Announcing the first tranche of Startup Battlefield judges – TechCrunch
The Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–20 is set to be our most epic yet. This year’s competitors, selected from our handpicked cohort, the Startup Battlefield 200, are some of the most promising, imaginative startups in tech.
We’re excited to begin announcing the innovators and investors who will judge this world-renowned pitch competition on tech’s biggest stage. But first…
A pro tip: Startup Battlefield isn’t just thrilling to watch; it’s a masterclass in how investors think. The judges’ feedback provides insight into the criteria they use to determine whether a company is viable or not. Watch and learn what investors look for, what motivates them and what pushes them to schedule a meeting.
Without further ado, here are the first three investors ready to help crown the next Startup Battlefield champion.
Jamison Hill, a partner at Base10 Partners
Jamison Hill joined Base10 as a partner in 2021 to lead the Advancement Initiative. Previously, he spent seven years at Bain Capital Ventures, leading growth investments in marketplace businesses (Cameo and Wonolo) and worked with leading software companies (FourKites, ShipBob) and fintech companies (Finix and Flywire).
Prior to Bain Capital Ventures, Hill was an early employee at Bonobos, where he built out the brand’s analytical capabilities across finance, retail and marketing. He began his career as a management consultant advising clients on growth strategy and digital transformation at Bain & Company.
Hill was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016 and Venture Capital Journal’s Rising Stars in 2021. He currently serves on the board of Hope in a Box, a program that supports educators in building LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms.
Kanyi Maqubela, a managing partner at Kindred Ventures
A managing partner at Kindred Ventures, Kanyi Maqubela focuses his investment and formation work in theme areas, including fintech, health and wellness, e-commerce, supply-chain and climate tech.
Over the last 10 years, Maqubela has led and participated in more than 50 investments, including CloudTrucks, Goldfinch, Tala, Upstart, Just, Outschool, Mural, Earnest, Kano (Stem Player), HelloSign and more.
Prior to Kindred Ventures, Maqubela was a partner at Collaborative Fund, where he served on boards, including Spruce, True Link, Camino Financial, Hopscotch and Buffer. As an entrepreneur and operator, he co-founded Heartbeat Health. Earlier in his career, Maqubela ran growth at One Block Off the Grid (acquired by $NRG) and was an early employee at Doostang (acquired by Universum Global).
Katie Rae, the CEO and managing partner at The Engine
Since 2017, Katie Rae has served as the CEO and managing partner of The Engine, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies solving the world’s biggest problems. Before joining The Engine, Rae founded and served as managing partner at Project 11 Ventures.
Rae also held leadership roles at Techstars Boston, serving as managing director (2011–2014) and chairman until 2016. She has advised hundreds of founders and invested in more than 100 companies at their earliest stages. Key investments include Flywire, PillPack (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion), Bevi, GrabCad and Synack.
In addition to her investing career, Rae has more than 15 years of experience in senior management and product positions at Microsoft, Eons, AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2 and Mirror Worlds.
Rae is also founder and president of Equity Summit, an annual event bringing together female and underrepresented minority fund managers and world-leading limited partners. She currently serves on the boards of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Form Energy, Via Separations, Lilac Solutions, Boston Metal, Sublime Systems and VEIR.
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