Today’s the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt, the grand finale. We’ve seen some interesting startups present on stage, even more interesting booths in Startup Alley, and today’s the day when we see the winner. The finalists were a diverse bunch:
- An indoor farming operations platform (Agrilyst)
- A POS/Inventory system specifically designed for the burgeoning cannabis market (Green Bits)
- A Mint.com for small business (Leap Financial)
- A nail decorating robot (Preemadonna)
- A healthy subscription food model for kids’ lunches (Scrumpt)
- A Slack-type communications solution for Healthcare (Stitch)
While each of these contenders have an interesting and thoughtful approach to product-market fit, only one will come away with the final cup and the $50,000 grand prize.
This year, it was Agrilyst, a cloud-based solution to manage indoor farming, with Green Bits as the runner up. Interestingly, both top finalists this year seem poised to take advantage of the growth in legalized cannabis consumption. Given the small niche, it’s hard to see Agrilyst as a truly disruptive company in the same league as Uber or Airbnb, but it does seem like a real innovation for the underserved farming industry. Greenhouses are complex, heavily data intensive operations, and owners have previously had to make do with disparate tools like Excel that were not well suited to the job.
Still, first prize isn’t everything, as the $180 MM funded second placer from years past CloudFlare can attest when they went up on stage. At the end of the day, the real prize at Disrupt isn’t the prize itself, but the attention and credibility in the eyes of investors and the tech media.
Then there’s the other “startup” that launched here at Disrupt. While it’s not one of the contenders on stage, one of the most memorable moments here was seeing Snoop Dogg announce the launch of his new startup, a premium cannabis lifestyle content site dubbed Merry Jane.
This trip has been a nonstop whirlwind of networking dinners, company tours, and of course the hive of activity here at Disrupt. The passion and awareness for tech and innovation here is both eye-opening and deeply satisfying to see. Even during our last day here at the conference, we still managed to fit in a lunchtime trek to LinkedIn’s downtown office here with a friend to show us around.
While getting around the city during this trip is a small detail, I think it’s been a telling example of the environment here. We’ve been completely spoiled by the cost and convenience of Lyft Line and UberPool, shared ride services that are a game changer for effortlessly getting around a new city at a low price. It seems like everyone takes it here, with enough demand for most rides you see them continuously pick up and drop off multiple passengers.
It’s been incredible being completely immersed in the tech industry here, a tradition that I hope will hopefully continue into the years ahead.
By: Ying Chen
Ying graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Marketing, a minor in Biology, and a strong mix of extracurricular experience in graphic design and digital media. He previously worked at JPMorgan Chase in Wilmington, DE working up from intern to a Leadership Development Program rotational analyst, to Marketing Manager. He has a strong interest in technology and product development.