TechCrunch’s top goal at Disrupt SF (September 5-7) is to help early-stage founders get lots of attention, which is why every year we introduce more and better ways to make that happen. This year we’re adding TC Top Picks, a new program that will provide 60 top founders the opportunity to exhibit free of charge for one day in Startup Alley and three free Founder Passes for all three days of the show, including access to CrunchMatch, TechCrunch’s founder-investor matching service.
Here is how founders can win a top spot in TC Top Picks. To qualify, the startup must fit in one of the categories listed below, which reflect the major tracks at Disrupt SF. The editors will pick five TC Top Picks startups for each category and they get the exhibition space with special “TC Top Picks” signage, three free Founder Passes plus a three-minute interview on our Showcase Stage.
Click here to fill out the application, which should take about five minutes. (Note we have also launched an updated application app, which allows founders to create a single application and use it across all of TechCrunch’s programs — including Startup Battlefield.
TechCrunch will notify the winners by July 20, but applications close June 29 — so don’t lose any time, apply today.
Here are the categories we’re featuring at Disrupt SF:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) “What’s your AI strategy?” supplanted “What’s you mobile strategy? as one of THE big investor questions a couple of years ago, and venture investment in the sector doubled last year, reaching $12 billion, according to KPMG.
- Augmented and virtual reality A strong contender for the next major platform (on par with the PC, the internet and mobile), AR/VR is a fast growing category in Crunchbase, which lists 1,993 startups, and IDC estimates 2017 AR/VR revenues will grow by 2020 to reach $143.3 billion.
- Blockchain Distributed ledger technologies have so far produced cryptocurrency mania, digital collectibles startup CryptoKitties, a new funding paradigm called the ICO and more than 100,000 companies in Crunchbase professing a blockchain angle.
- Biotech Whether it’s genetic manipulation through CRISPR or early cancer detection, the deep science startups in the biotech world are moving fast on the back of rapid technical advances. Funding hit a new record in 2017 of $9.3 billion, according to PitchBook.
- Financial technology (fintech) The startup assault on the world of banking, investing, insurance and fiat currencies is in full gear, and Accenture reports the category in 2017 collected investments reaching $27.4 billion in 2017.
- Gaming Gaming startups cut across most categories of the digital world, from AR/VR to streaming platforms to mobile, as well as entirely original concepts, like esports. Tabulating it all isn’t easy, but gamers and game tech folks know who they are.
- Healthtech No big sector is more in need of disruption than healthcare, and $4.5 billion in venture poured into the sector last year. Crunchbase counts 20,912 companies in the category apps to track biometrics to medical records tracking (on the blockchain, of course).
- New retail E-commerce is so 1999, and the future is new retail, manifested by direct-to-consumer brands, online to offline, or what Alibaba founder Jack Ma calls “the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.”
- Mobility Getting around has never been easier, thanks to ride and bike sharing, never mind the autonomous vehicles and wearable robotics to come. Crunchbase lists 2,333 companies focused on getting people where they aim to go.
- Privacy/security The digital vulnerability of everything from credit cards to the democratic process has spawned the creation of 5,627 privacy and security startups, according to Crunchbase, to take on a market expected to reach more than $181.77 billion by 2021.
- Robots and automation Huge advances in sensors, AI, materials and GPUs have unleashed a surge in robotics startups, producing everything from warehouse automation to drone delivery to BigDog. IDC predicts that global spending on robotics will double from $103 in three years.
- Space What Morgan Stanley dubbed Space 2.0 is entrepreneurship in space, whether that’s zero-g manufacturing, launch platforms, micro-satellites or space mining. Count the startups in the dozens and the market 30 years from now in the trillions, according to Merrill Lynch.