May 20, 2024
Meet the AI, fintech, SaaS and security industry chairs at TC Disrupt 2023


We’re less than two weeks away from TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, and we still have more amazing people and sessions to share with you. Today, we’re introducing you to our industry chairs. These folks act as expert resources for TechCrunch, and they assist with our outreach across their respective fields.

Now you, too, can benefit from their wisdom. Each industry chair will lead a hands-on breakout session at Disrupt! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from their expert insights.

Learn more about them and their sessions below. And, if you haven’t already, grab a Disrupt pass by September 15 at 11:59 p.m. PDT to save up to $400.

The Industry Chairs at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023

AI Industry Chair: Hilary Mason

Hilary Mason is the co-founder and CEO of Hidden Door. Prior to Hidden Door, she was general manager of the machine learning business unit at Cloudera. She previously founded Fast Forward Labs, an applied machine learning research and consulting startup, which Cloudera acquired in 2017.

Mason also served as data scientist in residence at Accel Partners, co-founded HackNY, and was chief scientist at Bitly. Mason has received numerous awards, is a regular keynote speaker, and has advised startups, corporations and governments.

Breakout session: Game-Changing Insights — Lessons from an AI Game Technology Startup

Explore transformative lessons from the AI game technology startup realm. Hilary Mason, co-founder and CEO of Hidden Door, distills universal wisdom about incorporating AI into your business, including hiring, LLM research and ethics, and merging machine learning with other disciplines in your organization. This dynamic conversation promises to empower tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs with real-world strategies to implement AI effectively in their projects.

Fintech Industry Chair: Nik Milanović 

Nik Milanović, general partner at the Fintech Fund, spent 10 years leading strategy and partnerships for fintech companies before pivoting to investing. He began his career as the first hire at Funding Circle, one of the earliest fintechs, which went public in 2018. He joined the early team at Petal to bring their flagship card to market (currently over 250,000 users) and raise more than $244 million in venture funding.

Milanović led the partnership strategy for Google Pay’s U.S. relaunch before moving full-time into investing. Alongside investing, he is the founder of This Week in Fintech, a fintech community business with more than 60,000 weekly readers, over 20,000 event attendees and more than 7,000 online community members.

Breakout session: How to Raise Your First Round as a Fintech Founder 

Fireside talk–style conversation between early-stage fintech VCs Nik Milanović and Chris Wallace. They’ll detail the major changes over the last year in the early-stage fintech market, the different business and revenue types, how to craft a pitch and what VCs look for.

SaaS Industry Chair: Tomasz Tunguz

Tomasz Tunguz is a general partner at Theory Ventures, an early-stage software and infrastructure firm investing $1 million to $25 million in early-stage companies. Tomasz writes a blog at tomtunguz.com and has worked with companies like Looker, MotherDuck, Monte Carlo, Hex, Omni, Lilt, Chorus and Dremio. He co-authored the book “Winning with Data: Transform Your Culture, Empower Your People, and Shape the Future.”

Breakout session: Building Applications with AI

Join us for a roundtable discussion with top data leaders as we explore the future of AI-powered applications. In this session, Harrison Chase, CEO of LangChain, and Henry Scott-Green, CEO of Context, join Tomasz Tunguz to discuss the best practices for building applications with AI. Discussion topics include the types of applications best suited for using LLMs, the infrastructure and tooling required to achieve success and maximize the user experience. If building applications in a modern way is on your roadmap — or even just a curiosity — you don’t want to miss this exciting panel discussion.

Security Industry Chair: Katie Gray

Katie Gray, the lead investment partner for the Cyber Practice at In-Q-Tel (IQT), is responsible for identifying technologies that address challenges faced by the U.S. Intelligence Community. She has led investments in venture-backed startups in the areas of application security, cryptography, cloud security, threat intelligence, security operations, industrial control system security and more. Gray has been on the IQT investment team since 2011 and has led investments in more than 30 companies during her tenure.

Before joining IQT, Gray spent more than 10 years in product management for mobile consumer electronics products, including the Handspring Treo line of smartphones, mobile phones and tablets at Palm and HP and an electronic reader at Plastic Logic. Prior to joining Handspring, Gray was a member of the founding team and vice president of marketing for Bluelark, a pioneer in mobile web software that was acquired by Handspring. Before moving into the technology industry, Gray worked in Washington, D.C., as professional staff for the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

Gray earned both a bachelor’s degree in human biology and an MBA from Stanford University.

Breakout session: Stay tuned for details.


TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 takes place September 19–21. Take advantage of your last ticket sale opportunity. Buy your pass by September 15 at 11:59 p.m. PDT and save up to $400.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.



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