Twenty of the most promising and creative early-stage startups — chosen from the elite Startup Battlefield 200 — will throw down for glory and $100,000 in the world-renowned Startup Battlefield competition at TC Disrupt on October 18–20 in San Francisco.
They’ll have to work hard to impress the judges, who will hear their pitches and follow up with tough questions. We already announced the first group of judges, and the second tranche of seasoned innovators and investors are ready to help declare the champion.
Wait, did you know? Startup Battlefield isn’t just thrilling to watch; it’s a masterclass in how investors think. The judges’ feedback provides insight into the criteria they use to determine whether a company is viable or not. Watch and learn what investors look for, what motivates them and what pushes them to schedule a meeting.
Without further ado, here are the next four judges ready to help crown the next Startup Battlefield champion:
Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon is the CEO of All Raise, a nonprofit on a mission to accelerate the success of female and nonbinary investors, founders and operators in tech. Dixon’s career in the tech industry began when she dropped out of her PhD program at the age of 25 to start her own company and became one of the first Black women to raise capital in Silicon Valley.
Before All Raise, Dixon founded and served as CEO of Founder Gym, a training program teaching underrepresented founders how to raise venture capital. She was also the founding portfolio services director at Kapor Capital and the global director of Startup Weekend Education (acquired by Techstars). Dixon is an active angel investor, limited partner, Sequoia Capital Scout and an inaugural member of First Round Capital’s Angel Track program.
Dixon has been recognized as one of Entrepreneur magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women, a Forbes 30 Under 30 awardee, and LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Venture Capital and Startups.
Charles Hudson is the founder and managing partner of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of funding for the most promising software and hardware companies.
Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles served as partner at SoftTech VC where he identified investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure, mobile applications and marketplaces. He also supported SoftTech portfolio companies on business and corporate development matters.
Hudson was also the co-founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile games startup. Prior to SoftTech VC and Bionic Panda Games, he served in various executive roles at Serious Business (acquired by Zynga), Gaia Interactive, Google and IronPort Systems (acquired by Cisco Systems).
Nicole Johnson, a partner at Forerunner Ventures, pays close attention to entrepreneurs who have unbridled, around-the-clock passion for whatever they’re building. Armed with a background in psychology, she loves digging into the consumer psyche to uncover why we do what we do, how we interact with the world and how to identify what drives consumer behavior.
Johnson joined Forerunner in 2013 as an investment analyst and team member number three. Her investments include Calibrate, CoProcure, Dutch, Nécessaire, Neighborhood Goods, The Expert, Thingtesting and Stadium Goods (exited).
Prior to Forerunner, Johnson worked with SapientNitro, a brand and digital strategy consultancy where she supported Fortune 500 retailers on their global retail strategies. She was named Forbes 30 under 30, Venture Capital in 2016.
Dave Munichiello is a general partner at GV, where he leads the team’s investments in data, platforms and infrastructure. Prior to GV, Munichiello built and led enterprise software sales and operations teams for highly technical products in rapidly changing markets.
As a senior executive at Kiva Systems, Munichiello helped grow the robotics and software platform to $120 million in annual revenue before it was acquired by Amazon. A combat veteran and former paratrooper, his career prior to Kiva included management consulting for the Boston Consulting Group and leading teams as a captain in elite units of the U.S. military.
His military leadership roles include running a high-tech organization in Europe; serving as an aide-de-camp to the four-star general responsible for U.S. forces in Europe, Africa and Afghanistan; and deploying with special operations teams worldwide, ensuring they benefited from the world’s most advanced technologies.
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