2022 is the year that we are returning to in-person events here at TechCrunch, which means that after a few years running remotely, our flagship Disrupt event is back.
But while we are shaking up the last few years of Disrupt history — thanks, COVID — we are keeping some things the same. The TechCrunch+ stage for one, which is great news for founders of all stages and stripes.
Formerly known as the Extra Crunch stage before our rebrand, the TechCrunch+ stage is gearing up to once again host a medley of high-impact panels and curated firesides with startup executives (Gusto, Maven, Mural, etc.), investors (Accel, Techstars, Kleiner Perkins, etc.), and founders (Firstbase, Brex, Clubhouse, etc.) to get the latest on how the leading startups of tomorrow are being built today.
We’ll also dig into the unique and downright turbulent startup market that 2022 has brought. 2021 was all about the ascent, with startup valuations shooting higher, powered by a buoyant stock market, IPOs aplenty and funding rounds going off like firecrackers. Things have changed, and we want to understand the real landscape that startups have to navigate this year.
As 2022 has progressed, we’ve taken an eraser and pencil to our planned topics and themes, meaning that we’re approaching some well-trod areas like fundraising but from an updated perspective. And we’re not done yet.
But to get started, we’re providing an early and not-quite-yet-complete rundown of sessions that are coming to the TechCrunch+ stage this October. Yes, Disrupt is a few months out, but don’t let that slow you down. Come hang, it’s going to be a blast.
Enough throat-clearing, here’s the list as we have it now:
How To Raise First Dollars In A More Difficult Market, The Venture Perspective
with Annie Case (Kleiner Perkins) and Sheel Mohnot (Better Tomorrow Ventures)
It is clear by now that the venture market has changed this year. That means that founders looking to raise first capital for their startup can’t follow last year’s playbook and expect results. So what do founders need to know, and how can they best snag investor attention in a market where the rules are changing? We’re bringing a few venture capitalists that we know well (and trust) to share the real nuts and bolts of early fundraising in 2022.
How To Raise First Dollars When Investors Are More Cautious, The Founder Perspective
with Amanda DoAmaral (Fiveable), Sara Du (Alloy Automation) and Arman Hezarkhani (Parthean)
While it’s always good to hear from venture capitalists when it comes to dollars and cents, how founders are navigating the capital market is just as important. So we’re gathering Amanda DoAmaral of Fiveable, Sara Du of Alloy Automation and Arman Hezarkhani of Parthean to talk us through what worked for them and how their perspective has been updated in light of the changing economy.
How To Build Your Early VC Network: Turning Social Capital Into Financial Capital
with Nik Milanovic (This Week in Fintech), Josh Ogundu (Heart to Heart) and Gefen Skolnick (Couplet Coffee)
If you haven’t heard of Nik, Josh or Gefen, where have you been? They are founders that are not only building very interesting companies but have taken a forward approach toward making noise on social media. We want to dive into how being a public person can help founders build a future public company. This should be a panel that will be not only informative but also lots of fun.
How To Raise In 2022 If You Are Not Located In A Major Hub
with Mike Asem (M25), Rich Wong (Accel) and Elizabeth Yin (Hustle Fund)
Sure, you no longer have to be located in Silicon Valley — let alone California — to build a startup or raise money. But there are still areas where there are more venture capitalists per square mile and areas where there are fewer. To get to grips on raising outside of traditional startup hubs, we’re bringing together VCs who either live and invest, or simply invest in more up-and-coming geographies. Mike Asem of M25, Rich Wong of Accel, and Hustle Fund’s Elizabeth Yin are joining us for this particular chat. It’s going to rock.
How To Secure Those Hard To Find Hires
with Chris Herd (Firstbase), Kate Ryder (Maven) and Emil Yeargin (Gusto)
Hiring is not easy even in the best of times. With a tight tech talent market and an increasingly remote-friendly — and therefore globally competitive — corporate landscape, founders have never had more places to hire from and more competitors to measure up against. So we’re going to have Chris Herd from Firstbase who is an advocate for remote work, Kate Ryder who has built a global healthcare startup and Emil Yeargin, VP of Talent at Gusto, which is not only hiring itself but also helps other companies manage their staff. With the three we’ll go deep on hiring today with an especial focus on hard-to-fill roles.
Negotiating Your First Term Sheet
with Mandela SH Dixon (All Raise), Kevin Liu (Techstars) and James Norman (Black Operator Ventures)
It’s always a good time to sit down and chat about the mechanics of term sheets and the give and take between investors and founders. It’s an especially good time now as the balance of power between founders and investors has shifted from a period in which founders never had great ability to demand friendly terms to an era in which it feels like investors have more power than in recent history. So we’ll get the latest from investors on term sheets, negotiations and terms to help founders navigate the current climate.
How To Manage Staff In A Remote, Asynchronous Reality
with Mathilde Collin (Front) and Adriana Roche (Mural)
Companies big and small are figuring out how they are going to distribute and manage their workforces in 2022. After a few years when even the most traditional company was forced to go remote, startups are now having to choose between remote setups, hybrid teams or a return to the office. But no matter what they choose, all companies are going to have more remote staff than ever before. To help founders understand how to manage those staffers, Front’s Mathilde Collin and Mural’s Adriana Roche are joining us to talk about what works.
How To Compete Without Losing Your Mind Or Runway When Cash Is Expensive
with Eric Glyman (Ramp) and Thejo Kote (Airbase)
We love a competitive startup category here at TechCrunch. Watching startups go head to head is fascinating and illuminating. But for startups in hot sectors with big markets, competing can be very expensive. So how should startups that have incumbents to take on, other startups to best, or both, approach the balance between growth and spend this year? We’re gathering some CEOs with a little bit of experience on the matter to help guide more early-stage founders.
Taking the BS Out of Your TAM
with Aydin Senkut (Felicis) and more speakers to be announced
A common refrain from venture capitalists last year was that software valuations weren’t too high, as the TAM, or total addressable market for tech companies, was simply larger than folks had originally thought. Sure, but some of those startups are now stuck comparing high burn rates with future TAM. So how should founders and their backers really think about TAM to avoid fooling themselves or their colleagues? Parts of this panel are in the last stage of finalization but we can share that Felicis’ Aydin Senkut is taking part. More to come.
What Does Product-Market Fit Mean When Hype Tanks?
with Pali Bhat (Reddit) and more speakers to be announced
This is another panel we’re still finalizing, but Reddit Chief Product Officer Pali Bhat is coming to Disrupt to help founders hone their definitions of product-market fit. The concept, often shortened to PMF, is tricky as it’s not easily defined for all startups at once. But one thing that happens when market sentiment takes a dive is that definitions tighten. So how should founders measure PMF in a more difficult market, from both a fundraising and customer perspective? We’ll find out.
Winning The War On Ransomware
with speakers to be announced
Ransomware attacks are escalating at an alarming rate. We’ll hear from experts about what winning the war on ransomware looks like and how startups can play their part.
And a number of fireside chats, pairing well-known founders with one of their backers to dig deeply into the founding story of their companies, and how they navigated the hard times on their way to massive scale
Stay tuned for details! Featuring Metafy’s Josh Fabian and Brex’s Henrique Dubugras. These chats are going to be must-attends.