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Registration for TC Disrupt 2021 is now open



Mark your calendar for TechCrunch’s annual celebration of the startup community — TC Disrupt 2021 returns this September 21-23! At Disrupt, you’ll rub virtual elbows with the thousands of startup founders, investors and innovators building cutting-edge products and companies. Disrupt will be all-virtual, allowing more builders from around the world to share in the learning, growth, connection and excitement that you can only experience with TechCrunch. 

As always, networking will be front and center. You’ll have the opportunity to make spontaneous connections, curated connections with CrunchMatch and chat with other attendees, all while watching sessions. Between the tools provided by our virtual event platform and curated matches, you’ll make valuable connections and expand your network.

Every year we iterate on the Disrupt experience to make sure the event includes more of what founders, investors and innovators want and need to be successful. This year, on the Disrupt Stage we’ll not only bring you the minds behind the headlines but also incorporate analysts’ viewpoints, and highlight emerging founders in Startup Alley in an engaging format geared toward helping you find solutions, build your business or expand your portfolio.

We’re also growing the Startup Battlefield cohort this year. Featuring more startups means more opportunity for founders. If you’re a founder or startup selected for Startup Battlefield, you’ll be able to pitch to a panel of renowned VCs for a chance to win $100,000 in equity-free prize money. Applications for Startup Battlefield will open Q2 2021.

Our Extra Crunch Stage will continue to be a valuable resource for entrepreneurs who are looking to tap the minds of experts and VCs across a variety of industries and categories. In highly interactive sessions, you’ll be able to get your questions answered live or have your pitch deck analyzed to help you refine your fundraising and business development strategies. Plus, all applicable passes will get a three-month membership to Extra Crunch, which gives you a library of insider analyst content that you can put into action at your company right away.

For those early-stage founders who are looking to get some extra exposure for their products and company, the Startup Alley experience is for you. The founders who are accepted into Startup Alley will get a dedicated listing at the virtual event, where they can hold live product demos, generate leads and chat with interested attendees. Founders in Startup Alley will also give a live 60-second elevator pitch to TechCrunch staff for feedback and there will be dedicated time for attendees to browse startups in each category during the Startup Alley Crawl. With a dedicated success manager in your corner providing you tips on how to use all of the items in your toolkit, this is a perfect opportunity to gain new customers, meet potential investors and expand your professional social graph.

From the Startup Alley exhibitors we will also select up to 50 founders to participate in Startup Alley+, which will give them access to a pre-Disrupt series of master classes to prep for the event, pitch-off opportunities at Extra Crunch Live and white-glove curated meetings with investors from the TechCrunch network. 

There is much more happening behind the scenes to add to your TC Disrupt 2021 experience that we will be sharing with you over the coming weeks, but we know you’ll want to secure your spot at Disrupt now. Passes are now available at the lowest Super Early-Bird rate, with additional savings available on top of that for founders, students and employees of nonprofits and government organizations. These passes are your full-access ticket to everything Disrupt has to offer and more for under $100 — but only for a limited time. Be a part of the startup world’s annual rite of passage online this September 21-23 and register today!

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Verizon and AT&T dominate spectrum auction, spending combined $69 billion



A US map with lines representing communications networks.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | metamorworks)

Verizon and AT&T dominated the US government’s latest spectrum auction, spending a combined $68.9 billion on licenses in the upper 3GHz band.

Verizon’s winning bids totaled $45.45 billion, while AT&T’s came in at $23.41 billion. T-Mobile was third with $9.34 billion as the three biggest wireless carriers accounted for the vast majority of the $81.17 billion in winning bids, the Federal Communications Commission said in results released yesterday. US Cellular, a regional carrier, was a distant fourth in spending, at $1.28 billion, but came in third, ahead of T-Mobile, in the number of licenses won.

The auction distributed 280MHz worth of spectrum in the “C-Band” between 3.7GHz and 3.98GHz. This spectrum will help carriers boost network capacity with mid-band frequencies that cover large geographic areas and penetrate walls more effectively than the higher millimeter-wave frequencies that provide the fastest 5G speeds to very limited geographic areas.

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Former top Paytm exec is building his own financial services startup



The executive who built the financial services boutique for Paytm, India’s most valuable startup, from the ground is ready to do something similar all over again.

Pravin Jadhav, the former chief executive of Paytm Money, revealed on Thursday his own startup, Raise Financial Services.

This time, Jadhav — under whose leadership, Paytm had amassed over 6 million Money customers — is focusing on serving a different set of the population.

Hundreds of millions of users in India today don’t have access to financial services. They don’t have a credit card, banks don’t lend to them, and they have never purchased an insurance cover or invested in mutual funds or stocks.

Scores of large firms and startups in India today are attempting to reach these users by building an underwriting technology that can use alternative data to determine an applicant’s credit worthiness. It’s a tough and capital intensive business, built on pillars of uncertainties, assumptions and hopes.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Jadhav said Raise Financial Services is aimed at customers living in metro, tier 1 and tier 2 cities (so very much in and around urban cities). “They want financial products, they are literate about these products, but they are not being served the way they should be,” he said.

Pravin Jadhav, left, poses with Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Jadhav left Paytm last year.

He said his new startup will offer products across financial services including investing, financing, insurance, wealth, and payments. “Just not doing the banking part, as I believe that is more of an infrastructure play,” he said.

“The idea is to offer great exceptional products that are not being offered by anyone. Number 2: Focus a lot on tech-driven distribution. And third is that today the quality of customer service experience is bad across the market. So we are trying to solve that,” he said. “Over time, we will try to stitch all of this together.”

Jadhav also announced he has raised a Seed financing round. He did not disclose the amount, but revealed enough high-profile names, including: Kunal Shah (Cred), Kalyan Krishnamurthi (Flipkart), Amod Malviya and Sujeet Kumar (Udaan), Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari (PhonePe), Amrish Rau (Pine Labs, Citrus Pay), Sandeep Tandon (Freecharge), Jitendra Gupta (Jupiter), Girish Mathrubootham (Freshworks), Nischal Shetty (WazirX), Kuldeep Dhankar (Clevertap), Sreevatsa Prabhakar (Servify), and Amit Bhor (Walnut).

Jadhav himself is also investing, and venture investor Mirae Asset Venture is leading the round, with participation from Multi-Act Private Equity, Blume Ventures (via its Founder’s Fund) and US based early-stage investor Social Leverage, for which it is the first investment in India.

Ashish Dave, CEO of Mirae Asset Venture’s India business, told TechCrunch that even though he had known Jadhav, it was listening to him at various Clubhouse sessions that prompted him to reach out to Jadhav.

Jadhav said users can expect the startup’s first product to be live by the end of the year. (TechCrunch understands it’s shipping much sooner. Raise Financial Services’ offerings will have some similarities with SoFi and Goldman Sachs’ Marcus.)

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How top startup lawyer Dawn Belt thinks about company-building in the age of SPACs



Dawn Belt has been working with top tech companies for two decades, most recently helping commercial electric vehicle company Proterra go public as a SPAC in January.

Now she’ll be joining us at TC Early Stage in April to talk about building a company in 2021, from however you incorporate to however you decide to maybe go public one day.

As a partner at Fenwick & West, a top Silicon Valley law firm, Belt works with startups of all ages, sizes and industries (two of her past IPOs include Facebook and She has also written legal perspectives on a wide range of other topics that startups face, including implications of the CARES Act, board diversity legal requirements and how to manage acquired startups successfully. She also co-authored the firm’s Gender Diversity Survey, an in-depth report on women’s participation at senior levels of public tech companies.

She’ll be at Early Stage to share her experiences old and new, to help you make better decisions now for your company. The talk is part of the two days of events that explore seed and Series A fundraising, recruiting and more for early-stage startups at TC Early Stage – Operations and Fundraising on April 1 & 2. Grab your ticket now before prices increase tomorrow!


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