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Ten global startups, three rounds of pitching, nine expert judges. It’s not the 12 Days of Startups (no robotic partridge in a pear tree here), it’s the TC Early Stage Pitch Off — otherwise known as day two of TC Early Stage 2021: Operations & Fundraising.

Yesterday on day one, TC Early Stage was all about invaluable how-tos. Today, it moves into a full day of action. TechCrunch vetted hundreds of applications to pitch at Early Stage 2021. Now it’s finally time for the epic battle, as these 10 exceptional startups throw down their best pitch — streamed live to a global audience including investors, press and tech industry leaders.

Each startup gets 5 minutes to pitch followed by a Q&A with their judges. The action kicks off at 9am PT with five startups participating in round one — Clocr, Pivot Market, and Fitted.

They’ll have to bring the heat to impress their panel of VC judges: Marlon Nichols (co-founder and managing general partner at MaC Venture Capital), Sarah Smith (partner at Bain Capital Ventures) and Leah Solivan (general partner at Fuel Capital).

Round two begins at 10 am PT and features FLX Solutions, Nalagenetics, The Last Gameboard, Attention Quotient and Soon. They’ll present their pitches to Lucy Deland (partner at Inspired Capital Partners), Eghosa Omoigui (founder and managing general partner at EchoVC Partners) and Neal Sáles-Griffin (managing director at Techstars).

Only three startups will make it into the final round, which starts at 11 am PT. The finalists pitch yet again — facing a new panel of judges and a more extended Q&A. Who’s judging that final round? We tapped Wen Hsieh (partner at Kleiner Perkins), Natalie Sandman (partner at Spark Capital) and Stephanie Zahn (partner at Sequoia Capital).

Then it all comes down to one standout startup. Along with global exposure, the ultimate winner receives a feature article on, a free, one-year membership to ExtraCrunch and a free Founder Pass to TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 in September.

Don’t forget the value of watching other startups pitch — and hearing the questions the judges ask them. Expert pitch feedback is invaluable, and you might just hear a few tips you can roll into your own presentation.

Ashley Barrington, founder of MarketPearl, experienced a variation on that theme at TC Early Stage 2020.

“The Pitch Deck Teardown was incredibly helpful. Hearing the investors give feedback based on their perceptions and what they look for is so valuable. And seeing the other pitch decks and how different founders presented information was both interesting and informative.”

Day two of TC Early Stage 2021 will be non-stop pitch action. Grab some popcorn, get comfy on the couch and tune in to the TC Early Stage Pitch-Off — the pitch you improve could be your own.

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