Accel, Flourish Ventures and Future Ventures join Startup Battlefield judges

·4 min read

We’re gearing up for an epic Startup Battlefield competition at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–20 in San Francisco. Competing can be a life-changing milestone. Just ask the founders of Cloudflare, Dropbox, Fitbit, Mint and Yammer.

Like those who came before them, this year’s contenders will have to work hard to impress the seasoned VCs who will size up their pitches and follow up with exacting questions. We’re thrilled to announce our third group of judges (check out others here and here) ready to determine who wins the glory and the $100,000 prize.

Pro tip: Startup Battlefield isn’t just thrilling to watch; it’s also a masterclass in how investors think. The judges’ feedback provides insight into the criteria they use to determine whether a company is viable or not. Watch and learn what investors look for, what motivates them and what pushes them to schedule a meeting.

Without further ado, here are the next three expert VCs ready to help crown the next Startup Battlefield champion:

Maryanna Saenko, the co-founder and CEO at Future Ventures

Maryanna Saenko’s early investments in SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, Planet and Skype represent $800 billion of aggregate value creation. She invests in frontier technologies that make the world a better place, including nuclear fusion, sustainable agricultural and land management, bee immunology and women’s reproductive longevity.

Saenko has held VC positions at Khosla Ventures, DFJ and Airbus Ventures. During her earlier career as a research engineer, she worked on lunar rovers, martian landers, driverless cars and long-range, low-frequency communication systems. Saenko holds a BS in biomedical engineering and an MS in materials science and engineering from Carnegie Mellon.

Emmalyn Shaw, the co-founder and managing partner at Flourish Ventures

Emmalyn Shaw brings more than 20 years of tech investment experience to leading Flourish’s U.S. portfolio team. She led the firm’s investments in, and provided guidance to, Brigit, Chime and Propel, and she sits on the boards of Unit, Kin Insurance, SeedFi, Clerkie, Cushion, EarnUp and Steady.

Shaw advocates for transforming the U.S. financial system to help create better financial health. She is a strong believer in working with marginalized communities and leads her firm's DEIJ+ efforts. Shaw serves in leadership roles at YPO and All Raise.

Prior to founding Flourish, Shaw served as a partner at Omidyar Network, a venture partner with Oak Investment Partners and a tech investment banker with Morgan Stanley. Shaw holds an MBA degree from Wharton and a BA degree from UC Berkeley, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Rich Wong, a partner at Accel

Rich Wong joined Accel as a partner in 2006. He led the firm's investments in — and currently serves on the boards of — Atlassian, UiPath, Checkr, Instabug, Pyn, Process Street, Middesk and Qwilt. He also served on the National Venture Capital Association board of directors.

Wong previously led Accel's investments in AirWatch (acquired by VMware), Angry Birds/Rovio, MoPub (acquired by Twitter), AdMob (acquired by Google), Dealer.com (acquired by Cox), Osmo (acquired by Byju's), Parature (acquired by Microsoft), ServiceChannel (acquired by Fortive), Sunrun, SwiftKey (acquired by Microsoft) and 3LM (acquired by Motorola).

Prior to Accel, Wong served as EVP/GM of products for Openwave Systems and as CMO of Covad Communications. He began his career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and at McKinsey.

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place on October 18–20 in San Francisco. Buy your pass now and save up to $1,100. Student, government and nonprofit passes are available for just $295. Prices increase September 16.

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