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Tag: TechCrunch Early Stage 2024

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How to choose a deep tech startup program | TechCrunch


Plenty of founders have a difficult decision to make early in their journey: where to set up shop.

For deep tech founders, the decision is complicated by the fact that they typically need more from their space. Some might need lab benches, others might require massive amounts of electricity, and still others might need room for large equipment. It’s not as easy as signing up for a desk at a nearby co-working space.

In the past, deep tech founders often had to go it alone; there wasn’t much in the way of assistance as they migrated out of their academic labs and into the startup world. Today, though, there are a wealth of options, including The Engine Accelerator, SOSV’s Hax and IndieBio programs, and the Regional Innovation Engines that were recently announced by the National Science Foundation.

Founders no longer have to do it all themselves. Rather, the challenge is figuring out which startup program will be the best fit.

Emily Knight, president of The Engine Accelerator, spoke at TechCrunch Early Stage in Boston about how founders should evaluate their options.

The first thing they should look for is an organization that has “patient resources and patient capital,” she said. Given that deep tech tends to take a long time to de-risk and bring to market, the timelines tend to be longer.

After that, “early startups needed to ask the question, if the technology works, and let’s assume it does, what else do we have to think about?” Knight said. “You need to make a short list of the priorities of what you need today.”

That list will include funding, but also equipment to develop the technology and expertise to help solve problems and navigate regulatory landscapes.

Once founders have compiled a list, then they can start evaluating startup programs. “Which of these accelerators or programs or fellowships or co-working spaces — whatever they are — have the resources you need?” Knight said.

At The Engine, Knight said they’re focused on not just providing space and equipment, but also support for founders who are often on a long journey. “We’re creating a community for the founders, for people who are doing something that may feel very lonely, that is typically first of a kind. They probably don’t have a lot of peers.”


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Sequoia's Jess Lee explains how early-stage startups can identify product-market fit | TechCrunch


Founders at the early stages of building their startups may have already created a strong solution, identified a gap in the market, or may simply have an inescapable and driving motivation to build their own business. Ideally, they have a good combination of all three. But do they have product-market fit? And what actually is product-market fit, anyway?

The investors at Sequoia, one of the world’s biggest venture capital firms, have come up with a very handy framework to answer those two questions. It distills the landscape into three archetypes.

“Hair on Fire” roughly means that your startup addresses an urgent problem. A security startup, for example, might fit here, especially if it can win initial business on the back of parachuting in to fix a breach or other problem already in progress. Or, think of the wave of companies that offered services to businesses and users when they were suddenly sheltering in place and working from home during the peak of Covid-19.

“Hard Fact” translates as a startup that solves an existing problem better than what’s already out there. Square, which emerged as a new point of sale product in a seemingly old and saturated market, is a good example of this.

Lastly, “Future Vision” relates to deep tech, moonshots, and products out of left field. These would include quantum startups, but also those building flying cars or even autonomous vehicles that would ply our roads (or any of the tech that will be needed to make such vehicles).

Each of these archetypes will have its own customer mindset, competitive market status, opportunity/general product goals, challenges, examples of those who got it right and those that did not, and so on. Sequoia partner Jess Lee, a specialist in early-stage investing, gave a big talk on the concept at TechCrunch’s Early Stage event in Boston in April. Sequoia has written about the framework here, too.

In sum, the theory goes like this: Startups all, more or less, fit into one of these three archetypes, so identifying which archetype a company fits in can help it focus and develop.

Sequoia is confident enough of the structure that it uses the framework in its Arc program to help early-stage founders focus on how they are building. It also helps the firm evaluate potential startup investments. Beyond that, and just as importantly, founders can lean on an archetype to better anticipate and articulate the challenges and opportunities in their space. That can be helpful for decision-making internally, of course, as well as for fundraising or pitching partnerships or customers.

During her presentation on the framework, Lee said that Sequoia does not have a favored category among the three.

“I think you can create great companies in all those categories,” Lee said. Still, she admitted that certain kinds of companies might find it especially challenging to raise money in the current climate.

For deep tech and moonshots — two common kinds of startups found in the “Future Vision” category — fundraising “was easier in a zero-interest-rate period when there was a ton of capital flowing in,” Lee said. “I don’t know if [those companies] would have been able to raise as much [starting out now] as they had to, to be able to get to where they are now.”

Lee was a co-founder at Polyvore, which combined social mechanics and e-commerce — its users contributed fashion and product clips from around the web and used those products to assemble mood boards, with affiliate marketing underpinning it all. Polyvore was eventually acquired by Yahoo, and she parted ways with it. Yet, that e-commerce and consumer focus has stayed with her, she said, adding that she’s still interested in trying to find new winners in that category despite the challenges of trying to break into the space these days.

“It can still be done,” she said. “I feel like many consumer companies fall in the ‘Hard Fact’ category, and I particularly love working with consumer companies. But you have to be good at both marketing your problem as well as marketing your solution and building this. So it takes a lot to get it right.

“It almost feels like alchemy. I can’t tell you how many founders I’ve met who said, ‘Oh, yeah I was working on Snapchat, too. Like, I had my own version.’ And it sounded like it was similar, but just the right number of details allowed Snapchat to be the one that broke away.”

None of this is to say that the third category, “Hair on Fire,” is exactly easy. “You have to ruthlessly execute,” Lee said. “[You need] so much velocity to stay ahead of everyone.”

Her conclusion drives home one of the most critical aspects of building an early-stage business. “I think there’s a little bit of founder-market fit that goes into each of these product-market fit categories.”


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Investors won't give you the real reason they are passing on your startup | TechCrunch


“When an investor passes on you, they will not tell you the real reason,” said Tom Blomfield, group partner at Y Combinator. “At seed stage, frankly, no one knows what’s going to fucking happen. The future is so uncertain. All they’re judging is the perceived quality of the founder. When they pass, what they’re thinking in their head is that this person is not impressive enough. Not formidable. Not smart enough. Not hardworking enough. Whatever it is, ‘I am not convinced this person is a winner.’ And they will never say that to you, because you would get upset. And then you would never want to pitch them again.”

Blomfield should know – he was the founder of Monzo Bank, one of the brightest-shining stars in the UK startup sky. For the past three years or so, he’s been a partner at Y Combinator. He joined me on stage at TechCrunch Early Stage in Boston on Thursday, in a session titled “How to Raise Money and Come Out Alive.” There were no minced words or pulled punches: only real talk and the occasional F-bomb flowed.

Understand the Power Law of Investor Returns

At the heart of the venture capital model lies the Power Law of Returns, a concept that every founder must grasp to navigate the fundraising landscape effectively. In summary: a small number of highly successful investments will generate the majority of a VC firm’s returns, offsetting the losses from the many investments that fail to take off.

For VCs, this means a relentless focus on identifying and backing those rare startups with the potential for 100x to 1000x returns. As a founder, your challenge is to convince investors that your startup has the potential to be one of those outliers, even if the probability of achieving such massive success seems as low as 1%.

Demonstrating this outsized potential requires a compelling vision, a deep understanding of your market, and a clear path to rapid growth. Founders must paint a picture of a future where their startup has captured a significant portion of a large and growing market, with a business model that can scale efficiently and profitably.

“Every VC, when they’re looking at your company, is not asking, ‘oh, this founder’s asked me to invest at $5 million. Will it get to $10 million or $20 million?’ For a VC, that’s as good as failure,” said Blomfield. “Batting singles is literally identical to zeros for them. It does not move the needle in any way. The only thing that moves the needle for VC returns is home runs, is the 100x return, the 1,000x return.”

VCs are looking for founders who can back up their claims with data, traction, and a deep understanding of their industry. This means clearly grasping your key metrics, such as customer acquisition costs, lifetime value, and growth rates, and articulating how these metrics will evolve as you scale.

The importance of addressable market

One proxy for power law, is the size of your addressable market: It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your Total Addressable Market (TAM) and to be able to articulate this to investors in a compelling way. Your TAM represents the total revenue opportunity available to your startup if you were to capture 100% of your target market. It’s a theoretical ceiling on your potential growth, and it’s a key metric that VCs use to evaluate the potential scale of your business.

When presenting your TAM to investors, be realistic and to back up your estimates with data and research. VCs are highly skilled at evaluating market potential, and they’ll quickly see through any attempts to inflate or exaggerate your market size. Instead, focus on presenting a clear and compelling case for why your market is attractive, how you plan to capture a significant share of it, and what unique advantages your startup brings to the table.

Leverage is the name of the game

Raising venture capital is not just about pitching your startup to investors and hoping for the best. It’s a strategic process that involves creating leverage and competition among investors to secure the best possible terms for your company. 

“YC is very, very good at [generating leverage. We basically collect a bunch of the best companies in the world, we put them through a program, and at the end, we have a demo day where the world’s best investors basically run an auction process to try and invest in the companies,” Blomfield summarized. “And whether or not you’re doing an accelerator, trying to create that kind of pressured situation, that kind of high leverage situation where you have multiple investors bidding for your company. It’s really the only way you get great investment outcomes. YC just manufactures that for you. It’s very, very useful.”

Even if you’re not part of an accelerator program, there are still ways to create competition and leverage among investors. One strategy is to run a tight fundraising process, setting a clear timeline for when you’ll be making a decision and communicating this to investors upfront. This creates a sense of urgency and scarcity, as investors know they have a limited offer window.

Another tactic is to be strategic about the order in which you meet with investors. Start with investors who are likely to be more skeptical or have a longer decision-making process, and then move on to those who are more likely to move quickly. This allows you to build momentum and create a sense of inevitability around your fundraise.

Angels invest with their heart

Blomfield also discussed how angel investors often have different motivations and rubrics for investing than professional investors: they usually invest at a higher rate than VCs, particularly for early-stage deals. This is because angels typically invest their own money and are more likely to be swayed by a compelling founder or vision, even if the business is still in its early stages.

Another key advantage of working with angel investors is that they can often provide introductions to other investors and help you build momentum in your fundraising efforts. Many successful fundraising rounds start with a few key angel investors coming on board, which then helps attract the interest of larger VCs.

Blomfield shared the example of a round that came together slowly; over 180 meetings and 4.5 months worth of hard slog.

“This is actually the reality of most rounds that are done today: You read about the blockbuster round in TechCrunch. You know, ‘I raised $100 million from Sequoia kind of rounds’. But honestly, TechCrunch doesn’t write so much about the ‘I ground it out for 4 and 1/2 months and finally closed my round after meeting 190 investors,’” Blomfield said. “Actually, this is how most rounds get done. And a lot of it depends on angel investors.”

Investor feedback can be misleading

One of the most challenging aspects of the fundraising process for founders is navigating the feedback they receive from investors. While it’s natural to seek out and carefully consider any advice or criticism from potential backers, it’s crucial to recognize that investor feedback can often be misleading or counterproductive.

Blomfield explains that investors will often pass on a deal for reasons they don’t fully disclose to the founder. They may cite concerns about the market, the product, or the team, but these are often just superficial justifications for a more fundamental lack of conviction or fit with their investment thesis.

“The takeaway from this is when an investor gives you a bunch of feedback on your seed stage pitch, some founders are like, ‘oh my god, they said my go-to-market isn’t developed enough. Better go and do that.’ But it leads people astray, because the reasons are mostly bullshit,” says Blomfield. “You might end up pivoting your whole company strategy based on some random feedback that an investor gave you, when actually they’re thinking, ‘I don’t think the founders are good enough,’ which is a tough truth they’ll never tell you.”

Investors are not always right. Just because an investor has passed on your deal doesn’t necessarily mean that your startup is flawed or lacking in potential. Many of the most successful companies in history have been passed over by countless investors before finding the right fit.

Do diligence on your investors

The investors you bring on board will not only provide the capital you need to grow but will also serve as key partners and advisors as you navigate the challenges of scaling your business. Choosing the wrong investors can lead to misaligned incentives, conflicts, and even the failure of your company. A lot of that is avoidable by doing thorough due diligence on potential investors before signing any deals. This means looking beyond just the size of their fund or the names in their portfolio and really digging into their reputation, track record, and approach to working with founders.

“80-odd percent of investors give you money. The money is the same. And you get back to running your business. And you have to figure it out. I think, unfortunately, there are about 15 percent to 20 percent of investors who are actively destructive,” Blomfield said. “They give you money, and then they try to help out, and they fuck shit up. They are super demanding, or push you to pivot the business in a crazy direction, or push you to spend the money they’ve just given you to hire faster.”

One key piece advice from Blomfield is to speak with founders of companies that have not performed well within an investor’s portfolio. While it’s natural for investors to tout their successful investments, you can often learn more by examining how they behave when things aren’t going according to plan.

“The successful founders are going to say nice things. But the middling, the singles, and the strikeouts, the failures, go and talk to those people. And don’t get an introduction from the investor. Go and do your own research. Find those founders and ask, how did these investors act when times got tough,” Blomfield advised.


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Good news for Rubrik, bad news for TikTok and medium news for early-stage startups | TechCrunch


Rubrik’s strong IPO pricing and warm reception by the public markets after its listing add more weight to the perspective that the public markets are not as closed to tech startups as some thought. If Rubrik’s result isn’t enough to break the logjam, well, maybe there’s something else going on.

But there was a lot more that happened this week, which meant that the Equity crew had a pile of news to get through as always, with a little bit of our own mixed in. Happily it was all pretty darn interesting, so Mary Ann and Alex started with Rubrik before pivoting to Pomelo, a startup that has a very interesting twist on the remittances market.

From there it was time to talk about TikTok. What was once an unfathomable result — TikTok being forced to divest from its parent company or face a ban — became reality pretty darn quickly. The United States is not the first company to ban the service, but we noted during the show that the company we are keeping is not the most enticing. Still, here we are; what does it mean for consumers?

And to close, Early Stage. TechCrunch held its annual early-stage focused event this year, and it was a banger. Not to toot our own horn, but it was the second year in a row that our shindig in Boston was packed, useful and lots of fun. The coffee was even good. At a tech conference. Alex had notes.

Equity is back on Monday, thanks for hanging out with us!

Equity is TechCrunch’s flagship podcast and posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and you can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.

You also can follow Equity on X and Threads, at @EquityPod.

For the full interview transcript, for those who prefer reading over listening, read on, or check out our full archive of episodes over at Simplecast.




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Learn how to master cap table management with Fidelity Private Shares | TechCrunch


Are you gearing up to secure funding for your startup or maybe you’ve raised a little bit already? If so, ensuring your cap table and data room are pristine could be the difference between a smooth, swift raise and a drawn-out, costly process. At TechCrunch Early Stage 2024, join Fidelity Private Shares’ session, “Preparing to Raise: Cap Table Best Practices to Help You Close Fast” to gain invaluable insights from industry experts. This session promises to equip founders with the essential knowledge needed to navigate the fundraising landscape efficiently.

Attendees of this session will walk away with actionable guidance from three experts representing the legal, investor, and founder perspectives. Whether you’re a first-time founder or a seasoned entrepreneur, mastering cap table management is essential for a successful fundraising journey. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best and streamline your path to funding success at TechCrunch Early Stage 2024.

Meet the speakers

Kristen Craft, vice president and business partner manager at Fidelity Private Shares, brings a wealth of experience from both sides of the startup equation. With her background as a founder and startup operator, Kristen understands the challenges firsthand. At Fidelity, she spearheads initiatives to support founders and investors with equity management tools, fundraising strategy, and go-to-market best practices.

Laura Stoffel, partner at Gunderson Dettmer, adds legal expertise to the discussion. As a seasoned attorney specializing in the innovation economy, Laura guides entrepreneurs through the complexities of forming and structuring businesses, securing financing, and executing M&A transactions. Her deep understanding of governance and venture financing matters makes her an invaluable resource for startups at every stage of growth.

Melissa Withers, founder and managing partner of RevUp Capital, rounds out the panel with her unique perspective on early-stage investing. A trailblazer in the field, Melissa pioneered revenue-based funding with RevUp, offering startups an alternative to traditional equity models. With a commitment to supporting diverse founders and fostering innovation, Melissa’s approach to investing is reshaping the landscape of startup finance.

What are you waiting for? Book your passes now before prices go up at the door.


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Tomorrow, TechCrunch Early Stage 2024 takes over Boston | TechCrunch


Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for! TechCrunch Early Stage 2024 kicks off in Boston, and we can’t wait to see you there!

We’re expecting 1,000+ attendees for a full day of all things early-stage startups.

As you gear up for an immersive dive into the world of startup success, here’s a quick reminder of what’s in store:

Speaker highlights

  • Edith Yeung, General Partner, Race Capital
  • Emily Knight, President, The Engine Accelerator
  • James Currier, General Partner, NFX
  • Jess Lee, Partner, Sequoia
  • Rudina Seseri, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures
  • Sara Choi, Partner, Wing Venture Capital
  • Tom Blomfield, Group Partner, Y Combinator

Partner sessions to supercharge your startup journey

Connect with these companies in the expo area

Engage in Braindates

Connect effortlessly through 1-to-1 and small-group Braindate networking. No more guesswork or spam — just meaningful connections!

Don’t miss side events

Hurry! Prices go up at the door, so secure your spot now for an unforgettable journey into the world of startups and innovation!

See you bright and early tomorrow at TechCrunch Early Stage 2024! Let’s make magic happen.


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The complete TC Early Stage 2024 agenda is here! | TechCrunch


We’re excited to reveal the complete agenda, packed with keynote stage speakers and interactive roundtable sessions. From fundraising insights to growth strategies, join us as we navigate the startup landscape together at TechCrunch Early Stage 2024 on April 25 in Boston.

Don’t miss out — secure your spot now for an unforgettable experience of learning, connection, and inspiration. Prices go up at the door!

The Agenda

Women in Tech Sunrise Breakfast: How AI Is Impacting Founders

  • Lily Lyman, Partner, Underscore VC
  • Rudina Seseri, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures
  • Milo Werner, General Partner, Engine Ventures

Selecting the Right Accelerator or Incubator

  • Emily Knight, President, The Engine Accelerator

The Ins and Outs of Seed Funding — Roundtable

Sponsored by: Latham & Watkins LLP

  • Spencer Ricks, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Naomi Smith, Associate, Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Dan Hoffman, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Stephen Ranere, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP

Adapt & Thrive: Mastering the Chameleon Mindset — Roundtable

Sponsored by: Prepare 4 VC

  • Christopher Dube, Chief Innovation Officer, Prepare 4 VC
  • Jason Kraus, CEO, Prepare 4 VC

Preparing to Raise: Cap Table Best Practices to Help You Close Fast

Sponsored by Fidelity Private Shares

  • Kristen Craft, Vice President and Business Partner Manager, Fidelity Private Shares
  • Laura Stoffel, Partner, Gunderson Dettmer
  • Melissa Withers, Founder and Managing Partner, RevUp Capital

Exiting via M&A: What Acquirers Are Looking for and How You Can Prepare for a Successful Acquisition — Roundtable

  • Dana Louie, Senior Manager, Corporate Development, HubSpot

Grabbing Investors’ Attention in a Competitive Market: Tips for Early-Stage Startups — Roundtable

  • Sergey Gribov, Partner, Flint Capital

From Inception to Cash: How I Wandered into an Idea and Jump-Started a Company

Sponsored by HomeHQ.ai

  • Oliver Palnau, Co-founder & CEO, HomeHQ.ai
  • Vinny Romano, Co-founder and COO, HomeHQ.ai

Archetypes for Product-Market Fit

  • Jess Lee, Partner, Sequoia

PR 101 for Founders: Branding Strategies to Win Over Investors, Customers and Partners — Roundtable

  • Edith Yeung, General Partner, Race Capital

Never Raise VC Money (and How to Keep More of Your company if You Do) — Roundtable

  • Jake Cohen, Partner, Vinyl Capital

How to Build an MVP and Navigate the Startup-Industrial Complex

  • James Currier, General Partner, NFX

Building the Investor Relationships You Need — Before You Need Them and in the Right Way

  • Lily Lyman, Partner, Underscore VC

Product Myth Buster: The (Actual) Right Time to Hire a Product Leader as an Early-Stage Company — Roundtable

  • Rachel Weston Rowell, SVP, Onsite Product & Tech Center of Excellence, Insight Partners

Scaling Through Chaos: The Art & Science of GTM

  • Paris Heymann, Partner, Index Ventures

How to Raise Money and Come Out Alive

  • Tom Blomfield, Group Partner, Y Combinator

Getting to Series A: Common Pitfalls to Avoid as a Founder

  • Alex Kayyal, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Hard Tech for Early-Stage Founders: HAX Invests in Startups Solving the Hardest Problems in Climate, Industrial Independence, and Healthcare

Sponsored by HAX

  • Susan Schofer, SOSV Partner and HAX Chief Science Officer, HAX
  • Sabriya Stukes, SOSV Partner and IndieBio Chief Science Officer, SOSV
  • Duncan Turner, SOSV General Partner and Managing Director of HAX

How to Intelligently Calculate Your TAM and Wow Investors

  • Tobi Coker, Deal Partner, Felicis
  • Julia Neagu, Co-founder and CEO, Quotient AI
  • Nabiha Saklayen, Co-founder and CEO, Cellino

How to Evolve Your Tech and Staff Strategies for Future Rounds

Sponsored by Sand Technologies

  • Brad Stanton, Managing Director, Sand Technologies

Early-Stage Fundraising: Convertible Notes, SAFE and Series Seed Financing

  • Rebecca Lee Whiting, Founder and Fractional General Counsel, Epigram Legal P.C.

The VC Pitch Blueprint: Strategies for Success

  • Sara Choi, Partner, Wing Venture Capital

Racing the Clock to $1M In ARR: Best Practices for Learning Fast from Launch Partners

  • Rudina Seseri, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures

Finance Fundamentals Before Your First Finance Hire: A Founder’s Guide to Navigating Early Financial Decisions

  • Dan Kang, VP of Finance, Mercury

So You Think You Can Pitch?

  • Paris Heymann, Partner, Index Ventures
  • Rachel Weston Rowell, SVP, Onsite Product and Tech Center of Excellence, Insight Partners
  • Edith Yeung, General Partner, Race Capital


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Harvard's startup whisperer, Peter Gladstone, reveals secrets to validating consumer demand at TechCrunch Early Stage | TechCrunch


Validating consumer demand is a crucial step for any startup, and TechCrunch Early Stage is offering a golden opportunity to learn how to do it right. Peter Gladstone, senior adviser for startups at Harvard Innovation Labs, is set to lead an engaging roundtable titled “Validating Consumer Demand: How to Make the Most of Your Expertise.” With decades of experience as an entrepreneur, marketer, and investor, Gladstone brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Having served as the former head of innovation for Boston Beer Company and Gillette, he’s well-versed in navigating the complexities of bringing products to market.

In this workshop, Gladstone will guide founders on how to leverage their expertise to understand and solve consumer problems effectively. With hands-on advice and practical strategies, attendees can expect to gain insights into testing solutions, refining product development processes, and ultimately validating consumer demand. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to fine-tune your approach, this session promises to offer invaluable guidance for founders at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.

Peter Gladstone’s extensive background includes founding successful ventures such as Mass Hole Donuts and BladeLife, as well as serving as a senior adviser for numerous Boston-based startups. At the Harvard Innovation Labs, he leads programming and mentoring for student-led ventures, helping them navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship. With a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Gladstone’s expertise is grounded in both academic rigor and real-world experience.

For founders eager to validate their ideas and drive meaningful consumer engagement, this workshop is a must-attend event at TechCrunch Early Stage. By learning from Peter Gladstone’s insights and experiences, you’ll be equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to make the most of your expertise and build products that resonate with your target audience. Secure your spot today and take the first step toward turning your startup vision into a thriving reality.


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HomeHQ.ai founders illuminate the path from idea to success at TC Early Stage 2024 | TechCrunch


Anticipation is building for TechCrunch Early Stage 2024, where industry leaders and budding entrepreneurs alike are eagerly awaiting a bevy of startup-focused sessions.

We’re excited to highlight HomeHQ.ai‘s partner session, “From Inception to Cash: How I Wandered into an Idea and Jumpstarted a Company.” This session promises to provide invaluable insights into the entrepreneurial journey, led by Oliver Palnau, co-founder and CEO, and Vinny Romano, co-founder and COO of HomeHQ.ai.

Attendees can expect to be inspired by Oliver Palnau’s entrepreneurial journey, which began at the age of 23 with his venture into the real estate market. From flipping houses to exploring robotics, Oliver’s story is one of innovation and practicality, grounded in his desire to revolutionize industries through the application of AI. Together with Romano, whose expertise in digital media and analytics brings a data-driven approach to HomeHQ.ai, they have crafted an innovative AI tool for real estate agents.

During the session, Palnau and Romano will detail how to ignite interest from customers and investors, build a minimum viable product (MVP), raise initial capital, and assemble a winning team. Attendees will leave the session empowered and equipped with practical advice to embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys with confidence and determination.

We can’t wait for this session and all the other early stage–focused content at TechCrunch Early Stage 2024. Have you booked your ticket yet? Grab yours now before prices go up at the door.


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Check out the complete roundtable lineup at TC Early Stage 2024 | TechCrunch


Among the highlights of Early Stage are its fan-favorite roundtable sessions. These intimate gatherings, guided by experts, delve into targeted subjects crafted to enlighten, invigorate, and enhance your entrepreneurial endeavors. Moreover, they serve as prime opportunities to forge connections with like-minded individuals. Networking, anyone?

Take a look at the complete roundtable roster for this year’s event featuring top VCs and founder leaders.

The Ins and Outs of Seed Funding

Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
with Spencer Ricks, partner, and Naomi Smith, associate, Latham & Watkins LLP

Adapt & Thrive: Mastering the Chameleon Mindset

Sponsored by Prepare 4 VC
with Christopher Dube, chief innovation officer, and Jason Kraus, CEO, Prepare 4 VC

Exiting via M&A: What Acquirers Are Looking For and How You Can Prepare for a Successful Acquisition

with Dana Louie, senior manager, corporate development, HubSpot

Grabbing Investors’ Attention in a Competitive Market: Tips for Early-Stage Startups

with Sergey Gribov, partner, Flint Capital

Never Raise VC Money (and How to Keep More of Your Company if You Do)

with Jake Cohen, partner at Vinyl Capital

PR 101 for Founders: Branding Strategies to Win Over Investors, Customers and Partners

with Edith Yeung, general partner, Race Capital

Product Myth Buster: The (Actual) Right Time to Hire a Product Leader as an Early-Stage Company

with Rachel Weston Rowell, SVP, Onsite Product & Tech Center of Excellence, Insight Partners

For the complete agenda, head on over here. And don’t forget to buy your tickets now before prices go up at the door.


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