Human cyborgs, passion economy and more — check out these Disrupt roundtable winners

·5 min read

Roundtable discussions are a huge and popular part of TechCrunch Disrupt, and this year, we asked you to vote for the topics you want to learn about most. We’ve already announced the first and the second groups of winners from our Audience Choice vote-a-thon, and we're back with a third wave of exciting topics.

If you’re not familiar with them, roundtables are 30-minute, expert-led discussions designed for up to 20 attendees who share an interest in a particular subject. The format allows for deeper conversation, questions and answers and time for attendees to connect and explore collaborative opportunities.

Of course, if you want to participate in any of these awesome discussions, you’ll need a pass. Hot tip: You can save more than $1,000 — if you buy your pass to Disrupt before prices go up on Friday, August 5 at 11:59 pm PT.

These five roundtables represent a diverse range of topics, including why having genuine passion for your industry gives you a competitive edge, how to use flat wins to overcome obstacles, how to scale products that have never existed, how to price for competitive advantage and the challenge of raising up-front capital to build as-yet proven technology.

Love What You Do: Lessons from the passion economy

Speaker: Robin Åström, the co-founder and CEO at Wehype

In this roundtable session, Robin Åström, co-founder and CEO of Wehype, an influencer marketing platform and agency, will lead a discussion on how the passion economy has democratized the ability to make money from creativity — and at scale. He’ll also talk about why it’s important that startup founders operate within industries they are genuinely, deeply passionate about.

Robin will draw on his experience of turning his gaming obsession into a competitive edge. He identified and filled a gap in the gaming influencer market with co-founders he met playing Counter-Strike as a teenager.

Their love of gaming gave them the extra motivation to overcome challenges, allowing them to build Wehype into a rapidly growing and profitable business working with some of the world’s biggest brands, including EA, Microsoft and Ubisoft.

The value of flat wins

Speaker: Alex Hersham, the co-founder and CEO at Zencargo

Founding a business can be one of the most rewarding and gratifying things a person does, but there will always be difficult challenges to overcome. By adopting the concept of flat wins — celebrating when you find a solution and returning to where you started after a period of difficulty — within your operations, you can stay on track and push through the obstacles you face.

In this roundtable session, Zencargo’s Alex Hersham will lead a discussion about how flat wins have shaped his mentality and created resilience in his mindset as a founder. Hersham’s touch points will include:

  • Defining flat wins and examining the psychology behind them

  • Examples of how flat wins shaped both his career and the success of his company

  • How flat wins can create resilience not just in founders, but across entire companies

  • How flat wins can drive value for your business

My daughter the cyborg

Speaker: Jeremiah Robison, the founder and CEO at Cionic

In a world of self-driving cars and reusable rockets, we have the technological capability to step-change human health. Marrying humans to machines is the next great technological frontier, and for Cionic founder Jeremiah Robison, that mission is driven by his daughter's mobility challenges.

Cionic, a bionic clothing company revolutionizing human augmentation, has created a soft, wearable robot that looks and feels like athletic leggings. It uses AI and functional electrical stimulation to literally move someone’s leg for them.

Participants at this roundtable will learn where to begin when innovating at the frontier of humans and machines, how to scale a product that’s never existed and peek into the future of augmented human mobility.

Pricing for competitive advantage

Speaker: Andy Rooks, the founder at Price Theory

Price is a startup’s most important tool for positioning and growth, yet 85% of companies (even the big ones) have suboptimal pricing strategies.

In this session, we’ll discuss how to approach value-based pricing and answer your questions about how to price a startup for competitive advantage and growth.

Traction vs. funding: The chicken-or-egg problem for deep tech startups

Speaker: Thomas Rouffiac, the COO at Natrion

Amid the funding slowdown, EV battery-component maker Natrion raised a $2 million oversubscribed seed round in a high-risk, highly competitive industry. But it was the company’s third attempt at fundraising; they initially struggled to prove to investors that the technology worked when they needed the capital upfront to actually build it first.

Ultimately, Natrion succeeded in gaining backing — not only from industry investors, but also from high-profile investors like Mark Cuban. The team learned critical lessons about how — and how not — to walk this tightrope.

How can deep tech startups differentiate themselves, prove their tech with limited resources and still secure strategic investors and partners? Natrion COO Thomas Rouffiac will share the hacks they learned and discuss how other R&D-dependent startups can do the same.

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place in person on October 18–20 in San Francisco with an online day October 21. Buy your pass before the early-bird pricing ends on Friday, August 5 at 11:59 pm PT, and you can save more than $1,000.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt 2022? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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