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May 9th 2014

Disrupt New York Roundup

Yesterday TechCrunch concluded an epic, two-day Hackathon and three-day Disrupt at the Manhattan Center in New York City. This was TechCrunch's fifth go-round in New York and, in many ways, the best one yet. There were 2,000 attendees -- and there was the cast of HBO's Silicon Valley, who made this Disrupt without question the funniest ever.

Our Hackathon last weekend attracted 1,000 hackers, who spent the 24 hours over Saturday night concocting hacks based on our sponsors' APIs and their own interests. One innovation we introduced this year was to bring in a team of designers to help the coders, which they loved. The winner, VRban, was a virtual reality mashup of the Occulus (the crazy VR headset Facebook acquired for $2 billion) and urban mapping data from our sponsor ESRI. Very worthy of the $5,000 prize.

Disrupt itself kicked off on Monday and immediately spun out a lot of great moments, the best of which the edit team captured in this gallery of event memes The Battlefield startup competition was really a major standout. For those of you unfamiliar with the Battlefield, it's a startup competition at each Disrupt in which 25-30 companies, selected from hundreds of applicants, go on stage to compete for the Disrupt Cup and a check for $50,000. The top names in tech serve as judges. To date, 350 startups have competed, and together they have raised $2.4 billion - after appearing on our stage. Another 50 have already had exits. That makes Battlefield the best stage anywhere for startups eager to launch and wow the world. HBO must have noticed, because the last two episodes of their hit comedy, Silicon Valley, are shot at Disrupt Battlefield, which HBO meticulously re-created in a Hollywood studio.

Our judges were top VCs, including Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures, Chris Dixon from Andreessen Horowitz, and Roelof Botha from Sequoia, as well as our editors, Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino, and they took two hours and a lot of intense back and forth to award the cup to Vurb, a super-useful mobile app. Runner up was an unconventional startup by TechCrunch standards, but really compelling to the judges and the audience: a new incredibly economical water heater from ISI Technology. One contender who did not win but caught fire online with 340,000 views for her onstage demo was Grace Choi's Mink makeup printer. Her promise to take down the big cosmetic brands with at-home cosmetics printing was, as we say, disruptive.

When the Battlefield wasn't raging, great interviews conducted by TechCrunch editors and its founder, Michael Arrington, provided plenty of drama. The founders of apps Whisper and Secret took a lot of heat for the grief they can cause - just ask Gwyneth. Marissa Mayer gamely defended Yahoo's strategy, and our own Matt Kaufman, fielded tough questions about CrunchBase 2.0 from Arrington and praised AOL's powerful commitment to the project. Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoroso also told her remarkable story.

Disrupt NYC 2014 is over, but the circus continues this September in San Francisco and October in London. Brace yourself.

Mar 10th 2014

TechCrunch Disrupt Touches Down in London

The city of London enjoys a formidable reputation as a fast-growing startup ecosystem - and now, it has a global tech media franchise to further speak to that.

We're excited to announce that London will be host city for the second TechCrunch DISRUPT Europe. Over the past few years, the city has built its technology credentials to offer entrepreneurs a fantastic environment to grow digital businesses - and we believe the capital is the perfect destination as TechCrunch continues to expand its coverage and presence globally.

Taking place at the Old Billingsgate in East London, our conference kicks-off with the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon on October 18, followed by two days of on-stage interviews and panels with some of the biggest names in tech. The speakers will not only provide insight and advice, but give first-hand knowledge on what it takes to build an industry-leading company.

Disrupt London will also welcome Startup Battlefield - where competitors pitch their companies live and on stage to innovators, investors and influencers in the tech community - and Startup Alley, which offers another way for early-stage companies to gain exposure with a format that encourages both exhibiting and networking, as well as high visibility.

For more details, check out TechCrunch's article here.

Jan 11th 2014

News at TechCrunch, With A Big Year on the Horizon

As you may know, Eric Eldon is leaving his role as co-editor of TechCrunch. He and Alexia did a masterful job of stabilizing TechCrunch during 2012 and making it better than ever in 2013.

Both Eric and Alexia agreed that Matthew Panzarino is the right fit to replace Eric as co-editor, and are confident he'll inject new energy and ideas into the editorial equation.

From my standpoint, this change shows how well the editorial team has prospered in the last two years. Today, the brand and the editorial team is more powerful and confident than ever. Thank you, Eric and Alexia, and the rest of your outstanding team.

Batons get passed, and it's always a lot easier when you are the frontrunner. This hand off was as smooth as any I've know.

You can read more on what Eric and Alexia had to say here & here.

Jan 9th 2014

AOL Autos Tech of the Year: Tesla Supercharger

We're excited to announce that the Tesla Supercharger was awarded 2013 Technology of the Year from AOL Autos at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

This year marks the second annual Technology of the Year program, with over 44 technologies nominated for the title. Back in November, AOL Autos announced six finalists during the Los Angeles Auto Show where the Tesla Supercharger was joined by Chevrolet MyLink Valet Mode, Infiniti Backup Collision Intervention, Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive, Mopar® In-Vehicle Wireless Charging for Portable Devices and Volvo Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake at an offsite event at LA's Belasco Theater.

The panel of judges, comprised of industry experts from AOL Autos, Autoblog, Engadget and TechCrunch, went through grueling rounds of physical testing and found that the Tesla Supercharger raised the bar the highest when it comes to integrating technology into the world of autos. Giving Tesla owners the ability to charge their vehicles enough to drive 150 miles in about 30 minutes or less for free, the Tesla Supercharger changes the ways EVs are used and diminishes the concern of "range anxiety" among drivers. The infrastructure Tesla is building to support the Tesla Supercharger with fast-charging stations across the U.S. elevates EVs in the automotive industry today.

To help the esteemed board of judges find the best of the best in automotive technology, AOL Autos turned to their consumers in the last stage of deliberation. Readers were asked to vote for which among the six finalists they felt should take the title. With over 14,000 votes received, consumers also agreed that the Tesla Supercharger stood apart from its competitors, garnering 40% of overall public votes. The result of this poll equaled one judges' vote in final deliberation.

Congratulations to Tesla Supercharger on winning 2013 Technology of the Year!

Jan 6th 2014

AOL at CES: What's Next for the Heart of Technology

The proving ground for breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years, CES has become much more than the world's largest trade show. And its implications and innovations reach far and wide beyond the tech industry into our everyday lives. From 4K TVs to wearable technology, from automotive telematics to smart appliances, every year, CES amazes and delights us with what's next and what's possible. As AOL Networks' CEO Bob Lord puts it, "CES has become a cauldron of what it means for consumers and marketers. It challenges how we do advertising." And only AOL, with its award-winning consumer brands and its powerful advertising platforms and products, is squarely at the heart of CES.

CES: Connecting to innovation
What's fascinating about CES is how tech and humanity come together, in a way that transforms the consumer experience. And AOL is focused on programming content that consumers love with our consumer tech sites Engadget and TechCrunch. In addition to once again being the Official Online News Source for CES, Engadget is also honored to be the media partner for the Best of CES Awards. And for the first time, TechCrunch is bringing its signature Hardware Battlefield to CES, to uncover this year's startup stars, with the help of celebrity judges like Martha Stewart. But if CES is where man meets machine, it also happens to slap us in the face at a time when we're taking stock, making resolutions, and thinking about how we will make this year better than the last. The Huffington Post's re-launched GPS for the Soul app is the perfect reminder for how we need to find balance amid technology's temptations.

CES: Connecting with partners
CES has become a hotbed for advertisers and agencies, and we're looking forward to meeting with partners to discuss how our barbell solutions, global opportunities, cross-screen capabilities, video, and programmatic platforms can drive their brands forward. In fact, this week marks the first time where AOL will bring our full video and programmatic stack to market with Adap.tv, fulfilling a vision that began at last year's CES. Continuing his thought-leadership Shingerviews video series, this week David Shing will talk to some of tech and media's leading figures to make sense of the evolving technology landscape and discuss how we can use technology to help make powerful human connections between consumers and brands.

CES: Connecting humans
AOL connects to consumers – and in turn connects those consumers to brands and marketers. And we can't wait to see how the innovations revealed this week will impact our lives.

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