Building a startup is no easy task, regardless of the vertical you claim as yours. The reality, however, is that some startups—think robotics or climate technology—require much more time in the oven before they become fully-baked revenue generators.
Longer build times are affecting startups and investors alike, which is why we’re excited that Gene Berdichevsky, CEO and co-founder of Sila; Erin Price-Wright, early stage technology investor; and Katie Ray, CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine, will join us for a panel discussion on TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18-20 in San Francisco.
As the funding market cools and takes on a more conservative slant, how can founders overcome revenue concerns? On the other side of the funding coin, how do investors weigh risk when betting on startups that may take longer to create viable revenue streams?
These are just some of the questions our panel will address because, let’s face it, these concerns aren’t theoretical when you’re building — or betting on — startups ranging from hardware to hard science. We think a lot of good advice will come out of this discussion.
Under the leadership of Gene Berdichevsky, Sila, a next-generation battery materials company, launched Whoop 4.0, a new type of lithium-ion chemistry. Following investments from blue-chip companies including Mercedes and Daimler, Sila is working to scale its science to electrify everything: consumer electronics, electric vehicles, electrified flights and the evolution of our power grid to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Prior to co-founding Sila, Berdichevsky was the seventh employee at Tesla Motors, where he served as Chief Engineer of the Roadster Battery, leading the development of the world’s first mass-produced automotive lithium-ion battery system.
Berdichevsky holds two degrees from Stanford University — a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering with a focus on energy and materials. He has co-authored 42 patents and four academic publications.
Erin Price-Wright, Partner at Index Ventures, focuses on enterprise software and AI, with an emphasis on data, infrastructure, security and automation. She is particularly interested in products and technologies that increase resilience, foster collaboration and creativity, and support data-driven decision-making in organizations.
Prior to joining Index, Price-Wright was product manager for Palantir’s data analytics and machine learning platform. She holds an MA from Oxford in Mathematics and Computer Science, where she focused on applications of algebraic topology to machine learning and computer science, and a BS in Engineering from Stanford University.
Since 2017, Katie Ray has been CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies solving the world’s biggest problems. Prior to joining The Engine, Rae founded and served as Managing Partner at Project 11 Ventures.
Ray also held leadership positions at Techstars Boston, serving as Managing Director (2011–2014) and Chair until 2016. She has advised hundreds of founders and invested in more than 100 early-stage companies. Key investments include Flywire, PillPack (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion), Bevi, GrabCad and Synack.
In addition to his investment career, Rae has more than 15 years of experience in senior management and product roles at Microsoft, Eons, AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2 and Mirror Worlds.
Rae is also the founder and president of the Equity Summit, an annual event bringing together women and underrepresented minority fund managers and the world’s 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.
TechCrunch Disrupt will be held October 18-20 in San Francisco. Buy your pass now and save up to $1,100. Student, government and non-government passes are available for just $295. Prices increase on September 16.
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