About Startup Battlefield

What is Startup Battlefield?

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield is the world’s preeminent startup competition held at TechCrunch Disrupt. For over 15 years, TechCrunch has featured the top startup talent from around the world, across any industry in tech. Historically, TechCrunch has picked 20 early stage startups to showcase. As the tech startup ecosystem blossomed, the Startup Battlefield cohort has grown to feature 200 promising companies.

The Startup Battlefield 200 companies pitch on the Pitch Showcase Stage, receive a featured spot on the show floor at TC Disrupt, pitch training, masterclasses, private receptions, communities and investor meet and greets. The final 20 startups pitch on the Disrupt Stage for six minutes with a live Q&A in front of tier-1 VCs. The winner will get $100,000 in equity free prize money and the famous Disrupt Cup, Companies that launched on our stage include PartPic, N26, Vurb, Trello, Mint, Dropbox, Yammer, Tripit, Redbeacon, Qwiki, Getaround, Render, Vise AI, Forethought AI.

  • 1300+ Companies
  • $29B Total Funds Raised
  • ~200 Total Exits (as of August 2023)

Apply to Pitch at the next Startup Battlefield

It’s one application form for all early stage features and pitch offs across our different platforms.

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FAQs & Eligibility

The Startup Battlefield 200 contestants receive free tickets to attend Disrupt as well as a free demo booth in the Expo Hall at the conference. They are also invited to our digital events as well as any other private events aimed at Startup Battlefield founders – masterclasses, trainings, VC office hours, mentor seminars, etc. Of the 200 selected companies, 20 will be chosen as the Startup Battlefield Finalists. During the afternoon sessions at Disrupt, each Startup Battlefield Finalist company will pitch and live-demo the virtual on-stage for 6 minutes and then answer judges’ questions for six minutes. All pitches will be live-streamed on TechCrunch’s homepage.

TechCrunch will do a post on each Startup Battlefield Finalist company as it presents. The video and photo assets from the pitch are available to the teams after Disrupt. Following all Startup Battlefield Finalist sessions, judges and TechCrunch editors select a group of finalists, typically 4-6 companies. Finalists will pitch for a second time to a new group of judges. The judges and the editors pick the winner, who receives $100,000 and the Disrupt Cup, and the runner up.

It’s important to note that TechCrunch takes no fees or equity from Startups for applying and participating in the Startup Battlefield.

Yes, your application will be kept confidential and shared with the internal TechCrunch review committee only.

For 2023, there will be one Global Startup Battlefield taking place in person at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023. Applications are now closed.

Once the application cycle is complete, each application is reviewed by the Startup Battlefield team at least twice. Selected companies are notified in the weeks prior to TechCrunch Disrupt

Companies must have an MVP. Ideally, we are looking for companies that are bootstrapped, Pre-Seed, Seed, or Series A. The ideal fit for Startup Battlefield has had minimal press coverage, and is going to showcase something disruptive on stage.

Startup Battlefield 200 companies receive weekly trainings on company building, scaling, etc. And founders get personalized feedback during pitch teardown sessions. Companies selected as Startup Battlefield 20 as Finalists go through a minimum of four rehearsals with our TechCrunch Battlefield Team and other experts. They are required to ensure that all teams are prepared to pitch and field Q&A on-stage. Sessions will be held virtually.

Due to the volume of applications, we cannot interview everyone. Occasionally we will interview an applicant but there is no “interview round.” Most of our participants are selected without an interview.

We DO want to see your product working in real-time. MVPs are great for this. Feel free to use your phone or screen grabs to record the video. Production quality isn’t important.

We are NOT looking for a classic animated startup video with oddly cheery music in the background with a voice-over narration about what you do.

Startups are selected for a combination of reasons: product, change to industry, impact in geographic region, founding team, competitive landscape, etc. TechCrunch features founders from across the globe in any industry, as long as they are making significant change.

The top 20 startups selected from the Startup Battlefield 200 are a highlight of the larger cohort. Companies are selected based off of the step function change they provide to their industry or geography.

Typically, local coverage or industry specific coverage is fine. Some founder features are okay as long as the crux of the technology has yet to be showcased! Apply and show your coverage.

No – you aren’t. Don’t worry: you can re-submit until the deadline. You cannot go back to an already submitted application.

Typically applicants are notified of their acceptance into the Startup Battlefield 200 about 2 months prior to TechCrunch Disrupt.

TechCrunch does not invest or take equity in our Startup Battlefield cohort at this time. That said, one of the strengths of the program is the visibility of the startups to top VCs. Many of our companies raise funds in the months following TechCrunch Disrupt.

Founders can submit applications for each individual company.

Ensure that your product video shows your actual product/CPG/software/hardware functioning (exceptions made for biotech). Understanding a competitive landscape is a crucial part of building a successful business. Clearly outline your competition and why you will win regardless. Lastly, your founder experience/journey is an integral part of your origin story. Share it!

Many Startup Battlefield companies have applied multiple times before being selected. We receive hundreds of great applications from around the globe and in our effort to find the most disruptive, funded and unfunded ventures representing different verticals and geographies, we have to pass on many outstanding companies. Our decision has little bearing on your future success as we’ve had many companies go on to greatness without us.