Watching outstanding early-stage founders square off in a pitch competition is not only an essential part of TechCrunch conferences, but it’s also an attendee favorite. Seriously, who doesn’t love a pitch-off? And the Space Pitch-off is just one more compelling reason to go to TC Sessions: Space on December 6 in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at the judges our intrepid startups will need to impress.

But first, if you have not yet done the deed, buy your pass before December 1 at 11:59 p.m. PST. When the clock strikes midnight, the prices increase.

eLet’s get back to the pitch-off. Be in the room when three of the brightest early-stage space startups take the stage in front of a live audience — for glory, media exposure, investor interest and, drumroll please, an automatic spot in the Startup Battlefield 200 at Disrupt 2023. TechCrunch handpicks a cohort of 200 early-stage startups to receive a VIP experience that includes, for starters, exhibiting all three days of the show — for free — and a shot at $100,000.

Without further delay, here are the investors the pitch-off contenders need to impress: Jory Bell, general partner at Playground Global; Mark Boggett, co-founder and CEO of Seraphim Space; Tess Hatch, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP); and Emily Henriksson, principal at Root Ventures.

Jory Bell sourced some of Playground Global’s earliest investments, including Nervana Systems (acquired by Intel). His first three investments at the firm are now unicorns and one, Velo3D, went public last year.

Bell leads the firm’s investment efforts in deep tech areas, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, computational therapeutics, energy, genomics, materials, next-gen computing, and quantum and synthetic biology. His investment portfolio includes Mangata Networks, Relativity Space and Strand Therapeutics, to name a few.

Mark Boggett, a pioneer in space tech investment, co-founded the Seraphim Space Fund and invested in a portfolio that includes three companies that have achieved billion-dollar valuations. Previously, Boggett served as director at YFM Equity Partners, the firm behind the high-profile British Smaller Companies VCT 1 and 2.

Boggett also worked at Brewin Dolphin and Williams de Broë. He completed his undergraduate degree in accounting and finance, and he received a master’s in economics and finance from the University of Leeds.

Tess Hatch, a BVP partner based in Silicon Valley, fosters entrepreneurship in frontier technology, specifically the commercialization of space, drones, autonomous vehicles and agriculture and food technology. She currently serves as a board director for DroneDeploy, Iris Automation, Phantom Auto, and Spire Global, and as a board observer for Black Sheep Foods, Forever Oceans, Rocket Lab and Velo3D.

Hatch was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital. She speaks and is published regularly on Bloomberg, TechCrunch and other publications on space and frontier technology. Earlier in her career, she worked for Boeing and then SpaceX, where she worked with the government on integrating its payloads with the Falcon 9 rocket.

Hatch earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Stanford.

Emily Henriksson is a principal at Root Ventures, a firm focused on investing in three areas: tools and infrastructure, low-cost robotics, and hardware and data science. Prior to joining Root, she worked as a propulsion engineer and designed flight hardware for the SpaceX Falcon and supervised vehicle build for schedule-critical missions.

Henriksson also worked on the Model 3 battery module team at Tesla. She holds MS and BS degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

TC Sessions: Space takes place on December 6 in Los Angeles. Buy your pass today, and then join us to see and learn about the latest space tech and trends, meet rising-star founders and network for opportunities to build a stronger startup.

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