Chain Reaction

Bonus Episode: The Startup Battlefield Basics

Episode Summary

Check out the newest podcast from the TechCrunch Podcast Network: Inside Startup Battlefield, the four-part series that takes you behind TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield competition. In this episode, our host and Startup Battlefield Editor Neesha Tambe breaks down how the Battlefield companies are selected for the TechCrunch Disrupt stage. Then we take a deep dive into what makes a pitch perfect with pitch coach and TechCrunch writer Haje Jan Kamps and Startup Battlefield judge and VC Nisha Dua. You’ll also hear from: Julia Somerdin from Labby, Young-Jae Kim and Tara Peters from Anthill, Quddus Pativada from Digest AI, Blessing Adesiyan from Mother honestly, Hikari Senju from Omneky, Mitch Tolson from Ally robotics, Elizabeth Lawler from App map, Aaron Hall from Intropic materials. Sheeba Dawood from Minerva. New episodes of Inside Startup Battlefield drop every Monday. Be sure to check out all of the other podcasts in the TechCrunch Podcast Network: Found, Equity, The TechCrunch Podcast, Chain Reaction and The TechCrunch Live Podcast.

Episode Notes

Check out the newest podcast from the TechCrunch Podcast Network: Inside Startup Battlefield, the four-part series that takes you behind TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield competition. In this episode, our host and Startup Battlefield Editor Neesha Tambe breaks down how the Battlefield companies are selected for the TechCrunch Disrupt stage. Then we take a deep dive into what makes a pitch perfect with pitch coach and TechCrunch writer Haje Jan Kamps and Startup Battlefield judge and VC Nisha Dua. You’ll also hear from: Julia Somerdin from Labby, Young-Jae Kim and Tara Peters from Anthill, Quddus Pativada from Digest AI, Blessing Adesiyan from Mother honestly, Hikari Senju from Omneky, Mitch Tolson from Ally robotics, Elizabeth Lawler from App map, Aaron Hall from Intropic materials. Sheeba Dawood from Minerva.

New episodes of Inside Startup Battlefield drop every Monday. Be sure to check out all of the other podcasts in the TechCrunch Podcast Network: Found, Equity, The TechCrunch Podcast, Chain Reaction and The TechCrunch Live Podcast.

Episode Transcription

Matt Burns  0:07  

Hey everyone, welcome to sort of Battlefield.


Neesha Tambe  0:09  

In this podcast mini series, we're taking you behind the scenes of TechCrunch, his illustrious pitch competition,


Haje Kamps  0:15  

you know, there's probably not an investor in the world and last startup. Battlefield is a brand that a lot of people have heard about. I've always


Neesha Tambe  0:22  

just viewed the TechCrunch Disrupt stage as something that was never achievable. These founders are solving some of the world's biggest problems. And the competition this year is fierce. Let's give them one big round of applause. Hey, everyone, I'm your host, Nisha Bambi. Welcome to the first episode of Inside startup Battlefield, a four part series where we take you behind the scenes of TechCrunch startup battlefield competition. We'll start by walking you through the selection process, and learn what makes a winning pitch. In episode two, we'll go to the disrupt stage and hear from the companies themselves. After we meet some of the startup Battlefield 200. In episode three, we'll close this series out by getting to know the 2022 startup battlefield winner and what's next on the roadmap. I have been at TechCrunch for a minute. I started as a contractor back in 2014, and joined the team full time a year later and have just been here ever since. Startup battlefield is TechCrunch is early stage startup competition, we focus on featuring founders from across the globe, in any industry. Typically, these companies are all pre series A and have at least an MVP in terms of the selection process. It's about 12345, it's five rounds, sometimes it involves more people. So it can be six, but we go through one round, that is just checking eligibility, does the company have an MVP, we're not an ideas, competition, startups have to have a product, it doesn't need to be manufacturing ready. But we do want to make sure that you have something that you can show on stage and proof that your product actually works. We try our best not to pick companies that have you know, $15 million in funding because we're an early stage competition. And that's what we like to showcase. After we go through the Hey, are you eligible? Do you have that basic MVP, and now that they're a member of the team takes a look at the application for content, then from there, it's bubbled up to myself, I do actually read all of the applications that we see. And then depending on the type of industry, the company is in, will then go to an industry expert and have them verify to do a little bit more due diligence. And then we bring this to our broader editorial team, get feedback from writers, desk editors. And then it goes to one more conversation between myself and our editor in chief at TechCrunch. who's currently Matthew Panzarino. From there, we select the top 20 companies that will be going on stage at Disrupt.


Unknown Speaker  3:00  

It was more shot in the dark, to be honest, never expected to even be selected for the 200 Forget the 20. You know, when we when I found out we were stoked for the 20 I was sitting in India with my mom actually. And yeah, I was blown away. I mean, I thought it was a spam email or something for a bit but you know, pinch myself and realize it was true. So really awesome.


Unknown Speaker  3:15  

I've always just viewed the TechCrunch Disrupt, you know, stage as something that was never achievable. Because I feel like I'm not a white man, I don't have, you know, I felt like my company wasn't a tech company.


Neesha Tambe  3:27  

But you know, I had a vision and I had an idea that we've been working on with remarkable women. So really just saying this is bigger than me, I'm gonna just try this out and to be shortlisted for the 200. And then now the 20. I just felt really I felt like we I feel like we're onto something. And I can't wait to see where this leads, you know, someone comes on to Aaron that like TechCrunch Disrupt is the Bar Mitzvah of technology. You know, it's the coming of age. And we are now a real tech company that we were on stage, we presented and showcase our product and shared our product on stage. So it's very exciting. I will add that most of the companies in startup battlefield 20 have applied to start a battlefield before. Sometimes it's about timing. Sometimes it's about fit. But just because a company didn't get in one time does not mean that they won't get in the next time. It does also depend on where you are stage wise, but many times companies just haven't quite hit that first MVP. They have a really amazing idea. And we're like, Ah, you just need one more round of testing before we can put you on stage. A lot of our applicants also come from referrals, either from investors or from past startup battlefield alumni. And we found that those companies tend to do very well through the process. Not necessarily because they have a referral but because the founders who are recommending people typically have the right community around them. And we see that that helps us well


Unknown Speaker  4:50  

believe on that. I've been thinking about this for quite a few years back in 2019 2017. My friends, John McDonnell, his company that cup Hi wireless charge. So I've been waiting for today this day I said, once my company more mature, we're ready, I'm going to complete a apply. And this the first time I apply and a gallon, so Wow. So good.


Neesha Tambe  5:12  

One of the biggest things founders walk away with is the founder community. In fact, when we were talking to founders at the event about their stiff competition, the vast majority of them responded like Jung, Jae Kim, and Tara Peters from anthill.


Unknown Speaker  5:26  

Because the competition can you say that, Tara, yeah, that's,


Unknown Speaker  5:30  

that's so hard, because I don't feel like I don't feel like we look at anybody here as a competitor. But as an ally, we're all just we've built this community. And it's really fun to just support one another. I mean, that's the great part of being a part of start startups, right. Like, we just want to see everyone succeed in their space, we're just really excited.


Unknown Speaker  5:48  

I think that's one of the benefit. Being a part of this battlefield, we can be all friends or partners together to work together to solve these global issues. So we personally don't feel like this is a competition to find another like great competitor here. But instead, let's find a good partner to work with.


Neesha Tambe  6:06  

So when a company is selected into the battlefield 200, they get access to pitch deck tear downs, master classes that help them build their business, they also get a year subscription to TechCrunch plus, which is an amazing resource for founders just from a how to perspective. And then about a week or two later, once they've confirmed their participation in the 200, we pick the final 20 of those 200. And they get an acceptance letter, they're on boarded, and then they go into the training. So they get all of the perks of being a part of the battlefield 200, as well as one on one coaching every single week. And that can range it ranges from you know, just hey, you need to learn to present better this is how you do it. This is how we make a better deck how we showcase your product better. But there are a lot of companies who have younger founders or founders who don't have experience launching businesses before who need go to market strategy help or who need assistance, figuring out what their actual product market fit is, those are also things that we go through in the training, but it is very customized to whatever that particular founder or that particular company might need.


Unknown Speaker  7:14  

We spent many, many, many hours wordsmithing every single word in the pitch. Whereas typically, when I've spoken with investors or just people interested you in from a recruiting joining the company standpoint to this, you usually have 20 minutes, and 20 minutes down to six substantially different type of talk track. And you don't really have the opportunity to expand on the things you really interesting, unique about what you're doing and what you're passionate about. But still, like super excited and fun. And I'm already getting questions from What do you mean by that? Okay, yeah, perfect. It's the great intro to get all the kind of follow on discussions for the next steps.


Neesha Tambe  7:57  

Training these companies was a bit more challenging, because we normally have a lot of consumer focused companies, apps or enterprise software products. This year, we had a lot of hard science companies, which is amazing. That's really what's happening in the industry. Right now. We're seeing a lot of venture dollars go in that direction, it makes sense that the applicant pool really reflected that, and therefore the battlefield 20. And the 200 will reflect that as well.


Unknown Speaker  8:24  

You know, the batch was pretty intense this year, there was a lot of deep tech, our judges were extremely impressed by all of the companies and technology that was represented, there was just a lot of sustainability companies, cleanup companies, all of which is honestly massively encouraging. It's great to see people tackling these problems with tech and scaling them up through the ecosystem. It's been great.


Neesha Tambe  8:48  

And also, you know, a little hard sometimes for our judges to be able to keep up so you y'all really gave them a run for their money.


Unknown Speaker  8:54  

Yeah, definitely. We had to wait the phone, a few friends to understand and make sure that we knew exactly what was going on. So pitching


Neesha Tambe  9:00  

at disrupt, and through startup battlefield is different in a variety of ways. The first is that audience TechCrunch readers are a bunch of nerds, we really like to get into the nitty gritty in the how it's made. And you know, is this really doing what it's saying it's doing so we want things to be more technical than most other pitches. The second element is that it's live and it's in person and it's on a stage and a very, very big stage. There's a lot of pressure, preparing companies to do that. It's different than being in a boardroom and to other people, because you're not just pitching to one or two VCs. You're pitching to the entire world of VCs, as well as press as well as potential clients. The audience is so diverse in terms of job description, like we have VCs, we have corporate partners, we have industry experts, we have the general reader potential clients. So the pitch has to reach all of these people in different ways at different times. From the investor side you know, we want to be able to show you know, projected traction. Of course, a lot of these companies are early. So this might be their very first launch, they might have an alpha product that they're now releasing a beta for. But we'll show some, you know, hey, this is projected traction or this projected revenue, this is our long term return. But for the tech side, you know, we're gonna go into the nitty gritty, we're going to go into, hey, we're using circular RNA in our company, we need to explain exactly what that means. So the person who is on the technical side will be equally as impressed as the investor, and then also crafting a story on top of that, making sure that a press person who listens says, Wow, that is a really interesting company, I need to write about it, people need to know what they're doing. But I'm clearly very focused on the pitch competition. So we thought it would be useful to talk to one of our experts on staff about pitching, and what goes into really good pitches, whether it's on the startup battlefield stage or not.


Haje Kamps  10:51  

Hello, I'm high comms. And I'm one of the writers here at TechCrunch. I do all sorts of things. I focus particularly on hardware and climate for TechCrunch. But I also write a series called pitch deck tear down for TechCrunch. Plus, that series takes pitch decks and takes a closer look at the stuff that works and the stuff that doesn't work in my moonlighting outside of TechCrunch. I'm also a pitch coach. And so what that means is that I help a series of startups tell their stories in ways that makes sense in the context of raising money from venture capital.


Neesha Tambe  11:19  

So in your experience, what are founders looking to get out of a typical pitch aside from a check, I


Haje Kamps  11:25  

mean, the goal of a regular VC pitch, they tend to be about 20 minutes in length, right with some q&a and some conversation back and forth, and tends to be a lot more interactive process. And the only goal for a VC pitch is to get whoever you're pitching to take you to the deal flow meeting and say, Hey, I'm really excited about this startup.


Neesha Tambe  11:44  

So we've been mainly talking about competition pitches, given that this is inside startup battlefield. What are your thoughts on the performance pitch,


Haje Kamps  11:51  

the beautiful thing about performance pitching is that you have the floor, right? Nobody's going to interrupt you, you get to get all your points across. Typically, performance pitches are very brief, right? I think Battlefield, you get five or six minutes. And that's not a lot of time to tell your story. But the good thing is, it's a controllable amount of time, you can practice and rehearse as many times as you want. And you can really kind of get your feeling about it get your passion across get like, Hey, this is something that matters to me. And it should matter to you. I think performance pitching. So battlefield pitching is actually more akin to stand up comedy than it is to be see pitching as a really you're talking about how do you predict what your audience is going to do? Do you leave spaces for laughter? And maybe even applause? What are the big hits that you want to do?


Neesha Tambe  12:33  

Performance pitches are definitely different from a VC pitch. Is there anything else you tell your clients when they're prepping for a stage pitch? In


Haje Kamps  12:41  

Performance pitching, you're doing stage performance? Right. And I think it's important to think like a stage performer, right? Think is if you're acting through frosted glass, enunciate, slow down, use body language, right? All the things that they teach theater, kids use those techniques, people are sitting far away from you, you have to think big, move big, be confident project your voice. Yeah, all those things that are true for theater are true for performance pitching. And they're explicitly not true for doing a VC pitch, right? Part of the things that you are being graded on and a VC pitch is your ability to be coachable to be humble, and they will want to sit across from you and go, do I want to sit in a board meeting with this person for the next 10 years? Can they take feedback? Will they stand fast? If they know they have the right answer? And will they listen if I think I have another pushback or solution or whatever. Like being humble in a performance pitch is not what you want to do. But in a VC conversation. It's a conversation, right? You're not there to be likable, but you do have to be approachable enough that somebody thinks, hey, when a tough situation comes up, we can have a real conversation like adults and work it out together. Again, a conversation like adults that we can work out together. It's not part of a battlefield pitch. And I think that's really where the two things are so different, like one is the performance think like a performer. The other one is a conversation think like, like it's almost like a dating process, right? You're trying to Yeah, sauce each other out and figure out is this a good match or not? And those are very different approaches. And that's okay, you just have to think differently. So in my experience, as a pitch coach, the elements of a good pitch actually sort of depend on the company that is pitching, right? At the very least you have to convince a potential investor of two things one, founder market fit. So that is are you the right people to solve this problem. As an investor, you often get tons and tons of pitches coming in, right from very, very smart people with very deep experiences. But really having the domain knowledge and the passion behind a particular problem space is one of the most important things because it doesn't really help if you're the smartest person in the room, and you've had 20 years at Facebook, because if you don't have the depth of domain knowledge in the space that you're trying to start a company and you're probably not going to be the right company to invest in. And so one of the things I'd be looking for as an investor is like that Connection. The other thing is the market size and the positioning within that market as a startup, you're probably not going to be successful solving all the problems that a particular market has. And so it becomes a question of like, okay, what is your ultimate place that you want to be? Like, if you say you're going to be Google, that's actually a terrible answer. Because right now, Google is everything, right? It's search, it's documents, its phone plans, it's everything. If you're gonna go after Google, you have to go after one very, very specific piece. So you can say, okay, we're building the best slide deck software in the world. And from there, we're going to expand into other office suite. And from there, we're going to expand into E signature. And from there, we're going to expand into yadda, yadda yadda. So really, it's that piece of like, what is your beachhead market? And what is the first thing you're going to go after, as a founder trying to get foothold in this market?


Neesha Tambe  15:44  

Since high is already talking about it? Why don't we go ahead and call in someone to give us that VC perspective on these pitches.


Unknown Speaker  15:51  

So I'm Nisha dua, I'm the managing partner and co founder at BBG. Ventures. We're an early stage fund, and we invest in companies that are moving forward the poly cultural future of America, so women and diverse founders who are investing in big areas of the economy where millions of Americans have been overlooked. So health, climate future of work, ad tech, FinTech, any big category, you name it, where America needs to move forward.


Neesha Tambe  16:20  

What is the competition pitch, like to judge as a VC?


Unknown Speaker  16:26  

Well, it's definitely different hearing a five minute pitch than a 30 minute pitch, that's for sure. You don't have a lot of the backup materials, right? You don't have a deck that you get to pre read. It is less of a conversation. So some of the best parts of being a VC, are the ability to get into this intellectual conversation about where do you think the world is going? Right? And let me unpack that, because so much of the assessment of well, what is a great founder is, how does this person think? How are they going to approach problems? How have they behaved or performed in their lowest moments as a founder? Are they thinking three steps ahead? And those are things that take a little bit more relationship building to get to the bottom of


Neesha Tambe  17:15  

what are you typically looking or listening for when you talk to a founder?


Unknown Speaker  17:18  

So I'm really looking at for a product or platform or a company, these three things? Why now, why this product? And why this team? And you can sort of see that you can like really hit on all the best parts of your story. If you reflect on your own pitch and say, Well, I've answered all of those things, right. So why now is very much about, you know, why is this market so big? What is happening in the market right now? What are the underlying forces, the tailwinds the headwinds that mean, this is the moment to capture something new and disruptive in this market. And the why this product gives you this ability to talk about why is your product and uh, when versus any other product on the market? What is the true differentiation or the innovation in either the product or the business model? And then why team is something people often leave to the end right, and they forget it, but really being able to show? Why are you this founder? Are you and your team? Why are you uniquely qualified to win here,


Neesha Tambe  18:22  

this is really good perspective on what VCs are looking for, in general, let's take a look at what the founder perspective is. You know,


Haje Kamps  18:29  

we're in the entertainment industry, this is entertainment, right? It is useful entertainment, it's informative, and educational entertainment. But we are there to entertain. And I think if you're onstage pitching, you have to remember that you're there as an entertainer, the upside of your entertainment could be $100,000, check, or even better, you know, the other $1,000 Check is kind of the fun thing that we get to do. And that's exciting. But the real goal here is exposure to a bunch of investors who will be in the room, and potentially a ton of investor interest, right? The $100,000 in the lifespan of a company. Yes, it's nice to have $100,000 in early stage company, but it's kind of pocket change compared to how much money you need to get to an end game of your company, whether that is an IPO or an exit or whatever it looks like. So make it entertaining, make it's like something that people can laugh about or feel good about or get curious about. But you're there to get investment interest. And that's really the ultimate goal.


Unknown Speaker  19:26  

Yeah, but you know, there's, there's a real energy on stage at battlefield. And so it can be a great opportunity to let your personality shine. And I would encourage anyone who's onstage pitching at any level of startup competition, to to grab those five minutes and say like, this is my chance to own


Neesha Tambe  19:48  

story. It can be a little intimidating for founders to show their personality on stage. Sometimes they'll go completely deadpan. Other times they will get very stoic or hyper corporate. which just isn't the environment both for TechCrunch as well as for startup founders in general, when you're pitching on stage at disrupt, VCs don't like it, and neither does our audience. When working with Minerva, lithium, we tried really hard to highlight their expertise, as well as their personality. When Shiva asked if she could put SpongeBob on her deck, I said, Absolutely.


Sheeba Dawood  20:20  

During my PhD, I was able to develop nano mosaic absorbance, which are very similar to sponge.


Neesha Tambe  20:28  

Now, it might be a surprise to some folks who are listening. But having that Spongebob, one clarified the purpose of the product. And to added a little bit of comedic relief, which is nice after your hearing about global conflict, climate change and resource constraints. So one place where these technical founders really get to show off what they've been doing is in this demo, which we do require of every company when they're on stage,


Unknown Speaker  20:52  

you know, you'll hear a lot of VCs say sometimes like, I don't need a deck, I just need a conversation and the product. And so that tells you how important the visual piece of this is, or a demo is, right? You are at your best as a founder when you can very quickly articulate what you're solving is. And then you can say, this is how it works right on a video or, you know, bringing it up on your laptop, or even some of the best founders if you don't have a product yet, being able to whiteboard it out, right? Why is this going to work? So really simplifying the core use case? A demo is not really about a pretty UX. A demo is about what product are we solving? And what is the benefit to the user that is going to change how the user currently solves this problem.


Haje Kamps  21:45  

demos on stage are one of the hardest thing you'll have to do, especially because you're doing it early stage product, right? Wi Fi is going to be flaky. There's a lot more people in the room, right? You're nervous, the person demoing is nervous. There's just so many more things that can go wrong. And you know, no matter how well rehearsed it is sometimes things go wrong. I mean, Apple keynotes, they have two computers backstage, right. If one of them happens to crash, they switch to the other one that happens almost seamlessly, but it is possible they do crash. And the truth is if Apple makes mistake and live demos, you better believe that early stage startups will too.


Unknown Speaker  22:23  

Now let's take a look how Antill helps in both employees and employers. Please move to demo one. Through this annual dashboard, companies can easily manage the conversations with their frontline workers. Let's take a look at that until the conversation thread. Just 20 seconds. Okay.


Neesha Tambe  22:47  

It's really hard to watch when things go wrong on stage, just like you heard, we try to prepare teams as much as possible. But with a live performance glitches do happen. It's really important, as you heard Nisha, say, for VCs to actually visualize the product, but it happens and the way founders recovered tells everything.


So now that we're talking about the demos, and what's going on on stage, let's listen into a handful of the startup battlefield pitches.


Unknown Speaker  23:17  

Developers, if you're lost in toil, you need a map. Rebuilt app map. So software developers can see the behavior of their software as they write code at map delivers personal observability and performance and security analysis to software developers as they work to reduce toil. An app map is in the tool developers love the most, their code editor, go to demo.


Neesha Tambe  23:43  

You just heard Elizabeth Lawler from App map. She's the CEO and founder. When creating a pitch, it's really important to make sure that you highlight who the target market is. So in this clip, you hear her say, developers, she's giving that call directly. Now in an investor pitch, obviously, you might share that information slightly differently. But when you're on stage, and you have this kind of platform that startup battlefield gives at TechCrunch Disrupt, you want to be extremely clear, because that video is going to circulate online, it's going to circulate across social media. And we want people who would use this product to know very clearly that this product is for them. The other thing that they clearly highlight is that it sits within the code editor. So they're not asking for a complete behavior change for the user, they're showing that their product is an additive, and that actually gives them a competitive advantage. So when you're crafting a pitch, if you can showcase the ease of use for your customer base, when it comes to adopting the product that's going to show it can become viral. And for app map it did within 72 hours of being onstage at disrupt both for their preliminary and for their finals. They gained 1000s of users in a short amount of time.


Unknown Speaker  24:58  

7.3 3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950s. And 86% of that has become waste 6.3 billion tons of plastic polluting our land, oceans air. We're even seeing microplastics in babies in the womb. This is insanity. And why are we making so much of this stuff? Because the properties of plastics are absolutely incredible. And they are now a central part of our modern world. They're an enabling technology for just about every product category that every one of us cares about. And it's a $600 billion industry. Plastics are not going away anytime soon, unless we have something to do with it. And in Tropic materials, we're commercializing a breakthrough enzyme stabilization technology that lets us embed the tools necessary to break down plastics directly inside of them.


Neesha Tambe  25:54  

We just heard from Aaron Hall, the CEO of in Tropic materials, when dealing with a company that has to do with impact either social or environmental, it's necessary to focus on the key problem they're actually solving for, rather than something generic, like climate change is a big issue. Here, Erin highlights the amount of plastic how much has gotten recycled versus just ends up in waste, and even something shocking, like microplastics, and babies in the womb, that is something that is immediately going to grab the attention of any audience, any VC, any investor. Most people have families. So he's immediately made it something that you can connect to and something that people understand is in need of a fundamental frameshift. The other part here is that he recognizes the utility and the necessity of that core product of plastic. So instead of again, shifting the user entirely off of something, he's creating a new way of relating to that specific, in this case, plastic, then he says commercialize breakthrough in enzyme stabilization. When you say commercialize, that means that your product can be scaled. One of the things that happens in hard science companies is a challenge on the investors part, they don't know what that roadmap looks like in terms of getting an ROI. A lot of times, lab grade technology takes many years to scale outside of the lab. So if you can convey that message in a way that indicates the scalability of the product you have, it's going to open many, many doors and for Aaron, it actually opened a few conversations with some really prominent plastics generators.


Sheeba Dawood  27:40  

Our current customers are Brian operators from lithium and petrochemical companies. And we are targeting to capture 1% of lithium market, which is expected to reach $13.5 billion by 2025. So comparing to traditional technologies, and directly develop lithium extraction technologies, our technologies offer competitive advantage in terms of cost and efficiency.


Neesha Tambe  28:07  

You just heard from Shiva Dollard, from Minerva, lithium. In this pitch, it's very important to showcase that you know who your target customers are. It's very hard to go to market in these kinds of industries. But they have pre existing relationships. And as you hear even later throughout their pitch, they talk about the connections that they have to this world, which is very, very hard to do. The other things that they highlighted here that are essential in any pitch is the market size. Now they're not giving you some crazy number because they're saying we're only going after 1% of the entire market 1% giving you 13 point 5 billion now that is something that an investor can get behind. That's also something that piques the curiosity in the interest of potential partners that dovetails into the competitive advantage. Many startup founders will shy away from being clear about what differentiators their product has, because they're scared of offending someone or they're scared of making another large company come after them. But if you have a product you develop that has real IP, real defensible IP, highlighting the competitive advantage, which in this case is both cost and efficiency is only going to be a benefit. So after we hear the 20 pitches over the first two days of disrupt the TechCrunch editorial leadership takes each sessions judge feedback standardizes it and then selects the top five and the final round judges are responsible for picking the winner.


Matt Burns  29:41  

Lastly, I want to announce the five companies that are that are selected as finalists presenting first will be advanced ion followed by F map and tropic materials. Minerva, lithium, and lastly, swap robots


Neesha Tambe  30:04  

Next week, we're going to get to know the companies a bit better by listening into their pitches from the TechCrunch Disrupt stage.


Inside startup battlefield is hosted by me, startup battlefield editor Misha thumbay. were produced and edited by Maggie Stamets and Grace Mendenhall. Bryce Durbin is our Illustrator and Henry pic of it manages TechCrunch audio products. Special thanks to all of our founders, experts and the TC staffers who lent us their voices and expertise. Inside startup battlefield is part of the TechCrunch Podcast Network.


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