Highlights from the Techcrunch Disrupt

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December 5, 2019

After many years of listening to people go on and on about it, I finally made up my mind and visited the Techcrunch Disrupt.

All of us at Intermedia are working really hard to propel the company to a more international level, and the conference being held in San Francisco was reason enough for me to pack my bags and head to such an important city for tech companies across the globe. 

So today I want to share with you some highlights, insights and experiences from my visit to Techcrunch Disrupt, which was held in October 2019. 

https://techcrunch.com/events/disrupt-sf-2019/

First off, I did not stay within walking distance from the Moscone Center (where the event took place) because the cheapest (and decent) hotels, with the included discount provided by Techcrunch, were around USD 250-300 per night. Airbnbs in the area were at the same price range. And to top it all, that is not the best area to be walking around at nighttime.

That’s why I stayed at a residential area in a more than acceptable Airbnb for USD 150 a night, a USD 10-15 Uber ride away from the event. 

It’s worth noting that if you visit S.F. you’ll have a hard time finding a comfortable place for less that USD 150. 

The event was truly “American-style” from start to finish. Everything was huge, very well organized, planning was exceptional and nothing was left to chance. 

During the three days pavilions constantly changed themes, and therefore the exhibitors were changing all the time as well. This meant that you had to visit every stand the same day, otherwise it might not be there tomorrow. 

Thousands of Startups joined in to participate in the event, some of them by foot (like me) and others with their own stands. You were instantly exposed to very interesting concepts alongside still poorly-developed ideas. Not everything was perfect. After all, it is a startup space with all the good and the bad that comes with it. 

Among the things that I want to highlight, also as a result of listening to several interesting lectures and interviews, are three industries that I believe have great potential for the future: 

  • Cannabis in all its forms, for instance in medicinal use.
  • Plant-based food products, with a lot of science behind them to one day replace meat.
  • Aerospace development, which is reactivating humankind’s longtime dream of going to Mars, but with a more commercial format to attract private capital. 

I do need to single out the most important thing in the event in my opinion, the Startup Battlefield, which is techcrunch’s startup competition. In it, 20 pre-selected startups share their ideas in front of a jury for approximately 10 minutes each; 5 minutes to pitch the idea and the rest as a Q&A. The jury was always switching up between sessions. 

According my perception, juries were mainly made up of women, investors, entrepreneurs, and even celebrities like Ashton Kutcher.

 

Here is an article that talks about the 5 startup finalists:

https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/03/here-are-the-five-startup-battlefield-finalists-at-disrupt-sf-2019/

 

The most interesting aspects were the topics involved, the technologies and the industries for which these startups aimed to create solutions.

First of all, many of the products included Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Hardware solutions.

This confirmed my belief that startups that manage to skillfully combine software and hardware are the most likely to achieve global success.

I could also witness technology application, that is, the incursion of startups in the fields of medicine and agriculture, as an almost undisputable reality to come.

 

FYI, this is the winning startup: https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/02/render-announces-object-storage-service-at-techcrunch-disrupt/

 

I thought they had something special ever since I first saw them. The pitch was perfect. The CEO looked like an actor, their presentation was very well developed, and so were their answers. You could tell they had planned out every single detail, the product, the staging, the pitch.

Their product competes with giants such as Amazon and Google, and I think that’s where the judges found the most value: how a startup manages to emerge and grow among technology giants.

 

As a bonus for the end I want to share the link to a fantastic company that was converting everything that was being said onstage into text with artificial intelligence, and doing a pretty good job:  

https://otter.ai/login 

 

Until next time, 

Guillermo Pomeranz
Head of business & Partner at Intermedia

guillermo@intermediait.com

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