TechCrunch Disrupt Comes to Beijing

My crazy month of attending tech startup events continues with TechCrunch Disrupt in Beijing!

Disrupt is a conference that features engaging discussions with leaders in tech entrepreneurship, including founders, CEOs, and top venture capitalists.  Organized by the leading Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch, this was their first ever international conference. They chose to have it in Beijing, which is rising quickly as the hub of internet technology in China.

I was working at the conference as a Volunteer Co-Coordinator, which involved helping out with everything from serving conference attendees and VIP speakers, to running internet cables at the Hackathon!

It was a hectic but exhilarating experience.  I got to meet some of the amazing speakers – my favorites included Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype,  Fritz Demopoulos, founder of China’s leading travel website, and Ben Huh, founder and CEO of  the hilarious Cheezburger Network.

I also met very inspirational entrepreneurs from all over the world, who flew into Beijing just for Disrupt!  One of the highlights of the whole conference was the Startup Battlefield – a competition where young startup companies vie for TechCrunch recognition and a hefty cash prize.  They pitch their businesses to an all-star panel consisting of the biggest innovators, angels, VCs and influencers in the tech community.

The winners of Startup Battlefield (shown in photo above) turned out to be “Order With Me” – started by an American couple living in Hangzhou!  Order With Me is a group buying system meant to help Western small business owners by drastically simplifying the process of acquiring Chinese-made goods in bulk.

Among all the amazing people I met and presentations I watched, my favorite part of the whole experience was meeting the TechCrunch team.  They were a group of fun, down-to-earth techies who truly embodied the spirit of hacking!  Putting together a huge conference like Disrupt was no simple ordeal, especially being in a foreign country.  In fact, Sarah Lacy, TechCrunch senior editor, described the whole process as “a journey.”  And the intrepid TechCrunch team was able to pull off an awesome event while having lots of fun along the way.

Photo Courtesy of TechCrunch.