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Quarterly Events Preview Q2 2016: May Spotlight Event

TechCrunch Disrupt | May 9 - 11 | Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, 72 Bowne Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Recently, Digital.NYC’s editor, Marcos Dinnerstein, caught up with Leslie Hitchcock, Director of Events with TechCrunch to learn what people can expect from TechCrunch Disrupt this year.

Digital.NYC: Please introduce yourself, your title, how long you've been with TechCrunch.

My name is Leslie Hitchcock, I am the Director of Events and I've been at TechCrunch for 5 (!) years.

Digital.NYC: How many attendees do you generally receive? Where do they come from? What sectors?

At the Disrupt NY conference we have around 2,500 attendees. They are comprised of startups, entrepreneurs, VCs, investors, developers, engineers, and a slew of media. We mainly see attendees come from high growth technology startups in Fin Tech, media, fashion, advertising, messaging. They come from the all over US, Europe, Asia, Israel, Africa, and other far flung locales.

Digital.NYC: What can attendees walk away with or how will this event change the conversation around tech?

You will not find the news that breaks on stage at Disrupt anywhere else. We look for breaking news as well as the types of startups you might not see on stage at the same time elsewhere, specifically ones that are up and coming but you'll hear about soon enough. Two that come to mind that changed the conversation from a recent NY Disrupt were Periscope and Meerkat. The crown jewel of the Disrupt Conference is Startup Battlefield, where 30 companies (culled from thousands who apply) launch on stage at Disrupt and compete for the Disrupt Cup and a $50,000 prize from TechCrunch. Those companies truly change the conversation. A small sample of ones who have launched on our stage are Dropbox, Yammer,, and Fitbit.

Digital.NYC: What is the panel or speaker you are most excited about and why?

This year I'm really interested to hear General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA -- so many rich tidbits are bound to come from that talk. Also exciting me are the two panels on ads, one with the president of the IAB and the other with the main AdBlocker technology out there. Sadly they aren't on a panel together, but I'm certain our attendees won't want to miss those two conversations.

Digital.NYC: What sets this conference apart from other tech conferences?

TechCrunch Disrupt is the preeminent conference featuring startups and technology in the world. Our size is manageable with 2,500 in attendance, the speakers are ones you won't hear at other technology conferences who cycle through a lot of the same speakers, and the breadth and depth of our Startup Alley is remarkable. We are expecting up to 200 companies per day over the three days, so our attendees certainly won't get bored.

Digital.NYC: What will set this year’s Techcrunch Disrupt NY apart from previous years?

The quality of the content is exceptionally high as well as the size of the Startup Alley. In the last few years we were confined by the size of the venue where Disrupt used to live, and now moving to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal we have lots of room to spread out and grow. Very excited about this!

Digital.NYC: Are there any new components or features that attendees should look forward to this year?

We are introducing a program called CrunchMatch Beta where we will pair startups with investors for private one-on-one meetings in advance of the conference based on their individual needs. There's already been a large amount of interest on both the startup and investor sides so we think it will be an excellent springboard into making Disrupt even more of an incredibly efficient and productive conference. Another new aspect is "Discover Red Hook" which is a free program for local Red Hook, Brooklyn (home of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal) allowing them to exhibit at Disrupt. We're partial to the creative spirit of the neighborhood and want our attendees to know why we chose to hold Disrupt there. Discover Red Hook helps us achieve that and will hopefully help those local businesses grow.

Digital.NYC: Is there a way for non-attendees to follow the conversation? Twitter handle? Live feed?

Absolutely! You can follow along via the livestream on as well as our Twitter hashtag #TCDisrupt

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