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TechCrunch Disrupt 2016 Recap: Three Days of Competition, Interviews, and Innovation

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TechCrunch Disrupt 2016 Recap: Three Days of Competition, Interviews, and Innovation

Meg Rahner September 19, 2016

Typically a vast empty space, Pier 48 in San Francisco was abuzz with excitement, passion, and inspiration last week at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. The three-day conference – which began last Monday, September 12th – had over 5,000 attendees, with hundreds of thousands more tuning in online.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs showcased their ideas in the Startup Alley, hoping to catch the eyes of investors and new customers. As one of the most reputable tech conferences in the Bay Area, people tried to stick out and get noticed amongst all of the noise. Bizarre mannequins holding baby dolls? Check. Elaborate hats and costumes? Check. Robots and VR headsets? Of course.

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25 companies pitched their ideas to a panel of judges during Startup Battlefield, one of the most anticipated events of the conference, which brings the world’s top early stage startups together on one stage to compete for the coveted Disrupt Cup, a $50,000 prize, and the attention of media and investors. The six finalists were BlazingDB, a GPU-accelerated database management system, home lab testing alternative EverlyWell, competitive gamers coaching service Mobalytics, health data tracker Carbon Health, security threat checker Sqreen and identity verifier/password killer UnifyID.

Mobalytics is a coach for competitive gamers, so they can discover their weaknesses and make adjustments for future success. According to TechCrunch, e-sports is an incredibly promising market, making Mobalytics an encouraging company for this space.

Just beyond the Startup Alley was a room full of the best and brightest entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, and tech fans for on-stage interviews. Those on stage included Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, venture capitalist Marc Andreesen, author Neal Stephenson, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and VMware founder Diane Greene, to name a few.

One of the panel sessions that stood out was Josh Constine’s interview with Adam Mosseri, VP of Product for News Feed at Facebook. Constine questioned Mosseri about Facebook newsfeed addiction, the relevance (or in many cases – irrelevance) of Facebook trending topics, and whether Facebook is a media company or technology company. In regards to trending topics, Mosseri said, “We know the experience isn’t as good as it should be, we know we have room to improve, and we’re just getting started.” He also said that Facebook is more of a technology company than a media company, but he knows they play a role in media.

Another memorable session was “Are All Laws Meant to Be Broken?” with Hemant Taneja (General Catalyst), Bradley Tusk (Tusk Holdings), and Ted Ullyot (Andreessen Horowitz). It’s not only in a startup’s best interest to pay attention to regulation; investors are becoming more interested as they look to mitigate risk for their portfolio companies.

Here are additional highlights:

Thank you to TechCrunch for another amazing TC Disrupt! We can’t wait for next year.

Meg Rahner

Meg Rahner
Meg is the PR Coordinator for CircleClick and a writer for MobileFOMO. She is from Erie, Pennsylvania and has a BA in Public Relations from Penn State University. She moved to San Francisco shortly after graduating in 2010 and loves life on the west coast. Since moving to SF, she has contracted for the Academy of Art University's Marketing team, LinkedIn's Recruiting Team, and is excited to be pursuing her passion for writing and PR in her current roles.
Follow me on twitter @megrahner

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