Greylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Pear VC join Startup Battlefield judges | TechCrunch

Just a couple more weeks until 20 of the world’s top early-stage startups take to the Disrupt Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 to compete for an equity-free, $100,000 grand prize and eternal glory. They’ll face tough questions from our judges and must stand out against a crowd of super-star founders. We’re excited to share our final cohort of judges at this year’s show!

Be in the room: Buy your pass now, and save up to $400. Avoid the price hike at the door!

Watching the Startup Battlefield is a thrill ride, and it’s also an opportunity for investors and founders alike.

Final Countdown: Startup Battlefield judges at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023

We’re excited to announce the next trio of top-tier investors who will judge the Startup Battlefield.

Guru Chahal, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Guru Chahal is a visionary investor with a passion for revolutionizing digital landscapes. Renowned for his insights into industry trends encompassing DevOps, automation, security, and application development, Guru offers invaluable expertise. Since 2012, he has been an instrumental force at Lightspeed, spearheading early investments in groundbreaking companies like Zscaler (IPO), Avere Systems (acquired by Microsoft), and Avi Networks (acquired by VMware). As a co-founder of Avi Networks in 2013, he played a pivotal role in propelling the company from infancy to catering to an impressive 20% of Fortune 50 giants. Guru’s dynamic journey led him back to Lightspeed in 2019, where he continues to make astute investments in cutting-edge ventures like ngrok, Hubilo, Noname, Infiot, and Pensando.

Jacob Andreou, Partner, Greylock

Jacob Andreou is a product executive and builder who backs founders building the next generation of consumer software.

Prior to joining Greylock, Jacob spent eight years at Snap, where he helped scale the company from its early days to 360 million+ DAUs (daily active users) and $4.5 billion in revenue. For most of his time at the company, he ran a team of several hundred people across the product, design, growth, data science and analytics, and user research teams. Under his leadership, he launched some of its biggest initiatives, including Spotlight. Most recently, he launched My AI, Snap’s own AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT.

Prior to Snap, Jacob co-founded and led product at ThinkAkili, an online retail analytic platform. He holds a BS in Biomedical Computing from Queens University.

Nikita Shamgunov, Partner, Khosla Ventures

Nikita is passionate about deep tech, data infrastructure, and system software. Prior to joining Khosla Ventures, Nikita co-founded SingleStore, a unicorn data and analytics company valued over $1.3 billion. He served as a founding CTO and then CEO, successfully scaling the company to over 40 million in ARR and near profitability. For the first nine months, Nikita lived in the office coding next to the servers. Prior to founding SingleStore, he worked as a senior engineer at Facebook, and before that he was at Microsoft on the SQL Server product.

At KV, Nikita is incubating Neon — a new database company building serverless Postgres — that raised $50 million in its seed and Series A rounds.
Nikita has a PhD in computer science from St. Petersburg. During college years, Nikita received a bronze medal in ACM ICPC, and international student programming competition.

Mar Hershenson, Founding Managing Partner, Pear VC

Mar is Pear’s founding managing partner. After earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, Mar developed a groundbreaking technique of optimizing the design of analog semiconductors. Since then, she has accrued over 13 years of founder experience, co-founding three startups in mobile/e-commerce, enterprise software and semiconductor industries, and has registered 14 separate patents.

As Pear’s co-founder and managing partner, Mar brings operational and technical expertise to the investment team.

She is in currently a lecturer for Stanford University, teaching Lean Launchpad, one of Stanford’s premier entrepreneurship classes. Prior to that, she was a consulting professor at Stanford teaching the introductory course in Analog Circuit Design for nearly a decade.

Mar serves on the board of trustees of Harvey Mudd College and is on the advisory board of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a founder of Equity Summit, the premier conference for connecting URM Venture Capital GPs to LPs, and an initial founding member of All Raise.

She has been recognized by MIT Technology Review as a Top Innovator Under 35, named a Champion of Innovation by Fast Company, awarded the Digital Automation Conference’s Marie R. Pistil Achievement Award, and recognized on the Forbes Midas List in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 takes place on September 19–21 in San Francisco. Buy your pass now and save $400 before prices go up September 15.

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