We’re less than a month away from TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–20 in San Francisco! Imagine a drumroll, folks, because we’re about to announce the last tranche of investors and thought leaders who will choose which outstanding startup takes the title of Startup Battlefield champion, along with the $100,000 prize and serious bragging rights
Improve your pitch: Startup Battlefield isn’t just thrilling to watch; it’s a masterclass in how investors think. The judges’ feedback provides insight into the criteria they use to determine whether a company is viable or not. Watch and learn what investors look for, what motivates them and what pushes them to schedule a meeting.
All right, here are the final five business Brahmins who will help judge the Startup Battlefield pitch competition.
Mar Hershenson, co-founder and managing partner at Pear VC
Mar Hershenson co-founded and serves as managing partner at Pear VC, a seed-stage investment firm in Palo Alto backing companies like Guardant Health, DoorDash, Gusto, Aurora Solar and Branch.
Prior to Pear, Hershenson co-founded three companies and held executive positions in product and engineering at Magma Design Automation. She holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University, where she currently lectures at the engineering school.
Hershenson also serves on the board of trustees of Harvey Mudd College and on the Advisory Council of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also a founding member of All Raise and the Equity Summit.
Jim Lanzone, CEO of Yahoo (the parent company of TechCrunch)
With over 20 years of leadership and entrepreneurial experience in technology and media, Jim Lanzone has a proven track record of driving growth and innovation. Prior to joining Yahoo, Lanzone was CEO of Tinder, the most popular app for meeting new people, as well as the highest grossing nongaming app, in the world.
Lanzone joined Tinder after nearly a decade as president and CEO of CBS Interactive, a top-10 global internet company with brands ranging from CBS All Access to CNET. He was also named the first chief digital officer in the history of CBS Corporation.
Aileen Lee, founding partner at Cowboy Ventures
A founding partner at Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee leads a team that backs seed-stage technology companies reimagining work and life through technology, what they call “life 2.0.” Cowboy Ventures works with a wide range of startups, from modern enterprise-oriented companies like Guild Education and Lightstep to new consumer digital native brands like Dollar Shave Club and Tally.
Lee is known for coining the business term “unicorn” for public and private companies valued over $1 billion. She has been named to the Forbes Midas List of best investors and Forbes Most Powerful Women, as well as to Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Prior to Cowboy, Lee was a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers for over a decade. She was also founding CEO of digital media company RMG Networks and worked at Gap Inc. in operating roles. She also co-founded the nonprofit All Raise, aiming to accelerate success for women in the technology ecosystem, and she holds degrees from MIT and Harvard Business School.
David Tisch, managing partner at BoxGroup
David Tisch is the managing partner of BoxGroup, an NYC-based seed-stage venture capital firm that has invested in more than 400 seed-stage startups, including Plaid, Ro, PillPack, Ramp, Amplitude, Airtable, Flatiron Health, Stripe, Warby Parker, Harry’s, Oscar, Flexport, ClassPass, Vine, GroupMe and more.
Tisch is the chairman of Good Dog, a marketplace to find pets online, and is the co-founder of Techstars NY. He also serves on the board of Friends of Hudson River Park. He is a Rock Fellow at Harvard Business School and sits on the Entrepreneur Board at New York University. Tisch is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the New York University Law School.
Rich Wong, partner at Accel
Rich Wong joined Accel as a partner in 2006. He led Accel’s investments and currently serves on the boards of Atlassian (TEAM), UiPath (PATH), Checkr, Instabug, Pyn, Process Street, Middesk and Qwilt. He also served on the National Venture Capital Association board of directors.
Wong previously led Accel’s investments in AirWatch (acquired by VMware), Angry Birds/Rovio, MoPub (acquired by Twitter), AdMob (acquired by Google), Dealer.com (acquired by Cox), Osmo (acquired by BYJUs), Parature (acquired by Microsoft), ServiceChannel (acquired by Fortive), Sunrun, SwiftKey (acquired by Microsoft), and 3LM (acquired by Motorola).
He previously worked as an operator as EVP and general manager of products for mobile pioneer Openwave Systems and CMO of Covad Communications. Wong started his career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and at McKinsey.
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