In less than two months, 20 of the world’s most impressive startups will compete in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 on September 19–21 in San Francisco. Which companies will make the finals, and which standout startup will claim the Disrupt Cup and the $100,000 equity-free prize?
Obviously, we don’t know the answer, but we do know who each of the contenders will need to impress to win the day. We’ve already announced our first group of VC judges, and now we’re ready to reveal the next tranche of top-tier investors prepared to put these founders through their paces.
But first: Buy a Disrupt pass before August 11, and you’ll save up to $600.
It pays to be in the room. Watching founders pitch and hearing the questions investors ask is a terrific way to improve your own pitch. You’ll gain insight into the criteria VCs use to determine whether a company is viable or not, what specifics they look for, what motivates them and what pushes them to schedule a meeting.
Round two: These VCs join the judges for Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023
Without further ado, here is the second group of Startup Battlefield judges.
Marc Bhargava, managing director, General Catalyst
Marc Bhargava is part of GC’s fintech/crypto investment team. He focuses on early-stage investing across both crypto and fintech, as well as building out the creation strategy. Additionally, he contributes to GC’s expanding AI efforts.
Bhargava’s four core areas of interest include security and data infrastructure; startup tooling platforms that make building software — especially financial services — companies easier; the intersection of fintech and crypto; and building from zero to one.
Prior to joining GC, Bhargava spent years as a founder-operator with an emphasis on new fintech, AI and crypto technologies. He co-founded Tagomi, one of the first institutional prime brokerages for digital assets. (Coinbase purchased Tagomi in 2020.)
As an angel investor, Bhargava worked closely with founders on sales, distribution, and fundraising, investing in early-stage fintech, crypto and AI/startup tooling companies. Earlier, he worked at Airbnb, Castanea Partners and McKinsey, with a focus in business operations and investment analysis.
Bhargava received his MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated from Harvard College.
Miles Grimshaw, general partner, Benchmark
At Benchmark, Miles Grimshaw brings a product-led focus to investing across applications and infrastructure software. Most recently, he led the Series A in Glide, a no-code app development platform.
Prior to Benchmark, Grimshaw was a general partner at Thrive Capital, where he led investments in companies, including GitHub, Slack, Segment, Airtable, Benchling, Lattice, Mapbox, Monzo and more. Grimshaw currently serves on the board of directors of Benchling, Glide, Lattice, Monzo and Supergreat. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Yale University.
Charles Hudson, founder and managing partner, Precursor Ventures
Charles Hudson is the managing partner and founder of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies.
Hudson previously served as a partner at SoftTech VC, where he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure, mobile applications and marketplaces. He also supported SoftTech portfolio companies on business and corporate development matters.
Hudson was also the co-founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile games startup. Prior to co-founding Bionic Panda Games, Hudson was the VP of business development for Serious Business until the company was acquired by Zynga.
Earlier in his career, Hudson was the senior director for business development at Gaia Interactive, an online hangout and virtual world for teens. He also worked at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for early-stage products in the advertising, mobile and e-commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a product manager for IronPort Systems, an anti-spam hardware appliance provider that was acquired by Cisco Systems.
Danielle Lay, partner, New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
A partner at NEA, Danielle Lay invests in consumer social and e-commerce infrastructure companies. She is an investor in and/or board member of Fizz, Patreon, Goody, Pair Eyewear and Block, among others. Prior to NEA, Lay was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in New York.
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