TechCrunch Disrupt officially kicked off Monday at the Manhattan Center, with hundreds of start-ups presenting their ideas and technologies to some of the best in the business. By Carly Petrone.
What if you could create your perfect shade of lipstick using a 3-D printer or digitize a newspaper article with the click of your camera phone? These are just two of the ideas presented by the founders of Mink and Peekster, two promising start-ups that pitched at the first Battlefield session during TechCrunch Disrupt. Day One of the three-day conference brought established entrepreneurs like Vice’s Shane Smith and Jawbone’s Hosain Rahman to the stage, where they shared their visions for the future and how technology will evolve with us.
With the invention of UP by Jawbone, users gain a better insight into their sleeping patterns, movements, and dietary needs, all through a wearable band worn on their wrists. The goal? To inspire people to change their behavior for the better. Rahman told hopeful entrepreneurs Monday that this device is just a warm-up for the opportunities ahead. “Tomorrow is all about more information. Taking data and contextualizing it for the individual user and turning it into understanding is the Holy Grail. It’s taking massive data, personalizing it, and making it work for you to turn into action,” he said during a conversation with TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler.
Vice, the digital network dedicated to today’s youth, presented work from its Gen Y reporters, proving that this younger generation is absolutely consumed with news. As CEO Shane Smith declared, “We come from a documentary stand point. We press record. We report on the story that’s not being told.” The global youth media company announced at the conference that it has added three distinct channels to its popular network – Munchies (a real food channel), Vice Sports (a fresh take on athletics), and Vice News (a first person account of the changing world).
Beauty and business darlings Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp took a moment out of their busy schedules to talk about their wildly successful brand, Birchbox. The New York-based start-up just raised $60 million in a Series B funding round and it shows no signs of slowing down. The Harvard business school grads discussed what lies ahead for Birchbox, including opening its first brick and mortar store this summer in SoHo as well as the release of their first television commercial. The road to becoming a household name is certainly starting to become a reality. “Raising capital means that we can grow even faster into an industry that is massive…Birchbox is here to stay. We continue to prove that we’re building a business model that works,” said Beauchamp.
The first day of Disrupt also brought hundreds of other early stage companies to Startup Alley, the area where exhibitors can set up shop to show off their talent and technologies to attendees. Many of the companies are launching at Disrupt for the first time, hoping to gain attention from the thousands of VCs in attendance. Startup Alley companies can also win the chance to present on the Disrupt stage in front of the Battlefield judges if voted as the “Audience Choice Winner.”
Check back on Wednesday to find out what happened at day two of Disrupt NY and to learn more about the companies taking part in this year’s conference. It’s all leading up to the Battlefield Finals, where one company will win the $50,000 grand prize and coveted Disrupt Cup. Stay tuned!
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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.