The Key's TechCrunch Disrupt Dispatch

Sep 22, 2023

TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco is a tech industry institution, and our team just spent three days at the Masonic Convention Center soaking up all the fascinating panels and presentations, and meeting startup founders and teams working on some of the industry’s most fascinating, innovative technologies.

As public relations professionals, tech enthusiasts, and die-hard media junkies, there was no better way for us fully immerse ourselves in what’s new and at the forefront of tech - especially AI, gaming, transportation tech, and more.

Each day, our team shared Key takeaways from the show - here are some of the topics we found to be the most fascinating:

TechCrunch Disrupt panel: "Lights, Camera, Algorithm! Where AI Fits Into Movies, Games and Creativity
  • Startup competition is fierce! 3,200 companies applied for Startup Battlefield, 200 were selected to exhibit on the floor, and only 20 got to present on stage.

  • AI is everywhere, not only in Silicon Valley - one of our favorite presenters was Avalo, based in North Carolina. The company speeds up evolution for crops, working on processes like optimizing Chinese broccoli and improving sunflowers for cooking oil.
  • How do you get Shaquille O'Neal to invest in your startup? Express your love for kids + tech and come up with something that will change a child’s life. Edsoma snagged his attention with one alarming stat: The U.S. bases prison cell population on the basis of third-grade reading levels. Literacy can drive economies. Lead with passion.
TechCrunch Disrupt panel: Shaq-nology: Slam-Dunking Education's Future with AI & Edsoma
  • AI regulation is of course factoring into investor’s decisions. But they say it’s still the early days, and they worry it will stifle innovation and Startups should be worried. The investors we heard speak say regulation needs to slow down and let the companies create.

  • AI in moviemaking - the technology has the power to democratize technology and expand the potential of storytellers who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to make movies with complex motion graphics. Hollywood tends to be slower to adopt technology, but it can mean really exciting advances in developing super creative,  immersive experiences. New tools for creators will eliminate tedious tasks, that now take hours could take minutes.
  • We are seeing history repeat itself with the amount of skepticism surrounding AI, the same resistance came with the development of the Model-T car and also with the invention of the camera - two things that have created massive industries crucial to society today.
  • We love transpotech and learned that with public and private transportation, we have to go beyond massive improvements to change consumer behavior. We have to balance the desire and pressure to move fast, with building trust and taking care of communities. It will take genuine, organic, thoughtful relationships with city governments, community organizations, neighborhood groups and more. We have to launch new ideas and technologies with the community, built on a basis of trust.
  • According to Zhenni Liu, Partner, MaC Venture Capital, It can be difficult to get large enterprises to adopt AI/ML. With any large business, there are many different people touching different parts, and many are building in legacy infrastructure that is outdated.
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