The doors to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 opened September 12 at Pier 48 in San Francisco. The three-day conference hosted over 5,000 attendees, with hundreds of thousands more tuning in online. In fact, Disrupt SF 2016 was the first media conference to stream on Periscope Live in full, making it one of our most watched events ever.
In the much-anticipated Startup Battlefield, 25 companies pitched to a panel of judges in hopes of winning the Disrupt Cup and the $50,000 Grand Prize. TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and, after hours of deliberation, narrowed the list down to six finalists: BlazingDB, which lets you run SQL queries on a database using GPUs to do the heavy lifting, health data tracker Carbon Health, home lab testing alternative EverlyWell, competitive gamers coaching service Mobalytics, security threat checker Sqreen and identity verifier/password killer UnifyID.
Mobalytics took home the grand prize for its visual e-sports analytics platform. The service is designed to coach competitive gamers, helping them discover their weaknesses and make adjustments for future success. The startup won judges over with a Gamer Performance Index, a visual map that cues users into areas of their gaming skills. E-sports is an increasingly promising market, making Mobalytics an encouraging company for this space. UnifyID was the runner up.
Before the conference kicked off, 1,000 hackers stayed up all night to create apps, sites and hardware in the Disrupt Hackathon. Each group had one minute to present to a panel of judges on stage. The top prize went to PointShop.space app, which utilizes augmented reality to provide consumer cloud-based contextual information about a purchase by simply lining up a phone camera with a real world product.
The two runners-up were Support Collective, which makes it possible for different companies to join together resources to offer email ticket histories, and SafeRoute, a hack designed to give users a safer path to their destination.
On Day 1, the conference kicked off with speakers from the tech landscape who the stage to discuss the latest in the world of tech and startups. Facebook Messenger head David Marcus said the mobile web experience for Messenger isn’t actually going away entirely. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins announced a new app. Jager McConnell of CrunchBase announced the launch of CrunchBase Pro. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Deputy CTO Alexander Macgillivray reflected on the hard road the Obama administration has traveled in tech. Blavity co-founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun announced that the news site for black millennials is raising $1 million and getting a redesign. Twilio co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson talked about the trials of going public and how bots are overrated. Slack’s director of engineering, Leslie Miley, explained why he doesn’t believe in diversity quotas.
Razer CEO and founder Min-Liang Tan announced a $30 million fund for VR and robotics companies. Silicon Valley executive producer Mike Judge hinted about the next season of the show. Tim Armstrong and Marni Walden answered questions about Verizon’s go90 mobile streaming app.
Day Two kicked off with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff taking the stage to announce the company’s new Chief Equality Officer. Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun announced it is partnering with Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia on a nanodegree program for self-driving cars. Reid Hoffman and Josh Elman of Greylock Partners talked about trends they’re tracking in the startup universe. Melonee Wise of Fetch Robotics gave her insights on robotics and how robots are going to enhance our future. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter argued the case for splitting up the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Marc Andreessen talked about the atomization of AI. Rana el Kaliouby from Affectiva and Danny Lange from Uber discussed emotion sharing analytics and the rise of machines. Janica Alvarez (Naya Health), Deborah Anderson-Bialis (Fertility IQ) and Ida Tin (Clue) discussed the future of data in health tech analytics.
Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson talked about the alternative reasons he’s excited about virtual reality and augmented reality. John Hanke of Niantic Labs said that Pokemon Go will likely come to Android Wear. George “Geohot” Hotz of Comma.ai unveiled the first official product of his automotive AI startup.
Zenefits CEO David Sacks talked about moving on from the company’s troubled past. Google’s Diane Greene talked AWS and machine learning. Leap Motion’s Michael Buckwald and Jim Margraff of Eye Fluence talked about uses for AR/VR and solving new interface problems. Day 2 closed out as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors took the stage to discuss social media, charity and robotic referees.
On the final day of Disrupt, Cruise founder Kyle Vogt talked about why he joined forces with GM. Adam Mosseri, a VP at Facebook and head of News Feed answered questions about why Facebook isn’t a media company despite censorship decisions. Hemant Taneja (General Catalyst), Bradley Tusk (Tusk Holdings), and Ted Ullyot (Andreessen Horowitz) discussed how startups should handle regulation and policy. Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta talked about how he hopes to build an empire with a promoted ad business. Andela’s Christina Sass answered questions about growing tech talent in Africa. Boston Dynamics CEO demoed the Spot robot and gave an overview of all the models the company is creating.
Michael Koperwas and Diana Williams from ILMxLAB talked about making Star Wars-based VR experiences. Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein from MegaBots laid out their vision for a league of human-scale fighting robots. The conferenced closed out with an interview featuring Shervin Pishevar from Hyperloop One, in which he announced that the first Hyperloop will likely be built overseas.
Thank you to everyone who attended and tuned in to Disrupt SF 2016, and we hope to see you at Disrupt London December 5 to 6. You can find more photos from the event on our Flickr feed, and read more coverage in our Disrupt Flipboard magazine.