Bessemer, Playground, Root and Seraphim VC will judge TC: Space Pitch-off sessions

Bessemer, Playground, Root and Seraphim VC will judge TC: Space Pitch-off sessions

Watching outstanding early-stage founders go head-to-head in a pitching contest is not only an essential part of TechCrunch conferences, it’s also a favorite of attendees. Seriously, who doesn’t love a pitch-off? And the Space Pitch-off is just one more reason to go to TC Sessions: Space on December 6 in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at the judges our intrepid startups will have to impress.

But first, if you haven’t done the deed yet, buy your pass before December 1st at 11:59pm PST. When the clock strikes midnight, prices rise.

Let’s go back to launch. Enter the room as three of the brightest early-stage space startups take the stage in front of a live audience: for glory, media exposure, investor interest and, drum roll please, an automatic seat in the Startup Battlefield 200 at Disrupt 2023. TechCrunch selects a cohort of 200 early-stage startups to receive a VIP experience that includes, for starters, performing all three days of the show — for free — and a shot at $100,000.

Without further ado, here are the investors the contenders need to impress: Jory Bellgeneral partner of Playground Global; Marco Boggettco-founder and CEO of Seraphim Space; Tess Portello, partner of Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP); And Emily Henrikssonprincipal of Root Ventures.

Jory Bell provided some of Playground Global’s early investments, including Nervana Systems (acquired by Intel). His first three investments at the company are now unicorns, and one, Velo3D, went public last year.

Bell leads the company’s investment efforts in deep technology areas, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, computational therapy, energy, genomics, materials, next-generation computing, and quantum and synthetic biology. His investment portfolio includes Mangata Networks, Relativity Space and Strand Therapeutics, to name a few.

Marco Boggett, a pioneer in space technology investing, co-founded the Seraphim Space Fund and has invested in a portfolio comprising three companies that have reached billion-dollar valuations. Previously, Boggett was a director at YFM Equity Partners, the firm behind the high-profile British Smaller Companies VCT 1 and 2.

Boggett also worked at Brewin Dolphin and Williams de Broë. He completed his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and holds a master’s degree in economics and finance from the University of Leeds.

Tess Portello, a Silicon Valley-based BVP partner, fosters entrepreneurship in frontier technology, especially the commercialization of space, drones, autonomous vehicles, and agricultural and food technology. He currently serves as a board director at DroneDeploy, Iris Automation, Phantom Auto, and Spire Global, and a board observer at Black Sheep Foods, Forever Oceans, Rocket Lab, and Velo3D.

Hatch was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital. He speaks and publishes regularly on Bloomberg, TechCrunch and other publications on space and frontier technology. Early in his career, he worked for Boeing and then SpaceX, where he worked with the government to integrate his payloads with the Falcon 9 rocket.

Hatch holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford.

Emily Henriksson is a principal of Root Ventures, a firm focused on investments in three areas: tools and infrastructure, low-cost robotics, and hardware and data science. Prior to joining Root, he worked as a propulsion engineer and designed flight hardware for the SpaceX Falcon and oversaw the construction of vehicles for time-critical missions.

Henriksson also worked on the Model 3 Battery Module team at Tesla. He holds masters and mechanical engineering degrees from Stanford and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

TC Sessions: Space takes place on December 6 in Los Angeles. Buy your pass today and then join us to see and learn about the latest space technologies and trends, meet rising star founders, and create a network of opportunities to build a stronger startup.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Space? Contact our sponsorship sales team via by filling out this form.

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