TechCrunch to host Startup Battlefield in Dubai with Area 2071

Update: The event will now take place in January 2019, the following post has been updated with postponement information.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield is headed to Dubai on its continuing quest to find and feature the best early-stage startups around the world.

Slated for January 2019, Startup Battlefield Dubai will feature global startups with a focus on three categories: governance, logistics and distribution. Startups from all over the world are invited to apply to compete. TechCrunch will host the event in Dubai in front of a live audience and top judges, and we will live stream the show on TechCrunch, so the rest of the world can tune in.

TechCrunch is producing Startup Battlefield Dubai in partnership with Area 2071: The UAE’s new innovation hub set to open in 2018 and focused on fostering innovators aiming to solve important human challenges. The winners of each category and the overall winner of Startup Battlefield Dubai will also be offered a spot in Area 2071’s co-creation space supported by an ecosystem of corporate partners, government entities, designers and lawyers to help them scale their ventures. They also will receive accommodation and visa sponsorship.

The overall winner of Startup Battlefield Dubai will also win US$50,000 in no-equity cash plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to participate in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt SF 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to participate at this time). Apply here.

The Startup Battlefield has been bringing world-class founders into the spotlight since 2007, and in the past decade more than 700 contestants have gone on to raise over $8 billion in funding and rack up more than 100 exits. Our community of Startup Battlefield Alumni include companies like Mint, Dropbox, Yammer, TripIt, Getaround and Cloudflare.

TechCrunch doesn’t invest in Startup Battlefield companies (or any company, for that matter), but if Startup Battlefield were a TechCrunch investment portfolio it would rank like a top-10 VC. Instead, we tell the founders’ stories, uncovering the next wave of disruptive innovations and let our readers deploy the capital. TechCrunch charges no fees to Startup Battlefield contestants.

Founders that make the cut receive expert pitch coaching from Samantha Stein, our Startup Battlefield Editor, and the TC team. When the Startup Battlefield arrives, you’ll be ready to pitch your company to seasoned investors and founders in six minutes, and answer any questions they throw your way. If you make it to the finals, you’ll pitch again in the top-five for your chance to be the first winner ever of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Dubai.

The entire event will be live streamed (and later available on demand), and carried on, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

How to apply

Startups must fit into one of three categories (governance, logistics, distribution) to participate. Five startups in each category will be selected to join us onstage for the Startup Battlefield Dubai.

Governance. As populations and their needs grow and evolve, we are looking for startups focused on building the next digital infrastructure for governance. These startups could be working on a wide variety of topics able to transform governance, from identity protection to voting systems.

Product Distribution. As billions of consumers join the ranks of digital consumers, we are looking for startups focused on meeting the next-generation opportunity to reach these new digital markets through distribution. These startups could be working on a wide variety of topics that touch the product distribution space, from distribution platform innovations to new modes of consumption.

Logistics. As the speed of commerce continuously increases, we are looking for startups focused on reducing, eliminating or overcoming friction where possible to break down barriers to trade. These startups could be working on a wide variety of topics that touch the logistics, from supply chain optimization to procurement software.

Apart from clear relevance to one of the three themes, qualifying startups should:

  • Be early-stage companies in “launch” stage
  • Be a resident from our eligible countries
  • Have a fully working product/beta, reasonably close to or in production
  • Have received limited press or publicity to date
  • Have no known intellectual property conflicts

What do the winners receive?

Apart from the exposure that comes from pitching to the global TechCrunch audience, as well as the live audience of distinguished technologists, entrepreneurs and investors in Dubai, the overall winner will receive $50,000 in no-equity cash plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt SF 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at this time). All winners, both the grand prize winner and the three category winners, will receive offers to join the Dubai 2071 incubator program.

Are costs to attend Startup Battlefield Dubai covered?

Up to three founders will receive round-trip economy airfare, event tickets and three nights in a hotel in Dubai.

Who picks the startups that will compete?

The TechCrunch editors who run the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield competition will choose the finalists from the application pool.

Who will judge Startup Battlefield Dubai?

TechCrunch will select four judges for each theme. They will be noted entrepreneurs, investors and technologists with experience relevant to the category. A TechCrunch editor will moderate the judging, and cast the tie-breaker ballot, if needed.

What is the pitch-off format?

Each company will have six  minutes to present. The judges will have six minutes to ask questions. Live demos are strongly encouraged.

What are the judging criteria?

One winner will be chosen from each category and one overall winner. The judges are looking for the company most likely to produce an exit or IPO.

When is the application deadline?

January 25th, 2018 at 9pm PST.

Will TechCrunch’s team help prepare startups for the pitch-off?

Yes, in-person training and rehearsal sessions will be required, as well as in-person rehearsal in the days preceding the event.

Which countries are eligible?

This is a global competition searching for the best innovators, makers and technologists from every corner of the globe. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the foregoing language, the “Applicable Countries” does not include any country to or on which the United States has embargoed goods or imposed targeted sanctions.

If you would like to apply — please click here.

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See you in Dubai!