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Ade Ajao, Maryanna Saenko, Charles Hudson, Ulili Onovakpuri and Melissa Bradley are coming to Disrupt

By Connie Loizos

At TechCrunch Disrupt, our Startup Battlefield event is the centerpiece of the event, the true heart of this signature program.

There’s good reason we take it so seriously. Over the years, the Startup Battlefield competition has helped launch dozens of nascent startups that have grown into game-changing brands, including Cloudflare, Dropbox, Vurb, Mint, GetAround, Fitbit, Yammer and more. Collectively, Battlefield participants have gone on to raise $9 billion from investors and to generate 115 exits.

With nearly 1,000 applicants already this year — just 20 of which will make it to our stage — we aim to get it right again. Still, the competition is as fierce as ever. It’s why we’ll be relying heavily on featuring the right mix of judges. It’s these investors whose expertise and questions and insights will be key in determining which company is anointed our winner this year.

Toward that end, we’re spotlighting just five investors who we’re thrilled will be joining us in September: Ade Ajao, Maryanna Saenko, Charles Hudson, Ulili Onovakpuri and Melissa Bradley.

Ade Ajao has sat on both sides of the table. He is the cofounder and managing director of the early-stage, San Francisco-based venture firm Base10 Ventures. But before launching Base10 three years ago, Ajao spent several years as a VP with the HR giant Workday, as well as co-founded three notable companies, including one of the largest ride-sharing services in Latin America (Cabify); the data and analytics platform Identifed; and Tuenti, a social networking platform in Spain that was later acquired by Telefonica.

Maryanna Saenko, who in late 2018 co-founded the early-stage venture firm Future Ventures, has an equally diverse set of experiences. Focused today on robotics, quantum computing, biotechnology, aerospace and the future of food, Saenko was previously an investor with both Khosla Ventures, DFJ and Airbus Ventures where she led a series of venture investments aligned with Airbus’ future-of-aerospace initiatives. Before Airbus, Maryanna was a consultant at Lux Research and a research engineer at Cabot Corporation.

Charles Hudson is the founder and managing partner of Precursor Ventures, a pre-seed, San Francisco-based venture firm that has built its brand by leading the first institutional funding round for numerous kinds of software and hardware companies whose vision it likes. Before launching Precursor, Hudson spent eight years as a partner with Uncork Capital (formerly known as SoftTechVC), a role he took after co-founding a mobile games studio called Bionic Panda and working in business development across a range of companies earlier in his career, including Google.

Uriridiakoghene “Ulili” Onovakpuri is a partner with Kapor Capital in Oakland, Ca., where she’s focused especially on startups that revolve around digital health and medical tech. Onovakpuri, who describes herself as a proud UC Berkeley alum (with an MBA from Duke) was previously the director of global programs at Village Capital, the global accelerator program and venture firm with ties to Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among many others. She also founded and ran for three years a startup called LifeKit that aimed to improve access to health care in the most rural regions of the world.

Last but not least, Melissa Bradley is the co-founder of Ureeka, a Washington, D.C.-based online platform where small businesses can come for professional training and coaching, which Bradley launched after spending roughly two years as a managing director with the D.C.-based accelerator 1863 Ventures. Bradley also previously co-founded a social impact agency called Sidecar Social Finance; was a managing director at Project 500, a business development program to help diverse businesses scale; and served as an adjunct professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Based on what we’re already seeing from applicants, the Battlefield will feature some especially compelling founding teams and pitches this year. We don’t envy our judges their work, but we are very thankful that they can join us.

Do join us for this must-see event. Disrupt 2020 runs from September 14-18 and will be virtual this year. Get your front row seat to the Startup Battlefield competition and much more with a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. (Prices increase in a few short weeks.)



Before yesterdayYour RSS feeds

Kerry Washington is coming to Disrupt 2020

By Jordan Crook

Kerry Washington’s fingerprints are all over Hollywood. The Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe nominated actor, director and producer has touched myriad projects, from her role as Olivia Pope on “Scandal” (where she was the first African-American woman since 1974 to headline a network drama) to her production of Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” and Netflix’s AMERICAN SON (she starred in both, as well). And let’s not forget her many director credits, including on “SMILF”, “Scandal”, and “Insecure”.

But Washington is much, much more than a Hollywood superstar.

She’s gotten deeper into the tech realm over the past few years, and not only by writing a check.

Washington participated in the $75 million investment in The Wing, a members’ only coworking space for women. She also invested in Community, the platform that gives stars and celebrities a more direct connection with their fans (you can ‘text’ her using the number in her Twitter bio) and she invested in Byte, a D2C teeth-straightening platform (where she serves as Creative Ambassador).

Washington told TechCrunch in May that her portfolio is all about companies that she can be proud to be associated with.

“That pride comes from the quality of the product and how it improves the quality of people’s lives,” said Washington. “The idea of having a voice is really important.”

Whether it’s through creating space to come together, straightening a smile, or giving people a more direct connection to their icons, her portfolio is exclusive when it comes to empowering people to use their voices.

Washington is also an activist.

She was honored with the NAACP’s President’s Award in 2013, and received the GLAAD Media Vanguard Award in 2015, as well as the ACLU Bill of Rights Award in 2016. In 2018, when the world went through a huge change in the form of #MeToo, Washington joined Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Reese Witherspoon and others as a leader of the Time’s Up movement within Hollywood.

She’s also the co-chair of Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” campaign and the founder of Influence Change 2020, an initiative that partners with non-profit organizations with the goal of increasing voter turnout.

It should go without saying, we’re absolutely thrilled to sit down for a conversation with Washington at Disrupt 2020.

We’ll ask her about her recent move towards tech investment and operations, and which sectors are most exciting to her as we head into the next couple years. We’ll also talk about the rapidly changing media landscape as platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Quibi, Disney+ and HBO take up more space in the ecosystem and networks look to evolve alongside the shift in user behavior.

As we head into a presidential election, in a year where the Black Lives Matter movement has risen to the forefront, we’ll also talk about her activism work and get her insights on where the tech world is falling short with regards to diversity, equity and inclusion, and how it can do better.

There will be no shortage of topics to cover with Washington and we’re very excited about this conversation.

Disrupt 2020 runs from September 14 – September 18 and will be virtual this year. Get your front row seat to see Kerry Washington speak with a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package before prices increase in a few short weeks. Can’t wait to see you there!

Pioneering CRISPR researcher Jennifer Doudna is coming to Disrupt

By Jonathan Shieber

Jennifer Doudna, a woman whose work has triggered the explosion in innovation in the field of synthetic biology and has given researchers around the world a way to program and reprogram the living world, will be speaking at Disrupt in September.

From her positions as the Chancellor’s Chair Professor in the University of California, Berkeley’s Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology Departments and a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Doudna has been at the forefront of research into CRISPR gene editing technology.

It was only eight years ago that Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier first proposed that CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes (which direct immune responses in microbes) could be used to edit genomes. That discovery would prove to be one of the most significant advancements in the history of the human understanding of biology, and it has the potential to reshape the world.

Doudna describes her own journey into the field of biochemistry beginning back in Hawaii with the discovery of James Watson’s book “The Double Helix” on her father’s bookshelf. From an early age growing up in Hawaii as the daughter of a literature professor, Doudna knew she wanted to pursue a career in science. But it was Watson’s famous book that opened her eyes to the human side of science.

Now her scientific research and startup endeavors have the potential to open humanity’s eyes to the potential benefits of this revolutionary field of science. Because in addition to her research work, Doudna is also a co-founder of a number of companies including: Mammoth Biosciences, Caribou Biosciences, Intellia Therapeutics and Editas Medicine.

These companies are tackling some of the biggest challenges that the world faces. Mammoth is working on a new type of COVID-19 test, Caribou is pursuing novel cancer therapies, and publicly traded Editas is pursuing treatments for ocular, neurodegenerative, and blood diseases as well as cancer therapies.

There’s almost no industry where gene editing hasn’t had some sort of effect. From material science to food science and agriculture to medicine, CRISPR technology is creating opportunities to remake entire industries.

Genetically modified organisms are already making Impossible Foods meat replacements taste meaty; they’re used in Solugen’s bio-based chemicals; and CRISPR edited cells have been proven safe in early trials to treat certain kinds of cancer.

Given the breadth of applications and the questions that the technology’s application raises about how and what limitations researchers should put on the technology, there will be plenty for Doudna to discuss on the Disrupt stage.

Disrupt is all virtual in 2020 and runs September 14 to September 18, and we have several Digital Pass options to be part of the action or to exhibit virtually, which you can check out here.

Doudna joins an incredible line-up of Disrupt speakers including Sequoia’s Roelof Botha and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes. We’ll be announcing even more speakers over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

(Editor’s Note: We’re watching the developing situation around the novel coronavirus very closely and will adapt as we go. You can find out the latest on our event schedule plans here.)

This Week in Apps: WWDC20 highlights, App Store antitrust issues, tech giants clone TikTok

By Sarah Perez

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week, we’re looking at the highlights from Apple’s first-ever virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and what its announcements mean for app developers. Plus, there’s news of the U.S. antitrust investigation into Apple’s business, a revamp of the App Store review process, and more. In other app news, both Instagram and YouTube are responding to the TikTok threat, while Snapchat is adding new free tools to its SDK to woo app developers. Amazon also this week entered the no-code app development space with Honeycode.

WWDC20 Wrap-Up

Image Credits: Apple

Apple held its WWDC developer event online for the first time due to the pandemic. The format, in some ways, worked better — the keynote presentations ran smoother, packed in more content, and you could take in the information without the distractions of applause and cheers. (If you were missing the music, there was a playlist.)

Of course, the virtual event lacked the real-world networking and learning opportunities of the in-person conference. Better online forums and virtual labs didn’t solve that problem. In fact, given there aren’t time constraints on a virtual event, some might argue it would make sense to do hands-on labs in week two instead of alongside all the sessions and keynotes. This could give developers more time to process the info and write some code.

Among the bigger takeaways from WWDC20 — besides the obvious changes to the Mac and the introduction of “Apple silicon” — there was the introduction of the refreshed UI in iOS 14 that adds widgets, an App Library and more Siri smarts; plus the debut of Apple’s own mini-apps, in the form of App Clips; and the ability to run iOS apps on Apple Silicon Macs — in fact, iOS apps will run there by default unless developers uncheck a box.

Let’s dig in.

  • The iPad’s influence over Mac. There are plenty of iOS apps that would work on Mac, but making the choice an opt-out instead of an opt-in experience could lead to poor experiences for end users. Developers should think carefully about whether they want to make the leap to the Mac ecosystem and design accordingly. There’s also a broader sense that the iPad and the Mac are starting to look very similar. The iPad already gained support for a proper trackpad and mouse, while the Mac with Big Sur sees the influence of design elements like its new iPad-esque notifications, Control Center, window nav bars and rounded rectangular icons. Are the two OS’s going to merge? Apple’s answer, thankfully, is still “NO.”

Only 12 hours left to apply for Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020

By Neesha A. Tambe

It’s now o’clock, founders. A mere 12 hours stands between you and a chance to compete in Startup Battlefield and launch your pre-Series A startup during Disrupt 2020 — in front of the world’s influential technorati.

You won’t find a bigger launching pad, and this window of extraordinary opportunity slams shut on June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT). Apply to Startup Battlefield right here, right now.

This year’s legendary pitch competition is virtual, but the benefits and opportunity that comes from competing are very real and often life changing — for all participants not just the ultimate winner. Let’s explore that a bit more.

The top prize — $100,000 equity free cash — will do wonders for your bottom line. The TechCrunch feature article – brings you into the league of legends. The Disrupt cup and the acclaim that comes with winning, well, who doesn’t love bragging rights? But it’s the huge exposure — on a global scale — to media, investors, potential customers and big tech players looking to acquire promising startups, that can take Battlefield competitors on a whole new trajectory.

Here’s a quick look at how Startup Battlefield works. We accept applications from founders of any background, geography and industry as long as your company is early stage, has an MVP with a tech component (software, hardware or platform) and hasn’t received much major media coverage.

Our editors screen every application and will choose only startups they feel possess that certain je ne sais quoi. The epic pitch-off takes place during Disrupt 2020, which runs from Sept. 14 – 18. Note: This opportunity is 100 percent free. TechCrunch does not charge any application or participation fees or take any equity.

You’ll receive six weeks of free pitch coaching from TC editors to whip you into prime fighting trim. Plus a virtual webinar series with industry experts. You’ll have just 6 minutes to pitch and demo to the judges — a panel of expert VCs, entrepreneurs and TechCrunch editors. Then you’ll answer their questions — and they’ll have plenty.

Founders who survive the first round move to the finals on the last day of Disrupt. It’s lather-rinse-repeat as you pitch to a fresh set of judges. Then it’s time for the big reveal: one startup takes the title, the Disrupt cup and the $100,000.

Have you clicked the application link yet? No? Here are more reasons to apply. If you earn a spot in the competition, you get a Disrupt Digital Pro pass and you get to exhibit to people around the world in Digital Startup Alley — for free.

You’ll network with CrunchMatch, our AI-powered platform, to set up virtual 1:1 meetings with investors, media, potential customers and the throngs of folks eager to meet a Battlefield competitor.

Need more perks? We got you covered.

  • A launch article featuring your startup on
  • Access to Leading Voices Webinars: Hear top industry minds share their strategies for adapting and thriving during and after the pandemic
  • A YouTube video promoted on
  • Free subscription to Extra Crunch
  • Free passes to future TechCrunch events

This no-cost, perk-packed opportunity disappears in just 12 hours. Do whatever it takes to keep your startup moving forward. Apply to compete in Startup Battlefield before the deadline expires on June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT).

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Prices increase tonight on TechCrunch’s virtual founder workshop event, TC Early Stage

By Alexandra Ames

We’re less than a month away from launching TC Early Stage 2020, our interactive online bootcamp, that runs July 21-22. Don’t miss out on more than 50 expert-led workshops focused on the core subjects every early-stage startup founder needs to ace.

But hold up — today is your last chance to score an early-bird deal. Buy your pass before the clock strikes 11:59 pm (PT), and you’ll save $50.

Early founders — from pre-seed through Series A — tend to have more questions than answers as they strive to build their startups. That’s where TC Early Stage comes in. Get answers to your questions from a battalion of credible, knowledgeable experts across the startup spectrum.

Is your pitch deck anemic? Does your tech stack stack up? How should you approach a VC? How do you protect your users? Those and a zillion other questions can keep you tossing and turning. This is your chance to learn from the pros and get answers you can put into practice now.

Each session can accommodate around 100 people, so be sure to sign up quickly — especially if you have topic-specific questions you want addressed. Session seats are available first come first serve, so don’t delay. The good news is that ticket holders receive exclusive access to videos of all sessions — on demand after the event.

Bonus: You also have access to all the Main Stage interviews and CrunchMatch, our AI-powered networking platform — famous for relieving stress and increasing productivity.

Take a peek at just some of the interactive sessions and experts we have waiting for you at TC Early Stage.

  • How to create great growth assets for paid channels: Learn about the right ways and wrong ways to create great assets for paid channels, landing pages and more in this teardown workshop with Asher King Abramson, a top growth marketer who has worked with 100+ successful startups. Submit your landing page and ads beforehand for a chance to receive feedback live onstage.
  • What scale-stage execs need to know about culture and D&I during hypergrowth: Your company’s culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion shouldn’t take a backseat when hiring at scale. Hear from Sarah Nahm, CEO of Lever, on how her company has evolved their culture as they grew from 20 to 250 while keeping D&I at the forefront of how they hire. A leader in the D&I and hiring space, Sarah will share actionable advice from Lever, her time at Google, and examples from leaders in the tech industry.
  • How to sell an idea when you don’t have a product: It takes money to make money. But first, you must get the money on board. Hear from seed-stage investor Charles Hudson about what it takes to convert investors when all you have to show is a great idea and an understanding of the market.

You still have a month to prepare for TC Early Stage 2020, but only a few hours left to keep $50 in your pocket. Don’t miss out — buy your pass before prices increase tonight at 11:59 pm (PT).

Is your company interested in sponsoring TC Early Stage? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Four perspectives: Will Apple trim App Store fees?

By Devin Coldewey

The fact that Apple takes a 30% cut of subscriptions purchased via the App Store isn’t news. But since the company threatened to boot email app Hey from the platform last week unless its developers paid the customary tribute, the tech world and lawmakers are giving Apple’s revenue share a harder look.

Although Apple’s Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller denied the company was making any changes, a new policy will let developers challenge the very rules by which they were rejected from the platform, which suggests that change is in the air.

According to its own numbers, the App Store facilitated more than $500 billion in e-commerce transactions in 2019. For reference, the federal government has given out about $529 billion in loans to U.S. businesses as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Given its massive reach, is it time for Apple to change its terms? Will it allow its revenue share to go gently into that good night, or does it have enough resources to keep new legislation at bay and mollify an increasingly vocal community of software developers? To examine these questions, four TechCrunch staffers weighed in:

Devin Coldewey: The App Store fee structure “seems positively extortionate”

Apple is starting to see that its simplistic and paternalistic approach to cultivating the app economy may be doing more harm than good. That wasn’t always the case: In earlier days it was worth paying Apple simply for the privilege of taking part in its fast-expanding marketplace.

But the digital economy has moved on from the conditions that drove growth before: Novelty at first, then a burgeoning ad market supercharged by social media. The pendulum is swinging back to more traditional modes of payment: one-time and subscription payments for no-nonsense services. Imagine that!

Combined with the emergence of mobile platforms not just as tools for simple consumption and communication but for serious work and productivity, the stakes have risen. People have started asking, what value is Apple really providing in return for the rent it seeks from anyone who wants to use its platform?

Surely Apple is due something for its troubles, but just over a quarter of a company’s revenue? What seemed merely excessive for a 99-cent app that a pair of developers were just happy to sell a few thousand copies of now seems positively extortionate.

Apple is in a position of strength and could continue shaking down the industry, but it is wary of losing partners in the effort to make its platform truly conducive to productivity. The market is larger and more complicated, with cross-platform and cross-device complications of which the App Store and iOS may only be a small part — but demanding an incredibly outsized share.

It will loosen the grip, but there’s no hurry. It would be a costly indignity to be too permissive and have its new rules be gamed and hastily revised. Allowing developers to push back on rules they don’t like gives Apple a lot to work with but no commitment. Big players will get a big voice, no doubt, and the new normal for the App Store will reflect a detente between moneyed interests, not a generous change of heart by Apple.

iOS 14 lets deaf users set alerts for important sounds, among other clever accessibility perks

By Devin Coldewey

The latest version of iOS adds a few smart features intended for use by people with hearing and vision impairments, but some of which may be helpful to just about anybody.

The most compelling new feature is perhaps Sound Recognition, which creates a notification whenever the phone detects one of a long list of common noises that users might want to be aware of. Sirens, dog barks, smoke alarms, car horns, doorbells, running water, appliance beeps — the list is pretty extensive. A company called Furenexo made a device that did this years ago, but it’s nice to have it built in.

Users can have notifications go to their Apple Watch as well, in case they don’t always want to be checking their phone to check if the oven has gotten up to temperature. Apple is working on adding more people and animal sounds as well, so the system has room to grow.

The utility of this feature for hearing-impaired folks is obvious, but it’s also nice for anyone who gets lost in their music or podcast and forgets they let the dog out or are expecting a package.

Also new in the audio department is what Apple is calling a “personal audiogram,” which amounts to a custom EQ setting based on how well you hear different frequencies. It’s not a medical tool — this isn’t for diagnosing hearing loss or anything — but a handful of audio tests can tell whether certain frequencies need to be boosted or dampened. Unfortunately the feature only works, for some reason, with Apple-branded headphones.

Real Time Text conversations is an accessibility standard that basically sends text chat over voice call protocols, allowing seamless conversations and access to emergency services for nonverbal people. It’s been supported by iPhones for some time, but now users don’t need to be in the calling app for it to work — do a call while you play a game or watch a video, and the conversation will appear in notifications.

A last feature intended for use by the hearing impaired is an under-the-hood change to group FaceTime calls. Normally the video automatically switches to whoever is speaking — but of course sign language is silent, so the video won’t focus on them. Until iOS 14 anyway, in which the phone will recognize the motions as sign language (though not any specific signs) and duly switch the view to that participant.

VoiceOver makeover

Apple’s accessibility features for those with low or no vision are solid, but there’s always room to grow. VoiceOver, the smart screen-reading feature that’s been around for more than a decade now, has been enhanced with a machine learning model that can recognize more interface items, even if they haven’t been properly labeled, and in third party apps and content too. This is making its way to the desktop as well, but not quite yet.

iOS’s descriptive chops have also been upgraded, and by analyzing a photo’s contents it can now relate them in a richer way. For instance, instead of saying “two people sitting,” it might say,  “two people sitting at a bar having a drink,” or instead of “dog in a field,” “a golden retriever playing in field on a sunny day.” Well, I’m not 100 percent sure it can get the breed right, but you get the idea.

The Magnifier and Rotor controls have been beefed up as well, and large chunks of Braille text will now auto-pan.

Developers with vision impairments will be happy to hear that Swift and Xcode have received lots of new VoiceOver options, as well as making sure common tasks like code completion and navigation are accessible.

Back tappin’

The “back tap” is a feature new to Apple devices but familiar to Android users, who have seen things like it on Pixel phones and other devices. It enables users to tap the back of the phone two or three times to activate a shortcut — super handy for invoking the screen reader while your other hand is holding the dog’s leash or a cup of tea.

As you can imagine the feature is useful to just about anyone, since you can customize it to perform all sorts of shortcuts or tasks. Unfortunately the feature is for now limited to phones with FaceID — which leaves iPhone 8 and SE users, among others, out in the cold. It’s hard to imagine that there is no secret tap-detection hardware involved — it’s almost certain that it uses accelerometers that have been in iPhones since the very beginning.

Apple is no stranger to holding certain features hostage for no particular reason, such as the notification expansions that aren’t possible a brand-new phone like the SE. But doing so with a feature intended for accessibility is unusual. The company did not count out the possibility that the back tap would make its way to button-bearing devices, but would not commit to the idea either. Hopefully this useful feature will be more widely available soon, but only time will tell.

Apple Maps to tell you to refine location by scanning the skyline

By Romain Dillet

With iOS 14, Apple is going to update Apple Maps with some important new features, such as cycling directions, electric vehicle routing and curated guides. But the app is also going to learn one neat trick.

In dense areas where you can’t get a precise location, Apple Maps will prompt you to raise your phone and scan buildings across the street to refine your location.

As you may have guessed, this feature is based on Look Around, a Google Street View-inspired feature that lets you… look around as if you were walking down the street. It’s a bit more refined than Street View as everything is in 3D so you can notice the foreground and the background.

Look Around is only available in a handful of U.S. cities for now, such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, etc. But the company is still expanding it with Seattle coming on Monday and major Japanese cities this fall. Some areas that are only accessible on foot will also be available in the future.

When you scan the skyline to refine your location, Apple doesn’t send any data to its servers. Matching is done on your device.

When it comes to guides, Apple has partnered with AllTrails, Lonely Planet, The Infatuation, Washington Post, Louis Vuitton and others to add curated lists of places to Apple Maps. When you tap on the search bar and scroll down on the search card, you can see guides of nearby places.

When you open a guide, you can see all the places on the map or you can browse the guide itself to see those places in a list view. You can share places and save them in a user-made guide — Apple calls it a collection in the current version of Apple Maps.

You can also save a curated guide altogether if you want to check it out regularly. Places get automatically updated.

Image Credits: Apple

As for EV routing, Apple Maps will let add your car, name it and choose a charger type — Apple has partnered with BMW and Ford for now. When you’re planning a route, you can now select the car you’re going to be using. If you select your electric car, Apple Maps will add charging spots on the way. You can tap on spots to see if they are free or paid and the connector type.

Waze users will also be happy to learn that Apple Maps will be able to warn you if you’re exceeding the speed limit. You can also view speed and red light cameras on the map.

In some cities with congestion zones and license plate access, you’ll be able to add your license plate. The information is kept on the device. It’ll refine directions for those cities.

Image Credits: Apple

Finally, my favorite new feature is cycling directions. It’s only going to be available in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing at first. Apple ticks all the right boxes, such as taking into consideration cycling paths and elevation. Turn-by-turn directions look slightly different from driving directions with a different framing and a more vertical view.

Google Maps also features cycling directions, but they suck. I can’t wait to try it out to see whether cycling directions actually make sense in Apple Maps. The new version of Apple Maps will ship with iOS 14 this fall.

Image Credits: Apple

Just 48 hours left to save on TC Early Stage tickets

By Alexandra Ames

Calling all early-stage startup founders. You have a mere 48 hours left to save on your ticket to engage with leading experts at TC Early Stage 2020 on July 21-22. No one’s born knowing how to build a successful startup, and this online event provides the essential building blocks you need to flatten your learning curve. Prices increase tomorrow, June 26 at 11:59 p.m. (PT). Beat the deadline and buy your pass today.

We’ve tapped leading experts, gurus, maestros and mavens across the startup ecosystem for two days of workshops designed to give you actionable tips and advice on everything a startup founder needs to know. We’re talking information you can apply to your startup now; at the time you need it most.

You can choose from more than 50 presentations that address topics vital to startup success — from fundraising, tech stack and growth marketing to term sheet construction, recruitment, product management and PR. Hear from the experts and ask them questions — each session offers plenty of interaction.

Each session can accommodate about 100 people. If you have questions you want to ask in a given session, sign up quickly because seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. As a ticket holder you’ll have exclusive, on-demand access to all the session videos after the event.

Pro tip: If you run into a schedule conflict, you can drop a breakout session and choose another one.

Here’s a taste of what’s on offer at Early Stage 2020 — be sure to check out all the breakout sessions.

  • How to get into Y Combinator: The seed-stage venture firm has come to form its own startup economy over the years, with its network of companies and founders interconnecting across the tech industry and beyond. Find out how Y Combinator works today, and how you can become a part of it, in this discussion with head of admissions Dalton Caldwell.
  • How to craft your pitch deck: Talk through the nuts and bolts of what makes a great deck (or not) with Amy Saper, Partner at Accel as she goes through your submitted pitches live on stage. You can submit your pitchdeck to be reviewed here.
  • Security for start-ups: When starting your company, engineering teams are small and the priority is growth. Most people would like to protect their users, but don’t know how to do that with limited resources. How should we think about security for startups? Hear how serial security entrepreneur Elissa Shevinsky has built secure startups from the ground up and what other startups learn from her years of experience.

Tune in to TC Early Stage on July 21-22, squash your learning curve and keep your business moving forward. You have 48 hours left to save some dough. Buy your ticket before the price goes up on June 26 at 11:59 p.m. (PT).

Is your company interested in sponsoring the TC Early Stage? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Apple will let you port Google Chrome extensions to Safari

By Romain Dillet

Apple unveiled macOS 11 Big Sur earlier this week and talked about some of the improvements for Safari. In addition to native extensions, Apple is adding support for web extensions. It’s going to make it much easier to port an existing extension from Chrome, Firefox or Edge.

The company shared more details about how it’s going to work in a WWDC session. Safari already supports extensions, but if you’re using Safari, you know that there aren’t a ton of extensions out there.

On iOS and macOS, you can install content blockers and apps that feature a share extension. Content blockers let you provide a list of content to block when you load web pages, such as trackers and ads.

Share extensions let you add features in the share menu in Safari. For instance, Pocket or Instapaper take advantage of share extensions to run JavaScript on a web page and return the result to the app.

On macOS, developers can also take advantage of app extensions. 1Password uses that to integrate its password manager with Safari.

“These are great if you’re a native app developer already familiar with Swift or Objective-C,” Safari engineer Ellie Epskamp-Hunt said.

Other browsers have taken a different approach. They leverage web technologies, such as JavaScript, HTML and CSS. That’s why Apple is adding another type of extension with Safari Web Extensions.

Like other Safari extensions, web extensions designed for Safari are packaged with native apps. It means that developers will submit extensions to the App Store. Users will download an app that comes with an extension. The app doesn’t have to do anything, it can just be a place holder.

Apple is shipping an extension converter to let you port your extension quickly. When you run it, it’ll tell you if everything is going to work as expected. You can then package it in an Xcode project, sign it and submit it to the App Store.

Some extensions require a ton of permissions. They can essentially view all web pages you visit. That’s why Apple lets you restrict extensions to some websites, or just the active tab. You can also choose to activate an extension for a day so that it doesn’t remain active forever.

The user will get a warning sign the first time an extension tries to access a site and there will be a big warning banner in Safari settings before you activate an extension that can access all your browsing data.

This change could potentially mean that there will be a lot more extensions for Safari in the future. Many Chrome users don’t want to leave Chrome because they can’t find the same extensions. If developers choose to port their extensions to Safari, Apple could convince more users to switch to Safari.

Apple is bringing Face ID and Touch ID to the web with Safari 14

By Sarah Perez

Apple’s Face ID and Touch ID have made it easier for users to log into their mobile devices like iPhones and iPads and on some Macs offering the Touch ID button. Now Apple is bringing Face ID and Touch ID to the web. At the company’s virtual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, Apple introduced a way for web developers to add support for Face ID and Touch ID to their websites, allowing Safari users to log in without having to enter their username and password.

In a WWDC session aimed at web developers, the company showed off the new functionality which Apple touted would provide a “frictionless experience” for users.

Similar to how Face ID and Touch ID work today in iOS apps, web developers who choose to implement the new technology could prompt their users to choose a biometric authentication method the next time they visit their website.

Great news! Apple expands support for #FIDO Authentication with Safari 14 (MacOS/iOS)! Websites can use Touch ID / Face ID for secure and frictionless web logins via #WebAuthn API. Great video on how websites can get started:

— The FIDO Alliance (@FIDOAlliance) June 24, 2020

The technology was built via the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) API which allows developers to build authentication via the FIDO2 specification, developed by the FIDO Alliance. It will be made available starting with Safari 14 for macOS and iOS, the organization said.

As CNET explains, Apple isn’t the first to use the browser technology — it’s already available in Firefox, Chrome and Microsoft Edge, for example.

Apple’s adoption, however, could push forward the larger biometrics movement. This in part, is due to Apple’s way of making complicated technology consumer-friendly and taking on the work of user education. Apple also has a sizable community of developers who get excited to roll out Apple’s latest technology.

The new system will be, by default, multi-factor in nature.

Apple’s platform authenticator uses the secure enclave of the iPhone or iPad to provide the private keys, and guarantees they can’t leave the device. It also verifies the user by either their fingerprint or facial recognition. That makes it multi-factor, as it combines something you have — the iPhone — with something you are — your biometrics information.

A report by Biometric Update also noted the WWDC session revealed Apple built its own attestation service, which is an optional service for those with higher security needs — like a bank. Because this technology can sometimes be used to violate privacy, Apple built its own version where it generates a unique attestation certificate for each credential. This prevents websites from tracking users across the web. This service isn’t immediately available, but will be soon.

Apple joined the FiDO Alliance earlier this year, signaling its intention to work towards a way to replace passwords with trusted devices and biometrics. It has also patented a way to use Face ID on a Mac, but this hasn’t launched.

Apple’s first virtual WWDC keynote set a new standard for remote presentations

By Brian Heater

In a preshow post, I compared the upcoming virtual WWDC to late-season “M*A*S*H.” If you watched the show during its original run or have since binged it on Netflix or Hulu, you’re likely aware of the producers’ uncomfortable transition away from using a laugh track. It was an ultimately beneficial choice in a show about a mobile military hospital during the Korean War, but shifting viewer expectations wasn’t easy, so it was done gradually, over time.

After so many years of priming audiences for a large online spectacle, event teams haven’t had the same luxury. Some shifted online last minute and others simply canceled the shows altogether. Even though COVID-19 was looming for months, there was really no simple decision here, and as such many of these first-time virtual-only events have been uncomfortably awkward and primarily defined by what they’re not.

Microsoft made a valiant attempt to embrace the temporarily new normal with its recent Build conference. The result was, at best, a mixed bag, relying on cringe-inducing banter by two employees to anchor several days of developer events. Where the presentation most shined, however, was when it was at its most simplistic: Satya Nadella stood in front of a bookshelf to address the weirdness of the situation and moved on with the day’s news. It was one of those moments where you found yourself grateful that the CEO is the emotional opposite of his screaming predecessor.

One could simply ignore the strangeness of it all — the absence of a live audience packed with a cheering section full of developers and employees. But to do so would be doing it a disservice.

3 days left to save on virtual founder workshops at TC Early Stage 2020

By Alexandra Ames

Startups don’t come with instructions — a fact that inspired us to create TC Early Stage 2020, a two-day online event packed with workshops designed specifically for early-stage startup founders. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a blueprint for DIY success, and it all goes down on July 21-22.

Early-bird pricing remains in effect for just three more days. Buy your Early Stage 2020 pass before the offer expires on June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT) and you’ll save $50.

Early Stage 2020 offers more than 50 breakout sessions covering topics and issues that every pre-seed through Series A founder faces. You won’t just sit on your couch and listen — these workshops are engaging and interactive.

What keeps you up at night? What next step have you put off because you’re feeling paralyzed or uncertain? Whether it has to do with your pitch, term-sheet construction, fundraising, hiring practices, developing a tech stack, growth marketing or product management, you’ll get your burning questions answered.

We’re limiting these sessions to about 100 people each, they’re available first come, first serve, and they’ll fill up quickly. Buy your pass, check the growing list of workshops and sign up to secure the topics you want most. Videos of all the sessions will be available on demand to ticket holders after the event.

Here’s a glimpse of the great sessions waiting for you at Early Stage 2020.

How to raise a successful Series A with Greylock’s Reid Hoffman and Sarah Guo: Raising money is all in the details, and no one knows those details better than Reid Hoffman and Sarah Guo. Hear from these two seasoned experts about how to craft the perfect pitch deck — Hoffman will dive deep on his annotated LinkedIn Series B pitch deck, while Guo breaks down exactly what she looks for. With consumer and enterprise fields equally represented, these two should offer a wealth of strategic information around how to successfully raise a Series A.

How to draw up your first contracts and other legal tips with Moonshot Legal’s Adam Zagaris: Hear from James Alonso, partner at Magnolia Law, on the ins and outs of company formation and financing. Companies that are off to the races can learn from Adam Zagaris, partner at Moonshot Legal, as he breaks down the process of creating commercial contracts and managing transactions. This is a great 360-overview of the legal side of running a startup.

Take advantage of your professional blueprint and tune in to TC Early Stage 2020 on July 21-22. Take advantage of early-bird savings, buy your pass before June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT) and save $50 in the process.

Is your company interested in sponsoring TC Early Stage? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Airtable’s Howie Liu to join us at Disrupt 2020

By Jordan Crook

Collaborative enterprise software is absolutely booming, and Airtable is riding that wave in a very real way.

The company, which offers a flexible, collaborative database product, has raised more than $170 million in funding from investors like CRV, Benchmark, Coatue Management, and Thrive Capital. So it should come as no surprise that we’re simply thrilled to have Airtable cofounder and CEO Howie Liu join us at Disrupt 2020.

Liu went to Duke University before starting his first company, eTacts, which was an automated CRM system that received investment from the founders of YouTube, Powerset and Delicious, as well as investors like Ron Conway and Ashton Kutcher.

Liu then went on to lead the social CRM product for Salesforce before leaving to set his own course once again with Airtable .

Airtable was founded back in 2012 with a broad mission of democratizing software. At its essence, Airtable is a relational database. Laymen can think of it as a Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel on steroids, but it actually goes much deeper than that.

Software is built on data — organized data, to be exact — and while many of us can compile and organize data into a spreadsheet, few can make it sing its way to a software product. Airtable aims to make that possible for anyone, even a non-developer.

That said, the company faces several hurdles. Airtable is a product that can be used in many, many ways, from tracking sales goals to organizing product road maps to managing workflows. With this type of open-ended product, it can be difficult to educate the end-user on how to make the most of it, or how to use it to begin with.

We’ll talk with Liu about how to build a very complex product in the most user-friendly way possible. We’ll also ask him about the state of enterprise software sales at a time when most large companies are freezing or decreasing spending, the future of no- and low-code software, and how he thinks about hyper-growth.

Disrupt is all virtual in 2020 and runs September 14 to September 18, and we have several Digital Pass options to be part of the action or to exhibit virtually, which you can check out here.

Liu joins a stellar roster of speakers, including Roelof Botha, Cyan Banister, Charles Hudson, and Mike Cannon-Brookes, with more speakers to be announced soon!

iOS 14’s App Clips will save you from always needing ‘an app for that’

By Sarah Perez

The App Store ecosystem today is home to nearly 2 million apps. That means finding new apps to download is now more challenging than ever. This, in turn, leads app developers to funnel more money into App Store Search ads, traditional SEO and digital advertising in an effort to acquire new users. A new feature called App Clips, arriving in iOS 14 later this year, will give developers another option to introduce their app to users. With App Clips, users can instead load just a small part of an app on demand, when required. And when they’re done, the App Clip disappears.

The concept behind App Clips isn’t new. Google’s Android platform has for several years offered tiny app-on-demand downloads called “Instant Apps.”

Like Instant Apps, Apple’s App Clips are about making apps as seamless to use as the web. They are fast, ephemeral and eliminate the barrier to entry that is downloading an app from the App Store.

Today, many users don’t want to bother with a full app download when they’re in a hurry. For example, if a user is trying to pay for parking, they’re more likely to swipe their credit card in the meter to save time, instead of downloading the city’s parking app.

A customer waiting in line to place a food or drink order also doesn’t want to bother downloading the restaurant’s app to browse a menu and pay — they’ll just speak their order at the counter. And a customer wanting to rent a scooter just wants to tap, pay and be on their way.

Image Credits: Apple

An App Clip would work in any of of these scenarios, and many others, by making it as easy to use apps as it is to tap to check out with Apple Pay or launch a website.

While Apple will allow users to launch clips by way of a QR code, a new “App Clip Code” arriving later this year will offer an upgraded experience to kicking off these apps you find suggested to you out in the real world. App Clip Codes will combine both NFC and a visual code, so users can either tap or scan the code to access the App Clip experience.

Image Credits: Apple

For example, an App Clip Code placed on a parking meter would allow a user to quickly load just the part of the app where they pay for their time. They can even skip manual credit card entry by using Apple Pay, if included in a given App Clip.

The App Clips themselves are less than 10 MB in size and ship bundled with the app on the App Store. They’re built using the same UI technologies developers use today to build apps, like UIKit or SwiftUI. But using an App Clip doesn’t trigger the app to download to the user’s device.

A key advantage App Clips offer is how they address concerns over data privacy. Because App Clips are essentially a way to run app code on demand, they’re restricted from tapping into iPhone’s more sensitive data — like health and fitness information, for example. Plus, the App Clip and all its data will automatically disappear if it’s not used again within some period of time.

However, if a user begins to launch a particular App Clip more regularly — perhaps one for their favorite coffee order at their local shop, for instance — the App Clip’s lifetime is extended and it can get smarter. In this example, the App Clip could cache the customer’s last order and present it as a recommendation, to speed up the ordering process. Eventually, this repeat user may decide to download the full app.

In that case, the hand-off is seamless as well — iOS will automatically migrate the authorizations for things like Camera, Microphone and Bluetooth access, which the App Clip had already requested. Select data can also be migrated.

Image Credits: Apple

There are other ways for users to encounter App Clips besides out in the real world, though that may be a primary use case.

Apple says App Clips can be sent as links in iMessage, popped up as a suggestion when you’re browsing a mobile site in Safari, shown on a business’s details page in Apple Maps or may appear in Siri’s Nearby suggestions.

The idea is that wherever a user may be on their device — or out in the world — the App Clip can be there, too.

Apple’s software updates give a glimpse of software in a COVID-19 era

By Sarah Perez

Apple is responding to the COVID-19 crisis with a range of new features across its software platforms. Some are intended to directly combat the threat of the novel coronavirus, as with Apple Watch’s new handwashing feature. Other updates can be seen in a new light in the COVID-19 era. For example, your Apple Watch can track your TikTok dances as a “workout,” now that you’re not going to the gym. A new sleep feature pushes you to get more rest. Apple Maps has also added a dedicated cycling feature and can show you where to find hiking trails.

While many of the new features are more reactive in nature, the handwashing timer for Apple Watch aims to directly impact consumer behavior for the better.

Today, many people still don’t know how long to wash their hands or how to properly scrub them to reduce the spread of germs. Apple Watch wearers will get a push in the right direction, however. The new feature arriving in watchOS 7 later this year will be able to detect when handwashing has begun, using machine learning models that detect the motion of the Watch wearer’s hands. It will also use audio to confirm the sounds of water running or bubbles squishing.

Image Credits: Apple

This will make the Apple Watch the first to offer a handwashing detection feature.

As the wearer washes their hands, a countdown timer will appear on the watch face so you’ll know how long to wash. This will also use haptics and sounds to encourage you to continue, almost gamifying the experience. The device will also offer a little coaching along the way and will even push you to finish washing if you’ve stopped.

The feature is small but could have a notable impact on consumer behavior.

Image Credits: Apple

The Apple Watch will also push users to care about other aspects of their health and wellness. While that’s always been a key area of interest for Apple’s wearable platform, being healthy takes on a new level of importance in the COVID-19 era.

For instance, a new sleep tracking function for Apple Watch does more than count your zzz’s. It also helps users meet their sleep duration goals by allowing you to set both a bedtime and the time you want to wake up. The sleep tracking feature works in conjunction with iOS 14’s new “Wind Down” functionality, which will begin to minimize distractions ahead of your bedtime.

Image Credits: Apple

A calmer, notification-free home screen displays in the evenings so you can begin to transition from your wakeful, busy hours to a calmer, more relaxed state.

Wind Down shortcuts help you start to relax with quiet music or content from a meditation app.

At bedtime, your iPhone screen dims and your Apple Watch goes into sleep mode, turning the screen off. You can wake it with a tap if you want to check the time on a simple face.

Image Credits: Apple

As you sleep, the Watch uses machine learning to track your movements, even the rise and fall of your breath, to determine how you’re sleeping. You can later view your sleep trends, based on this tracking, in the Apple Health app.

In the morning, you can choose to wake up to a haptic vibration on your wrist, instead of a more jarring audible alarm. This could help you wake up without disturbing your partner, who may still be sleeping in.

Image Credits: Apple under a license.

Though Apple didn’t reference COVID-19 by name when introducing its new Apple Watch sleep tracking features, the company briefly noted that sleep is useful in “keeping you healthy.”

Other aspects where Apple addressed the COVID-19 crisis aren’t perhaps as obvious.

Apple Watch’s addition of “dance” as a Workout type in watchOS 7 could have been dreamed up for tracking cardio exercise classes, like Zumba. But today, it feels like a nod to all those Instagram Live DJ parties happening as people sheltered in place under government lockdowns. Or even an acknowledgement of how many users are “working out” by practicing the latest TikTok dance at home.

Image Credits: Apple

Meanwhile, Apple Maps was due to get cycling directions as part of its upgrade. But the way Apple designed its new biking feature is one that seems to understand that many people will reduce their reliance on public transit for years to come in favor of other transportation options.

And they’ll want more than just directions and route time.

Image Credits: Apple

Starting in major markets — New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing — Apple Maps users will not only be able to calculate a biking route, but also will be able to see other aspects of that trip, like elevation changes or if there are bike lanes available.

Image Credits: Apple

The feature will even suggest if the biker should take a flight of stairs to save themselves time. And bikers can search for and add places optimized for cyclists, like bike repair shops, then place those on their route.

Then there is Apple Maps’ new “Guides” feature, largely a way to combat Google Maps’ Explore, powered by Google’s vast business data. Here, Apple has partnered with AllTrails to add information on hiking, at a time when outdoor activities have become one of the only ways we can safely entertain ourselves without fear of catching the virus.

In another response to the COVID-19 crisis, Apple has added the option for users to customize their Memoji — their personalized emoji — with face coverings, like a mask.

Though a minor tweak, the option gives users a chance to display their character as a mask wearer, which could help to destigmatize the idea of mask wearing in a market like the U.S., where it isn’t yet part of the cultural norm.

There was also a hint of how Apple understands the changes being wrought by COVID-19 in what it didn’t announce.

For example, Apple has been focused in recent years on addressing the growing criticism around the addictiveness of its iPhone device and its apps that constantly clamor for attention. It introduced a Screen Time platform in 2018 to allow iPhone owners to schedule time away from their devices, set limits on app usage, and more for either themselves or their kids. Last year, it expanded parental controls to limit who kids could call and FaceTime, and when, as part of this Screen Time system. It offered a way to more easily silence notifications. 

This go around, the concept of “too much screen time” is nowhere to be found.

This aligns with the choices consumers have made during COVID-19. According to App Annie, the global daily time spent per user on mobile increased 20% to 4 hours 20 minutes in April 2020 from 2019.

And as the pandemic rages, many parents have long since given up on reducing their kids’ screen time, as well.

Apple made no mention of upgrades in this area during its keynote. In fact, it presented device owners with a solution that’s more reflective of where we are now: With so many apps and games cluttering our iPhone, we can’t even find the ones we want anymore. The new iOS 14 user interface with its App Library and widgeting system is designed for a time when we’re using a lot of apps, not trying to distance ourselves from them. And Apple is here to accommodate that need.

Watch Apple’s WWDC keynote live right here

By Romain Dillet

Apple is holding a keynote today on the first day of its developer conference, and the company is expected to talk about a ton of software updates. WWDC is a virtual event this year, but you can expect the same amount of news, in a different format. At 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris), you’ll be able to watch the event as the company is streaming it live.

Rumor has it that the company plans to unveil new versions of its operating systems. Get ready for iOS 14 and its sibling iPadOS 14, a new version of macOS, some updates for watchOS and tvOS as well.

But the most interesting rumor of the year is that Apple could announce a major change for the Mac. The company could start using its own in-house ARM systems on a chip instead of Intel’s processors. It would have a ton of consequences for third-party apps running on your Mac as well as Mac hardware in general. Imagine a MacBook with a battery that lasts as long as what you get from an iPad. There could be some more hardware news, such as a new design for the iMac or some Tile-style hardware trackers.

You can watch the live stream directly on this page as Apple is streaming its conference on YouTube.

If you have an Apple TV, you can download the Apple Events app in the App Store. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones. The app icon was updated a few days ago for the event.

And if you don’t have an Apple TV and don’t want to use YouTube, the company also lets you live-stream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Of course, you also can read TechCrunch’s live blog if you don’t want to stop everything and watch a video.

Startup Battlefield bonus: Application deadline extended one week

By Neesha A. Tambe

This one goes out to all the early-stage startup founders. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the state of the world, overworked — or procrastination is simply an intrinsic part of your DNA — it matters not. Here’s reason to smile. We’re giving you an extra week to apply to compete in Startup Battlefield during Disrupt 2020. Fill out your application before the new deadline expires on June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT).

This is your moment to grab a double fistful of opportunity and step into a global spotlight. The virtual Disrupt 2020 represents our largest viewing audience and our biggest launch platform ever — more investors, more media and more, well, everything. If you’re chosen to compete in our premier pitch-off, you’ll go up against some of the best early-stage startups around the world.

Here’s what’s at stake: Massive exposure that can — whether you win the battle or not — change the trajectory of your startup, a launch article on, a 6 week mini-training program with TC editorial, all the perks of a Digital Disrupt Digital Pro pass (and then some) and a shot at $100,000, the Disrupt cup and all the bragging rights.

You’re eligible to apply if your company is early stage, has an MVP with a tech component (software, hardware or platform) and hasn’t received much, if any, major media coverage. Note: TechCrunch does not charge any application or participation fees or take any equity. We accept founders from all backgrounds, geographies and industries.

Veteran TechCrunch Battlefield editors (such a picky bunch) review every application and select startups that meet their discerning standards for innovation and growth potential. The virtual competition takes place during Disrupt 2020, which runs from Sept. 14 – 18.

Feel that flop sweat building up? Don’t stress. All competing founders receive weeks of free expert coaching from TechCrunch. Your pitch, demo and business model will shine like never before on game day.

Startup Battlefield consists of two rounds. Each team has six minutes to pitch and demo to our panel of TC editors, expert VCs and top entrepreneurs. Each team also faces a six-minute Q&A. Out of the original cohort, a handful of teams will move to the finals — on the last day of Disrupt — and pitch again to a new set of judges. They’ll choose one team to take home the title, the cup and the $100,000 prize.

Let’s take a peek at what other opportunities Battlefield competitors enjoy.

  • Exhibit in Digital Startup Alley and demo your product to hundreds of people
  • Network with CrunchMatch, our AI-powered platform. Use it to set up virtual 1:1 meetings with investors, media, potential customers or any other startup influencers
  • Exclusive access to Leading Voices Webinars: Hear top industry minds share their strategies for adapting and thriving during and after the pandemic
  • A launch article featuring your startup on
  • A YouTube video promoted on
  • Free subscription to Extra Crunch
  • Free passes to future TechCrunch events

You’ll also join the likes of Vurb, Dropbox, GetAround, Mint, Yammer, Fitbit and other members of the Startup Battlefield Alumni community. This impressive group, comprised (so far) of 902 companies, has collectively raised $9 billion and generated 115 exits.

Rejoice, you have one extra week to apply to compete in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020. The new deadline expires on June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT). Don’t wait another minute. Make the most of this extended opportunity.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Only one week left to save on tickets to TC Early Stage

By Alexandra Ames

Early-stage founders, July 21 – 22 is coming up fast and that means it’s time get ready for TC Early Stage — the virtual startup conference designed with you in mind. We’ve packed this two-day event with more than 50 breakout sessions covering topics and issues early-stage startup founders need to succeed — even more so in these unprecedented times. You have just one week left to buy an early-bird ticket and save $50. Don’t wait — prices increase on June 26 at 11:59 p.m. (PT).

Early-stage founders have so much to learn. Building a startup is no mean feat under ordinary circumstances and, thanks to Covid-19, global circumstances are by no means ordinary right now. In addition to navigating a pandemic, there are plenty of other issues to keep you up at night:

How to hire the best talent? What’s the best time to raise funds? Crafting a media strategy? How to create the culture you want straight out of the gate? What the heck is wrong with my pitch deck? The questions are endless. Come to TC Early Stage and get answers to help you grow your business.

All breakout sessions feature leading experts from across the startup ecosystem. We’re adding sessions regularly to the agenda, and ticket holders receive 24-hour notice before we announce the next batch.

We’re limiting each session to about 100 people, and seats are available on a first come, first serve basis — sign up quickly to make sure you get the ones you want most.  Hot tip: If you run into a schedule conflict, you can drop a breakout session and choose another one. Plus videos of all the sessions will be available on demand to ticket holders exclusively.

Here’s a quick peek at just some of the breakout sessions.

  • How to get your first yes — Fundraising can be a bit like dominoes. Once you get one investor on board, it’s much easier to bring others along for the ride. But getting that first “yes” can be the most difficult part. Hear the do’s and don’ts of hyper early stage fundraising from Cyan Banister, venture partner  at Long Journey Ventures.
  • Hiring your early engineers — The first few employees determine a startup’s trajectory. Learn the dos and don’ts of hiring your early engineers from entrepreneur and investor Ali Partovi, founder and CEO of Neo. Hear how these hiring decisions can determine not only the type of culture you build for your employees, but also the overall success of your company.
  • How to avoid 1,000 landmines — When you’re starting your company, there are thousands of small, avoidable mistakes that can turn success into failure. Garry Tan, founder and managing partner at Initialized Capital, helps you learn how to navigate around them and maximize your chance of success.

TC Early Stage takes place on July 21 – 22, and you have just one week left to buy an early-bird ticket. Grab this rare opportunity to have your tough startup questions answered by the pros and save.

Is your company interested in sponsoring the TC Early Stage? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.