Announcing The Judges for The Austin And Seattle TC Pitch-Offs

TechCrunch is headed to Austin and Seattle next week, and we’re bringing the world-renowned TechCrunch Pitch-Off with us.

But what is a pitch-off without expert judges to weigh in on the cities’ most talented startups?

We’re pleased to announce that in Austin on June 23 we’ll be joined by Josh Baer of Capital Factory and Bumble CEO and cofounder Whitney Wolfe. In Seattle on June 25, Mukund Mohan from Microsoft Ventures, Julie Sandler of Madrona Venture Group and MSNBC’s Devin Coldewey will take the stage with judges’ hats at the ready. As usual, members of the TechCrunch editorial staff will join our judges in the panel, and yours truly will be hosting the event.

If you haven’t already heard about the Pitch-Offs, then that sucks because they’re one of the best things ever.

We select about ten companies from each city to pitch their startup in sixty seconds or less. Judges weigh in with a quick Q&A and eventually choose a winner.

First place gets a table in the Startup Alley of TC Disrupt in San Francisco, while second place receives two tickets to the show and audience choice receives one tickets to the conference.

We spend the rest of the evening hanging out and making new friends (and drinking alcoholic beverages, so please 21+ only), and we really want to see you there.

So buy tickets.

Here for Austin on June 23.

Here for Seattle on June 25.


Josh Baer, Capital Factory

Joshua Baer helps people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs at Capital Factory, Austin’s largest coworking space and most active investment fund. Josh founded his first startup in 1996 in his college dormitory at Carnegie Mellon University and now teaches a class at the University of Texas for student entrepreneurs. He was recently recognized as a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations Young Leaders Forum, and an Eisenhower Fellow. Josh lives in Austin with his wife Amy and three children.

Whitney Wolfe, Founder and CEO of Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is the Founder and CEO of Bumble, an Austin based dating app. Prior to Bumble she Co-Founded the dating app Tinder, where she was the VP of Marketing for over two years in West Hollywood. Pre-Tinder, Wolfe had two companies in college, an ethical clothing company, Tender Heart and a charity bag line, HelpUs. Whitney graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2011, she is 25 years old, and resides in Austin, TX.

Todd Hansen, SXSW Interactive

Todd Hansen is the Head of Conference Content for the SXSW Interactive Festival and also moonlights as a Creative Director for the boutique creative agency Ocupop. In previous lives he found myself a part of a couple startups, one ad agency, a few different bands, one record label and many other jobs in between. He was the only 9 year old in his school who loved Omni magazine. 


Mukund Mohan

Mukund Mohan founded and sold BuzzGain, a leader in Do It Yourself PR, to Meltwater in January 2010. Before that he founded and sold 2 Silicon Valley startups in the Internet & Enterprise software markets. He currently helps startups at Microsoft Ventures. Besides having held executive and management roles in Hewlett Packard (Mercury), he has also worked at Cisco Systems as an engineer. He studied at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science and have a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and computer science from the University of Mysore in India

Julie Sandler, Madrona Venture Group

Julie is a principal at Madrona Venture Group, and leads new investments for the firm. She launched the Seattle Entrepreneurial Women’s Network, a forum for entrepreneurs to connect in the greater Seattle area. Julie was also named Geekwire’s “Geek of the Year” in 2014, and to PSBJ’s 40 Under 40. She has been a featured speaker at We Day at Seattle’s Key Arena for 15,000 local youth, a TechStars mentor, a board trustee at Seattle Repertory Theatre, and an adjunct faculty member at University of Washington where she teaches MBA student Entrepreneurship classes. Previously, Julie was a senior product manager on Amazon Kindle, and worked at Accenture and TeachStreet, a Madrona portfolio company (acquired by Amazon in 2012). She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford with a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and received an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School.

Devin Coldewey

Devin Coldewey is a freelance writer and photographer based in Seattle. Devin currently contributes at and TechCrunch, and has written for The Daily, UX Magazine, DP Review, and others; his work has also appeared on radio, television, and in print. He writes on a variety of topics, among them photography, design, tech culture, and political issues. You can learn more here.