Techcrunch and Face­book host first startup bat­tle­field in MENA

ArabAd - - CONTENTS -

In part­ner­ship with Face­book, lead­ing tech pub­lisher Techcrunch is bring­ing its first startup com­pe­ti­tion for en­trepreneurs in the Mid­dle East and North Africa to Beirut Dig­i­tal Dis­trict (BDD), the heart of Le­banon’s vi­brant startup ecosys­tem. Sched­uled on Oc­to­ber 3, 2018, the Techcrunch Startup Bat­tle­field, brings early stage star­tups to­gether for a chance to com­pete and win a $25,000 prize, as well as be­ing ex­posed to a big global in­vest­ment com­mu­nity. Arabad met with Techcrunch’s CEO, Sa­man­tha Stein, to learn more about this ini­tia­tive.

Could you brief us a lit­tle about the startup bat­tle­field con­test?

Startup Bat­tle­field has ex­isted for as long as Techcrunch has been putting on events— over 10 years! It started out un­der a dif­fer­ent name and then be­came for­mally known as Startup Bat­tle­field as the com­pe­ti­tion started grow­ing in pres­tige and pop­u­lar­ity. The 765 alumni com­pa­nies have pro­duced over 105 ex­its and raised over eight bil­lion dol­lars.

How is the bat­tle­field or­ga­nized?

For each Startup Bat­tle­field, com­pa­nies ap­ply through our on­line ap­pli­ca­tion. The Techcrunch Ed­i­to­rial team then re­views and se­lects the com­pa­nies they think are most likely to pro­duce an exit or IPO Star­tups go through in­ten­sive pitch coach­ing and men­tor­ing from the Startup Bat­tle­field team, be­fore launch­ing on stage at the main Startup Bat­tle­field event.

How do you se­lect the top 15 en­trepreneurs?

The 15 com­pa­nies are judged by sev­eral mem­bers of the Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee. Star­tups are judged on the strength of IP de­vel­oped po­ten­tial for IPO or ac­qui­si­tion. Se­lec­tions will be an­nounced mid-septem­ber.

What kind of start-ups are you look­ing for? Any spe­cific sec­tor/ in­dus­try?

Techcrunch is look­ing for early stage, pre-se­ries A star­tups in any ver­ti­cal or in­dus­try. Com­pa­nies must have a min­i­mally vi­able prod­uct to par­tic­i­pate as the pitches re­quire live demos.

Who are the judges?

The judges will be top in­vestors and en­trepreneurs who will judge star­tups based on their 6-minute pitches and 6-minute ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion.

Ob­vi­ously this com­pe­ti­tion high­lights the work of re­gional star­tups. Where does Techcrunch’s in­ter­est lay here?

Techcrunch’s mis­sion is to high­light founders, ven­ture, and the startup ecosys­tem all around the world. It’s our core DNA. We all know Sil­i­con Val­ley doesn’t have a mo­nop­oly on en­trepreneur­ship — so much in­no­va­tion is hap­pen­ing all around the world. Techcrunch is so ex­cited to shine the spot­light on founders across the Mid­dle East and North Africa.

This event is spon­sored by Face­book. What role do they play?

All Techcrunch events have spon­sors or a set of spon­sors that make the event pos­si­ble through a much-needed fi­nan­cial sup­port. They do not play an ed­i­to­rial role in Techcrunch ed­i­to­rial pro­gram­ming or star­tups se­lected. We are thank­ful to all of the spon­sors who make it pos­si­ble for Techcrunch to en­ter these mar­kets.

It’s the first event of that kind in the Mid­dle East and North Africa. What in­ter­est do you see in the re­gion?

Techcrunch has been in­ter­ested in high­light­ing the re­gion through Startup Bat­tle­field for quite a while and we are ex­cited to do so this Oc­to­ber thanks to our part­ners.

The MENA re­gion has a long his­tory of valu­ing cre­ators - artists, po­ets, ar­chi­tects, and in re­cent past en­trepreneurs. We’ve to see an­gel in­vest­ment and VC rise across the re­gion in the past ten years. We’ve also startup to see larger ex­its, ac­qui­si­tions, and fund­ing rounds as the re­gion’s ven­ture cap­i­tal and startup ecosys­tem ma­ture.

Why choos­ing Le­banon ? Why not Dubai for in­stance?

Beirut has a strong cul­ture of cre­ative in­dus­tries. We are so ex­cited to host the first ever Startup Bat­tle­field MENA in Beirut. We host our events in many static and evolv­ing lo­ca­tions all of the world.

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