I spent Monday to Wednesday at Disrupt SF at Pier 48 - a very busy three days! It was my first time at Disrupt SF and it blew my mind - there were so many awesome speakers (I will cover my highlights in another post) and I had the opportunity to meet lots of new start up founders and hear about their new ideas/products (again, will cover this separately!)
Day three finished with the final of the Startup Battlefield - which is where companies pitch their ideas on stage, followed by a short round of questions by a panel of tech investors.
Personally I was torn between Pi (the eventual winner) and my other favourite, Future Family - a new start up focused on offering affordable fertility services. As a Brit living in American and someone who is very pro NHS, I still find it hard to wrap my head around how expensive and inaccessible the healthcare system can be in the States - so it was fantastic to see Claire Tompkins tackle this head on in an area (fertility) that has been rather topical in Silicon Valley over recent years.
Pi were victorious and I cannot deny how great their product - the 'Pi Charger' is. Especially for someone like me who is capable of draining their iphone battery in a matter of hours (I carry a charger with me EVERYWHERE!). Essentially it is a wireless charger in which you can charge multiple devices within about a foot range of the speaker. Unlike other wireless chargers (such as the ones you find in Starbucks) the phone does not need to be stationary on the pad. I watched the founders John Macdonald and Lixin Shi demo the charger on the stage with 5 phones and an ipad - and it worked. It will not solve my problem of running out of battery when I am out and about, as the Pi Charger is intended for use in the home, nonetheless I think it is a cool concept.
Pi have already raised 3.5 million to date, but I am sure the $50,000 prize money will not go amiss.
Looking forward to seeing the progress of these companies over the next few years.
Pi is building a device that can charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction. It’s not the full-room charging concept that other companies have spent years trying to tackle, but it provides a good bit more flexibility over a pad.