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NYC Startup Scene and 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt

The consensus of the NYC startup scene from panelists at 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt is that the market is a bit “frothy”, but that we are certainly not in a bubble like the one at the end of the last decade.  The NYC startup scene was just one panel of an awesome lineup of speakers which included investors, hackers, leaders in the social media and tech space and many more that shared their insights at Disrupt.

Disrupt started with a 24 hour hackathon the weekend before the conference officially kicked off.  About 500 people signed up to participate, but just over 100 actually had a completed product and had something to demo. Below are some of the hackers who weren’t able to make it through the night.

The hackathon is so exciting because the people who participate create something from nothing for potentially millions of people that can use their product. In the end it was Gilt-ii who won the overall hackathon which is an add-on for Gilt that helps shoppers sell items in their shopping carts to buyers who weren’t able to purchase a particular item fast enough on the Gilt site.  A crowd favorite that also received lots of coverage was Joinable.org, which gives homeless people access to telephone and email service, which makes it easier for them to find a job.

The actual three day conference took place from Monday to Wednesday and there were many highlights including interviews with investors such as Fred Wilson, Ron Conway and many others.  My personal favorite panel was “Office Hours with Y Combinator’s, Paul Graham which gave a handful of entrepreneurs the opportunity to get some advice from Paul himself about the direction entrepreneurs should take their startups, even if it meant ditching their whole idea and starting from scratch.  Other highlights were watching Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch taking one of the few opportunities he was going to get to grill his new bosses Tim Armstrong and Arianna Huffington on stage.

Finally, the real reason Disrupt exists is for new companies to showcase their startups in the Battlefield. Only the best of the best are selected to compete in the battlefield and the winner takes home a $50,000 prize, the TechCrunch Disrupt trophy and tons of publicity helping launch the young companies to mainstream status. This year the winner of the NYC Startup Battlefield was Getaround, a company that launched to match people who are willing to rent their cars by the hour to people in need of a car.  Let’s hope they don’t squander away the $50,000, because I like many conference attendees are looking forward to using the service they are rolling out to cities across the country.

(Pictured above is the all electric Tesla Roadster with the lovely Marina Nazarova. Getaround brought the car to give a ride to one lucky participant at Disrupt.)

As informative and entertaining as the hackathon, interviews and startup battlefield is the real value for most Disrupt attendees is between sessions and after parties when attendees have a chance to talk face to face to form partnerships and meet people who can help them follow through with their business plans.  No one else brings leaders in the tech and startup community together quite like TechCrunch.  If you’re launching a new company or just want to look into a crystal ball to see what the future holds for new tech companies, Disrupt is a must attend event.  You can look forward to the next two conferences taking place in San Francisco and Beijing later this year. Besides the opportunity to compete in the Startup Battlefield you get lots of great feedback and media coverage for your new company.

Below are a few more pictures of the event. I uploaded many more on the Sharing Business Ideas facebook page. If your interested in attending Disrupt in San Francisco or Beijing check out the Disrupt page for more information.

(Mike Arrington with Arianna Huffington)

(Ashton Kutcher with Charlie Rose)

(Moments before the Startup Battlefield winner is announced)

2 thoughts on “NYC Startup Scene and 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt”

  1. Pingback: TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2011 « PR Vibes

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