Just one more month until 20 of the world’s top early-stage startups take to the Disrupt Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco to vie for an equity-free, $100,000 prize. They’ll face tough scrutiny from our judges, and today investors from Founders Fund, Index Ventures and Canvas Ventures join that high-powered pack.
Be in the room: Buy your pass now, and save up to $400. Avoid the price hike at the door!
Watching the Startup Battlefield is a thrill ride, and it’s also an opportunity for investors and founders alike.
Investors: It’s an unparalleled chance to see and meet startups that come with the TechCrunch seal of approval in action. Which ones would fit into your portfolio?
Founders: Watching other founders pitch and hearing the questions investors ask gives insight into the criteria VCs use to determine whether a company is viable or not, what specifics they look for, what motivates them and what pushes them to schedule a meeting.
Round five: Startup Battlefield judges at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023
We’re excited to announce the next trio of top-tier investors who will judge the Startup Battlefield.
Sam Blond, partner, Founders Fund
Sam Blond invests in companies at all stages and works with founders and go-to-market leaders on accelerating revenue growth and increasing the value of their business.
Previously, Blond served as chief revenue officer at Brex, where he oversaw revenue growth from less than $1 million to several hundred million dollars of annualized revenue. Blond joined the company before its official launch, and when he left four years later, the company was valued at $12.5 billion.
Prior to Brex, Blond served as VP of sales at Zenefits, where he oversaw revenue growth from less than $1 million to $70 million of annual recurring revenue (ARR) in two years. Sam joined the company pre-Series A as employee number 18. When he left, the business had more than 1,500 employees and was valued at $4.5 billion.
During his time at Brex and Zenefits, Blond was an active angel investor backing 25 software startups ranging from seed to Series C.
Mark Fiorentino, partner, Index Ventures
Mark Fiorentino leads investments focusing largely on fintech and SaaS. He is especially interested in fintech infrastructure, verticalized payment workflows and SaaS tools disrupting legacy incumbents. Fiorentino represents Index as the board member or lead investor in a number of companies, including RevenueCat, Mercantile and Catch.
Prior to Index, Fiorentino helped build and lead business strategy and finance at Stripe, driving key initiatives for sales operations, global growth and fundraising. He helped the company assess international product market fit, grow from a couple of hundred to nearly 2,000 people and move upmarket into late-stage and enterprise.
Previously, Fiorentino was an investor at GI Partners, focusing on vertical SaaS and insurance marketplaces, including the acquisition of MRI Software. He was also an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and served as a board member of the Stonestown YMCA for three years.
Fiorentino graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in business administration. He’s a certified sommelier and an avid CrossFitter having competed in the Open several years running.
Rebecca Lynn, co-founder and general partner, Canvas Ventures
Rebecca Lynn leads early-stage investments in fintech, health tech and AI. She has been named to Forbes’ Midas List five years running, and has been named a Woman to Watch: Senior Deal Maker by the Wall Street Journal and a Top Woman VC by the New York Times.
During Lynn’s first entry into venture, she led an early-stage investment in Lending Club, which turned into the largest U.S. technology IPO of 2014 and the fourth largest U.S. Internet IPO since 2001, behind Facebook, Twitter and Google. Other notable early-stage investments include Check (acquired by Intuit), Doximity (NYSE: DOCS), RelateIQ (acquired by Salesforce), Practice Fusion (acquired by Allscripts), Luminar (NASDAQ: LAZR) and Casetext (acquired by Thomson Reuters).
Lynn has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri, and a JD/MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves on the board of Skydeck, the University of California Berkeley incubator, and is a frequent lecturer at Stanford and Berkeley.
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