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Interview with Sam O'Keefe, Editor, Startup Battlefield @ TechCrunch

With TechCrunch Disrupt right around the corner we wanted to learn more about Startup Battlefield, the world's leading competition for early stage startups. The winning company will take home $50,000, the Disrupt Cup, and the attention of media and investors. Not bad for a few days’ work. (file that under ‘overnight success’ and other myths) 

Here’s what we learned recently in a fascinating conversation with TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield Editor, Samantha O'Keefe:

Please introduce yourself and tell us your title.

Sam O'Keefe, Editor. I focus on recruiting and coaching companies for the Startup Battlefield.

How would you summarize TechCrunch Disrupt's Startup Battlefield?

Startup Battlefield is the leading startup launch competition. We work with companies in the seed stage. Most of our companies are presenting for the first time so these products have never been seen before by a public audience. Our goal with the Battlefield is to give our audience a glimpse of the future and to give promising startups exposure to potential investors, partners and customers.

How are the companies selected?

Every company submits an online application that includes details on their product, market and team as well as a video demo.

How do the companies prepare for battle?

I work with the selected companies throughout the month prior to Disrupt. Together, we craft their pitch, demo, prepare for Q & A and plan how to maximize their exposure at the conference. Startups join the Battlefield with all different backgrounds, some are repeat founders who have raised before, others are spinning a company out of a research lab, others are based internationally - wherever they come from, we try to prepare all teams to have an equal chance of winning the Disrupt Cup.

Are there stages or rounds in the competition?

There are two rounds. Our first round takes place Monday and Tuesday of Disrupt. On Tuesday evening judges convene to select a smaller group of companies that will present again on Wednesday in our 'finals' round. One finalist wins $50K and takes home the Disrupt Cup!

What are the criteria the judges use to pick the winner?

Very similar things you'd expect an investor to look for. Is the team credible? Is their product and go-to-market strategy differentiated in the marketplace? Do people want what they're selling? etc.

What can we expect to see this year?

20 promising startups launching on-stage! 

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