Index Ventures, Sila, The Engine weigh in on startups that require a longer time horizon at Disrupt • TechCrunch


Building a startup is no simple task no matter what vertical you claim. The reality, however, is that some startups — think robotics or climate tech — require a lot longer in the oven before generating fully baked-in revenue.

A longer build time affects both startups and investors, which is why we’re thrilled that Gene Berdichevsky, CEO and co-founder of Sila; Erin Price-Wright, an early-stage technology investor; and Katie Rae, Founding CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine, will join us for a panel discussion at TechCrunch Disrupt October 18-20 in San Francisco.

As the funding market cools and takes a more conservative turn, how can founders circumvent revenue issues? On the other side of the funding coin, how do investors assess risk when placing bets on startups that may take longer to produce viable revenue streams?

These are just some of the questions our panel will address because, let’s face it, these concerns aren’t moot when you’re building — or betting on — startups ranging from hardware to hard science. We think a lot of good advice will come out of this discussion.

Under Gene Berdichevsky’s leadership, Sila became the first next-generation battery materials company to industrialize and bring to market a new kind of lithium-ion chemistry – with the launch of WHOOP 4.0, a wearable health and 24/7 advanced fitness program that understands Sila the science.

Prior to co-founding Sila, Berdichevsky was the seventh employee of Tesla Motors, where he served as Principal Engineer on the Roadster Battery, leading the development of the world’s first mass-produced automotive lithium-ion battery system.

Berdichevsky holds two degrees from Stanford University – a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering with a focus on energy and materials. He is co-author of 42 patents and four academic publications.

Erin Price-Wright, partner at Index Ventures, focuses on enterprise software and AI, with a focus on data, infrastructure, security and automation. She is particularly interested in products and technologies that increase resilience, foster collaboration and creativity, and support data-driven decision-making in all organizations.

Prior to joining Index, Price-Wright was a product manager for Palantir’s data analytics and machine learning platform. She holds an MS from Oxford in Mathematics and Computer Science, where she focused on applications of algebraic topology to machine learning and computer science, and a BS in Engineering from Stanford University.

Since 2017, Katie Rae has served as CEO and Managing Partner of The Engine, a venture capital firm that invests in start-ups that solve the world’s biggest problems. Prior to joining The Engine, Rae founded and served as Managing Partner of Project 11 Ventures.

Rae has also held leadership positions at Techstars Boston, serving as Managing Director (2011-2014) and President until 2016. She has advised hundreds of founders and invested in over 100 early stage companies. Key investments include Flywire, PillPack (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion), Bevi, GrabCad and Synack.

In addition to his investment career, Rae has over 15 years of experience in leadership and product roles at Microsoft, Eons, AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2 and Mirror Worlds.

Rae is also Founder and Chair of Equity Summit, an annual event that brings together women and underrepresented minority fund managers and world-leading sponsors. She currently serves on the boards of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Form Energy, Via Separations, Lilac Solutions, Boston Metal, Sublime Systems and VEIR.

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place October 18-20 in San Francisco. Buy your pass now and save up to $1,100. Student, government, and nonprofit passes are available for just $295. Prices increase on September 16.

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