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A user’s guide to Disrupt 2020

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We’re coming down to the wire folks. Disrupt 2020 officially opens its virtual doors September 14 for five super-charged days of everything the early-stage startup community needs to build better, faster, stronger. Going virtual translates into a global reach making this our largest Disrupt ever. Yowza!

There’s a lot going on during this Disrupt — talk about a vast understatement — including a jam-packed agenda (with time zone-friendly programming for attendees in Europe and Asia), a virtual venue, new events and a multitude of other moving parts. We put together this user guide to help you navigate Disrupt 2020 with maximum efficiency and minimal frustration.

Buckle up for a logistical look at Disrupt 2020.

First, Disrupt will be hosted on the virtual venue platform, Hopin, where all of the action will happen: the Disrupt Stage featuring the Startup Battlefield competition, the Extra Crunch stage, and network with CrunchMatch, access the Expo featuring hundreds of early stage startups.

For you Disrupt Digital Pro pass holders – make sure to sign into CrunchMatch, hosted on Grip, to access a list of recommended connections with other Disrupt attendees. CrunchMatch is brought to you by All Raise, Bizzabo, Invest in Canada, MongoDB, TTA, TechStars and Western Digital. Your Disrupt ticket number on your Bizzabo registration confirmation email is your key to access the platform.

Pitch-off Breakout Sessions

In addition to the famous Startup Battlefield, we love giving startups the mic to grab the spotlight for their fledgling startups. Tune into these 5 pitch-off breakout sessions.

Monday
12PM – Taiwan Pavilion Pitch-Off pt 1

Tuesday
10AM: Belgium Pavilion Pitch-Off
12PM: Taiwan Pavilion Pitch-Off pt 2

Wednesday
10AM: Japan Pavilion Pitch-Off
11AM: Korean Pavilion Pitch-Off

Breakout Sessions

Break out from the Disrupt stage content with a special breakout session:
Monday 11:am: How to Invest in Infrastructure to Deliver Experience with Adobe
Tuesday 9am: Diversity as Disruption: Create a more diverse ecosystem now, with SVB
Tuesday 9am: Taiwan Reception: Innovations and investment opportunities amid COVID19 Pandemics with Christine Tsai (500 Startups), Allan May (Life Science Angels)
Wednesday 9am: Learn from Canadian founders who will talk about their start-ups and how Canada has helped them grow and succeed globally, with the Consulate of Canada
Wednesday 12pm: Making Data Meaningful for the FinTech Ecosystem, with Yodlee
Thursday 10am: Advertising Disrupted: What User Privacy Means For Marketers with Appsflyer
Thursday 12pm: It Takes An Ecosystem To Innovate: Startups, Corporations and the Connectors that Bring Them Together with KITE

Noteworthy events

Startup Legal Advice
Perkins Coie is offering free startup legal advice to Disrupt attendees. Pop by their booth or sign up here to reserve some time with one of their industry-renowned startup lawyers.

Diversity as Disruption: Take action now to create a more diverse ecosystem presented by SVB

Tuesday, September 15th at 9:00-9:50am PST 

Recent events continue to demonstrate that change is not happening fast enough. How can we ensure the current social justice momentum is more than just talk? Guided by SVB’s recent research into the “4th wave of venture capital,” learn how three industry leaders are tackling the problem with real actions. By the close of the session, leave with tangible steps you can take today – whether as an individual or as a firm — to make a meaningful, move-the-needle impact in your organization

Speed of Thought Documentary: The First 5G Visionaries

Tuesday, September 15th at 1:40pm PST

See the premiere of Speed of Thought on the DIsrupt stage, a documentary about the first wave of 5G visionaries, and hear industry leaders discuss how the need for 5G tech and solutions is more urgent than ever.  Stay after the documentary to hear directly from some of the featured innovators talk about how they are using the power of 5G to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society today

Bahrain: Your gateway to the Middle East and beyond
Wednesday, September 16th from 10:00-11:00 AM PST
With its supportive ecosystem, advanced digital infrastructure, flexible and pioneering regulations; rapid growth in funding opportunities, and a liberal market, Bahrain is the ideal testbed for startups and scaleups to test their products and solutions before growing and expanding across the Middle East.

TC Include Reception – PRIVATE

TC Include kicks off this year’s founder cohort with organizational partners Black Female Founders, Female Founders Alliance, Latinx Startup Alliance and StartOut with remarks by Sootchy Founder and CEO, David Adefeso.

Take a break

We’re tapping Wave technology to present Lindsey Stirling, an American violinist, songwriter, and dancer. She’s racked up tens of millions of followers worldwide and more than 3 billion total views on YouTube. Stirling is a performing powerhouse who’s latest album “Artemis” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. Check out two of her YouTube videos here and here.

TeaTime, makers of Trivia Royale, is giving Disrupt attendees a break from all the serious learnings by hosting TC trivia. Win a TechCrunch swag bag and serious bragging rights.

Close out Disrupt on Friday at 1:30pm with a live, virtual Cocktail Party on Run the World. Run the World is the first video events platform built specifically for social interaction. 

Transcriptions

TechCrunch Disrupt is using Otter.ai to transcribe all the events occurring on our Disrupt Stage and Extra Crunch Stage. Check it out for real-time transcripts of the show.

Whew…now that you have your logistical guide to all things Disrupt 2020, all that’s left is to roll up your sleeves, dive in, and discover the opportunities that can help take your business to the next level and beyond. Go get ‘em!

Sponsored by

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/11/a-users-guide-to-disrupt-2020/

Startups

Unity Software has strong opening, gaining 31% after pricing above its raised range

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Whoever said you can’t make money playing video games clearly hasn’t taken a look at Unity Software’s stock price.

On its first official day of trading, the company rose more than 31%, opening at $75 per share before closing the day at $68.35. Unity’s share price gains came after last night’s pricing of the company’s stock at $52 per share, well above the range of $44 to $48 which was itself an upward revision of the company’s initial target.

Games like “Pokémon GO” and “Iron Man VR” rely on the company’s software, as do untold numbers of other mobile gaming applications that use the company’s toolkit for support. The company’s customers range from small gaming publishers to large gaming giants like Electronic Arts, Niantic, Ubisoft and Tencent.

Unity’s IPO comes on the heels of other well-received debuts, including Sumo Logic, Snowflake and JFrog .

TechCrunch caught up with Unity’s CFO, Kim Jabal, after-hours today to dig in a bit on the transaction.

According to Jabal, hosting her company’s roadshow over Zoom had some advantages, as her team didn’t have to focus on tackling a single geography per day, allowing Unity to “optimize” its time based on who the company wanted to meet, instead, of say, whomever was free in Boston or Chicago on a particular Tuesday morning.

Jabal’s comments aren’t the first that TechCrunch has heard regarding roadshows going well in a digital format instead of as an in-person presentation. If the old-school roadshow survives, we’ll be surprised, though private jet companies will miss the business.

Talking about the transaction itself, Jabal stressed the connection between her company’s employees, value  and their access to that same value. Unity’s IPO was unique in that existing and former employees were able to trade 15% of their vested holdings in the company on day one, excluding “current executive officers and directors,” per SEC filings.

That act does not seemed to have dampened enthusiasm for the company’s shares, and could have helped boost early float, allowing for the two sides of the supply and demand curves to more quickly meet close to the company’s real value, instead of a scarcity-driven, more artificial figure.

Regarding Unity’s IPO pricing, Jabal discussed what she called a “very data-driven process.” The result of that process was an IPO price that came in above its raised range, and still rose during its first day’s trading, but less than 50%. That’s about as good an outcome as you can hope for in an IPO.

One final thing for the SaaS nerds out there. Unity’s “dollar-based net expansion rate” went from very good to outstanding in 2020, or in the words of the S-1/A:

Our dollar-based net expansion rate, which measures expansion in existing customers’ revenue over a trailing 12-month period, grew from 124% as of December 31, 2018 to 133% as of December 31, 2019, and from 129% as of June 30, 2019 to 142% as of June 30, 2020, demonstrating the power of this strategy.

We had to ask. And the answer, per Jabal, was a combination of the company’s platform strength and how customers tend to use more of Unity’s services over time, which she described as growing with their customers. And the second key element was 2020’s unique dynamics that gave Unity a “tailwind” thanks to “increased usage, particularly in gaming.”

Looking at our own gaming levels in 2020 compared to 2019, that checks out.

This post closes the book on this week’s IPO class. Tired yet? Don’t be. Palantir is up next, and then Asana .

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/18/unity-software-has-strong-opening-gaining-31-after-pricing-above-its-raised-range/

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Unity, a gaming startup and maker of software used to create 50% of all new mobile games, raises over $1.3 billion in IPO at $13.6 billion valuation

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Last month, we wrote about Unity Technologies (Unity) after the gaming startup filed to go public. For the first time, Unity also revealed its financials after it filed its S-1 statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As of 2018, Unity software is used to create more than 50% of all new mobile games.

Today, Unity finally made its public debut. Its stock surges as shares of Unity opened at $75 in Friday morning trading, up 44% from its initial-public-offering price of $52 a share. The initial public offering (IPO) price came above a raised expected range of $44 to $48 a share. Unity share later settled at $68.85 raising more than $1.3  at a $13.6 billion valuation.

The San Francisco-based Unity makes 3D gaming software and tools that enable developers to create games and other computer-generated entertainment, and its game engine runs thousands of console, mobile, and PC titles. As of 2018, Unity has been used to create 60 percent of augmented reality and virtual reality content.

Unity’s rival, Epic Games, is currently in a fight with Apple after the Fortnite game’s maker announced new payment options that allow players to buy in-game credits direct from Epic Games. Epic has since sued Apple in court. The ongoing saga with Apple could put Epic’s Unreal Engine in jeopardy and open more opportunities for Unity to increase its market share.

Unity was founded in Denmark in 2004 by David Helgason, Joachim Ante, and Nicholas Francis as Over the Edge Entertainment. The company later changed its name to Unity Technologies in 2007. Unity is the creator of the world’s leading real-time 3D development platform, giving users the most powerful and accessible tools to create, operate, and monetize experiences for the real-time world. The 16-year old gaming startup boasts business from game makers such as EA, Microsoft, and Zynga. Unity is based in San Francisco. It has 3,379 employees as of June 30. Backers include DFJ, Sequoia Capital, and Silver Lake Partners.

Unity’s technology software is by over 1.5M monthly active creators. In 2019 more than half of the top 1,000 games in the App Store and Google’s Play Store were built with Unity, the company said in Monday’s filing. In addition to offering the game engine for development, Unity derives revenue from service that can help companies monetize their content, including through advertising. Customers include BMW, EA, Microsoft, Niantic, Sony, Tencent, and Zynga.


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/09/18/unity-gaming-startup-maker-software-used-create-50-new-mobile-games-raises-1-3-billion-ipo-13-6-billion-valuation/

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FBI finally arrested NS8 founder and CEO Adam Rogas after SEC fraud investigation found he defrauded investors of $123 million

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A little over a week ago, we wrote about cyber fraud protection tech startup NS8 after SEC started a fraud investigation about the startup and its CEO following the company’s $100+ million summer financing. A week earlier, NS8 CEO, Adam Rogas, abruptly left the company and the company laid off hundreds of employees.

Finally, justice is about to be served. Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that “Adam Rogas, founder, and CEO of a cyber fraud prevention startup has been arrested and charged with the securities fraud scheme.” DOJ said, “Adam Rogas allegedly raised $123 million from investors using financial statements that showed tens of millions of dollars of revenue and assets that did not exist.”

According to DOJ, ROGAS, 43, of Las Vegas, Nevada, is charged with one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one count of fraud in the offer or sale of securities, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences, in this case, are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

In a statement, DOJ said:

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that ADAM ROGAS, the co-founder and former CEO, CFO, and member of the board of directors of Las Vegas-based cyberfraud prevention company NS8, Inc. (“NS8”), was charged in a Complaint in Manhattan federal court with securities fraud, fraud in the offer and sale of securities, and wire fraud. ROGAS used fraudulent financial data to obtain over $123 million in financing for NS8, of which he personally obtained approximately $17.5 million. ROGAS was arrested today in the District of Nevada and is expected to be presented before a judge there tomorrow.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Adam Rogas was the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse. While raising over $100 million from investors for his fraud prevention company, Rogas himself allegedly was engaging in a brazen fraud. Today’s arrest of Rogas ensures that he will be held accountable for his alleged scheme.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “It seems ironic that the co-founder of a company designed to prevent online fraud would engage in fraudulent activity himself, but today that’s exactly what we allege Adam Rogas did. Rogas allegedly raised millions of dollars from investors based on fictitious financial affirmations, and in the end, walked away with nearly $17.5 million worth of that money. Within our complex financial crimes branch, securities fraud cases remain among our top priorities. We’ve seen far too many examples of unscrupulous actors engaging in this type of criminal activity, and we continue to work diligently to weed out this behavior whenever and wherever we find it.”

Back in June, we wrote about NS8 after the fraud prevention startup raised $123 million Series A funding to provide online fraud detection and prevention for small-and-medium-sized businesses. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and AXA Venture Partners (AVP).

Founded in 2016 by Adam Rogas, NS8’s fraud prevention platform combines behavioral analytics, real-time scoring, and global monitoring to help merchants of all sizes optimize order processing and minimize risk. Built on the Protect API, this app integrates directly into NS8’s platform and allows merchants to begin fighting fraud within minutes.

ADAM ROGAS was a co-founder of NS8 and served as its CEO, CFO, and a member of its board of directors.  ROGAS was also primarily responsible for the company’s fundraising activities.  NS8, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a cyberfraud prevention company that developed and sold electronic tools to help online vendors assess the fraud risks of customer transactions.  In the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020, NS8 engaged in fundraising rounds through which it issued Series A Preferred Shares and obtained approximately $123 million in investor funds.


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/09/18/fbi-finally-arrested-ns8-founder-ceo-adam-rogas-sec-fraud-investigation-found-founder-cyber-fraud-prevention-tech-startup-defrauded-investors-123-million/

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