Everyone knows there are thriving startup communities outside of obvious hubs like San Francisco, Berlin, Bangalore and Beijing, but they don’t always get the support they deserve. Last year, TechCrunch took a major page from its playbook, the Startup Battlefield competition, and staged the event in Nairobi, Kenya to find the best early-stage startup in Sub-Saharan Africa, and also to Sydney, Australia, to find the same for Australia and New Zealand. Both were successes, thanks to talented founders and the hard-traveling TechCrunch team. And now we’re pleased to announce that we’re stepping up our commitment to emerging ecosystems.
TechCrunch is once again teaming up with Facebook, our partner for last year’s Nairobi event, to bring the Startup Battlefield to three major cities representing regions with vital, emerging startup communities. In Beirut, TechCrunch’s editors will strive to find the best early-stage startup in the Middle East and North Africa. In São Paulo, the hunt is for the best in Latin America. And in Lagos, Nigeria, TechCrunch will once again find the top startup in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Early-stage startups are welcome to apply. We will choose 15 companies in each region to compete, and we will provide travel support for the finalists to reach the host city. The finalists will also receive intensive coaching from TechCrunch’s editors to hone their pitches to a razor’s edge before they take the stage in front of top venture capitalists from the region and around the world. Winners will receive $25,000 plus a trip for two to the next TechCrunch Disrupt event, where they can exhibit free of charge, and, if qualified, have a chance to be selected to participate in the Startup Battlefield competition associated with that Disrupt. In the world of founders, the Startup Battlefield finalists are elite; the more than 750 Startup Battlefield alums have raised over $8 billion and produced 100+ exits to date.
What are the dates? They will be finalized shortly, but Beirut is on track for early October, São Paulo for early November and Lagos in early December. In the meantime, founders eager to start an application for one of these Startup Battlefields may do so by visiting apply.techcrunch.com. Look for more details next week.
Interested in sponsoring one of the events? Email us at Sponsors@TechCrunch.com.