Building a startup is no simple task regardless of the vertical you claim as your own. The reality, though, is that some startups — think robotics or climate tech — require a lot more time in the oven before they’re fully baked revenue generators.
A longer building time affects both startups and investors alike, which is why we’re thrilled that Gene Berdichevsky, CEO and co-founder of Sila; Erin Price-Wright, an early-stage technology investor; and Katie Rae, founding CEO and managing partner of The Engine will join us for a panel discussion at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–20 in San Francisco.
As the funding market cools and takes on a more conservative bent, how can founders get around revenue concerns? On the other side of the funding coin, how do investors weigh the risk when placing bets on startups that could take longer to produce viable income streams?
Those are just some of the questions our panel will address because, let’s face it, these concerns are not theoretical when you’re building — or betting on — startups ranging from hardware to hard science. We reckon a lot of great advice will come out of this discussion.
Under Gene Berdichevsky’s leadership, Sila, a next-generation battery materials company, launched Whoop 4.0, a new type of lithium-ion chemistry. Following investments by blue-chip companies, including Mercedes and Daimler, Sila is working on scaling its science for the electrification of everything: consumer electronics, electric vehicles, electrified flight, and 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 principal engineer on 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 in mechanical engineering and a master’s in engineering with a focus on energy and materials. He has co-authored 42 patents and four academic publications.
Erin Price-Wright, a partner at Index Ventures, focuses on enterprise software and AI, with an emphasis on data, infrastructure, security and automation. She is especially interested in products and technologies that increase resilience, foster collaboration and creativity, and support data-driven decision-making throughout organizations.
Before joining Index, Price-Wright was head of product for Palantir’s data analytics and machine learning platform. She holds a master’s from Oxford in mathematics and computer science, where she focused on applications of algebraic topology to machine learning and computer science, and a bachelor’s in engineering from Stanford University.
Since 2017, Katie Rae has served as the CEO and managing partner of The Engine, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies solving the world’s biggest problems. Before joining The Engine, Rae founded and served as managing partner at Project 11 Ventures.
Rae also held leadership roles at Techstars Boston, serving as managing director (2011–2014) and chairman until 2016. She has advised hundreds of founders and invested in more than 100 companies at their earliest stages. Key investments include Flywire, PillPack (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion), Bevi, GrabCad and Synack.
In addition to her investing career, Rae has more than 15 years of experience in senior management and product positions at Microsoft, Eons, AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2 and Mirror Worlds.
Rae is also founder and president of Equity Summit, an annual event bringing together female and underrepresented minority fund managers and world-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 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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