Diversity & Entrepreneurship Summit (NYC)

Last month we co-hosted our first Diversity & Entrepreneurship Summit in NYC with our new partner DigitalOcean. Participants connected with venture partners, founders and leaders from Silicon Valley & NYC’s tech startup communities. This intimate setting allowed us to not only discuss the challenges in raising money but also the challenges of making our industry more inclusive. This summit featured a wide range of tech speakers that dived into discussion around ethnicity, gender, sexuality and what it means to look at diversity through a global lens.
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500 Startups & DigitalOcean team
“It was an honor for DigitalOcean to host the first Diversity & Entrepreneurship Summit. I was so incredibly inspired by the diverse and passionate group of attendees.”- Hollie Haggans, Global Community Partnerships
HIGHLIGHTS 
WHO INSPIRES YOU? 
WHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU? 
*Special thanks to everyone who joined us, including our volunteers and fellow team members. Stay in touch with 500 Startups & DigitalOcean for upcoming Diversity & Entrepreneurship Summits,  meetups and announcements. Search #DONYC500 and follow DigitalOcean & 500 Startups for more tweets from this Summit. Photo album can be found HERE. Proceeds from this event were donated to Black Girls CODE, a non profit organization that focuses on providing technology education to African-American girls ages 7–17.
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Where Are They Now?

We’re excited to announce the return of our flagship VC training program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing (formerly called IGSVI). 500 Startups, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development, will be once again running this popular two-week program. In this program, individuals will learn 500s investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, Angels, SV startups and entrepreneurs (including 500’s portfolio). This session will run from February 8-19, 2016. For more information and to apply, please visit: 500.vc/apply

500 Diversity Scholarship

We’re pleased to announce that we will be offering several 12K scholarships to selected investors from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in venture capital, including women and candidates from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and geographies. Candidates must have an investment budget of less than 1M to qualify for the Diversity Scholarship.

In the spirit of recognizing some of our diverse participants (and hopefully encouraging more to apply), we’ve highlighted three women that have taken their careers to new heights with the applied knowledge of this program. In the third part of this series, we sat down with Katherine Hague, Creator of Female Funders and Co-Founder of ShopLocket.

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Katherine Hague (@Katherinehague) Creator of Female Funders and Co-Founder of ShopLocket. Read more about her community of female angel investors here.

Can you please tell us a little bit about your background?

I grew up in Toronto, Canada and now split my time between Toronto and San Francisco.

I started my first venture-backed company 4 years ago at the age of 21. It was made possible by my first angel investor who put $10,000 into the company. That investment was the money we needed to launch. We went on to join an accelerator and raise a venture capital round from investors like Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, and ultimately sold the company just two years later, when I was 23.

After selling my company I started doing a little bit of angel investing. I heard about VC Unlocked and the scholarship program for women and applied right away. I saw the program as a great way to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of the VC world, to build my network, and to build my confidence as an investor.

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What are you working on now?

Coming into the VC Unlocked program I knew my passions centered around supporting female entrepreneurs and investors. While 18% of startups today are led by women, only 2.7% of venture capital funding goes to female CEOs. The same similarity biases that hurts women today when they are pitching to male VCs could help change the numbers if we get more women on the other side of the table as investors.

Coming out of VC Unlocked, I decided to take my passion to the next level and launched Female Funders as a community for female angels. Since launching in August, the project has been featured by Techcrunch, MarketWatch, Levo League, and Forbes to name a few. Today the community has over 750 members and we’re on a mission to get 1000 women to make their first investment by Fall 2016. We have interviewed some of the biggest names in angel investment, are running an 8 city breakfast series in the new year, launched the first online Angel School for female investors, and even started writing a book for O’Reilly Media — “Funded: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Your First Round “— which will be coming out early 2016.

It has been a whirlwind and I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the VC Unlocked community!

Are you using any of the concepts taught at the program in your work today?

Yes! The program really helped me understand the inner workings of syndicates and venture funds, which has help enormously as we look to scale the Female Funders network. Everything we learnt around sourcing deals, typical valuations, different global markets, and portfolio building has also been very helpful in directing my personal investments and has helped guide the development of the Female Funders resources offered to our community.

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If you had to name one key outcome of the program, what would that be?

I am a more confident investor. I’m less worried that there is some secret to venture capital investing that I am missing. I also feel like I am really part of the 500 Startups community. The VC Unlocked class and the 500 Startups partners have been very supportive every step of the way. I feel honored to be part of such an incredible group.

What advice do you have for a women who are interested in becoming investors?

Writing your first check can seem scary, but it’s also one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have. Investing in early stage companies is about so much more than just financial return. It’s a way to build your network, to learn about new industries, and to change the world. Start small, but the most important thing is to get started. Programs like VC Unlocked will give you the network and confidence you need to get started.

Missed the first and second part of this series? Learn more about Paula Schwarz and Pocket Sun’s journeys after completing VC Unlocked. 

Where Are They Now?

We’re excited to announce the return of our flagship VC training program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing (formerly called IGSVI). 500 Startups, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development, will be once again running this popular two-week program. In this program, individuals will learn 500s investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, Angels, SV startups and entrepreneurs (including 500’s portfolio). This session will run from February 8-19, 2016. For more information and to apply, please visit: 500.vc/apply

500 Diversity Scholarship

We’re pleased to announce that we will be offering several 12K scholarships to selected investors from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in venture capital, including women and candidates from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and geographies. Candidates must have an investment budget of less than 1M to qualify for the Diversity Scholarship.

In the spirit of recognizing some of our diverse participants (and hopefully encouraging more to apply), we’ve highlighted three women that have taken their careers to new heights with the applied knowledge of this program. In the second part of this series, we sat down with Pocket Sun, Founding Partner of SoGal Ventures.

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Pocket Sun (@pocketysun) is the Founding Partner of SoGal Ventures. Read more about her female-led millennial venture capital firm here.

Can you please tell us a little bit about your background?

I grew up in China and moved to the US for college. Before VC Unlocked, I founded SoGal, a global platform to empower and inspire the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs. In the process of working with many female-led startups, I learned first hand and researched how bad the gender issue is in entrepreneurship and in venture capital. VC Unlocked was the perfect program to immerse me into Silicon Valley and the VC world.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently in Singapore, working towards raising SoGal Ventures Fund I, while expanding SoGal to Asia. SoGal Ventures is the first female-led, cross-border millennial venture capital firm investing in diverse entrepreneurs in both the US and Asia.

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Are you using any of the concepts taught at the program in your work today?

I met my Founding Partner Elizabeth Galbut at VC Unlocked. We were both inspired by what we learned and whom we met, and realized that there needs to be pioneers to improve the gender disparity issue in venture capital. We were able to learn a great deal from our fellow classmates who are experienced VCs or angel investors, and decided to take actions and lead by example. I also really liked 500’s investment approach – big portfolio, small bets. It’s a great model for a microVC fund like the one we’re building.

If you had to name one key outcome of the program, what would that be?

Meeting everyone in the program was fantastic. We were 34 investors from 15 different countries, and half were female! You don’t see that anywhere else. I really appreciated 500’s efforts to improve the gender ratio, and bring interesting people together. I learned a lot about the startup ecosystems in many parts of the world.

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What advice do you have for women who are interested in becoming investors?

Start small. As Jason Calacanis said, “Beg founders to let you in at a small dollar amount, and then 10x outperform your money to serve the company. Know the risks and enter it with eyes wide open – you may not get all your money back!” Investing in early stage companies has a lot to do with identifying the right person, so start from someone you trust for a referral or attend startup events to see what’s out there.

Missed the first part of the series? Learn more about Paula Schwarz’s journey after completing VC Unlocked.

Where Are They Now?

(The first in a three part series catching up with past VC Unlocked participants. Find out how the program benefited them, as well as their best advice for those who are thinking of investing.) 

We’re excited to announce the return of our flagship VC training program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing (formerly called IGSVI). 500 Startups, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development, will be once again running this popular two-week course. In this course, individuals will learn 500s investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, Angels, SV startups and entrepreneurs (including 500’s portfolio). This session will run from February 8-19, 2016. For more information and to apply, please visit: 500.vc/apply

In the spirit of recognizing some of our diverse participants (and hopefully encouraging more to apply), we’ve highlighted three women that have taken their careers to new heights with the applied knowledge of this program. We’re kicking off this series with Paula Schwarz. 

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Paula Schwarz (@Paulapolice & @Startup_boat) is the Founder of  Startupboat and The Exponential Network. Read more about her work here

Can you please tell us a little bit about your background? 

I am half-Greek and half-German. I was working for KRW Schindler Private Ventures to raise funds in the Middle East and wanted to deepen my knowledge on investment management. Also, the combination of gathering experience at Stanford together with LPs of 500 Startups and a number of Venture Investors seemed very appealing to me. Having studied political science, my approach to venture is driven by the goal to achieve social impact. I’m thrilled to apply learnings from the VC Unlocked to my work today. 

What are you working on now?

I founded a mobile incubator that develops scalable and financially self-sustainable solutions for the social challenge of mass migration. I work with teams that build prototypes for tools and support them in the further development of their concepts.

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Are you using any of the concepts taught at the program in your work today?

Yes. Many of our solutions can be compared to start-ups. They have a clear roadmap, are scalable and exit driven – which means we think about who the perfect lead for the initiative could be next year. We also address the assessment of value and look at potential ways to generate revenue with a product, for example, launching an app. I was also taught to take great care in building teams that can truly identify with a project and portray its vision to a user community, team members and investors.

If you had to name one key outcome of the program, what would that be?

First of all, I learned that there’s no one right way to go. We all cook with water and in the end what counts is that a venture does something that works – it’s sustainable. As a founder, you must know how to make your assets work for you, even if you don’t start off at the perfect position. If you can do that the rest usually falls into place…keep up the good spirit, take it step by step and be transparent.

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What advice do you have for women who are interested in becoming investors?

Please don’t start if you want to be an investor. Start because there’s a topic you love, something you want to drive forward that is bigger than you. First of all, write down your personal investment thesis. Narrow it down to a region. Ask yourself, what is it you can give to a venture, only you and no one else? Connect the dots and figure out why you’re an asset, and not why people want your money.

As an investor your job is to empower others to do their best. It’s your job to give valuable advice and direction in times of confusion. Try to see yourself as part of the team and be of help in ways that have nothing to do with the financial investment you provide, but more with an investment of time, thought, contacts or experience. That way, you prevent others from making foreseeable mistakes and act in the interest of all parties involved.

 

Seoul Searching

At 500 Startups, our team of 100 people manage seed investments in 18 countries and speak over 20 languages. We are a diverse family that is often flying from Silicon Valley to different corners of the world. Right now some of my colleagues are traveling to Bahrain (Manama), UAE (Abu Dhabi & Dubai), Jordan (Amman & Dead Sea) and Egypt (Cairo) for the latest Geeks On A Plane tour. At 500, we love to explore new territories and connect with some of the brightest founders from different cultures, backgrounds, religions, personalities, beliefs systems and abilities.

500 Startups is taking active steps to bring the tech world closer together. We’re only scratching the surface in understanding how the world works and how we’re truly interconnected. Luckily, technology accelerates all of this and allows us to explore cross-border opportunities everyday.

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Launching #500Kimchi

Last February, my colleague and 500 Partner Tim Chae invited me to help with the press launch of #500Kimchi. I met with founders, Korean officials, startup leaders and the incredible team on the ground.

It was wonderful to return after nearly a decade. Long ago, I moved to Seoul to discover my mother’s old stomping grounds. I got to study alongside some of Korea’s brightest at Ewha Womans University. In my second year in Seoul, I became a champion of North Korean Human Rights through my NGO work at NKHR. Through these experiences I learned more about my history, my roots and had a better understanding of the world outside of the United States.

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My Heritage and Connection to Seoul (서울)

I am of Korean and Norwegian heritage and often identify myself as “Korwegian”. My ancestors were Vikings, Mongolians, adventurers, nomads, immigrants and entrepreneurs. I am proud of who I am and will reflect more on my Asian American experience (as Tracy Chou of Pinterest does so well in this post).

When growing up, my parents brought me to foreign restaurants, introduced me to foreign films and always encouraged me to learn more about the outside world. I believe that my unique cultural makeup and upbringing has contributed to my cultural curiosity and made me a lover of all things different. There is an excitement of discovering the unknown. I remember when I first arrived in South Korea. Walking through Seoul for the very first time was a completely novel experience (even with my Korean background). The loud crowded streets, new smells, the energy—it was all so foreign to me. The food was inexpensive, healthy and DELICIOUS. The landscape had mountains, a truly wonderful visual discovery for someone who came from the flatlands of Minnesota.

I was immediately introduced to a fast paced and high energy way of living. Moving from a city of 400K inhabitants to a city of 10 million is probably one of the biggest cultural shocks I’ve encountered. The everyday experiences were so radically different. I was speaking a new language, listening to new music, watching new films and finally learning how to cook my mother’s dishes. I was living in a new culture and it was probably one of the most exciting and life-changing moments to date.

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Google Campus Seoul & 500 Startups Team Up

Fast forward to today and what Diversity Means to Me (다양성)

A decade later I can now reflect and have a deeper appreciation for the experiences that led me to meet extraordinary people from all different walks of life. I now look at diversity in a completely new light. So much to the point where I founded Geekettes, an organization that encourages women to join the tech industry. Why? Because a richer tapestry of people leads to a richer tapestry of ideas, of problem solving and innovation. People from different corners of the globe can come together and tackle problems in unique ways, and from different perspectives. All that I have described is embodied in the ethos and spirit of 500 Startups. It’s the reason I joined this amazing team, the reason why I had the opportunity to return to Korea and why I’m carving out a new role as Director of Diversity.

This past October, I had the opportunity to meet with leaders from Korea’s next generation of tech companies. I got to participate in a series of startup conferences, meet ups and help curate a Diversity Summit alongside Google Campus Seoul. I wanna give a very big and special shout out to my colleague Kyungmin Kim who busted her ass to make it a fantastic event. Women and men were left inspired and ready to create more diverse working environments within their startups.

Seoul is a Startup Itself (스타트업)

Seoul in many ways is like a startup in itself. It’s chaotic, it’s moving fast and it’s breaking things. The startup ecosystem is blowing up. Founders are inventing incredible things with great passion, teaching each other what they have learned, and inspiring one another with new tech solutions to everyday challenges. The startup community is paving a new way for tech entrepreneurs and each individual I met has an amazing story to share.

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Korean BBQ time with the #500STRONG Family

Here is a short list of places you should visit and folks you should connect with on your trip to Seoul:

I. Google Campus Seoul

Google Campus Seoul is part of a global network of spaces where big ideas are shaping the future. Together 500 and Google hosted a series of talks, panels and discussion around diversity. Watch this fireside chat with Christine Tsai (500’s Founding Partner) and Sofia Benjumea (Head of Google Campus Madrid):

(This fireside chat was translated into Korean HERE via the Bridge.)

BONUS: I gave a talk on “10 Reasons Why Need More Women in Tech” and its also translated into Korean HERE.

II. STARTUP:CON 2015 SEOUL

A great tech startup event with live performances, talks and breakout sessions for founders and investors. Special thanks to Stella Heesun Suh and Kocca for involving 500 Startups on this very special day.

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500Startups Panel with Kocca

III. K-Global Startup Engine 2015

Startup competition where 38 founders in Seoul pitched in front of an international group of VCs. My colleague Haley Kim sat on the judging panel, GO #500Women! Special thanks to the team at Accelerate Korea for the kind invitation and delicious Korean craft beer.

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Accelerate Korea Team

IV. Baedal Minjok 

I caught up with Mike Kim (a SF transplant in Seoul). He’s joined a successful Korean food delivery startup called Baedal Minjok. Mike’s an awesome guy who is super passionate about the Seoul startup community and writes great blog posts like this one. I had a wonderful visit and scored some amazing BM swag that celebrates the Korean alphabet!

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Visiting Mike at Baedal Minjok

Closing Thoughts

I’m proud of my Korean ancestors who created a civilization and unique culture despite many years of oppression from the outside. Koreans are brave, resilient and extremely kindhearted. I’m proud of my heritage and this trip has only brought me closer to my roots. I’m proud to watch a burgeoning startup ecosystem grow and to connect with new founders and community members.

Thank you 500 Startups for bringing me back, this trip meant so much to me. Big shout out to Tim Chae, Kyungmin Kim, Haley Kim, Christine Tsai, Dave McClure and the team at Google Campus Seoul.

Dae-han-min-guk (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)

Your Korwegian,

Jess

Q&A with Jake Park, Founder and CEO of Between

In this Q&A, we get to know Jake Park (29), Founder & CEO of Between, a beautiful messaging and photo sharing app for couples. Learn more about Jake’s approach to fundraising, Seoul startups, and more below.

Location : Seoul, Korea

Investors: $4 million raised with SoftBank, Ventures Korea, Japan’s Global Brain Corporation & 500 Startups.

What is your definition of a successful entrepreneur?  

One who solves a problem by creating meaningful social impact.

How do you approach fundraising?

Before we launched Between, we failed two products in the span of a year. During that process, we were able to build relationships with our investors. They saw us at our best and our worst, how we built our team and product, how we failed, and how we learned from our failures. So we knew each other before we first fundraised with Softbank Ventures Korea for our third product, Between. Once we started, the process was fast and smooth because they already understood what we were going to do and how we were going to solve the problem.

I really believe keeping in touch with investors even at non-fundraising stages is very important. Entrepreneurs should be clear and persistent in their visions. Transparency is the best way to gain trust from investors, and trust can make or break a deal.

Do you have a mission and/or mantra?

Our company vision is to “provide emotional communication services to enrich real, offline based relationships.” This vision is the most important mission that we strive to achieve.

Who do you look up to/admire in your field? 

Jaewoong Lee, founder of Daum Communications (2nd biggest portal in Korea, merged with Kakao in 2014). He is a valuable mentor for us. He helped us find the right way to go and the right mindset to have as co-founders when we were suffering through our two failures.

Can you recommend one or more entrepreneurs in your region who are doing great work?

Heeun Park, ex-CEO of IUM. She was a co-founder and ex-CEO of IUM, an online dating service in Korea. There was no dating service in Korea before IUM; IUM built the online dating industry. After she left the company, she became an investor in Altos Ventures. She has been continually supporting the Korean startup ecosystem as an entrepreneur and investor.

Can you tell me about an experience where, at the time, it felt like a failure but looking back on it you can see how it was a positive learning experience or led you to success?

Before launching Between, we failed two different products. We had focused on the tablet PC market in Korea, but the tablet PC market did not grow as fast as we expected. We pivoted our vision to the smartphone market, and reset our company vision. We learned the hard way that the key for startups is creating a product which the market needs–products that the market and the people want, not a product we want to create.

What challenges do you have to deal with, and how do you overcome these challenges? 

Our biggest challenge is to grow faster. We have been growing well so far, but I think this year would be the year that can decide the future of our company. To grow faster, we should move more aggressively in the global market. We are trying to hire talented people who understand local markets (especially in SEA) because we saw many cases in which talented people added great value.

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What drove you to build this company in the first place? 

My dream was and still is to “build IT services or products for the society to enhance people’s lives.” I thought the only direct way I could achieve this dream is to found a company, since it would be difficult to do so directly if I chose to join traditional conglomerate companies or professional firms like consulting or banking. Founding a company was not a difficult decision for me.

 

What is your long term dream/vision for the company?

 “Provide emotional communication services to enrich real, offline based relationships.” We will continue focusing on this vision to help people get closer in the offline world.

What’s the greatest memory of building you company” and “what was the hardest day and why”? 

The greatest memories are when I found great people and they decided to come on board. I never compromise when I hire people. I think that’s the reason I have the opportunity to work with great team  members.

The hardest day was right before launching Between. We only had a 6-month runway after failing two different products, which meant Between could be our last chance. We were really desperate, and our desperation drove us to build a great product.

Wanna learn more about our founders in Korea? Check out our interview with Seoul-based founder David Lee, at Shakr:  #500Kimchi

Welcome Batch 15! Plus, Batch 16 Applications Now Open

It’s a big day for us at 500 Startups.

Today, we officially open applications for Batch 16 on AngelList, and welcome the arrival of our Batch 15 companies!

Batch 15 is a group of scrappy start-ups that explores unusual markets, including postpartum care, underwater robots, airplane maintenance, and even crocheting. Most are later-stage seed companies, doing anywhere between $10K-$100K per month in revenue. 33% of Batch 15 have at least one female founder, and 43% are international. Check out the official coverage of Batch 15 by TechCrunch.

More details on the latest additions to the 500 Family below (including fun facts submitted by the founders themselves!). Applications for Batch 16 here.

 

#links

Ultimate personalized & visual job hunting app for startup & digital jobs.

AngelList: http://angel.co/links-people-you-should-meet

Founders: Djoann Fal, Polpat Songthamjitti, Pichaya Srifar, Keenan Kwok

From: Bangkok, Thailand

Fun Fact: Djoann has been living in Thailand for 1.5 years. Polpat tried his first Thai massage two years ago and has been addicted since then. He also doesn’t admit that he looks like a Korean Pop Star 🙂 Pichaya can be found at the office on Sunday playing DotA. He likes to be called “Pro Gamer” more than “Programmer”. Keenan doesn’t like to admit it, but he is going to be a proud father soon. 

Barn & Willow

Premium window treatments and home decor basics at an accessible price.

AngelList: http://angel.co/barn-willow

Founders:  Trisha Roy

From: Menlo Park, CA

Fun Fact: Trisha is a HUGE travel enthusiast, travelled to almost all continents (Antarctica is next).

 

Beeketing

Premium window treatments and home decor basics at an accessible price.

AngelList: http://angel.co/barn-willow

Founder: Quan MT, Alice Ha, Dzung Duong

From: Singapore, Singapore & Hanoi, Vietnam

Fun Fact: Beeketing is named from Bi (beloved dog of Alice) and Marketing (our interest).

 

Cirrus Identity

We manage user login so businesses can focus on core product and engage customers faster.

AngelList: http://angel.co/cirrus-identity

Founders: Dedra Chamberlin

From: Oakland, CA

Fun Fact: The company is named after clouds that are light and easy, just like their identity solutions!

 

Clicky, Inc. 

A membership program for Sports Fields, Gyms, Fitness Classes.

AngelList: http://angel.co/clicky-2

Founders: Piojo Bucai, Gonzalo Andres Conde, Alejandro Javier Silvestre

From: Córdoba, Argentina

Fun Fact: The founders met each another because they were on the same soccer team: Alejandro is the Goalkeeper, Gonzalo Midfield and Ezequiel the strikers. Then they started a company in the sports industry–each one with different positions in the team. 😉

 

 CodeUpStart

Learn to code by cloning real-life startups

AngelList: https://angel.co/codeupstart

Founders: Gillian Tee

From: San Francisco, CA

 

Cooleaf, Inc.

A tool for modernizing talent retention efforts

AngelList: http://angel.co/cooleaf

Founders: Prem Bhatia, Sarwar Bhuiyan, John Duisberg

From: Atlanta, GA

Fun Fact: Prem used to play guitar in a band that was basically a U2 cover band. John is a big whiskey fan. Sarwar is a science geek and his name (ironically) rhymes somewhat with Star Wars.

 

DataCulture, Inc.

Predictive automation that powers modern logistics & commerce.

AngelList: http://angel.co/dataculture

Founders: Karthik U Namboodiry (Sridhar), Gurudatt V Bhobe

From: New York City, New York

Fun Fact: The idea behind DataCulture started in 2010 when Gurudatt and Karthik connected on Twitter and spent a few hours talking about how data could change the world. Karthik has previously been a radio jockey, a rally car driver, and a mechanic and has spent precisely 9 hours flying a glider. He started his career promoting a newspaper ad campaign in the dirty streets of Delhi. Gurudatt is a fan of public transit systems and uses them in every town he visits. He’s helped shut down more companies than he’s started. 

Drivio, Inc.

The easiest way to manage and pay your government fines.

AngelList: http://angel.co/drivio-1

Founders: Björn Symister

From: New York

Fun Fact: Björn still plays Super Mario on the original Nintendo. The operating system never needs updating but the cartridge still needs a blow or two.

 

Fulfil.IO

A bundle of software services for SMBs to manage their inventory, accounting, manufacturing, and purchasing.

AngelList: http://angel.co/fulfil-io

Founders: Sharoon Thomas, Prakash Pandey, Rituparna Panda, Tarun Bhardwaj

From: Walnut, CA

Fun Fact: Preventing spreadsheet abuse since 2015 – one company at a time.

 

Hivebeat

Powerful way for student organizations to promote and manage events on campus.

AngelList: http://angel.co/hivebeat

Founders: Jonas Bøgh Larsen, Emil Hagbarth Rasmussen

From: Aarhus, Denmark

Fun fact: They drink more coffee than all of you. Combined.

 

 

iWABOO Inc 

The first online marketplace for successful Kickstarter, maker & hardware startups products.

AngelList: http://angel.co/iwaboo

Founders: Ivan Marandola, Patrizia Mossa

From: Mountain View, CA & Milan, Italy

Fun fact: iWaboo Group was founded in 2012 as a pure retail company that owned gadget concept stores in Italy. For 3 years the brand grew, attracting buyers from all over the world. In 2014, iWABOO redirected its focus into creating functional, stylish and innovative technology accessories including cases, power banks, amplifiers, ear buds, and B/T speakers.

 

Kanler

General Contractor Marketplace

AngelList: http://angel.co/kanler

Founders: Rajiv Agarwal

From: Menlo Park, CA 

Fun Fact: Rajiv can sleep anywhere. Once he slept on a horse during a horse-riding class!

 

Kitterly, Inc

Sells curated knitting & crochet kits that are matched by skill level.

AngelList: http://angel.co/kitterly

Founders: Mari Bower, Elizabeth Rowen

From: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact: In addition to being a techie and serial crafter, Mari has run 5 marathons (yes, 26.2 miles!), which is either crazy or foolish depending on who you ask. Elizabeth is equally crafty, and is also a world traveler, having visited over 30 countries!

 

LafaLafa 

India’s Mobile first eBates and its digital assistant helps consumers find the best savings online

AngelList: http://angel.co/lafalafa

Founders: Yosha Gupta

From: India

Fun Fact: LafaLafa is a play on the word ‘Laugh’ from the business tagline ‘Laugh your way to maximum savings’ and is meant to evoke a happy feeling for customers when they find the best deal. Incidentally, the word ‘Laafa’ in one of the regional Indian languages also means ‘Slap’! So the team often jokes, ‘Slap away bad deals with LafaLafa’ 🙂

 

LawnGuru

On-Demand Lawn Care and Snow Plowing.

AngelList: http://angel.co/lawnguru

Founders: Skye Durrant, Brandon Bertrang

From: Wixom, MI

Fun fact: When Brandon was 11, he was on the junior national team for Taekwondo and received his black belt. Skye grew up watching his aunt compete in four summer Olympics. He was fortunate enough to attend three competitions: Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.

 

LawTrades

A service that completes legal work in a few text messages at 60% off normal prices by cutting out fancy law firms and going directly to lawyers.

AngelList: http://angel.co/lawtrades

Founders: Raad Ahmed, Ashish Walia

From: New York, NY

Fun Fact: Raad actually started this company because he wanted to start his own law practice after graduating but didn’t have the money to rent an office, hire a paralegal, or acquire clients. He thought the internet could eradicate a lot of these issues so he started working on the idea. He built it for himself originally.

 

Mahmee

A hub for ongoing, integrated healthcare for new moms and their infants

AngelList: http://angel.co/mahmee

Founder: Melissa C. Hanna, Linda M. Hanna, RNC, MSN/Ed., IBCLC

From: Los Angeles, CA

Fun Fact: Melissa has starred in docu-dramas and reality TV three times, on three different networks. Linda’s nickname is “the Lactation Consultant to the Stars” and she’s seen more A-list celebrities’ boobs than any director in Hollywood.

 

Mejuri

An affordable fine jewelry brand powered by influencers and award winning designers

AngelList: http://angel.co/mejuri

Founders: Majed Masad, Noura Sakkijha, Justine Lancon

From: Toronto

Fun Fact: Each member of the Mejuri team comes from a different country and culture: French, Jordanian, Argentinian, Canadian, and Cuban.

 

MentorCloud, Inc.

A social learning solution for enterprises to help their employees discover, connect and learn from experts inside their own organization.

AngelList: http://angel.co/mentorcloud-2

Founders: Ravishankar Gundlapalli, Rajesh Setty

From: San Francisco, CA 

Fun Fact: Ravi is a President’s Scout Medal winner in school and can communicate in Morse code. Rajesh’s first book was a murder mystery which got published at the age of 13.

 

Metadata 

B2B Demand Generation on Auto-Pilot – Metadata analyzes your inbound signups and automates b2b user acquisition by targeting new look-alike prospects.

AngelList: http://angel.co/metadataio

Founders: Gil Allouche, Yan Manevich

From: San Francisco, CA

Fun Fact: Gil’s favorite games of all times are Defender of the Crown & Jones in the Fast Lane. Yan rubbed shoulders with the Ukraine mafia during his petroleum days.

 

MetaMixis

Google for nature.

AngelList: http://angel.co/metamixis

Founders: Giles Ochs, Cameron Strachan

From: San Francisco, CA

Fun Fact: Giles and Cam have been roommates since freshman dorms (8 years!)

 

 

MOBINGI

SaaS for Cloud application lifecycle management

AngelList: http://angel.co/mobingi

Founders: Wayland Zhang, Horiuchi Yasuhiro

From: Tokyo, Japan

Fun Fact: Wayland does a lot a coding and looks forward to learning more about financing and marketing through the accelerator program. Horiuchi co-founded a company called Gumi in Japan and left after the IPO. He’s looking forward to accomplishing more on Mobingi!

 

Moveha Inc

Moveha is a housing platform that helps students find off campus housing and make reservations online.

AngelList: http://angel.co/moveha

Founders:  Jing Zhang, Qian Liang, Bizheng Dong

From: Sunnyvale, California

Fun Fact: Moveha is a talented team that cares about student relocation issues. Bizheng is an experienced engineer from Alibaba and Qian is an experienced relocation agent who has helped many students.

 

Nobal Technologies

Interactive Mirrors for Hotel and Retail.

AngelList: http://angel.co/nobal-technologies-formerly-posh-view

Founder: Pieter Boekhoff

From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Fun Fact: Pieter had a hip replacement in January.

 

Piper

A DIY Minecraft computer for building gadgets and hands-on learning.

AngelList: http://angel.co/piper-2

Founders: Mark Pavlyukovskyy, Joel Sadler

From: San Francisco, CA

Fun Fact: Mark taught himself programming and decided to create a product that could empower everyone to create. Joel worked with Steve Jobs on special projects at Apple and invented the cheapest prosthetic knee on the market, one of the top 50 inventions of 2009 as ranked by Time magazine.

 

PupBox

Toys, treats, and training guides customized for your puppy.

AngelList: http://angel.co/pupbox

Founders: Ben Zvaifler, Ariel Zvaifler

From: San Francisco, CA 

Fun Fact: Ben and Ariel have an adorable 3-year old daughter named Maggie. Maggie hates bath time and loves to roll in the mud, sniff butts, and chase balls in the park. 

 

QMágico

Personalized learning plans by teachers, which saves time and engages students.

AngelList: http://angel.co/qmagico-1

Founders: Thiago Feijão, Gabriel Melo

From: São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil 

Fun Fact: There was a tough moment when the business was operating without developers or teachers! Fortunately, the team was able to find some solid talent before joining the 500 Family.

 

 

QueueDr

A product that intelligently optimizes doctors’ schedules to help them reclaim the $30 billion lost from missed appointments.

AngelList: http://angel.co/queuedr

Founder: Patrick Randolph, John Nadeau

From: San Francisco, CA

Fun Fact: John and Patrick met at a hackathon last year as strangers and ended up winning the whole thing. Since then they joined forces and have been working together on QueueDr.

 

Quicklegal

Attorney On Demand – Via Video Chat – New App

AngelList: http://angel.co/quicklegal

Founders: Derek Bluford, Sarah Morell, Cyrus Zal

From: Sacramento, CA

Fun Fact: The team participated on Shark Tank.

 

Rapchat

Create, share, or discover freestyle raps.

AngelList: http://angel.co/rapchat

Founders: Seth Miller, Pat Gibson

From: Mountain View, CA

Fun Fact: Seth can do 2,000 juggles with a soccer ball. Pat is a rapper and producer, who goes by the name P-Holla. His music has over 5M hits on YouTube and his productions have been featured on MTV, and more.

 

Sales Huddle Group

Gamify your training

AngelList: http://angel.co/sales-huddle-group

Founders: Sam Caucci

From: New York, NY

Fun Fact: The team builds training games to better prepare people for work. The first game they built was for a pizza shop on how to make a pizza, and now they are building games for the Super Bowl.

 

Set Scouter

A marketplace that makes video production easy — starting with location rentals.

AngelList: http://angel.co/set-scouter

Founders: Alex Kolodkin, Lidia Bit-Yunan

From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

Fun Fact: Both founders were stopped at the border for bringing in maple syrup.

 

SimpliRoute

A service that optimizes routes for any company with multiple deliveries, reducing fuel cost and saving time.

AngelList: http://angel.co/simplit-solutions

Founders: Eyal Shats, Alvaro Echeverria

From: Santiago, Chile

Fun Fact: Eyal was born in Israel, but he lives in Chile. He’s traveled the world and developed a unique accent as a result. Alvaro is similar to Iron-Man: he has a lot of metal parts in his body and often sets off alarms in airport security lines.

 

Sqoop

A service that helps journalists discover what’s happening before it becomes news by unlocking company information from public data sites.

AngelList: http://angel.co/sqoop-2

Founders: Bill Hankes, David Kellum

From: Mercer Island 

Fun Fact: Before meeting, both David and Bill were avid mountain climbers, each of them summiting some the tallest peaks in the lower 48.

 

Sqeezy.co

Buy from US stores from anywhere.

AngelList: http://angel.co/squeezy-co

Founders: Pierre Legrain

From: New York, NY

Fun Fact: Pierre loves the board game Guess Who. Talk to him about the online version he built when he was 16.

 

SynapseMX

A platform that transforms commercial aircraft maintenance, saving an enormous amount of time and money

AngelList: http://angel.co/synapsemx

Founders: Shane Ballman, Malcolm Burton

From: Atlanta, GA

Fun Fact: Malcolm is running a marathon to acquire skills and certificates in enterprise, software, cloud and hybrid, and security architectures. Shane is looking for the certificates authority for Mario Kart or Super Smash Brothers.

 

Whiplash

The Shipping Department for eCommerce

AngelList: http://angel.co/whiplash

Founders: James Marks, Sean Hurley, Mark Dickson

From: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Fun Fact: Tape guns are banned in their warehouses.

 

WoowUp

A SaaS Platform to help online stores in Brazil create their own loyalty program.

AngelList: http://angel.co/woowup

Founders: Martin Biegun, Enrique Novomisky

From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fun Fact: After starting the company, Martin and Enrique created a pilot that would only work on Facebook. It wasn’t until after they held their first client meeting that they realized the value of pivoting their product to meet the needs of users outside of Facebook as well.

A Very Haunted Demo Day

500 is not your typical VC.

So it should come to no surprise that when it comes to important events like Demo Day, we like to do things a little differently. As 500 Partner and Master of Ceremonies Sean Percival quipped, “This is not YC Demo Day. You’re allowed to have fun here.”

500 Demo Day

On the eve of the spookiest day of the year, our fourteenth batch of accelerator startups and nine post-seed companies pitched at 500’s first-ever “Demo-Ween”. Hundreds of investors and a cast of colorful characters packed the Computer History Museum, including a quirky queen of hearts (Founding Partner Christine Tsai) and one greedy, blood-sucking count of a VC (our very own Dave McClure). Thousands more tuned into our live stream at 500demoday.co.

500 Demo Day 2

At 500, our investments are as diverse as our people. Friday’s pitches covered a variety of industries including health care, cannabis, neighborhood watch, and custom 3D printing. 38% of Batch 14 founders are international and 25% are female. Check out the original batch announcement here.

We’d like to thank all the guests and friends who attended or watched the live stream of our first-ever DEMO-WEEN. Missed out on the action? Get caught up and learn about the companies that presented here.

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You can also check out coverage by TechCrunch, Inc., and VentureBeat. Mattermark also ranked Batch 14 by their Mattermark growth scores.

To get more details on Batch 15 and applications for Batch 16, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Small Small World; Big Big Family

Today 500 Startups is proud to announce several new investing partners around the world to help us invest in Japan, Eastern Europe, Germany, Israel, and Turkey. In addition to these new geographies, 500 continues to invest globally in many fast-growing markets such as Latin America,  Southeast Asia, India, East Asia and the Middle East / North Africa (MENA), and has launched micro-funds focusing specifically in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Korea, Thailand and India.  <cue… It’s a small world world after all…..>

We have been one of the most active investors in Latin America (over 100 investments across Mexico, Brazil, and the LatAm region in the past three years), and we recently hired Binh Tran and Eddie Thai as our new venture partners in Vietnam to help with our growing investments in that region.

Our team of 80+ collectively speaks over 20 languages, and 1/3 of us weren’t born in the US — our goal is to reflect the diversity of our global portfolio. Along with this international expansion, we continued to invest, guide and connect 500 companies with a strong network of global mentors, advisors, investors and other fellow startups.

Without further ado, please help us welcome our the newest team members to the #500STRONG family:

Diana Moldavsky (Eastern Europe & Israel)

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“Having lived and done business internationally, particularly in Eastern Europe and US I know the challenges entrepreneurs from the region face. I am excited to find, fund, support and empower some of the brightest minds who are often underserved today and be their bridge to Silicon Valley.” – Diana Moldavsky 

AngelList: https://angel.co/diana-moldavsky

Personal Blog Post: http://500.co/diana-moldavsky/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dimoldavsky


 Philipp Moehring (Germany)

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“My investment strategy is to back founders that are scrappy, absolute nerds about what they are doing, and great engineers and designers.” – Philipp Moehring 

AngelList: https://angel.co/pmoe

Personal Blog Post: http://500.co/philipp-moehring/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pmoe


 Adam Benayoun (Israel)

adam

“I witnessed first hand how 500 Startups altered the trajectory of our company after investing in Binpress. They gave us access to a large network of mentors and investors, helped us with distribution and provided the support we so much needed. I’m super excited I can bring that experience and knowledge back to Israel and give back to the Israeli community.” – Adam Benayoun 

AngelList: https://angel.co/adam-benayoun

Personal Blog Post: http://500.co/adam-benayoun/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adambn


 Erhan Erdogan (Turkey)

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“Timing’s perfect for #500STRONG presence in Turkey. We are excited to have opportunity shift to the Turkish internet ecosystem. We’re also excited to combine forces and build a bigger future together.” – Erhan Erdogan  

AngelList: https://angel.co/erhanerdogan

Personal Blog Post: http://500.co/turkey-erbil-karaman-erhan-erdogan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erhanerdogan


James Riney (Japan) 

James

Launching 500 Startups in Japan has the potential to have the greatest impact the Japanese venture world has ever seen.” – James Riney 

AngelList: https://angel.co/jamesriney

Personal Blog Post: http://500.co/james-riney/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/james_riney


Matt Lerner (London)

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“With a mass concentration of tech talent, many of the world’s best universities, and a global financial hub, the UK is quickly emerging as Europe’s startup epicenter. I couldn’t be more excited to bring 500 Startups to the scene!” – Matt Lerner  

AngelList: https://angel.co/matt-lerner-2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/matthlerner

Blog Post: http://500.co/500-startups-announces-first-distro-dojo-growth-program-based-in-london/


 

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