Announcing the Builders Stage agenda at Disrupt 2023

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TechCrunch Disrupt, our yearly flagship startup event, returns to San Francisco on September 19–21 — and you can bet TechCrunch+ will be in the house.

It’s going to be the biggest and best Disrupt we’ve ever hosted: Along with a few to-be-announced surprises, we’ll have Startup Battlefield, as well as six new stages with targeted materials for founders of all types.

With that in mind, I am very proud to announce the agenda for the Builders Stage, something that we’ve been working hard on for months.

If you went to Disrupt 2022, you’ll recall the TechCrunch+ Stage, which hosted dozens of panels and interviews focused on the nuts and bolts of building and funding new tech enterprises. In 2023, it’s back under a new moniker. This year, you’ll swing by the Builders Stage for more of the same great programming. We’ll be talking operations, hiring, fundraising and more, hitting on key topics for a new generation of startup founders.

And the TechCrunch+ lounge will make a return as well, so whether you’re busy taking notes inside or drinking coffee with the rest of us just outside, we have a lot planned for you.

Lots more to come, but here’s a first look at:

The Builders Stage Agenda at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023

How to Build a New Venture Firm in Public

with Noramay Cadena (Supply Change Capital), Mac Conwell (RareBreed Ventures) and Turner Novak (Banana Capital)

Venture funds aren’t new, and neither are solo GPs. What is a fresh innovation in venture land, however, is building a new fund or firm in public. Some newer investors are as well-known for their online presence as for their investments. And that’s no diss: Raising capital is tough, and building a brand is no sin. Still, we want to know both the pros and cons of building something as complicated as a venture fund without a filter. Founders, there will be learnings for you as well, even if you are a few exits away from hanging up your spurs and taking the other side of the deal-making table.

How Founders Can Leverage a Soft Labor Market into a Competitive Edge

with Nick Cromydas (Hunt Club) and Joelle Emerson (Paradigm)

It seems like it was just yesterday that the tech talent market was so hot that mega-corps hoarded staff to simply keep them off the market and out of the reach of their competitors. Today things are different: Layoffs are more common than hiring binges, and suddenly perks have a bad name. How can startups use a new, and perhaps more attractive, talent market to their advantage? Let’s find out.

When to Follow the Hype and When to Ignore It?

with Sophia Amoruso (Trust Fund, Business Class) and Sarah Kunst (Cleo Capital)

Chasing the next big thing is often a pretty good idea for founders and investors alike. But when folks are chasing the wrong trend, the hype can be more siren song than victory march. When should founders follow the hype? When should they ignore it? Let’s talk about it.

How to Construct an Equitable Cap Table

with Ashley Mayer (Coalition Operators), Amanda Robson (Cowboy Ventures) and Richie Serna (Finix)

Venture investors are no longer all located on the same road at the same time in the same city in the same state of the same country. They’re all over the world, and are increasingly — if slowly — diverse across a host of metrics. How can founders construct an investor pool that reflects their values? In this discussion, we’ll dig into the brass tacks of building a truly equitable cap table.

How to Stretch Your Venture Dollars

with Anamitra Banerji (Afore Capital), Frederique Dame (Google Ventures) and Rick Yang (NEA)

Cash is worth more this year than last year, and certainly more than the tech industry got accustomed to during the last venture supercycle. With the dollar now more powerful than ever, how should startups ensure that their raised capital — equity, debt, whatever floats your burn — goes as far as possible? After all, the more you can do before you need more cash, the higher a price you can charge in your next round.

How Founders with Nontraditional Backgrounds Can Use Their Experience to Excel

with Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins (Promise), Ruben Harris (Career Karma) and Ritu Narayan (Zūm) 

While the hoodie-wearing, 20-something college dropout from a world-famous school still has their place in today’s startup founder makeup, they’re hardly the only sort of person raising big rounds and building hot companies. How can founders who don’t fit the Hollywood or HBO stereotype use their experiences to their benefit? We’ll find out in this highly anticipated panel.

When Should Founders Provide Early Liquidity to Retain Staff?

with Amir Ashkenazi (Switchboard), Tyson Hendricksen (Notice) and Maria Taylor (Beacon Capital) 

Look, we all want more IPOs. But they’re still far rarer than startups need them to be if they want to retain staff who want to see their hard-earned shares turn into something other than paper. So when should founders take a little pre-IPO liquidity as a treat, and when should they let staff do the same?

How to Build a Capital-Intensive Startup in a Tough Venture Market

with Chris Power (Hadrian) and Nikki Pechet (Homebound)

Every VC wants you to think that they’re bravely funding expensive hardware that will revolutionize the future. You know, space launches that use twigs, and satellites that can also zap aliens. That sort of thing. And then you read about new NFT fundraising. The good news is that even in a more conservative venture environment, it’s possible for founders to tackle big, hard and capital-intensive projects. Let’s talk about how it’s done.

How Founders Should Approach the TAM Question When Venture Capital Is Scarce

with Jomayra Herrera (Reach Capital), Helen Min (Phenomenal Ventures) and Monique Woodard (Cake Ventures)

Writing a good market slide is an art. You don’t want to oversell your total addressable market (TAM) and look silly, or post a number that’s too small to be exciting. Nailing TAM for both external pitching and internal planning is no small feat. Let’s dig into the matter with today’s more picky venture market in mind.

How to Build Intelligent Startup Ops that Will Scale with Your Business

with Naba Banerjee (Airbnb) and Asha Sharma (Instacart)

Lost amid glossy founder profiles and funding announcements are the nuts and bolts of scaling a startup’s internal operations. The real stuff that comes with building a scaling startup. From this panel expect operational notes and tips that you can put to work to avoid known pitfalls and to generally kick maximum ass.

Why Bootstrapping Is No Longer a Dirty Word in 2023

with Carey Smith (Unorthodox Ventures) and Hussein Yahfoufi (Arta Finance)

It’s possible to build huge companies without venture money. So long as your startup brings in more cash than it burns, you’re in business. But bootstrapping in tech circles often carries negative connotations — phrases like “lifestyle business” are sometimes thrown around. But with many startups realizing that they aren’t going to be able to raise more money, perhaps it’s time to give bootstrapping another look?

Disrupt 2023 runs September 19–21 in San Francisco. Early Bird passes are currently on sale — save $800 when you buy your pass by May 12. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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