Just returned from São Paulo and Mexico City, where last week we had dozens of meetings with founders, accelerators and investors, in addition to well attended meet ups at Estação Hack in São Paulo and MassChallenge in Mexico City. The startup community is really pumped about TechCrunch’s first ever  Startup Battlefield Latin America,  which will be held on Nov. 8 in São Paulo.  This week, TechCrunch’s Jonathan Shieber and Anna Escher are in Buenos Aires and Santiago with the same message: early stage startups, don’t miss a huge opportunity to get on the global radar with investors, partners and media. Apply now to compete; the deadline for applications is Aug. 6.

Here are some of the most common questions we heard at the meet ups last week:

What stage of company can apply? (1) Must have a working product ready for market by time of show or very recently in market, but with limited publicity to date.  If the timing works, we encourage founders to launch on the Battlefield stage. (2) Should be pre-series A; seed or pre-seed is fine.

Does TechCrunch take fees or equity in exchange for participation? No. We ask nothing from the founders except hard work to prepare to be on stage.

What companies are eligible? Startups headquartered in most Latin countries are eligible. See See full list here.

What is the criteria for winning Startup Battlefield? We instruct the judges to pick the startup that they believe will have either a) the biggest exit in the years ahead or b) the largest overall impact, including social impact.

What is the competition format? Top VCs, founders and TechCrunch editors serve as judges. Each founder team has six minutes to pitch and six minutes to answer questions.

Is it required that founders pitch in English? Yes, but there will be translation assistance if needed for Q&A.

We’ve been holding Startup Battlefield competitions for the past 12 years, and we’re pretty proud of the results our participants have achieved. More than 750 companies have stepped on stage to pitch top VCs and TechCrunch editors. Those founders have gone on to collectively raise more than $8 billion and produce more than 100 exits. You might recognize names like Dropbox, Yammer, Mint, Getaround, Cloudflare, Vurb — just to name a few.

If you want to join that esteemed group of Battlefield alumni, here’s what you need to know. Our seasoned TechCrunch editors will scrutinize every eligible application (more about eligibility in a minute). It’s a highly competitive process, and our editors have a very discerning eye. They’ll select 15 startups to compete, and their decision will be based, in large part, on which applicants have the strongest potential for a big exit or major societal impact.

Before the chosen founders ever step on the stage at São Paulo’s Tomie Ohtake Institute, they’ll receive expert — and free — pitch coaching from TechCrunch editors. Founders will be primed and ready to roll when the big day arrives.

Startup Battlefield Latin America begins with three preliminary rounds. Five startups per round will each have just six minutes to pitch their company and present their product demo to a panel of top-tier VC judges. The entire event takes place in front of a live audience of 500 people.

Following each team’s pitch, the judges have six minutes to ask the team probing questions. Of the 15 startups, only five will move on to the finals to pitch a second time — in front of a fresh set of judges. The judges will confer and ultimately declare one finalist to be the Startup Battlefield champion and Latin America’s best early-stage startup.

Along with that glorious title, winning founders receive US$25,000 in non-equity cash, a boatload of investor and media attention, plus a trip for two to the next TechCrunch Disrupt, where they can exhibit for free in Startup Alley. While there, they might even qualify to participate in that Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield.

Even the startups that don’t win the day still reap big benefits — like massive media and investor exposure. And remember those 750 Startup Battlefield alumni we mentioned? The founders of all 15 Startup Battlefield Latin America participants join that esteemed network. That’s some fine company to keep.

Startup Battlefield Latin America takes place on November 8, 2018 in São Paulo.  Don’t wait. Apply today. We can’t wait to see the companies in this region’s fast-emerging startup ecosystem.

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