900 Start-ups, 3 New Experts, and 3 New Partners…

TechCrunch50 is now just a month away, and we are very busy here reviewing the nearly 900 start-ups from 49 different countries that have applied. The ideas and innovations that have been brought to our attention are mind blowing. You will not want to miss out on this year’s conference as the next generation of technology, Web applications and products will be revealed to the world on September 8, 9 and 10 in San Francisco.

Today, we are announcing that Niklas Zennstrom the co-founder of Joost, Skype and Kazaa, Evan Williams the co-founder of Twitter, and Ash Patel the Executive Vice President of Yahoo!’s Audience Product Division will be at TechCrunch50. Niklas, Evan and Ash join a growing and extraordinary group of experts who are teaming with us to mentor and evaluate our 50 finalists. Bios for our newly announced experts are referenced below.

We, also, are pleased to announce today that we have 3 new partners joining us: The Founder Fund, Salesforce and MySpace. The Founders Fund is a non-traditional investment group led by a team of four managing partners, who themselves are founders and entrepreneurs. Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). MySpace.com is a leading online lifestyle portal. We’re lucky to have executives from all three companies joining us as expert panelists – Sean Parker (Partner, Founders Fund), Marc Benioff (Chairman & CEO, Salesforce) and Chris DeWolfe (CEO, MySpace).

As we closer to the conference, we are encouraging everyone to book their hotel reservations (many hotels are already sold out) and register for the conference before we sell out. For companies seeking to launch and showcase products at TechCrunch50, please take a look at our Exhibitor Packages. If you have questions about sponsorships, please reach out to Heather Harde or Dan Kimerling. All media inquiries should be sent to Sarah Ross.

We can’t wait to see you in San Francisco!

Niklas Zennstrom
Niklas is an Internet entrepreneur, who co-founded, Joost, Atomico, Skype and Kazaa among other companies. He is currently a partner of Atomico. In addition to this, he is also the co-chairman of Joost. Niklas co-founded Skype in 2002 with Janus Friis with the vision of liberating consumers and businesses from the need to pay for talking to each other across the globe. Skype has become the global leader in Internet voice communications, attracting more than 276 million registered users within less than four years of its launch. Skype’s continuing success was officially recognized in September 2005 when eBay Inc acquired the company for $3.1 billion US Dollars. Niklas had the position as CEO from its inception until September 2007.

Evan Williams
Evan Williams founded his first Internet company in 1994 and has been doing the same ever since. He is currently chairman and chief product officer of Twitter. In 1999, he co-founded Pyra Labs and led the team that created Blogger, which was sold to Google in early 2003. Williams worked at Google until late 2004, after which, he helped form Odeo, an early podcasting company. In 1996, he formed Obvious, LLC, a web-product development company in San Francisco, which spun out Twitter, Inc. in 2007.


Ash Patel
Ash Patel is currently the Head of Yahoo’s Audience Products Division. Previously he was the Executive Vice President of the Platforms and Infrastructure Division where he was responsible for global technology investments and platform initiatives both on and off the Yahoo network. Under his previous title he also led an increased focus on innovating and developing next-generation services for Yahoo customers, and oversaw divisions including Product Platform Engineering, Platform Strategy & Architecture, and the Advanced Development Division. Since starting at Yahoo in 1996, Patel has played a key role in architecting and enhancing MyYahoo, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Chat and many other products that continue to impact millions of Yahoo users.