Announcing: The First Batch in 500 Startups Data Track

Two weeks ago, the first batch of 500 Startups’ new Data Track kicked off in San Francisco, alongside the twenty-second incarnation of our flagship Seed Program. We selected some of the most innovative startups in big data, machine learning and AI to participate in the intensive 3-month program.

Today, we’re excited to share the inaugural cohort, which consists of 7 companies from 7 different countries around the world:

Botsociety (Italy)
Botsociety is a design tool for previewing, prototyping and testing conversational interfaces.

Curio.io (United Kingdom)
Curio.io delivers professionally narrated audio of curated articles from leading news publications like The Financial Times and The Guardian.

Mobile Forms (Nigeria)
Mobile Forms is a platform for local and international businesses to crowdsource reliable market data in Nigeria.

OpenUp (USA)
OpenUp measures the impact on purchase behavior across online and offline ads.

reDock (Canada)
reDock is a proposal automation solution that mines and tailors corporate information on-demand to help professional services companies win complex RFPs.

Texel (Israel)
Texel enables efficient streaming of VR/AR content over existing networks by using viewing data and behavioral analytics to reduce the bandwidth by more than 50%.

VCV (Russia)
VCV is an AI-powered recruiter that identifies candidates, automatically screens them using voice recognition and submits a video interview of qualified candidates directly to hiring managers.

Also, check out Venture Beat’s coverage of our first data track. 


Chris Neumann is a big data veteran who co-founded DataHero (acquired by Cloudability), and was the first employee at Aster Data (acquired by Teradata). Travel lover and sports nut. Unapologetically Canadian. For more from Chris, connect with him on Linkedin or Twitter.

Announcing 500 Startups Batch 22!

Two weeks ago, the latest incarnation of the 500 Startups Seed Program, Batch 22 (B22), kicked off in sunny San Francisco.  The new cohort consists of 36 innovative startups from 14 countries.  42% of the companies are based outside of the United States, with founders representing Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

B22 includes a focus on FinTech (9 companies), Data (7 companies), and Digital Health (4 companies), with other startups ranging from facial recognition to supply chain management to the largest global community of motorcycle riders.  14% of companies have a female founder.  31% of founders are Asian, 11% Middle Eastern, 10% LatinX and 8% Black.

As is tradition, B22 kicked off with the notorious Sales and Marketing Hell Week, as founders dove head-first into the world’s most rigorous growth accelerator program.

Here’s a full list of B22 companies:

Agentbong — A home care marketplace in Asia that helps families hire qualified and trustworthy caregivers.

Botsociety — A design tool for previewing, prototyping and testing conversational interfaces

COR — Project management software for helping professional services firms increase profitability by intelligently optimizing project costs and cash flows.

Core Labs — Helps knowledge workers early in their career access mentorship, build a reputation, and unlock the value of their professional connections with goal-oriented “micro-networks.”

Cryptomover — Developing index funds to allow investors diversify their crypto portfolios with minimal time and effort.

curio.io — Listen to curated, professionally narrated articles from premium publications like The Financial Times, The Guardian, and Aeon at home or on the go.

Cushion — Trains bots to fight banks fees on customers’ behalves.

Elyse28 — An online subscription service that helps women live free of chronic illness by offering personalized health coaching.

FalaFreud — An online subscription service that helps Brazilians get therapy from certified therapists over audio, text, and video on their mobile device.

FreightRoll — Makes shipping predictable through an open marketplace of connected shippers and truckers.

Fyodor Biotechnologies — Developing a non-invasive technology that helps people with a fever diagnose malaria in 25 minutes using a few drops of urine instead of blood.

Jones — Automated insurance compliance that helps enterprises kill the headache of hiring independent contractors.

Judolaunch — A tool that helps small e-commerce brands expand internationally by engaging a global community of online consumers.

LaborVoices — LaborVoices protects apparel brands through intel on factory conditions sourced directly from workers.

MailHaven — An electronic mailbox that helps suburban homeowners secure and monitor their deliveries without the need for wired power or home WiFi.

Mediation Online — A web service that helps Brazilian corporations and consumers resolve legal disputes quickly and inexpensively with an automated, binding mediation process.

Mira — Streamlines the life insurance experience for the higher risk population using technology and machine learning.

Mobile Forms — A platform for local and international businesses to crowdsource reliable market data in Africa.

Myndlift — Offers a therapist-guided solution to help people improve their attention ability using “brain wave” training.

Next Play — Powers personalized employee mentorship at scale.

Ohalo — Blockchain-based data management solution to help financial institutions prove data provenance and compliance.

OpenUp — Measures the impact on purchase behavior across online and offline ads.

Payment24 — A fuel payment and fleet management system that integrates into gas stations and vehicles to reduce fraud and increase efficiencies.

Plum — A chatbot that automates your money so you can effortlessly save, invest and avoid rip-off bills.

Prodsmart — Provides a tracking system to help factories eliminate paperwork and collect real time data by using smartphones on the shop floor.

Public Goods — Health-focused consumer-packaged goods.

Rapa — Alternative mortgage lender for US customers to buy homes abroad

reDock — A proposal automation solution that mines and tailors corporate information on-demand to help professional services companies win complex RFPs

Rever — A mobile application that helps a global community of motorcycle riders discover, track and share their riding experiences together.

Sendoso — Helps B2B companies grab the attention of prospects and customers with an all-in-one platform for sending things like direct mail, handwritten notes, and custom gifts.

ShortPoint — A subscription software that helps department managers build gorgeous intranets with no coding from their existing content systems, such as Office 365, SharePoint, and SAP Cloud Portal.

Sofy.ai — Intelligent, trainable bots for software developers to end daily repetitive tasks like testing, deploying and monitoring and live support.

Texel — Enables efficient streaming of VR and AR content over existing networks by using viewing data and behavioral analytics to reduce the bandwidth by more than 50%.

TrueFace.Ai — A turnkey facial recognition solution for privacy conscious enterprises

VCV — AI-powered recruiting bot that helps enterprises hire smarter and faster by autonomously searching resumes, conducting automated phone screens with voice recognition and recording video interviews.

WayPay — Streamlines the accounts payable process for SME’s by connecting to any AP system and automatically reconciling payments sent to local or international suppliers from any combination of bank and credit card accounts.

Welcome to the #500Strong family Batch 22!

7 Marketing Secrets from 500 Startups Demo Days

Have Fun, Get Deals Done – The Future of Marketing is the Brand Experience

Pitching to top Silicon Valley investors like Tim Draper is nerve-racking. It helps when he’s dressed in a superhero costume.

From Valentine’s Day-Themed (Batch 19) to Summer of Love-Themed (Batch 20), 500 Startups Demo Day is more than a pitch day, it’s a festival where everyone has fun and gets deals done.

Here’s a look back at lessons we’ve learned from the last 7 Demo Days, and how 500 Startups stumbled upon creating the unique pitch day in Silicon Valley.

1. Listen to Your Audience

Back in the day, 500 Startups Demo Day was pretty basic (see Batch 8):


500 Startups Founding Partner, Dave McClure, speaking at 500 Batch 8 Demo Day (back when the most colorful thing at Demo Day was Dave’s language).

During Batch 13 Demo Day, things got a little bit more interesting.

It all started when I bought Dave a unicorn hoodie for his birthday, which happened to coincide with the Batch 13 Preview Day (an invite-only sneak peek to Demo Day). To our surprise, many investors and founders in the audience loved Dave’s unexpected fashion statement, talking and tweeting about it.

Dave noted the audience engagement and decided to wear the unicorn costume again on Demo Day. He also encouraged Founding Partner Christine Tsai, a former ballerina, to wear a rainbow tutu. Again, the response was extremely positive at Demo Day. Silicon Valley Business Journal even dedicated an article to Unicorn theme.

The lightbulb turned on, and we saw the potential marketing value in bringing creativity to our Demo Days. But it wasn’t a mere fluke — we listened to the audience feedback, saw the marketing value, and applied it.

 

2. Turn Challenges into Creative Advantage

When planning for Batch 14 Demo Day, we found out the only day the venue was available was the day before Halloween. We were not happy. Typically we tried to plan our events around major holidays, like Halloween, assuming people would be busy attending their own company parties. We were worried about not having enough investors attend our event, but we couldn’t change the date. So we decided to exploit the timing instead. Thus, Demo-Ween was born.

In our past Demo Days, we always focused on the pitches, not wanting to take away from the big day of our batch companies. However, the thematic timing forced us to look at the Demo Days from a different angle. We decided to make Demo Days more entertaining. We added the Halloween theme to our Demo Day, aka “Demo-ween” — presenting the content in a new form. The new form of Demo Day allowed startups and investors to dress up, have fun, and get deals done together.

As a result, the Demo-ween not only helped us maintain the previous demo day attendance, it also attracted more international investors than ever before (50% increase). By presenting the content in a more engaging format, we turned a challenge into our competitive advantage.

The first Demo-ween was so successful, we decided to make it an annual theme. 




3. Use Product-Launches to Rejuvenate Your Brand

In 2016, we started adding speciality tracks to our seed program, starting with a Fintech track in the Batch 16 program.

In order to highlight our new Fintech focus, we made the Batch 16 Demo Day poker themed. In order to create an authentic experience, the 500 events team hired a top poker player to give attendees poker lessons and play blackjack. Founding Partners Dave McClure and Christine Tsai also dressed up for the poker theme.

Partly in thanks to a successful Fintech-Themed Demo Day, we saw a 23% increase in Fintech applications to the following batch.

4. Embrace Company Culture

During the Batch 17 program in June 2016, the 500 team and batch companies attended the San Francisco Pride Parade. Pride inspired us to redefine the meaning of “unicorn” at 500. In tech, a unicorn company means a billion dollar company valuation. We decided that being a unicorn also brings about a sense of love and unity. We are not only about making profits and increasing portfolio company valuations but also about celebrating people and culture.

The momentum of the Pride Month continued into our Demo Day planning process. We wanted to use the upcoming Demo Day as a platform to promote 500’s company value of embracing diversity and inclusion. We chose the theme “Beauty & the Geek” based on our B17 tracks Fashion & B2B and decided to break down gender stereotypes by having Dave dress up as the “Beauty” and Christine the “Geek”.

After Demo Day, Microsoft offered to sponsor our efforts to advocate diversity in tech by supporting our Unity and Inclusion Summits. Our open and embracing culture has attracted a very diverse group of companies. In our latest batch, Batch 20, 36% of our batch companies were international (from 10 different countries), 20.5% of companies had at least one female founder, and 25% of companies had a black / Latinx founder.

 

5. Make It About Your People

At the end of the Batch 17 Demo Day, a flash mob of the 500 team appeared from the audience and started dancing on stage with Dave. The big screen started playing videos of venture capital investors and founders of successful 500 portfolio companies around the world wishing Dave a happy birthday. The B17 Demo Day happened to be Dave’s 50th birthday and our 500 family planned a surprise for Dave.

The Demo Day birthday surprise is just one example of the many things that we would do simply because we care about people. We build the 500 brand by connecting with people on a personal level.

6. Create Positive Emotion

From the previous Demo Days, we began to see that themes created a supportive environment for founders and investors to develop relationships. For Batch 19, we chose a Valentine’s Day theme because we wanted to bring more emotion into the experience.

We dressed up our founders as Cupid (Christine) and the Queen of Hearts (Dave) and decorated the stage with all shades of pink and hearts. Investors could give batch companies Valentine cards that said, “I have my eyes on you!”.



 

7. Leverage Culture & History

Our Batch 20 program was based in San Francisco around the same time as the city’s 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love” – the 1967 summer event that drew nearly 100,000 young people to the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Starting from early spring 2017, streets in San Francisco were decorated with the “Summer of Love” theme. We decided to do the same theme for our Demo Day to pay tribute to the city’s history.

With flowers, rainbow-colored lighting and our emcee in a Grateful Dead bear costume, this Demo Day brought a sense of nostalgia to the city many 500 Startups team members call home.



Conclusion

Our Demo Days are instrumental in building the 500 brand. We strive to create an organic ecosystem of investors, founders, and corporate partners by providing meaningful and engaging content to our audience.

If your goal is to stand out from the crowd and flaunt your unique brand to the world, don’t forget to incorporate these 7 Marketing Lessons from 500 Startups Demo Days:

  1. Listen to the Audience: Gather feedback from your audience, catch the opportunity, and act on it
  2. Reframe the Challenge: Look at the problem from another perspective and turn challenges into advantages
  3. Inspire with your products: Rejuvenate your brand with new products
  4. Embrace Company Culture: Integrate the company values and culture to create a powerful marketing message
  5. Focus on People: Build a people-centric ecosystem to organically grow your business
  6. Engage your audience with Emotions: Create Positive emotions to Drive Connection and Awareness
  7. Integrate Art into Business: Leverage the power of culture and history in your marketing

500 Batch 22 begins July 24th, 2017 in San Francisco.

Click Here to apply for our the Batch 22 Seed Program.

More from Yiying Lu: 


yiyinglu-profile-square

Yiying Lu is award-winning bilingual (English & Chinese) artist and designer. Born in Shanghai China, Educated in Sydney Australia & London UK, now based in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, she currently is a Design Lecturer at the NYU Shanghai Program on Creativity & Innovation. She is also an individual creative consultant who provides talks & workshops for global startups and corporate innovation teams on design thinking, entrepreneurship & creativity. Her projects have been featured in many publications, including The New York Times, Forbes, NBC News, TIME, CNN, BBC, San Francisco Chronicle, TechCrunch, Mashable, and The Huffington Post. She was named a “Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation” in the Microsoft Next 100 series. For more from Yiying, you can follow her on TwitterLinkedin and Medium.

 

From Drones to GM, Announcing Batch 21

They are here. Two weeks ago Batch 21 (B21) kicked off at 500 Startups in Mountain View. Thirty-one young companies will now spend the next four months hacking out of the flagship location nestled in the center of Silicon Valley where 500 Startups was launched six years ago (AARRR!).

Since the original Batch 1, the 500 Seed Program has accelerated over 600 companies between the San Francisco and Mountain View programs (shout out to our LatAm program in Mexico City currently on Batch 007).

As usual, B21 represents a wide array of technologies ranging between Conversational Commerce, Big Data, drones, VR, transportation, digital health and FinTech. There will also be a focus track in B2B Sales and an automotive track hosted with General Motors.

Forty-three percent of B21 are international companies representing 8 countries with founders from the UK, Argentina, Canada, Israel, Italy, Hong Kong, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. Another 23% of the batch are female founders and 12% are black or Latinx founders.

The core of the 500 program continues to be focused on growth and fundraising with the return of the notorious Marketing Hell Week followed by weekly enterprise sales talks and intensive customer acquisition coaching.

“It’s week two, and we are already feeling the speed at which 500 operates,” says Ryan Stobie, CEO and founder of Adventure Bucket List who’s from Vancouver. “I’ve seen other accelerators and the growth expertise here is unmatched.”

Welcome B21. It is time.

Check out the entire roster of B21 below or on TechCrunch.

You can also apply for Batch 22 here.

 

Read more

The Build Up to Batch 20 Demo Day

It’s two weeks out from Batch 20’s demo day and the energy is building in the 500 Startups San Francisco office, also known as 500 Del Norte.

Startup team members are flying in from around the world to join their founders in the office in preparation for the flower-power themed extravaganza that is a 500 Demo Day (yes, the theme is ‘Summer of Love’).

Thirty-six percent of Batch 20 hail from countries outside of the US, including Thailand, Hong Kong, Latvia, Estonia, Brazil, Britain, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, India, Canada and France. We also had our first team from Belarus in Batch 20, FriendlyData, a natural language interface for databases, who recently topped the 2017 charts on ProductHunt.

(You can see the growing number of B20 companies hunted on ProductHunt here, as well as a full list of all 44 companies on TechCrunch.)

The move to the US has proved fruitful for other international teams as well. Russian startup VisaBot has quickly reacted to the current immigration environment and is helping hundreds of US immigrants access services via their chatbot and previously Latvia-based Funderful opened their San Francisco office while signing UC Berkeley and Rhodes Scholars as clients since their move to the Bay Area in January for the 500 Seed Program.

With the addition of the full teams, the office is packed, hot and buzzing. Pitches are heard whisping through the air almost 24/7. Founders crowd around war room tables in meeting rooms named after the 15 of the most populous cities in the world.

Furniture is pulled left and right in an ever changing landscape. White boards turn into art pieces of partially erased mysteries. It’s the true beauty of the world’s most active accelerator in full bloom.

Pitch prep continues into the night more often than naught. Drinks are poured to cool off from the sweat equity spent. VC office hours are sprinkled throughout every day now. Post-it notes line the doors with names like Accel, A16Z, Bessemer, and FundersClub.

Fireside chats continue weekly from the likes of Silicon Valley’s best: Jason Lemkin, Andrew Chen, Scott Farquhar, co-founder of Atlassian, and Ken Lin, the founder of CreditKarma, one of 500’s unicorns. There’s a constant need to be on the top of your game. Founders become well versed in disguising their few hours of sleep in energetic sentences.

But it’s all worth it in the end. After four months of growth, preparation, practice, Marketing Hell Week, investors, experts, Sales Hell (no one said this was easy), office hours, batch self-made videos, and more late nights than one can count, everything coalesces in the grandeur of a 500 demo day. An event that never stays the same.

From flash mobs to rap battles to a fireside chat with Mattermark founder Danielle Morrill while Dave wore a unicorn wig to Demoween, there will always be surprises in store for the audience of 450+ investors.

So, we hope to see you there. The next generation of tech companies is waiting for you.

Apply to attend 500 Startups Batch 20 Demo Day here.

Batch 20 triples down on FinTech and Digital Health, Takes on Uncle Sam with GovTech

500 Startups’ 20th program (B20) in Silicon Valley starts at time that will be remembered across the world. Only three days after a new (and highly controversial) United States government administration has taken power and Silicon Valley is preparing for a Trumpocalypse.

Seeing this regulatory disruption as an opportunity for private sector tech companies, B20 includes GovTech (13.6% of B20), FinTech (27%) and Digital Health (15.9%).

In total, there are 44 companies in the four-month program that will run from January to May. Popular technology trends — including SaaS, marketplaces, AI/bots, big data, analytics, devops and hardware — also remain prevalent in the seed program formally known as an accelerator but continually geared towards scaling companies with early traction.

In total, 36% of the B20 are international representing 10 countries. Canada comes in first in terms of founder representation. Israel is a close second. Founders in B20 also hail from Thailand, Hong Kong, Latvia, Estonia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and France.

B20 is also a diverse set and has 20.5% of companies with at least one woman founder, 11.4% of companies in with at least one black founder, and 13.6% of companies with at least one latinX founder.

Programming continues to be focused on growth, fundraising and storytelling in B20 with a few specialty events, including the notorious Marketing Hell Week, the second B2B sales summit, and a new two-day, intensive fundraising boot camp.

For specific companies in the batch, General Motors is also getting involved and offering exclusive mentorship and access to the automotive industry.

Here’s the full list of companies published in TechCrunch.

Applications for the next program (B21 in Mountain View) are being accepted here.

picture1Pictured above: our SF Seed Program Team

Turbo Charging Growth: 500 Partners with GM

After 19 batches since 2010, we’ve seen our companies experience the impact of strong mentorship. Today, 500 Startups, is announcing a Seed Program collaboration between General Motors and 500 focused right here in Silicon Valley as an effort to continually evolve and heighten our programs.

Our first corporate partner track aligns with GM’s vision to be innovative, autonomous, connected, electrified, and to create solutions that truly change the value and sustainability of transportation to enhance customers’ lives.

This partnership with GM will provide important resources developed to give access and knowledge transfer to one of the largest global automotive companies in the world.

When is this happening?

Starting January 23rd, we will open the first class as part of Batch 20’s Seed Program which includes: VC funding, exposure to corporate infrastructure, demo day, mentorship from GM, plus the opportunity of possible follow-on funding from GM.

Apply now! Deadline is December 31st. And while we are selecting ~5 companies for the GM specialized track, we still have a couple openings left.

The GM partnership will also continue for Batch 21 which will start in April of 2017.

What we’re looking for:

We’re looking for strong teams who focus on

  •         Mobility services
  •         Machine learning
  •         Virtual Reality
  •         Robotics
  •         Additive manufacturing

“Working with 500 Startups will help us identify early-stage startups that could have relevance for automotive, but are either services or supporting technologies rather than merely vehicle features. Being able to mentor startup companies and learn from them is important, and 500 Startups has a track record of finding this talent globally.”  – Jon Lauckner, CTO of General Motors

The specialized GM track will be run by Robert Neivert (pictured below), Lupin Campos, Aaron Blumenthal, and several members of the GM’s Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office. This track allows companies access to GM’s vast automotive knowledge to help companies build a product with strong market fit and the tools to grow. Connecting and understanding the groups behind innovation will help fuel advancement. And General Motors gets that.

rob

Read more about the 500 + GM partnership in TechCrunch here.

#AnotherOne: 500 Startups Announces Batch 19 🔑

It’s that time again! Announcing our latest Mountain View cohort, Batch 19, with 44 companies.  

Earlier this year, we experimented with vertical tracks to be able to provide greater value to companies, in particular, categories of interest.  These tracks have allowed companies to receive additional categorical mentoring and networking opportunities.  This year at 500 Startups, we’ve held specialized tracks in Health, Fintech, B2B, and Fashion & Beauty.  In Batch 19, we are, again, running tracks in B2B led by Robert Neivert and Fashion & Beauty led by Tanya Soman.  #MajorKey

500 Startups has always invested in a lot of B2B companies — in fact, many of our top performing companies in our portfolio, such as Intercom and Talkdesk are B2B companies. One of the biggest challenges for B2B companies — especially enterprise B2B — is sales.  How to hire salespeople?  How to close deals?  How to negotiate proposals?  This is what our B2B track focuses on so that we can help founders with a great B2B product take their traction to the next level.  

500 Startups has also invested in a lot of fashion & beauty companies including Ipsy, Le Tote, TheRealReal, and Tradesy.  We see a real opportunity in this space because few investors have historically understood or invested in it.  But, with the rise in some of our high flying fashion & beauty companies, investors and corporates are beginning to take notice. #BlessUp In this track, we provide both growth guidance to help our companies increase their users and revenues and also help connect them with relevant larger industry players.  

At 500 Startups, it’s important to us to continue to push the startup ecosystem to be more inclusive and diverse, so we actively scout great companies from everywhere.  This batch was no different, and we are proud that the diversity of our founders remains strong:

  • 29% of companies have at least one female founder
  • 49% of companies are international
  • 13% of companies have a black founder
  • 9% of companies have a LatinX founder

International countries represented:

  • Nigeria
  • India
  • Jordan
  • UK
  • Hong Kong
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Palestine
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden

Learn more about Batch 19 below. #WeTheBest 

For investors interested in attending Demo Day B19 you can register here. See ya there! And applications for Batch 20 are now open. Apply here.

Aella Credit

Aella Credit provides instant credit solutions to Africans by eliminating standard loan applications and enabling employees to borrow at competitive rates through their employers.

aella-credit

Almabase

Almabase makes fundraising easier for schools by helping them engage their alumni effectively.

almabase

Ambience Data

Ambience Data provides live, accurate environmental insights worldwide to manage pollution health risks.

ambiencedata

Aumet

The first marketplace using intelligent technology to assist medical suppliers to validate and to assign reliable distributors with the least amount of time and at half of the cost, plus providing access to all medical tenders and news online.

aumet

Baloonr

Baloonr removes bias from group work and decision-making.

baloonr

Bstow

Donate spare change automatically from everyday purchases to your charity of choice.

bstow

Cardlife

Cardlife helps businesses to take control of their subscriptions with the vision to be the one stop shop for everything SaaS subscriptions.

cardlife

ChangeJar

ChangeJar is a mobile cash payment platform for retailers who want more transactions with higher margins.

changejar

ClaimCompass

ClaimCompass will get the airlines to pay you up to $680 for your delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight.

claimcompass

CloudCoffer

CloudCoffer is a plug-and-play network security device that shields businesses of any size from external and internal hacking with the most scalable and affordable network protection in minutes.

cloudcoffer

Crema Co

A marketplace that gives coffee drinkers access to rare coffees from small-batch roasters.

cremaco

EventXtra

One-stop Event Management Platform for Corporate Events.

eventxtra

Fingertips Lab

IoT device allows you to engage your phone while driving, eyes free.

fingertipslab

FLYE

Flye allows real-time engagement with customers in geo-fenced areas & provides social media analytics to brands – no hashtag needed.

flye

Fuel

Fuel delivers nutrient-customized meals tailored to your unique body, fitness and biomarker data.

fuel

Fuel For Clover

B2B payments platform for retail petroleum merchants that decrease interchange cost and increase card security.

fuel4clover

Gestoos

Gestoos is a computer vision software platform that enables camera (sensor) equipped devices to see and understand human gestures and movements with a level of accuracy never before available.

gestoos

Gluwa

Gluwa is a blockchain-powered banking platform to send and receive money automatically and privately for businesses.

gluwa

GymHit

GymHit is a proactive business management platform for fitness businesses that is introducing a virtual manager for workflow automation for everything from automated booking to billing.

gymhit

Homigo

A text-based home manager and dashboard for homeowners designed to increase the quality and simplicity of home services.

homigo

Hykso

Motion sensors for Boxing and MMA that recognize which punch is being thrown and at which speed it’s thrown.

hykso

iControl

iControl replaces paper with an app at construction sites, saving each construction manager time by generating all their daily reports.

unnamed

Idwall

IDwall is a B2B solution that builds trust by verifying documents, identity and doing background checks in a reliable and scalable way.

idwall

InnerSpace

Like GPS does outdoors, InnerSpace’s instant mapping and location platform transforms the human experience indoors and captures the data on how people interact indoors. We’re driving a fundamental shift in the way that people experience, understand, and create their indoor spaces.

innerspace

Kompyte

Kompyte is competitor tracking software that alerts you in real time when your competitors make changes to their websites, products and digital marketing campaigns.

kompyte

KiLife

Never lose your child again with Kiband, a line of child wearables that sync with your smartphone.

kilife

LawTova

An online legal marketplace connecting attorneys with curated freelancers for legal jobs and project-based legal services.

lawtova

Mashvisor

Mashvisor helps real estate investors quickly find traditional and Airbnb investment properties.

mashvisor

MojiLaLa

Emoji Marketplace for independent designers and studios from around the world.

mojilala

MyFavorito

MyFavorito is a CRM platform for the B2C world, used by brands and retailers to increase loyalty, sales and growth.

myfavorito

OpenDoor

Solving the urban housing problem through affordable communal living.

opendoor

OWLR

OWLR is a mobile-first platform that transforms your off-the-shelf home security cameras into a smarter, simpler and safer home monitoring system.

owlr

Park Evergreen

Park Evergreen is a B2B platform that allows companies to offer unlimited monthly parking to employees across a network of parking lots in their city.

parkevergreen

Pawprint

Pawprint is an app that helps pet owners find and book quality veterinarians.

pawprint

Pluto AI

Pluto is an AI-powered analytics platform that water companies use to prevent water wastage, predict asset failures, and avoid expensive operations/maintenance costs.

pluto

RocketBolt

RocketBolt provides easy email & website tracking to help you discover your next big sales opportunity.

rocketbolt

Scopio

An innovative platform for companies to seamlessly search, publish, and pull insights from curated social media images to increase audience engagement, while fairly compensating the original content contributors.

scopio

ShearShare

ShearShare connects salon owners to stylists to fill empty salon chairs.

shearshare

Sickweather

Sickweather is the Doppler radar of sickness — allowing parents, patients, and providers to check for the chance of sickness as easily as they can check for the chance of rain.

sickweather

Tagove

Tagove connects sales and support teams to online customers through live video chat and co-browsing with plug and play installation.

tagove

TalentBase

TalentBase is a Payroll and HR software targeting growing businesses across Africa.

talentbase

Teleport

The first platform for truly interactive video, driving 10x more engagement by providing freely navigable video, enriched with contextual contents.

teleport

UNICORN

UNICORN is a stylish skincare brand for men.

unicorn

WeAreOnyx

Beauty Subscription Service & Digital Playground for Multicultural Millennials.

weareonyx

The Artist Formerly Known As Accelerator

When Christine and I started 500 Startups six years ago, we knew we wanted to run an investment program for startups that emphasized community and education. We had long been inspired by other earlier programs such as YCombinator, TechStars, and SeedCamp. However, we had a new approach and perspective, and wanted to create our own VC firm + accelerator with a decidedly different vibe and experience.  

All these programs, including the 500 accelerator, share several key concepts:

  1. Provide a modest amount of investment capital to a group of startups
  2. Startups work in shared physical space (note: YC de-emphasizes this)
  3. Connect them with a community of experienced founders and mentors
  4. Help companies “accelerate” their progress in a short amount of time
  5. We accept many companies fail, but a few will thrive and grow BIG

On the other hand, 3 key elements make 500 programs different:

  1. A global approach to investing in startups all over the world
  2. A large, diverse team of 150 people, and community of 3,000 founders & mentors
  3. Emphasis on “full-stack” growth marketing and distribution support

Today, we are currently running our 19th batch in Mountain View, and along with our growth marketing and Mexico City programs, we have now graduated over 600 startups in the past six years — and we have invested in another 1,000 other startups as well.

A lot has changed from when we started, and just like our startups, we have experimented and iterated on our model to provide the best possible impact for founders. We have expanded and improved our curriculum, increased our check sizes and batch sizes, and grown our team, skills, and support. We now have a far more robust program, and the bar for companies joining our programs are higher and tougher than ever. Some have millions in revenue and have raised millions from other investors before they even set foot in the door. Rather than just building or improving an MVP, now our companies are focused on customers, revenue, growth, ramping up sales and marketing, expanding their team, and raising a larger round of institutional capital from top Silicon Valley VC firms.

Noting how different things are from when we started, we have decided to change the name and branding for our programs to emphasize these differences and make it clear to founders what our programs are all about. Our Accelerator program will now be referred to as the “500 Seed Program” and our Distro Dojo programs will now be the “500 Series A Program”. The name of the programs more clearly represent their fundraising goals and metrics. Below, we’ve highlighted what we’re doing now compared to before, and what startup founders should expect when they join our programs.

500 Seed Program

Before: when we started our accelerator program, we accepted companies that barely had an MVP (and a few weren’t even that far along), and most had limited usage and revenue traction. We only invested $50K for 5% equity.

Now: 500 Seed Program is geared towards companies with early traction. Most all of them have a functional product, and most have substantial user adoption & revenue. Many have already raised capital, and a few have >$1M in revenue and >$1M raised.

The 500 Seed Program gives startups access to our Silicon Valley network as well as sales, marketing, and distribution expertise. Additionally, founders receive ongoing funding strategy and support. This program invests $150k USD for 6% and $37.5k in program fees.

Company highlights: Shippo, Neighbor.ly, Talkdesk, RealtyShares, Compstak, Mayvenn, Tout, Innovacer, Headout, Haven.ly, OhmConnect, Le Tote, Cleanify, Italist, Finova Financial

500 Series A Program:

Before: In our first year of investing at the post-seed stage often we found ourselves joining seed round extensions, but are now finding more and more opportunities to invest in exceptional companies closer to the subsequent A round than the previous seed round.

Now: 500 Series A program is targeted towards startups that are on the verge of raising their Series A round. This program will include intensive growth and marketing help from our team of top Silicon Valley growth experts. Designed to help companies close to their Series A and build scalable, repeatable marketing operations that can ingest millions of dollars and produce many more millions in revenue. Aka, get the best Series A deal and terms possible. This program provides a check size ranging from $150-250k USD with $50k in program fees. Note that terms depend on company’s prior financing.

Company highlights: Mayvenn, Dollar Beard Club, Saucey, Storemaven, “Rock, Pamper, Scissors”, and Cleanify

And with that, we bid adieu to our former program names and are moving full force ahead with our 500 Seed Program and 500 Series A Program and will continue to provide top tier programs for entrepreneurs around the world.

500 Startups Announces 18 New Investments in Latin America

Today we are announcing our newest LatAm Accelerator Batch, a program based in Mexico City which focuses on startups in LatAm and Spanish speaking regions. This is our 6th LatAm batch and we’ve invested in 91 companies to date through the program.

Alongside this news, we’ve also opened a new LatAm HQ in Mexico City with an expanded team!

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After receiving over 408 applications for the current LatAm program, and conducting over 100 founder interviews, 500 Startups chose 18 high potential teams to participate in the program. Each company receives $65K in investment, and joins for 4 months of working side-by-side with support from 500’s team and global family of mentors.

Among the 18 startups in Batch 6, there are companies from Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, covering industries including e-commerce, education, SaaS, food tech, logistics, government services, tourism, amongst others.

The program covers legal, product, marketing and growth, and finance among other critical themes that founders must master. The program also includes dedicated sessions with specialized mentors each week, and brings in local as well as international expertise.

Additionally, it is currently running in 500’s new LatAm HQ in the Juarez neighborhood of Mexico City, a space that was remodeled over the past few months to be the home of our growing Latin America operations. The space is designed to offer a workspace for startups, as well as an event space that accommodates up to 150 people.

Our LatAm team is growing with new additions Didier Quiroz and Daphne Salinas who will work as Associates to the LatAm fund. Didier and Daphne will be working alongside Bedy Yang as Managing Partner, Santiago Zavala as Partner, and René Lomelí as Director of Operations.

latamteampic(Left to Right: Daphne, René, Santiago, and Didier)

And now, we’re proud to announce the 18 newest companies to join the #500Strong family!

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#LOOKEA – Ready to shop style inspiration destination for consumers who love fashion and lifestyle products. The company creates high quality leads for fashion e-commerce sites and brands. Moreover, they allow users to upload their own photos and their algorithm identifies and recommends similar fashion items they can buy.

Asistia – A health platform where you can hire high quality caretaker services for elderly citizens and schedule recurring daily or weekly visits. The company’s allow caretakers to log in the beginning and end of a service and also post notes relevant to the service.

Backstartup – Professional accounting and legal services made for startups. The company focuses on having all their clients investment ready, from having all legal and accounting matters up to date and ready for due diligence to helping founders understand and negotiate investment terms.

Buenchef – Delivers recipes and all the ingredients the client needs. Redefining weeknight dinner. The founders have a successful previous experience in the food delivery space with an exit and now are trying to improve and solve

Cívica Digital – has develop digital tools to strengthen citizenship and for governments to have the appropriate feedback on the services they provide to the community with the intent of improve them. The company also works with NGOs in order to improve many aspects of society.

CuidaMiMascota – Allows users to find high quality and trustful pet sitters near them. By scheduling a service, the company connects you to one of their many sitters and helps you coordinate the service in the easiest way possible, so your furry friend is well taken care in your absence.

Deporprivé – Sport-specific flash sales website where members receive exclusive access to sales from top sports brands. Each week there are specific sales ranging from running shoes to training equipment and technology.

EasyPoint – Receive e-commerce products in a network of pickup points over neighborhood stores

EcomExperts – Suite of tools to help online sellers manage their account, thus making them sell more and reduce costs. Moreover, the company offers analytics for clients to have insights on their business.

HostTonight – Service that allows new and experienced Airbnb host to delegate the property managament and take full advantage of the Airbnb model without the pains and problems associated with it such as key exchange logistics, cleaning services and negotiation with guests.

HoyPido – Is a Blockchain-inspired FDN (Food Delivery Network). By analyzing the excess capacity of small kitchens, the company incorporates them to their program and use that excess capacity to provide standardized meal to workers in near by businesses.

Impulsando Academy – Is offering specialized content and skills. The company’s educational platform provides live and recorded sessions so students can learn as better suits them. Moreover, the company is focused on providing personalized experiences so all their students get most out of their lesson.

LocalAventura – Online platform that allows travelers to search, book, and pay for tour with passionate local guides in Latin America. The company simplifies the experience of traveling to the region offering a truly personalized offering catered to you needs and taste.

LECO – One stop solution for lens users. Through their Platform users can access their correct prescription and order the visual solution of their choice either contact lenses or glasses whenever and wherever they need it.

Tarefa –  Is working to give any student timely answers to the questions on topics such as math and science. Through their educational platform the company connects students with teachers to solve their must burning questions. Also, the company is developing software that will allow to solve some of these questions without a teacher

TipiTop – End-to-end service to sell or buy pre-owned cars in a reliable and easy way. The company is growing a network of certified mechanics and sellers that verifies every car that goes through their platform, assuring the quality of such an important acquisition.

Yaydoo – Through their network of suppliers the company is creating and On-demand procurement assistant that resolves all the needs of a business reducing work and logistics to ensure that companies have everything they need for their daily activities.

Yetcargo – Allows companies to ship their product at affordable prices by allowing them to use the excess capacity of shipment and delivery trucks.

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