 1stdibs, Farfetch, Sky (LSE:BSY), Good Eggs, Nasty Gal, Viagogo, Dropbox, Anki, and SFMOMA. Danny was previously a director of Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY), Trialpay (now sold to Visa (NASDAQ:V)), KVS (NASDAQ:SYMC), Last.fm (NYSE:CBS), Lovefilm (NASDAQ:AMZN), MySQL (NASDAQ:ORCL), Neoteris (NASDAQ:JNPR) and Skype (NASDAQ:EBAY). Prior to joining Index in 2002, Danny was a general partner of The Barksdale Group, where he invested in a dozen companies including TellMe (Microsoft). Previously, Danny was Managing Director in Hambrecht & Quist’s (JP Morgan) Equity Research Group and was responsible for the firm’s Internet practice.
Marie Ekeland, now of CNNum, joined Elaia in 2005. She has been evolving in the Finance & IT industry since 1997: first on the operational side and then as a VC. She started her career in JP Morgan, working in New York on the development of a worldwide in-house front-office system, and then, back in Paris, on the management of its high-level support. She moved to CPR Private Equity in 2000 and has been acting as a VC within the Crédit Agricole group until 2005, focusing more specifically on the IT sector.
Andy McLoughlin is a Venture Partner with SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Internet, SaaS and mobile startups. Andy primarily invests in B2B, SaaS, developer tools and mobile applications but also supports the wider SoftTech portfolio on product strategy, go-to-market, and growth.
Prior to joining SoftTech in 2015, Andy was co-founder of London-based Huddle, a leading enterprise content collaboration company. Under Andy’s leadership, Huddle became one of Europe’s most awarded and well-known technology startups, raising over $80M of venture funding to date. Over the years, he led technology, product, marketing, and strategy, eventually moving to San Francisco in 2010 to establish the company’s US presence. Andy previously worked as a consultant for a boutique London-based content management consultancy focused on the global insurance and finance markets. Prior to this, Andy managed online applications and knowledge tools for Fibernet Group plc, a FTSE 250-listed telecommunications company. Andy has been an active angel investor since 2010 and has built a portfolio covering 35+ pre-seed / seed stage investments, mostly in the Saas / B2B space but also covering e-commerce and mobile. His companies include innovative SaaS businesses like Apiary, Tray.io, Bugsnag, Rolepoint, Buffer, Intercom, Import.io and Pipedrive, as well as retail plays including Postmates, Secret Escapes and Zesty. Born and raised in the UK, Andy holds a BA (hons) Economics from the University of Sheffield. He now lives in San Francisco and enjoys consuming fine foods and adult beverages, skiing, listening to live music, and exploring new places. Follow him on twitter @bandrew.
Alice Bentinck co-founded EF (Entrepreneur First). EF is “the best place for Europe’s top technical individuals to meet and build world-changing startups in London”. They select purely on the basis of technical talent, so you can apply before you have a team or an idea. The intensive 6-month programme is designed to give you the best possible support in the first 200 days of your startup’s life. They have created over 40 startups now worth over $300 million. They’re funded by some of the most prestigious investors including Balderton Capital, Index Ventures, Octopus Investments and Y Combinator. Alice also set up Code First: Girls, a free programming course for female students.
Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner with Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investments on investing in strong teams in the business to business and business to consumer software markets. Prior to founding Precursor, Charles was a Partner with SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Internet and mobile startups. Hudson holds a BA in Economics and Spanish from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Simon Levene is a co-founder and partner at Mosaic Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm focused on early stage investing. Simon has been operating and investing in Internet and software-related startups since 1996. He began his career in Silicon Valley co-founding @Home Network’s (later Excite@Home) international business. In 2001, he was recruited to Yahoo! and spent four years as VP Corp Dev. He joined Accel London as a partner in 2006 and led investments in Etsy, Knewton, Seeking Alpha, and MyHeritage. From 2010, both as an angel and with Index Ventures, he’s invested in Fotolia, ResearchGate, Number Four, Shapeways, Squarespace, and Appcard. At Mosaic, Simon is thematically focused on marketplaces, consumer services, SaaS, blockchain, fintech and education.
Startup Alley offers another way for early-stage companies to gain exposure with a setup that encourages both exhibiting and networking, and provides high visibility. Roughly 200 startups comprise Startup Alley with around 100 new companies demoing on Monday and 100 demoing on Tuesday.
You can grab tickets to the conference or tickets to Startup Alley here, where you can showcase your startup.
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