July 19, 2024
Level up on the Builders Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt | TechCrunch


TechCrunch Disrupt, our flagship startup event, returns to San Francisco on September 19–21, and you can bet TechCrunch+ will be in the house. With excitement and pride, here’s what we have in store for you on the Builders Stage at Disrupt on what I predict will be the most whip-ass stage at the event. See you soon at the 2023 Disrupt Builders Stage!

The Builders Stage Agenda at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023

September 19

Live Onstage: TechCrunch’s Equity Podcast

Join us for a live recording of Equity, the podcast about the business of startups. We’ll unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines, wade through the hype to keep you up to date on the world of business, tech and VC.

with Alex Wilhelm, Mary Ann Azevedo, Kirsten Korosec

How to Build a Capital-Intensive Startup in a Tough Venture Market

Every VC wants you to think that they’re bravely funding expensive hardware that will revolutionize the future. You know, space launches that use twigs, and satellites that can also zap aliens. That sort of thing. And then you read about new NFT fundraising. The good news is that even in a more conservative venture environment, it’s possible for founders to tackle big, hard and capital-intensive projects. Let’s talk about how it’s done.

With Sophie Bakalar, partner, Collaborative Fund; Nikki Pechet, co-founder and CEO, Homebound; and Chris Power, founder and CEO, Hadrian.

The HR Tech Hype: Disrupting the Disruption

Sponsored by Globalization Partners (G-P).

Radical change to business as usual has spurred disruptive innovation in HR tech that has accelerated the future of work. In this session, G-P founder and CEO Nicole Sahin, and chief product and strategy officer Nat Natarajan will discuss G-P’s journey from creating the employer of record (EOR)  industry to becoming a quadricorn to now reinventing the industry with a new HR tech sector: global growth technology.

With Nat (Rajesh) Natarajan, chief product and strategy officer, G-P; and Nicole Sahin, founder and CEO, G-P.

How to Construct an Equitable Cap Table

Venture investors are no longer all located on the same road at the same time in the same city in the same state of the same country. They are all over the world, and are increasingly — if slowly — diverse across a host of metrics. How can founders construct an investor pool that reflects their values? In this discussion, we’ll dig into the brass tacks of building a truly equitable cap table.

With Ashley Mayer, co-founder and general partner, Coalition Operators; Amanda Robson, partner, Cowboy Ventures; and Richie Serna, CEO, Finix.

How Founders with Nontraditional Backgrounds Can Use Their Experience to Excel

While the hoodie-wearing, 20-something college dropout from a world-famous school still has their place in today’s startup founder makeup, they’re hardly the only sort of person raising big rounds and building hot companies. How can founders who don’t fit the Hollywood or HBO stereotype use their experiences to their benefit? We’ll find out in this highly anticipated panel discussion.

With Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, founder and CEO, Promise; Ruben Harris, CEO, Career Karma; Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO, Zūm.

How to Build a New Venture Firm in Public

Venture funds aren’t new, and neither are solo GPs. What is a fresh innovation in venture land, however, is building a new fund or firm in public. Some newer investors are as well-known for their online presence as for their investments. And that’s no diss: Raising capital is tough, and building a brand is no sin. Still, we want to know both the pros and cons of building something as complicated as a venture fund without a filter. Founders, there will be learnings for you as well, even if you are a few exits away from hanging up your spurs and taking the other side of the deal-making table.

With Noramay Cadena, managing partner, Supply Change Capital; Mac Conwell, founder and managing partner, RareBreed Ventures; Turner Novak, chief meme officer, Banana Capital.

When to Follow the Hype and When to Ignore It?

Chasing the next big thing is often a pretty good idea for founders and investors alike. But when folks are chasing the wrong trend, the hype can be more siren song than victory march. When should founders follow the hype? When should they ignore it? Let’s talk about it.

with Sophia Amoruso, Founder & General Partner, Trust Fund and Founder of Business Class, Katelin Holloway, Founding Partner, Seven Seven Six, Sarah Kunst, Managing Director, Cleo Capital

How to Sustain a Tech Company in a Competitive World

Sponsored by OnePlus.

Building a successful company is never easy, especially in highly competitive consumer tech markets. Founders need the drive and know-how to challenge established players and keep their products competitive. At OnePlus, a group of passionate people — supported by a vibrant community who share the same values — challenged the entire tech industry with meaningful innovation. In this session, we will share strategies to help you stay on track during difficult times, remain open to possibilities and expand from a niche brand for tech enthusiasts to serve a larger market — and more.

When Should Founders Provide Early Liquidity to Retain Staff?

Look, we all want more IPOs. But they’re still far rarer than startups need them to be if they want to retain staff who want to see their hard-earned shares turn into something other than paper. So when should founders take a little pre-IPO liquidity as a treat, and when should they let staff do the same?

With Amir Ashkenazi, founder and CEO, Switchboard; Maria Dramalioti-Taylor, founding partner, Beacon Capital; Tyson Hendricksen, CEO, Notice.co.

September 20

Live Onstage: TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction Podcast

Join us for a live podcast recording of Chain Reaction as we unpack and explain the latest crypto news, drama, and trends, breaking it down block-by-block for the crypto-curious.

With Chris Lehane, chief strategy officer, Haun Ventures.

How Founders Can Leverage a Soft Labor Market into a Competitive Edge

It seems like it was just yesterday that the tech talent market was so hot that mega-corps hoarded staff to simply keep them off the market and out of the reach of their competitors. Today things are different: Layoffs are more common than hiring binges, and suddenly perks have a bad name. How can startups use a new, and perhaps more attractive, talent market to their advantage? Let’s find out.

With Nick Cromydas, co-founder and CEO, Hunt Club; Samara Hernandez, founding partner, Chingona Ventures; Jaclyn Rice Nelson, co-founder and CEO, Tribe AI.

Navigating the AI Frontier in 2023: Lessons, Pivots and Triumphs from Two Early-Stage Founders

Sponsored by Samsung Next.

In the dynamic world of AI entrepreneurship, cautionary tales and strategic advice go hand in hand. Join two pioneering early-stage founders and a seasoned investor as they discuss and explore what it takes to build in today’s frenzied AI environment. In this session, panelists will discuss how to discern signals from noise, how to find elusive product-market fit, and how to manage investor and team expectations along the way.

With Brendon Kim, MD and Head of Investments, Samsung Next; Vaikkunth Mugunthan, co-founder and CEO, DynamoFL; Yana Welinder, co-founder and CEO, Kraftful.

How Founders Should Approach the TAM Question When Venture Capital Is Scarce

Writing a good market slide is an art. You don’t want to oversell your total addressable market (TAM) and look silly, or post a number that’s too small to be exciting. Nailing TAM for both external pitching and internal planning is no small feat. Let’s dig into the matter with today’s more picky venture market in mind.

With Jomayra Herrera, Partner, Reach Capital; Helen Min, co-founder and managing partner, Phenomenal Ventures; Monique Woodard, founder and managing director, Cake Ventures.

How to Build an Inclusive Startup — and Why It Still Matters

In a more conservative venture capital market, burn reduction and financial stewardship are discussed more frequently than how startups can construct an intentional culture. Still, with younger generations bringing an updated set of values to the workplace — and a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with them — upstart tech companies cannot ignore how their culture evolves. Paradigm’s DEI-focused software tools put it in the middle of this conversation, with its CEO Joelle Emerson well-known for her perspective on corporate culture. Join us for a conversation discussing how the savviest startups are building for the future, despite political crosswinds at the concept of inclusiveness.

With Joelle Emerson, co-founder and CEO, Paradigm.

Why Bootstrapping Is No Longer a Dirty Word in 2023

It’s possible to build huge companies without venture money. So long as your startup brings in more cash than it burns, you’re in business. But bootstrapping in tech circles often carries negative connotations — phrases like “lifestyle business” are sometimes thrown around. But with many startups realizing that they won’t be able to raise more money, perhaps it’s time to give bootstrapping another look?

With Erica Jain, CEO, Healthie; Carey Smith, Founding Contrarian, Unorthodox Ventures; Hussein Yahfoufi, product manager, Arta Finance.

Department of Treasury Dives into Foreign Investments, Security and Capital Flowing into the U.S.

As startup investments grow domestically and internationally, there’s a need to monitor foreign inflows to U.S. businesses, while still promoting innovation and allowing for cross-border cooperation. Paul Rosen, assistant secretary of the treasury for investment security, oversees all operations and activities regarding hundreds of billions of dollars in investment activity to mitigate national security risks. We’re diving into his perspective on investments, security and risks that fall into the U.S. as well as how nascent sectors like AI and crypto fit into the equation.

With Paul Rosen, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Investment Security, U.S. Department of the Treasury.

How to Build Intelligent Startup Ops that Will Scale with Your Business

Lost amid glossy founder profiles and funding announcements are the nuts and bolts of scaling a startup’s internal operations. The real stuff that comes with building a scaling startup. From this panel, expect operational notes and tips that you can put to work to avoid known pitfalls and to generally kick maximum ass.

With Naba Banerjee, head of Trust and Safety, Airbnb; and Job van der Voort, CEO, Remote.

What Do You Need to Raise a Series A Today?

Gone are the days when you simply needed $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) to raise a Series A. Some startups have raised a Series A with a lot more, and we’ve seen many manage the same feat with far less in recent quarters. So before raising a Series A, how can a founder ensure their business has the right metrics and that their pitch is tuned for the current venture climate? Jennifer Neundorfer of January Ventures and Loren Straub of Bowery Capital are coming to Disrupt’s Builders Stage to help us answer those questions, and more. If you’ve raised pre-seed or seed capital, this is a conversation you shouldn’t miss.

With Maren Bannon, co-founder and managing partner, January Ventures; James Currier, general partner, NFX; Loren Straub, general partner, Bowery Capital.

How to Stretch Your Venture Dollars

Cash is worth more this year than last year, and certainly more than the tech industry got accustomed to during the last venture supercycle. With the dollar now more powerful than ever, how should startups ensure that their raised capital — equity, debt, whatever floats your burn — goes as far as possible? After all, the more you can do before you need more cash, the higher a price you can charge in your next round.

With Anamitra Banerji, co-founder and managing partner, Afore Capital; Frédérique Dame, general partner, Google Ventures; Rick Yang, partner and head of Technology, NEA.


TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 runs September 19–21 in San Francisco. Buy your pass now! Seriously, what are you waiting for?

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