The headline says it all. TechCrunch’s big yearly event, Disrupt, is going fully virtual in 2020. As you can imagine, this is largely due to the impact that the coronavirus has had on the world. But it also gives us a chance to make our event even more accessible to more people than ever before, and we’re incredibly excited about that. And Disrupt will stretch over five days — September 14-18 — in order to make it easier for everyone to take in all the amazing programming.
This is a daunting and intense task for all of us, but we’re also insanely excited by the challenge. We know how to make great in-person events. Now, the rules are re-written and we get the chance to set that same high standard in the virtual events space.
This is a challenging time for the industry that we cover relentlessly. There are massive risks, and massive opportunities for companies, investors and entrepreneurs. That’s what this Disrupt will be all about, helping you to understand our new realities in order to build hardy, innovative companies that not only weather this storm, but flourish.
Some of the companies that were founded during the last financial crisis or in its aftermath include Uber, Slack, Pinterest, Airbnb, Square, Instagram and Stripe. We’ll look at lessons from those companies and founders, and talk to investors about what they’re looking for from the startups of the future.
Our job now is to build a stellar virtual experience for speakers, sponsors, attendees and, most importantly, the startups that depend on Disrupt. Just like at our physical events, you will be able to meet investors, bring your innovative products to market and connect with media. You will be able to check out hundreds of startups, listen to and interact with some of the most important people in the startup world and attend virtual networking events. You will be able to build new partnerships, talk about your programs and build awareness of what you’re making.
One of the things we’re most excited about is that anyone from anywhere around the globe can join us in a virtual event. And, because of this, we expect this to be one of the largest and most diverse events in Disrupt history.
Entrepreneurs from around the world have always gathered at Disrupt, but now the barriers to attend will be lower than ever. Great companies from San Francisco to Seoul can participate in the Startup Battlefield competition this year, making it more possible than ever for us to gather the most incredibly interesting companies together with no geographic or logistical restrictions.
When 2020 began, we didn’t expect to be taking on such a big project this year. But the truth is, we’re ready. As news of the true spread of the coronavirus broke, the TechCrunch team began taking action. We launched Extra Crunch Live, delivering virtual events with guests like Aileen Lee, Kirsten Green, Mark Cuban, Charles Hudson and Roelof Botha. We’re taking our learnings there and applying them to the programming of our two virtual stages at Disrupt.
We launched the Disrupt Digital Pro Pass that offers live stream and video on demand access to all of the programming, great targeted networking opportunities, access to Startup Alley and access to our sponsors. We’ve launched virtual sponsorship options that will give our partners the opportunity to build their brand, deliver their content, network with interesting people and develop the critical relationships that will help their businesses thrive.
Disrupt’s dates are coming up fast (September 14-18th, 2020) so register as soon as you can.
Stepping off this ledge is one of the scariest and yet most thrilling things we’ve ever done at TechCrunch and we’re really glad that we have an audience that knows exactly how that feels.
Thank you, and we’ll see you at the first-ever TechCrunch Disrupt online.
Joey Hinson, Director of Operations
Matthew Panzarino, Editor in Chief