The dog days of summer are upon us, and even busy startuppers across Europe are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. Down time’s important and so is saving money, so all this week we’re holding a 2-for-1 summer flash sale on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019.
Disrupt Berlin takes place on 11-12 December and, depending on the type of pass you buy, our super early-bird pricing can save you up to €600. But now you can double your savings simply by purchasing an Innovator, Founder or Investor pass before our 2-for-1 flash sale ends on August 23 at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). Buy your 2-for-1 passes right here.
Experience all the early-stage startup excitement and opportunity that Disrupt Berlin offers and do it at a huge discount. Join your community — roughly 3,000 attendees from more than 50 countries, including European Union members, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, India, China and South Korea. Explore hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting in Startup Alley. Listen to and learn from our roster of speakers — leading founders, technologists, investors and tech icons along with up-and-coming founders.
Be sure to watch — or even better apply to compete in — the Startup Battlefield pitch competition. TechCrunch editors will select some of the best early-stage startups to go head-to-head on the Disrupt Main Stage. Who knows, you might take home the $50,000 top prize or find your next investment opportunity.
More opportunity awaits in the form of TC Top Picks. Apply here to be one of a select few startups to represent these tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education. If you’re chosen, you’ll receive a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package, a VIP experience and a ton of media and investor exposure. What’s more, a TechCrunch editor will interview every TC Top Pick on the Showcase Stage. We’ll record that interview and promote the video across our social media platforms. That video will drive traffic to your site and come in mighty handy as a future talking point with investors.
Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Don’t let sleepy summer days distract you from serious summer savings. You have the rest of this week to double your savings on Innovator, Founder or Investor passes. Buy your 2-for-1 passes before our flash sale ends on August 23 at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). We’ll see you in December!
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
Disrupt Berlin 2019, our premier European tech conference, takes place on 11-12 December and draws 3,000 people from more than 50 countries. Every year we work hard to improve our content programming and present it in new and engaging ways to a very savvy startup audience. This year be sure to check out the Extra Crunch Stage for information you can put in place back at the home base.
If you need to buy a super early-bird pass to Disrupt Berlin, why not take care of that essential detail now? Go ahead…we’ll wait.
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming. On the Extra Crunch Stage, we’re focusing on the founders, investors and tech leaders who’ve been there, done that, who will provide how-to content, practical tips and actionable advice that founders need to succeed in the European tech landscape.
The new name and mission come from TC’s recently launched subscription product. Designed for our most engaged readers, this extra crunchy layer of gated content goes deep on entrepreneurial and startup topics like inclusion and diversity, hiring practices, legal and product decisions, as well as mental health and wellness in high-performance businesses.
Treat yourself to an Innovator, Founder or Investor pass, because that’s the only way you’ll gain access to this Extra Crunchy wisdom. Those same passes also provide access to all the fine content, speakers, panelists, interactive workshops and events that take place on the Main Stage, the Showcase Stage and in the Q&A sessions.
That’s a whole lot to take in, and you’ll be busy indeed as you explore hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting their tech and talent in Startup Alley. Marvel at the brilliant Startup Battlefield competitors vying for $50,000 as they launch on a global stage. Learn from our roster of speakers, the top players in the startup world — tech titans, leading investors and boundary-pushing founders — as they examine emerging trends and critical challenges.
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
We love a good how-to, especially one that saves early-stage startup founders money and positions them for mad success. We’re talking about how to apply to be a TC Top Pick and exhibit at Disrupt Berlin 2019 — for free.
Our TC Top Picks program is what we call a pre-Disrupt competition. If you’re a founder of an early-stage startup this is your chance to win a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and a VIP experience in Berlin. How does it all work? Read on!
First, fill out an application if your startup falls into one of these tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.
TechCrunch editors closely vet each application — and these editors have an almost-mystical ability to spot serious success potential. Ultimately, they’ll choose up to five of the best representatives for each category.
A Startup Alley Exhibitor Package includes one exhibit day, three Founder passes, access to the full conference and all programming at the event.
TC Top Picks attract a lot of attention at the show, and it’s a networking wonderland. You’ll meet investors, potential customers and future collaborators who can help you move to the next level. Plus, you’ll be interviewed by a TechCrunch editor live on the Showcase Stage. We’ll record that interview and promote it on our social media platforms. Talk about a great long-term marketing tool.
Take a page from Caleb John’s playbook. Here’s what the CEO of Cedar Robotics said about exhibiting as a TC Top Pick:
“It blew away my expectations. The number of people we met, the connections we made and the amount of media exposure we received is worth its weight in gold.”
And another thing! You — and all the other exhibiting startups — might even win a chance to compete in Startup Battlefield. TechCrunch editors will choose a startup as a Wild Card competitor, and they’ll compete for $50,000. It’s a longshot, but it sure paid off for RecordGram. They won the Wild Card and then won the Battlefield. Can lightning strike twice?
Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your outstanding startup in Startup Alley and enjoy a VIP experience — for free. Apply to our TC Top Picks program today.
Hey hackathon fans, get ready to pack your bags and book your tickets to Berlin. That’s right, baby, the TC Hackathon returns to Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. We’re looking for creative code warriors of every stripe to compete in a grueling, exhilarating marathon that will test your physical, mental and technical limits.
It won’t cost you a thing to apply or to participate. Heck, we even give you a free Innovator pass to attend. Don’t wait on this opportunity — we’re limiting participation to 500 hackers. Apply to the TC Disrupt Berlin Hackathon 2019, compete against some of the best coders and makers in the world and let your freaky hack flag fly.
TechCrunch vets all applicants and if you make the cut, you’ll join a team (or bring one of your own) and spend the next 36 hours designing, coding and creating something new and amazing.
Curious about these sponsored contests? We’ll roll out specifics on sponsors, challenges and prizes over the next few weeks. In the meantime, check out the sponsored contests, prizes and winners from last year’s Disrupt SF 2018 Hackathon. That’ll give you a sense of the kind of projects to expect.
Once the hack clock runs out and you’ve submitted your creation, a team of experts will judge all completed projects in a science-fair style format and select 10 finalists. On day two, those 10 teams will have two minutes to present and pitch their project on the Extra Crunch Stage. No pressure…just kidding. Lots of pressure.
Sponsors will announce the winners of their individual challenges — which come with cash prizes and other incentives. Then TechCrunch will select the best overall hack — and award that team a $5,000 cash prize.
And don’t worry — we’ll keep you fed, watered and caffeinated throughout the event. You’re gonna need all the energy you can muster.
Competing in the TC Hackathon is fast-paced, exhausting and fun. It’s also a great way to network, impress potential employers or meet your next collaborator. Space is limited and seats will go quickly, so apply to the TC Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. Show us your hack!
A number of startups are bringing technology and innovation to the fertility industry, with a growing few focused specifically on male fertility.
“Society at large doesn’t understand the subject of fertility,” Tom Smith, the co-founder and chief executive officer of men’s sperm storage startup Dadi tells TechCrunch. “People see it as a female issue.”
Dadi has raised a $5 million seed extension led by The Chernin Group, a private equity fund that typically invests in media, with existing investors including London seed-fund Firstminute Capital and New York’s Third Kind Venture Capital also participating. The company, which sends at-home fertility tests and sperm storage kits, closed a $2 million seed round earlier this year.
Dadi’s funding event comes shortly after another men’s fertility business, Legacy, raised a $1.5 million round for its sperm testing and freezing service. Both companies hope to leverage venture capital funding to become the dominant men’s fertility brand.
Bain Capital Ventures -backed Legacy, which won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield competition at Disrupt Berlin 2018, allows men to get their sperm tested and frozen without visiting a clinic or meeting with a doctor. Founder and chief executive officer Khaled Kteily said the company, which is based out of the Harvard Innovation Labs in Boston, planned to use the capital to expand its sperm analysis and cryogenic storage services.
Sarah Steinle, head of marketing, Khaled Kteily, founder and CEO, and Daniel Madero, head of clinic partnerships at Legacy .
Like many startups today, Dadi and Legacy are capitalizing on the direct-to-consumer business model to educate men about their fertility. Customers of both Dadi and Legacy simply order a DIY sperm collection kit online, collect a sperm sample and send it back to the company for a full fertility report. Both companies offer sperm storage services too. Dadi charges a total of $199.98 for its sperm testing kit and one year of sperm storage, while Legacy asks for $350 for clinical fertility analysis and lifestyle recommendations. To store your sperm in Legacy’s cryogenic storage facilities, it’s an additional $20 per month.
One in six couples struggles to get pregnant after one year of trying. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, one-third of the infertility cases amongst those couples are caused by fertility problems in men, another one-third of issues are connected to women and the remaining cases are a result of a combination of male and female fertility issues. By making sperm storage more accessible, startups hope to encourage a conversation around family planning and fertility among young men.
“Men also have a biological clock,” Smith said. “From your late 20s and onward, your overall sperm count absolutely declines and, more importantly, the number of mutations that can be passed on to that potential child grows.”
Dadi, a New York-based company, plans to use its latest bout of funding to continue developing a number of yet-to-be-announced products, as well as offer new support services to customers who’ve taken Dadi’s fertility tests: “If we are going to live up to our overall objective of being this encompassing business helping men through the fertility stack, the next step for us is investing in next-step support,” Smith explains.
Dadi’s founding team lacks experience in the healthcare sector, which is likely to pose problems as the company expands and forges partnerships in the greater healthcare field. Smith previously led a custom emoji business, Imoji, which was acquired by Giphy in 2017. Dadi co-founder Mackey Saturday, for his part, was previously a graphic designer responsible for creating Instagram’s logo.
Aiming to make up for its lack of expertise, Dadi has formed a Science and Technology Advisory Board with participation from Dr. Michael Eisenberg, associate professor of urology at Stanford’s Medical Center, and Dr. Jacques Cohen, the laboratory director at ART Institute of Washington at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Legacy’s Kteily previously worked as a consultant focused on health & life sciences before serving as a senior manager at the World Economic Forum. Daniel Madero and Sarah Steinle, also Legacy co-founders, previously worked at Medifertil, a Colombian fertility clinic, and Extend Fertility, respectively.
In addition to Dadi and Legacy, other companies close to the space have recently secured notable investments including Hims, the provider of direct-to-consumer erectile dysfunction (ED) and hair loss medication, which raised a $100 million this year. Another seller of ED meds, Ro, has raised a total of $91 million. And Manual, an educational portal and treatment platform for men’s issues, raised a £5 million seed round in January from Felix Capital, Cherry Ventures and Cassius Capital.
Most entrepreneurs who have tried to compete with Netflix have failed. But Efe Cakarel isn’t one of them. As the founder and CEO of Mubi, he has created a beloved movie streaming service. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Mubi founder Efe Cakarel is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.
Mubi has been around for more than a decade. Back then, Netflix was just launching its on-demand streaming service. It was still mostly a DVD rental company.
Instead of focusing on quantity and mainstream content, Mubi went the opposite direction with a subscription tailored for cinephiles. Every day, Mubi adds a new movie to its catalog. It remains available for 30 days before it disappears from the service.
With this rolling window of 30 movies, there’s always something new, something interesting. The limited selection has become an asset as you can take time to read about each movie and watch things you would have never considered watching on a service with thousands of titles.
More recently, the company started purchasing exclusive distribution rights and even producing its own original content. The service is available in most countries around the world.
And yet, Mubi is still around after all those years. I’m personally impressed by Cakarel’s resilience and I can’t wait to see what’s next for the company.
Buy your ticket to Disrupt Berlin to listen to this discussion and many others. The conference will take place on December 11-12.
In addition to panels and fireside chats, like this one, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield to compete for the highly coveted Battlefield Cup.
It’s official — applications are now open for TC Top Picks at Disrupt Berlin 2019, which takes place on 11-12 December. This pre-conference competition is your chance to experience Disrupt Berlin VIP-style and exhibit your early-stage startup to some of the world’s most influential tech leaders, investors and media outlets across Europe, Asia and beyond — for free. Das ist gut, ja?
Here’s how it all works. TechCrunch editors — a picky bunch with an eye for exceptional startups — will closely review every qualified application. Then they’ll select up to five startups in each of these categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.
What sort of startups catch our eye? Great question. Take a look at the TC Top Picks Disrupt Berlin 2018.
If you’re one of the chosen few, you’ll win a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. In addition to one exhibit day, the package includes three Founder passes, access to the full conference and all programming across four stages, including Startup Battlefield, our epic pitch competition with a $50,000 prize. You’ll also receive invitations to VIP events, like the investor reception. We’re talking top-tier investors and global press.
Top Picks enjoy a prime location in Startup Alley, and you’ll be well-positioned for the thousands of attendees looking for investments, collaborators, providers or the next big thing. Plus, each Top Pick founder will be interviewed by a TechCrunch editor on the Showcase Stage, and we’ll edit and promote that video interview across our social media platforms. That’s a marketing gift that keeps on giving.
Here’s yet another perk. All companies exhibiting in Startup Alley — including Top Picks — become eligible for a Wild Card spot in the Startup Battlefield. Who knows, it might be you.
Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December, and it draws participants from more than 50 countries. There’s no better place to introduce your pre-Series A startup to the international startup community. And there’s no easier, or more affordable, way to do it than as a TC Top Pick. Apply today. Das ist gut, ja?
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
Early-stage startuppers around the world are getting ready for Disrupt Berlin 2019, which takes place on 11-12 December. Our premier tech conference attracts an international startup community from more than 50 countries. It’s the intersection of current and future tech and an incomparable networking opportunity.
You reap big savings with our super early-bird pricing (up to €600), but you can save even more when you buy in bulk. We want to make Disrupt Berlin a team-friendly event, because nobody wants to play rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock to see who stays home. Take advantage of our group discounts and bring your whole squad to Berlin.
Bring the team and multiply your ROI. Split up and experience more of what Disrupt Berlin offers in two short days — world-class speakers, workshops, fireside chats, Q&A Sessions, the Extra Crunch stage and Startup Alley for starters. Let’s look a little closer, shall we?
You’ll hear advice and insight from leading founders and investors, like PicsArt founder and CEO Hovhannes Avoyan, UiPath founder and CEO Daniel Dines and SoftBank Vision Fund partner David Thevenon — to name just a few. We’re still adding speakers, and if you have someone you’d like to nominate, let us know.
Don’t miss out on Startup Battlefield. Our legendary pitch competition features the best early-stage startups launching their companies on a global stage in a bid for glory, the Disrupt Cup, investor love, media coverage and $50,000 cash. Keep your eyes peeled for the chance to enter this epic competition — sign up to get the latest Disrupt Berlin news.
We expect more than 3,000 attendees, and just about all of them will head to Startup Alley to explore our exhibition floor. They’ll find hundreds of creative early-stage startups displaying their latest innovations across the tech spectrum. It’s a networking opportunity like no other. Turn your team loose and let the startup magic begin.
Startup Alley is also home to the TC Top Picks. That’s our curated cadre of startups representing the very best in their tech categories. Check out our TC Top Picks from 2018. Think your startup can make the cut? You’ll have the opportunity to apply soon — another great reason to keep tabs on Disrupt Berlin news.
Join us at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. So many excellent reasons to go and a limited amount of time to experience it all. Take advantage of our super early-bird group discounts and bring your whole team to amplify your presence and your ROI. We’ll see you in Berlin!
Porsche Digital, the subsidiary of car maker Porsche, is opening its second U.S. location after launching its first in 2017 in Silicon Valley. The second North American office for this software and digital product-focused wing of Porsche will open in Atlanta, which is also the seat of Porsche’s North American car business. Porsche Digital cited proximity to their auto business headquarters as one reason they picked Atlanta, but also pointed to Atlanta’s “local tech talent” and “robust and constantly growing startup and tech sector” as key factors in its selection.
The need for a second office is specifically about serving the U.S. market, Porsche Digital notes, and the company expects to have 45 employees total in the U.S. across both offices within the next year. The subsidiary overall has 120 employees worldwide, with offices in Berlin, Shanghai and Tel Aviv, as well as the U.S.
Porsche Digital focuses on creating software and digital products for the automaker’s customers, but it’s actually probably more valuable to its parent company as a sort of distributed tech talent scouting and business development arm of the company. Its offices definitely occupy global hotspots when it comes to startup tech companies, and having a permanent presence in these locations has got to come in handy when looking to attract engineering talent and potential acquisitions of complementary early-stage companies.
Station F is the world’s biggest startup campus and it’s based in Paris. Director Roxanne Varza first unveiled Station F at TechCrunch Disrupt back in December 2016. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Station F director Roxanne Varza is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin to give us an update and tell us about future plans.
If you aren’t familiar with Station F, it starts with a beautiful building. Originally built in 1929, it is now classified as a historical monument. But now, it’s also a high-tech building and a cornerstone of the French tech ecosystem.
Varza has managed to create a community of entrepreneurs, VC funds and big tech companies that work, share knowledge and collaborate. In addition to Station F’s own Founders Program and Fighters Program, you can become a Station F member by joining a partner program.
Facebook, Naver (Line), Ubisoft, Microsoft and plenty of others all run their own incubator from Station F. And it’s been working really well as there are over one thousand startups based at Station F.
Station F is also a great signal for the international tech community. If you head over to its Instagram account, you can see that plenty of head of states and major tech CEOs come to Station F whenever they visit Paris, from Jack Dorsey to newly elected president of Ukraine Vlodomyr Zelensky. Around one third of Station F startups come from abroad and 600 members don’t even speak French.
More recently, Station F unveiled Flatmates, a co-living space for Station F members. Station F is creating a lifestyle and has become a cultural phenomenon for Paris. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Buy your ticket to Disrupt Berlin to listen to this discussion and many others. The conference will take place on December 11-12.
In addition to panels and fireside chats, like this one, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield to compete for the highly coveted Battlefield Cup.
Roxanne Varza is Director of STATION F, the biggest startup campus in the world with more than 1.000 startups, located in Paris. She is originally from Silicon Valley. Before joining STATION F, she led Microsoft Ventures Paris and TechCrunch France. She also worked for several London-based startups and cofounded StarHer, Tech.eu and Failcon France.
Prior to her current role, Roxanne was the lead for Microsoft’s start-up activities in France, running both Bizspark and Microsoft Ventures programs for 3 years. She was also Editor of TechCrunch France from 2010-2011 and has written for several publications including Business Insider and The Telegraph. In April 2013, Business Insider listed her as one of the top 30 women under 30 in tech. She has also been listed in additional rankings by Business Insider, Vanity Fair and Le Figaro, The Evening Standard and more.
Roxanne also co-founded StartHer (ex Girls in Tech Paris) and is the co-organizer of the Failcon Paris conference. More recently, she co-founded Tech.eu, a European tech media backed by Dave McClure, Adeo Ressi, Daniel Waterhouse and more.
Prior to TechCrunch, Roxanne worked for the French government’s foreign direct investment agency helping fast-growing startups develop their activities in France. Roxanne has spoken, moderated, mentored and judged numerous startup events and programs throughout Europe and also helps European startups with content and communications. Roxanne is trilingual and holds degrees from UCLA, Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics. She is also an epilepsy advocate.
Listen up founders — TechCrunch is on the lookout for game-changing, early-stage startups to feature at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin‘s Startup Battlefield. This is your chance to launch on the famous TechCrunch stage and compete for the a $50,000 equity-free prize and the attention of top global investors and hundreds of media outlets from around the world. Apply here.
We’ve had some incredibly successful companies launch at our European-based event. N26, European fin-tech startup and Startup Battlefield EU 2016 alum, just raised a $170 million Series D round, bringing the company’s valuation up to a whopping $3.5 billion dollars. Startup Battlefield EU 2015 winner JukeDeck was just acquired by TikTok. The list of Startup Battlefield companies doesn’t stop there — Dropbox, GetAround, SirenCare, Fitbit, Mint.com, Vurb and more, and now is your chance to join this impressive group of companies. More than 857 participating companies have raised over $8.9 billion in funding, with 112 successful exits (IPOs or acquisitions).
How does it work?
Apply. TechCrunch charges zero fees and takes no equity. Fill out your app here. Early-stage startups from any country and any vertical are eligible — hardware, AI/ML, biotech, insurtech, to name a few. All companies must have an MVP to demo to the review committee. TC editors review applications and select 15-20 of the highest potential startups to pitch onstage at Disrupt Berlin (December 11-12).
Train. Selected founders will get intensive training from the Startup Battlefield team to refine pitches and demos, sharpen business models and prepare for this international launch.
Pitch. Trained Startup Battlefield founders will pitch on the live-streamed main stage at Disrupt Berlin for six minutes, including a live demo, followed by a six-minute Q&A with our esteemed judges. Past judges have included Jeff Clavier (Uncork Capital), Eileen Burbidge (Passion Capital), Sonali De Rycker (Accel) and Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital). After the semi-final round, 4-6 companies will pitch again on day two — same pitch, but with a new panel of judges. The judges will select the winner, who will get the $50,000 check, a feature post on TechCrunch, the Disrupt Cup and the attention of millions.
Disrupt. At the conference, participants get VIP treatment with access to private events, CrunchMatch: TechCrunch’s Investor Startup Matching Program, backstage access, complimentary exhibition space for all days of the conference, free subscriptions to Extra Crunch and a ticket to all future TechCrunch events.
Pitch on the most famous stage in tech. Apply now.
Fintech startup Revolut is opening a small tech hub in Berlin. There’s already a ton of fintech talent in the city, as it’s the hometown of N26. The company plans to hire 80 people at first for many different tech jobs, from software engineering to data science, product and growth.
And this isn’t just about hiring talent in other cities. Revolut plans to customize its product a bit more for the German market, and more generally Europe.
In many ways, Revolut still feels like a British app. For instance, if you want to change your card PIN code, the company tells you to use an ATM to change it. This is simply not possible in Germany, France and many European markets.
And the team in Berlin will also work on Revolut’s commission-free stock trading feature, a sort of Robinhood competitor for Europe. The company is also working on an app for children, maybe as an alternative to a first bank account.
There are currently 150,000 Revolut users in Germany. The company will have a local marketing and communications team to expand more aggressively in that market.
It’s still hard to create a global fintech app that works all around the world. People manage their money in different ways depending on the country in which they live. And fintech startups are also realizing that, now that they have a solid product offering at home.
Making good on plans revealed last year to debut an EV-exclusive car sharing service, Volkswagen is actually launching its fleet for customers – debuting WeShare, a new shared service similar to Car2Go or GM’s Maven, but featuring only all-electric vehicles. Initially, WeShare will be available only in Berlin, where it’s launching today with 1,500 Volkswagen e-Golf cars making up the on-demand rental fleet.
The plan is to add 500 more cars to the available population by early next year, specifically the e-up! electric city company car, and then it’ll also play host to the brand new ID.3 fully electric car when that’s officially launched. VW is still targeting the middle of next year for a street date for that vehicle, which is part of its all-new ID line of vehicles designed from the ground-up based on its next-generation electric vehicle platform. In terms of new geographies, WeShare will look to launch In Prague (in partnership with VW Group sub-brand Skoda) and also in Hamburg, both some time in 2020.
WeShare has a coverage area that includes the Berlin city centre and a little bit beyond the Ringbahn train line that encircles it. The cars are available in a “free-floating” arrangement, meaning they’ll be free to pickup and park wherever public parking is available. This one-way model, which is the one used by competitor Car2go, is distinct from the round-trip style rentals preferred by Zipcar, for instance. It’s more convenient for customers, but more of a headache for operators, who have to worry about ensuring cars remain in the rental zone and are parked appropriately and legally.
WeShare will also take responsibility for recharging the vehicles as needed, and will do so using the public charging network that’s available in Berlin, but later on it will seek to incentive actual users of the system to charge up when vehicles need it.
Car sharing, especially one-way, has had a hit-and-miss track record to date. Car2go shuttered operations in Toronto and Chicago, for instance, due to incompatibility with city operations regarding parking in the case of Toronto, and rampant cases of fraud in Chicago that resulted in cars being used to commit crimes. VW notes in a release that in Berlin, however, the number of car sharing users has grown from 180,000 people in 2010 to 2.46 million in early 2019.
Volkswagen also owns and operates a fully-electric ridesharing service called MOIA, which has built its own fit-for-purpose vehicle and which currently operates in Hamburg and Hanover. Last year, VW said the two mobility service operations, which offer very different service models, will work together in future.
Two of Europe’s biggest on-demand laundry startups are merging today. Laundrapp from London and Zipjet from Berlin are confirming the completion of a previously-rumored merger through which the combined business will become the largest on-demand laundry business in the UK.
Alongside this, the combined business has completed a funding round from existing investors including Toscafund, Hargreave Hale VCT, Henkel, Rocket Internet and further minority shareholders. The amount involved has not been disclosed. News of a planned merger was broken by Sky News back in April this year.
The European on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning market is estimated to be worth around €20bn per annum. Both Laundrapp and Zipjet have benefitted from this demand, with revenues, they say, rising more than 30% yoy. Together, the businesses currently process over 150,000 items of washing each month, with the ‘Wash & Fold’ service representing approximately 25% of volumes. The business says customers tend to start with the classic dry-cleaning offering, but later convert to the laundry and linen offering, driven by its convenience.
London is currently the main market for both Laundrapp and Zipjet, and this transaction gives the combined business-critical operational mass, whilst maintaining two separate brands in the short term.
Oliver Bedford at Hargreave Hale commented: “Bringing together two significant operators within the on-demand laundry industry will help lay the foundations for the next wave of investment into technology and infrastructure. Laundrapp aims to put convenience, choice and value at the centre of its customer proposition and we see this transaction as an important step towards building a sector leading capability.”
Lorenzo Franzi, CEO of Laundrapp, commented on the deal: “Bringing the two businesses together allows us to realise synergies, leveraging our technological advantage and critical mass to better serve customers and partners, and in the process cement our position as the #1 player.”
Creative technology and innovative ideas know no boundaries, which is why thousands of early-stage startup founders, investors, innovators and entrepreneurs — from more than 50 countries — will convene at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December.
In keeping with an international focus, we’re searching for countries that want to shine a spotlight on their best and brightest early-stage startups. Email the events team to apply for a Country Pavilion and bring your delegation to exhibit in Startup Alley.
The exhibition floor — the epicenter of opportunity — features hundreds of dynamic startups displaying their technology, products, platforms and services. Hosting a Country Pavilion in Startup Alley gives you the chance to showcase your country’s emerging startups and to be recognized as a world leader in technology.
Jana Rosenfelder, co-founder and COO of Actijoy, exhibited in a Startup Alley country pavilion sponsored by Czech Invest — a governmental agency that supports startups by defraying conference costs. The following year, Actijoy earned a TC Top Pick spot at Disrupt San Francisco 2018.
“TechCrunch Disrupt is one of the best startup conferences,” said Rosenfelder. “It’s so well organized, and the media exposure is much better than at other events. Startup Alley’s a great place for startups to network for leads, investors, industry contacts and partnerships.”
Here’s what you need to know about hosting a County Pavilion. Your delegation can consist of international startup groups, government innovation centers, incubators and accelerators. All startups must be less than two years old and have secured less than $2.5 million in funding.
Still with us? Good. Next, simply email the events team and tell us which country or region you want to highlight at Disrupt Berlin. We also want to know a bit about the startups in your delegation. The events team will contact you with a price quote.
Did you know that all startups exhibiting in Startup Alley — including pavilions — have a chance to be voted the Wild Card company? The Wild Card winner gets a shot to compete in Startup Battlefield, TechCrunch’s epic pitch competition with a $50,000 cash prize.
True story: RecordGram won the Wild Card at Disrupt NY ’17. The next day it competed in Startup Battlefield and went on to win the whole shebang. Pretty amazing stuff, right there.
You can get in on the exhibition action of Startup Alley even if you’re not part of a country delegation. Simply purchase a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package for €745 + VAT, and that price includes three Founder passes.
Technology never stops evolving and neither do we. That’s why we’re excited to tell you about the new Extra Crunch Stage at Disrupt Berlin 2019. Our premiere tech conference dedicated to early-stage startups takes place 11-12 December. Now’s the time to book your super early-bird ticket, because the earlier you buy, the more you save.
Okay, it’s time to get extra crunchy. We named the Extra Crunch Stage after the eponymous how-to content we create for our most engaged readers. It offers in-depth exclusive content on topics like startup building fundamentals, resources and recommendations, unicorn deep dives, and much more.
The Extra Crunch Stage replaces last year’s Next Stage, but with more programming. You’ll still hear fireside chats and panel discussions focused on founder and investor success. You’ll also see and hear lots of how-to content and take away practical insights — the kind of advice you can actually use when the conference ends and the real work begins — from the folks who’ve done the hard work of getting things done.
If you want to glean every speck of startup knowledge from the Extra Crunch Stage programming, you’ll need to buy an Innovator, Founder or Investor pass. You’ll also have access to the speakers, panelists and founders on the Main Stage, the Showcase Stage in Startup Alley and the Q&A Stage.
Don’t miss all the action that Disrupt Berlin offers. Starting with our legendary pitch competition, the crown jewel of Disrupt — Startup Battlefield. Where else can you find bold, innovative, and dare we say unique, startups competing for $50,000 cash, glory and the Disrupt Cup? We’re not kidding about unique. A startup called Legacy won the Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2018, with its focus on addressing reduced sperm motility.
Join more than 3,000 attendees from more than 50 countries as they flow through Startup Alley, our exhibition floor. Hundreds of boundary-pushing, early-stage startups will display their talent, products, platforms and services.
Come ready to network, because you never know when or where you’ll meet that special someone who can change your business trajectory. And with a crowd that size, you’ll be relieved to have CrunchMatch, our free business networking platform, to help you connect with the specific people who share your business goals, criteria and interests.
Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Come check out the new Extra Crunch Stage and all the other opportunity just waiting for you. We have super early-bird tickets priced for every budget, and the sooner you buy your passes, the more you save.
Facebook’s head of global spin and policy, former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, will give a speech later today providing more detail of the company’s plan to set up an ‘independent’ external oversight board to which people can appeal content decisions so that Facebook itself is not the sole entity making such decisions.
In the speech in Berlin, Clegg will apparently admit to Facebook having made mistakes. Albeit, it would be pretty awkward if he came on stage claiming Facebook is flawless and humanity needs to take a really long hard look at itself.
“I don’t think it’s in any way conceivable, and I don’t think it’s right, for private companies to set the rules of the road for something which is as profoundly important as how technology serves society,” Clegg told BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning, discussing his talking points ahead of the speech. “In the end this is not something that big tech companies… can or should do on their own.
“I want to see… companies like Facebook play an increasingly mature role — not shunning regulation but advocating it in a sensible way.”
The idea of creating an oversight board for content moderation and appeals was previously floated by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Though it raises way more questions than it resolves — not least how a board whose existence depends on the underlying commercial platform it is supposed to oversee can possibly be independent of that selfsame mothership; or how board appointees will be selected and recompensed; and who will choose the mix of individuals to ensure the board can reflect the full spectrum diversity of humanity that’s now using Facebook’s 2BN+ user global platform?
None of these questions were raised let alone addressed in this morning’s BBC Radio 4 interview with Clegg.
Asked by the interviewer whether Facebook will hand control of “some of these difficult decisions” to an outside body, Clegg said: “Absolutely. That’s exactly what it means. At the end of the day there is something quite uncomfortable about a private company making all these ethical adjudications on whether this bit of content stays up or this bit of content gets taken down.
“And in the really pivotal, difficult issues what we’re going to do — it’s analogous to a court — we’re setting up an independent oversight board where users and indeed Facebook will be able to refer to that board and say well what would you do? Would you take it down or keep it up? And then we will commit, right at the outset, to abide by whatever rulings that board makes.”
Speaking shortly afterwards on the same radio program, Damian Collins, who chairs a UK parliamentary committee that has called for Facebook to be investigated by the UK’s privacy and competition regulators, suggested the company is seeking to use self-serving self-regulation to evade wider responsibility for the problems its platform creates — arguing that what’s really needed are state-set broadcast-style regulations overseen by external bodies with statutory powers.
“They’re trying to pass on the responsibility,” he said of Facebook’s oversight board. “What they’re saying to parliaments and governments is well you make things illegal and we’ll obey your laws but other than that don’t expect us to exercise any judgement about how people use our services.
“We need as level of regulation beyond that as well. Ultimately we need — just as have in broadcasting — statutory regulation based on principles that we set, and an investigatory regulator that’s got the power to go in and investigate, which, under this board that Facebook is going to set up, this will still largely be dependent on Facebook agreeing what data and information it shares, setting the parameters for investigations. Where we need external bodies with statutory powers to be able to do this.”
Clegg’s speech later today is also slated to spin the idea that Facebook is suffering unfairly from a wider “techlash”.
Asked about that during the interview, the Facebook PR seized the opportunity to argue that if Western society imposes too stringent regulations on platforms and their use of personal data there’s a risk of “throw[ing] the baby out with the bathwater”, with Clegg smoothly reaching for the usual big tech talking points — claiming innovation would be “almost impossible” if there’s not enough of a data free for all, and the West risks being dominated by China, rather than friendly US giants.
By that logic we’re in a rights race to the bottom — thanks to the proliferation of technology-enabled global surveillance infrastructure, such as the one operated by Facebook’s business.
Clegg tried to pass all that off as merely ‘communications as usual’, making no reference to the scale of the pervasive personal data capture that Facebook’s business model depends upon, and instead arguing its business should be regulated in the same way society regulates “other forms of communication”. Funnily enough, though, your phone isn’t designed to record what you say the moment you plug it in…
“People plot crimes on telephones, they exchange emails that are designed to hurt people. If you hold up any mirror to humanity you will always see everything that is both beautiful and grotesque about human nature,” Clegg argued, seeking to manage expectations vis-a-vis what regulating Facebook should mean. “Our job — and this is where Facebook has a heavy responsibility and where we have to work in partnership with governments — is to minimize the bad and to maximize the good.”
He also said Facebook supports “new rules of the road” to ensure a “level playing field” for regulations related to privacy; election rules; the boundaries of hate speech vs free speech; and data portability — making a push to flatten regulatory variation which is often, of course, based on societal, cultural and historical differences, as well as reflecting regional democratic priorities.
It’s not at all clear how any of that nuance would or could be factored into Facebook’s preferred universal global ‘moral’ code — which it’s here, via Clegg (a former European politician), leaning on regional governments to accept.
Instead of societies setting the rules they choose for platforms like Facebook, Facebook’s lobbying muscle is being flexed to make the case for a single generalized set of ‘standards’ which won’t overly get in the way of how it monetizes people’s data.
And if we don’t agree to its ‘Western’ style surveillance, the threat is we’ll be at the mercy of even lower Chinese standards…
“You’ve got this battle really for tech dominance between the United States and China,” said Clegg, reheating Zuckerberg’s senate pitch last year when the Facebook founder urged a trade off of privacy rights to allow Western companies to process people’s facial biometrics to not fall behind China. “In China there’s no compunction about how data is used, there’s no worry about privacy legislation, data protection and so on — we should not emulate what the Chinese are doing but we should keep our ability in Europe and North America to innovate and to use data proportionately and innovat[iv]ely.
“Otherwise if we deprive ourselves of that ability I can predict that within a relatively short period of time we will have tech domination from a country with wholly different sets of values to those that are shared in this country and elsewhere.”
What’s rather more likely is the emergence of discrete Internets where regions set their own standards — and indeed we’re already seeing signs of splinternets emerging.
Clegg even briefly brought this up — though it’s not clear why (and he avoided this point entirely) Europeans should fear the emergence of a regional digital ecosystem that bakes respect for human rights into digital technologies.
With European privacy rules also now setting global standards by influencing policy discussions elsewhere — including the US — Facebook’s nightmare is that higher standards than it wants to offer Internet users will become the new Western norm.
Listening to Nick Clegg on the @BBCr4today answer for the dystopian world of Facebook – from live-streaming massacres to enabling suicides. Zuckerberg hired a former deputy PM so he could “understand Europe.” His proposed remedy? An oversight committee. Pull the other one.
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) June 24, 2019
Collins made short work of Clegg’s techlash point, pointing out that if Facebook wants to win back users’ and society’s trust it should stop acting like it has everything to hide and actually accept public scrutiny.
“They’ve done this to themselves,” he said. “If they want redemption, if they want to try and wipe the slate clean for Mack Zuckerberg he should open himself up more. He should be prepared to answer more questions publicly about the data that they gather, whether other companies like Cambridge Analytica had access to it, the nature of the problem of disinformation on the platform. Instead they are incredibly defensive, incredibly secretive a lot of the time. And it arouses suspicion.
“I think people were quite surprised to discover the lengths to which people go to to gather data about us — even people who don’t even use Facebook. And that’s what’s made them suspicious. So they have to put their own house in order if they want to end this.”
Last year Collins’ DCMS committee repeatedly asked Zuckerberg to testify to its enquiry into online disinformation — and was repeatedly snubbed…
Collins also debunked an attempt by Clegg to claim there’s no evidence of any Russian meddling on Facebook’s platform targeting the UK’s 2016 EU referendum — pointing out that Facebook previously admitted to a small amount of Russian ad spending that did target the EU referendum, before making the wider point that it’s very difficult for anyone outside Facebook to know how its platform gets used/misused; Ads are just the tip of the political disinformation iceberg.
“It’s very difficult to investigate externally, because the key factors — like the use of tools like groups on Facebook, the use of inauthentic fake accounts boosting Russian content, there have been studies showing that’s still going on and was going on during the [US] parliamentary elections, there’s been no proper audit done during the referendum, and in fact when we first went to Facebook and said there’s evidence of what was going on in America in 2016, did this happen during the referendum as well, they said to us well we won’t look unless you can prove it happened,” he said.
“There’s certainly evidence of suspicious Russian activity during the referendum and elsewhere,” Collins added.
We asked Facebook for Clegg’s talking points for today’s speech but the company declined to share more detail ahead of time.
The past year has seen Spotify embark on a series of acquisitions to beef up its service, particularly on podcast content. Now it is the turn of SoundCloud, another European music startup — albeit one that had lost its way in recent years — to go deal-making: the Berlin-based company has picked up Repost Network, a service that helps artists get the most out of SoundCloud.
The deal is undisclosed and it actually was announced last week, although it was not widely reported — perhaps an anecdotal sign of SoundCloud’s position as a relative outsider in today’s streaming market.
Once a pioneer of online distribution for artists, it has watched Sweden-headquartered Spotify takes its service global with a total audience of over 200 million monthly listeners. The competition includes services from Apple and Google as well as the likes of Pandora, Deezer and Jay-Z-owned Tidal.
Soundcloud had its come-to-Jesus-moment some 18 months ago when it raised a $169.5 million Series F fund led by New York investment bank Raine Group and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek.
That deal, announced in August 2017, was very much kiss-of-life that saved SoundCloud from bankruptcy — just a month earlier, it laid off 40 percent of its staff to slash costs. The investment also saw a change at the top as former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor replaced co-founder Alex Ljung as CEO. The new money took SoundCloud to nearly $470 million raised, and the pre-money valuation was said to be $150 million — down from a previous of high of $700 million from previous rounds.
Still, things have progressed enough for this acquisition, which is SoundCloud’s second ever. The company said the purchase will enable its top artists to access Repost Network’s tools, which include streaming distribution, analytics dashboards and content protection.
That restructuring, painful as it was, looks to have put the focus on the fundamentals. Filings from the company indicate that its revenue grew 80 percent year-on-year to reach €90.7 million ($102 million) in 2017, while losses narrowed by 27 percent to reach €51.4 million, or $58 million. Those results are from the beginning of Trainor’s tenure, we’ll have to wait on its newest filings to get a clearer picture of how things are going.
SoundCloud’s first acquisition was back in 2012 when it paid $10 million purchase of Instinctiv, a music management startup.
Planning to join us and more than 1,200 other startuppers at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December? That’s great news, but this is even better; you can save €200 off the super-early-bird ticket price if you sign up for our mailing list.
Here’s the catch: You must sign up before registration officially opens, and that happens in just one week. Once you join, we’ll email you a discount code to use when it’s time to purchase your passes. That means you can get an Innovator pass to Disrupt Berlin for as low as €245 + VAT. Or if you are a founder, you can get one as low as €145 + VAT.
You’ll enjoy everything a Disrupt experience offers even more with €200 still resting comfortably in your wallet. That includes two full days of programming across all the Disrupt stages — speakers, panelists, demos, workshops and Q&A Sessions.
We’re building this year’s lineup of leading founders, technologists, investors and tech icons, and we’ll announce who’s coming in the weeks running up to Disrupt. Another good reason to join our mailing list — you’ll be among the first to know all the cool stuff!
If you’re keen on networking, then CrunchMatch, our free business match-matching platform, will make connecting with the right people so much easier. No more needle in a haystack, CrunchMatch lets you choose who you want to meet based on your specific criteria, goals and interests.
Don’t miss Startup Alley, our exhibition floor and an all-around oasis of opportunity. Hundreds of creative early-stage startups demo their products, platforms and services, and it’s the place to make connections that could change the course of your business. Startup Alley is also home to our TC Top Picks — a group of innovative startups chosen by TechCrunch editors.
And no one ever wants to miss the Startup Battlefield. Our epic pitch-off features exceptional startups vying for $50,000 cash, the Disrupt cup and a boatload of life-altering media and investor exposure. The Battlefield has launched more than 850 companies — including Vurb, Dropbox, Mint and Yammer to name just a few. Those alumni companies have collectively raised more than $8 billion in funding and produced 109 exits. Who will join them?
Want to participate in the Startup Battlefield and the TC Top Picks program? Applications will be open later on this summer, but you can get a head start by starting your application at apply.techcrunch.com.
Savvy early-stage startuppers of every stripe have their sights set on attending TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. Why? This showcase event draws the most innovative startups, technologists, founders and investors across Europe and beyond. Registration doesn’t open until June, but we have a way for you to save big right now.
All you need to do is sign up for our mailing list before the official registration opens, and we’ll knock €200 off the super-early-bird price of any Disrupt Berlin pass. When you sign up, we’ll email you a discount code to use when it’s time to pay for your ticket. That’s some savvy savings right there.
Great ideas and great startups know no boundaries, and neither do Disrupt Berlin participants. It’s a highly diverse startup community representing more than 50 countries, including European Union members, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, India, China and South Korea and many more. Talk about a world-class networking opportunity.
You’ll find hundreds of incredible early-stage startups exhibiting the latest tech innovations in Startup Alley, the expo hall and the heart of every Disrupt event. It’s a breeding ground of opportunity where you can make connections, find new collaborators, potential investors, employees or even meet the manufacturing contact you need to move your startup forward. In the Alley, the possibilities are endless.
Here’s another great Startup Alley opportunity: the TC Top Picks program. TechCrunch editors shine a bright Disrupt spotlight on a hand-picked cohort of promising startups representing a range of tech categories. They get to exhibit for free in Startup Alley, and they enjoy a ton of media and investor attention. We’ll have information on how you can apply to be a TC Top Pick in the coming weeks.
Be sure to experience the Startup Battlefield, the legendary pitch competition with the $50,000 cash prize. Since 2007, 857 participating Battlefield startups have collectively raised more than $8 billion in funding and generated 109 exits. But then again, maybe you’d rather compete than watch. Go you! We’ll have more info soon on how to apply, so keep checking back.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the great programming you’ll enjoy at Disrupt Berlin. We’re in the process building the agenda of speakers, panelists, workshops, Q&A Sessions and demos. And of course, there’s also the always-epic TechCrunch After Party.
Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Remember: When you sign up for our mailing list before the official registration opens, you’ll save €200 off the super-early-bird price of your pass. And you’ll stay up to date on the latest announcements and the multitude of ways you can explore and enjoy Disrupt Berlin.
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact the sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.