Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Happy (almost) Labor Day to all the hardworking members of the early-startup community — entrepreneurs, founders, investors, engineers and everyone in between. We know how hard you work to build your dream, so we’re cutting you a break and extending our early-bird pricing on passes to Disrupt San Francisco 2019 through 11:59 p.m. (PST) on September 6. One extra week to save up to $ 1,300.

Don’t fritter away this absolute last opportunity to save big bucks on our flagship event, where you’ll find more than 10,000 attendees, 400 media outlets and a passel of eager investors. Get your early-bird tickets now.

Disrupt events always feature incredible speakers, and we’ve got an amazing agenda lined up for you this year. Let’s take a look at just some of the discussions and interviews you’ll enjoy over the course of three Disruptive days.

Reigniting the Space Race: Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith intends to return the U.S. to crewed spaceflight, with a goal of doing so this year with its first suborbital trips. Hopefully, we can also get Smith to tell us the ticket price for a trip, once it begins taking on paying customers.

Could the U.S. Government Be Your Next Investor: No founder likes dilution, which is why the U.S. government is becoming an increasingly popular source for early-stage, ambitious venture capital. Hear from Steve Isakowitz (The Aerospace Corporation) along with other VC leaders and founders who have navigated the process to discover your next source of non-dilutive capital.

How to Build a Sex Tech Startup: As the old adage goes, sex sells. Cyan Banister (Founders Fund), Cindy Gallop (MakeLoveNotPorn) and Lora Haddock (Lora DiCarlo) will discuss the opportunities — and challenges — of building a successful sex tech startup, and how to capitalize on a market that’s projected to be worth more than $ 123 billion by 2026.

The Grass Is Greener: The cannabis industry is projected to reach $ 50 billion in 10 years. Keith McCarty (Wayv) and Bharat Vasan (Pax Labs) represent two of the biggest names in the market. Hear the duo talk about an industry with undeniable potential, but plenty of red tape to deal with, too.

Quite the appetizer, no? Then there’s the big event that everyone wants to watch — Startup Battlefield. Which awesome startup will outshine the rest and take home $ 100,000?

Want to meet and greet even more top early-stage startups? Be sure to stop by Startup Alley and connect with the TC Top Picks — and hundreds of other cool startups. This year, our editors hand-picked 45 companies that represent the very best in their tech categories. Check the list of winners right here so you can see which ones you want to meet IRL.

Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place October 2-4. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, but be sure to take advantage of the one-week early-bird price extension. Buy your passes to Disrupt SF and save up to $ 1,300 — but only if you beat the new deadline: September 6 at 11:59 p.m. (PST).

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt San Francisco 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


TechCrunch

African fintech has taken center stage for the Catalyst Fund, a JP Morgan Chase and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed accelerator that provides mentorship and non-equity funding to emerging markets startups.

The organization announced its 2019 startup cohort and three out of the four finance ventures — Chipper Cash, Salutat and Turaco — have an Africa focus (Brazil-based venture Diin, was the fourth).

Catalyst Fund, which is managed by global tech consulting firm BFA,  also released its latest evaluation report, which showed 60% of the organization’s portfolio startups are located in Africa.

The new additions to the fund’s program will gain $ 50,000 to $ 60,000 in non-equity venture building support (as Catalyst Fund dubs it) and six months of technical assistance. The funds and support are aimed at moving the ventures to the next phase of catalyzing business models, generating revenue and connecting to global VCs.

“We really tailor the kind of help we give to companies so they can reach market fit and proof points that investors want to see to enable the next phase of growth,” BFA Deputy Director Maelis Carraro told TechCrunch.

Catalyst Fund’s 2019 startup cohort also gained exposure to the fund’s Circle of Investors — a network of impact and commercial backers who can make decisions on investing in and accelerating particular companies.

Next Big Thing and Deciens Capital recently joined the group of 40 investors that includes Techstars and the Mastercard Foundation.

The tenor for support for Catalyst Fund’s newest cohort of startups lasts through 2019. The ventures will also attend the big SOCAP 2019 tech conference in San Francisco, where Catalyst organizes workshops and meetings with its Circle of Investors.

Founded in 2016, the Catalyst Fund’s mandate includes supporting fintech startups that are developing solutions for low-income individuals in emerging markets. The organization has accelerated 20 ventures in Africa, Asia and Latin America that have raised $ 25.7 million in follow-on capital, according to its latest report.

With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and JP Morgan Chase as the lead backers, Catalyst Fund partners also include Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Accion.

JP Morgan Chase’s interest in supporting Catalyst Fund connects to a firm-wide commitment of the global bank to financial inclusion, according to JP Morgan’s Head of Community Innovation Colleen Briggs — who is also a day-to-day Catalyst Fund manager.

JP Morgan recently launched a $ 125 million, five-year commitment to improve global financial health, she explained. “For us there is a true market opportunity…we genuinely believe that financial inclusion is the foundation for the economy,” Briggs said.

“If we don’t get the social issues right it undermines the resiliency of the communities and the markets where we’re trying to operate.”

That Catalyst Fund’s cohorts have shifted toward Africa focused ventures speaks to the thesis for fintech on the continent.

By a number of estimates, Africa’s 1.2 billion people represent the largest share of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

An improving smartphone and mobile-connectivity profile for Africa (see GSMA) turns this scenario into an opportunity for mobile-based financial products.

Hundreds of startups are descending on Africa’s fintech space, looking to offer scalable solutions for the continent’s financial needs. By stats offered by Briter Bridges and a 2018 WeeTracker survey, fintech now receives the bulk of VC capital and deal-flow to African startups.

Ventures such as Catalyst Fund cohort member Chipper Cash — co-founded by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled — are looking to grow across Africa first before considering any global moves.

The company plans to introduce its no-fee, P2P, cross-border mobile-money payments products beyond current operations in Ghana and Kenya to Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda within the next 12 months.

Ventures looking to join companies like Chipper Cash as a Catalyst Fund-supported startup can seek a referral from Catalyst’s Circle of Investors — who make a recommendations on new candidates. Catalyst Fund aims to choose 30 startups for its cohort over the next three years, according to program director David del Ser.


TechCrunch

Would you like $ 100,000 to fatten the bottom line of your early-stage startup? Could your company benefit from global media coverage and investor attention? Do you have what it takes to compete against the very best early-stage startup founders?

Take your resounding “yes” and act quickly, because you have less than two weeks to apply to Startup Battlefield at Disrupt San Francisco 2019 on October 2-4.

Since 2007, our epic Startup Battlefield pitch competition has launched 857 companies that have raised more than $ 8 billion in funding and generated 109 exits. If you make the cut, you’ll follow in the footsteps of some pretty legendary companies, including Vurb, Dropbox, Mint, Yammer and more.

It won’t cost you a thing to apply to or participate in Startup Battlefield. And that includes free pitch coaching from Battlefield-tested TechCrunch editors. But first things first. Those editors will vet every application looking for roughly 15-30 exceptional startups. That elite Battlefield cohort receives the VIP treatment at Disrupt, including exhibit space in Startup Alley for all three days.

The free coaching will come in handy once the Big Day arrives. You’ll walk confidently onto the Disrupt Main Stage in front of an audience of thousands to deliver your six-minute pitch to a panel of judges experienced in the ways of tech and investing. Then you’ll answer whatever questions they put to you.

Survive that and you’ll move to the second, final round — the same pitch delivered to a new set of experts. All the judges will confer and then declare one champion. Those founders receive $ 100,000 in equity-free cash, the Disrupt Cup and a bright media and investor spotlight.

We also live-stream the whole shebang to the world on TechCrunch.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Plus, it’s available later on-demand. Yes, Startup Battlefield is intense, stressful and challenging. It’s also a lot of fun, and the benefits and the exposure — for all competitors — are well worth the effort.

Don’t miss your chance to launch your startup to the world at Disrupt SF 2019 on October 2-4. Do you have what it takes to be the champ? You have less than two weeks to find out. Apply to compete in Startup Battlefield.

While you’re at it, why not apply for our TC Top Picks program? If you make the cut, you’ll receive a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and plenty of media and investor exposure.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt SF 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


TechCrunch

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