500 Takes Over the City of Brunch, Bikes & Burritos – Introducing Batch 8

After months of planning, picking startups, and drinking Blue Bottle Coffee, we’re excited to unveil our very first San Francisco batch of startups! While we love and adore all our companies down south, we can’t wait to start our San Francisco adventure. We’ve already stocked up on PBR and bought Warby Parkers for everyone.

Our new companies started working out of our brand-spankin’-new SOMA office (called “500 Del Norte” since we’re international and stuff) last week, and we can’t wait to see them ride the startup surfbort all the way to Demo Day. Even though they’re up north, they’ll have access to all the resources, mentors, events and programs as the OG startups in Mountain View.

So, what’s awesome about this Batch? The 28 companies come from all over (as usual), but this time around we have to give special shoutouts to Canada and France, with 2 startups apiece in this cohort. We’re feeling classier and more polite already. Other countries represented are Spain, India, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Brazil, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our local brethren hail from Las Vegas, Austin, NYC, SF, Sunnyvale, Detroit, Oakland and Mountain View.

Batch 8 is pretty eclectic, with companies that do everything from exclusive restaurant experiences to massage on demand and online rap battles. Seriously.

Is all this startup talk making you wish YOU were #500Strong? Apply for our next accelerator NOW: bit.ly/Getin500

Maybe you’ll see your startup’s name here later this year ;).

Here’s a full rundown of all our Batch 8 companies:

BidAway

BidAway

eBay for vacations – we match the excess capacity in the luxury leisure industry with discerning customers through real-time online auctions.

AngelList: angel.co/bidaway
Founders: Brian Reichle, Luca Carlucci
From: Barcelona, Spain
Fun Fact: We already have exclusivity contracts with more than 2,500 4-5 star hotels.

primeloop

primeloop

pimeloop.co makes it easy for brands and agencies to clip all their press, measure the value of PR, and re-engage in public conversations to build trust and loyalty.

AngelList: angel.co/primeloop
Founders: Thomas Knoll, Mike Ciklin
From: Las Vegas, NV
Fun Fact: One of our co-founders, Thomas Knoll, was previously the Community Architect at Zappos.com

CultureAlley

CultureAlley

Learn languages via interactive videos & practice them on your own Facebook wall or Twitter feed! Transforming your everyday social media browsing into a language lesson!

AngelList: angel.co/culturealley-com
Founders: Nishant Patni, Pranshu Bhandari
From: Jaipur, India
Fun Fact: CultureAlley has taught Spanish and Mandarin to over 430,000 learners in 220+ countries

Doorman

Doorman

Package delivery on demand until midnight, 7 days a week. Never miss a delivery again.

AngelList: angel.co/doorman-1
Founders: Zander Adell, Kapil Israni
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: Zander worked at Pixar & Kapil worked at IBM.

DOZ

DOZ

The first marketing agency in the cloud thanks to crowdsourcing principles and matching algorithms. DOZ helps online businesses to go international by automagically curating local marketers and putting them to work in an all-in-one platform.

AngelList: angel.co/doz
Founders: Anji Ismail, Faouzi El Yagoubi
From: Lyon, France
Fun Fact: We have +4000 qualified marketers in more than 45 countries, and have performed +200 campaigns in 30 countries.

Enchanted Diamonds

Enchanted Diamonds

Enchanted Diamonds is every couple’s best friend. Helping you discover the ring size and taste preferences of the one you love by launching the first-ever Engagement Ring Registry and delivering bespoke engagement rings tailor-made for the selected diamond and finger size at the best value.

AngelList: angel.co/enchanted-diamonds
Founders: Joshua Niamehr, Jonathan Las
From: New York, NY
Fun Fact: We use 3D printing to create our bespoke engagement rings. 3D printing and CAD allow us to tailor each ring for the persons finger size, center diamond, and side stones.

equipboard

Equipboard

An e-commerce platform that connects products to the influencers using them. Think IMDb for products.

AngelList: angel.co/equipboard
Founders: Giulio Chiarenza, Michael Pierce
From: Austin, Texas
Fun Fact: Founded by a gear-obsessed blues guitarist and signed Italian producer.

Famebit

FameBit

A marketplace that makes it easy for businesses to find, hire, and work with YouTube influencers for product and service endorsements.

AngelList: angel.co/famebit
Founders: David Kierzkowski, Agnes Kozera
From: Toronto, Canada
Fun Fact: We give businesses the power to work with YouTubers directly for a lower cost, and faster campaign deployment.

friendtrusted

Friend Trusted

We take the hassle out of home remodeling. Simply take a picture of your kitchen or bathroom, and see estimates from top rated contractors from the app.

AngelList: angel.co/friendtrusted
Founders: Darwin Widjaja, Brenton Marrelli
From: Sunnyvale, CA
Fun Fact: One of us has a pink house because of a bad contractor. That’s why we set out to make it easy to get estimates from top-rated contractors.

guidekick

Guidekick

A mobile interpretive tool that creates an immersive and engaging learning experience for visitors at high profile historical attractions.

AngelList: angel.co/guidekick
Founders: Mark Paddon, Joshua Holland, Garrett Lauringson, Aaron Rivera
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: We built the world’s first native Google Glass museum app for visitors at Hearst Castle.

Holidog

Holidog

The #1 European marketplace for pet owners. We’re selling dogs and cats happiness and fun!

AngelList: angel.co/holidog
Founders: Julien Muller, Stéphane Degré
From: Paris, France
Fun Fact: We have customers in 5 countries.

i3zif

i3zif.com (Play for Music Limited)

We teach users how to play musical instruments through video tutorials working with some of the best musicians in the Arab world. We’re the first to provide high quality online music education in Arabic, and the first to offer it in English for oriental and eastern instruments.

AngelList: angel.co/play-for-music-limited-i3zif-com-1
Founder: Bisher Abu Taleb
From: Amman, Jordan
Fun Fact: The founding team are all performing musicians; we have 2 Guitarists, a bassist, drummer, rapper, keyboard player, 3 percussions players, and 2 lead singers

marca_ja_entendi_profissoes_final-01

Já Entendi

An eLearning solution that leverages blue-collar workers in Brazil. With our innovative learning methodology, we transform content like books, booklets, and manuals into video lessons that accelerate the learning process.

AngelList: angel.co/ja-entendi
Founders: Wagner Bonfiglio, Gladys Mariotto
From: Curitiba, Brazil
Fun Fact: Gladys Mariotto (Ph.D) has won more than 30 prizes with our methodology.

pijon

Pijon

Reinventing college care packages and delivering the awesome supplies students love and need every month. We help college students stay happy and healthy, while keeping families connected.

AngelList: angel.co/pijon
Founders: Rob Caucci, Jeremy Pease, Adam Saynuk
From: New York, NY
Fun Fact: Time Magazine called Pijon one of the 10 great subscription boxes.

predictionIO

PredictionIO

An open-source machine learning server for software developers to create predictive features, such as personalization, recommendation, and content discovery.

AngelList: angel.co/predictionio
Founders: Simon Chan, Donald Szeto, Kenneth Chan, Thomas Stone
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: We were picked by Gilt’s personalization team as one of their favorite tools in 2013.

quest

Quest

Ask a question and get an answer within minutes. Available for iOS, Android, and any mobile phone via text message.

AngelList: angel.co/quest
Founders: Deepak Ravindran, Mohammed Hisamuddin
From: San Francisco, CA

raisy

Raisy

We partner with brands and services to provide easy and profitable online fundraising programs for schools.

AngelList: angel.co/raisy
Founders: Marc St Raymond, Will Crowthers
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: Over $4 billion is spent every year on “product fundraisers” for U.S. schools, where a school sells items like gift wrap, chocolate, and popcorn and receives a portion of the purchase price back.

raptfm

rapt.fm

Chat roulette for rap battles, but it’s going to be a comprehensive technology for artists to build fan bases, get discovered, give live concerts, and monetize.

AngelList: angel.co/rapt-fm
Founders: Erik Torenberg, Jamie Pitts
From: Detroit, MI
Fun Fact: We’ve had contests where rapt winners got to open for Royce Da 5’9/Girl Talk/Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony in concert and where one winner got a record contract with Tommy Boy Entertainment.

remark

Remark

A browser-based platform for video annotation.

AngelList: angel.co/remark
Founders: Taylor Hou, Sri Sonti
From: Austin, TX
Fun Fact: The team hails from Australia, Nigeria, India, China, Pakistan, and the USA.

Roamandwander

Roam & Wander

Roam & Wander makes games, apps, and toys for kids under the TuTu and DiDi brands.

AngelList: angel.co/roam-wander-1
Founder: Jason Warren
From: Taipei and Hong Kong
Fun Fact: We published the first game in the App Store that rewards kids for their achievements with real stickers delivered right to their door.

Shareroot

ShareRoot Inc.

The leading Social Marketing suite for Pinterest. We help large brands drive and measure Pinterest engagement.

AngelList: angel.co/shareroot
Founders: Marc Angelone, Noah Abelson
From: Oakland, CA
Fun Fact: Initial paying clients include Sony Pictures, General Mills, MGM Grand, Fox Search Light Pictures, Phillips, and Jim Beam, all of which propelled us to a profitable first year.

shippo

Shippo

We make international shipping easy and cheap for e-commerce businesses by aggregating shipping volumes and giving customers access to cheaper shipping providers.

AngelList: angel.co/shippo
Founders: Laura Behrens Wu, Simon Kreuz, Max Diez
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: We have a shipping volume of more than 1 million packages lined up for 2014.

simmr

Simmr

Simmr elevates the typical meal out by giving diners access to behind-the-scenes experiences at their favorite restaurants: think kitchen tours, meeting the chef or owner, learning how to make dishes on the menu, and special tastings, which give restaurants a profitable way to build a community and acquire loyal customers.

AngelList: angel.co/simmr-1
Founders: Neeharika Bhartiya and Wendy Lin
From: San Francisco
Fun Fact: Both founders know how to code.

soundbetter

SoundBetter

SoundBetter is the leading marketplace for music production talent. We connect millions of independent musicians with professional music producers, session musicians, mixing & mastering engineers.

AngelList: angel.co/soundbetter
Founders: Shachar Gilad, Itamar Yunger
From: Tel Aviv, Israel
Fun Fact: SoundBetter is the only place where you can directly hire the most Grammy award winners to work on your music.

UnwindMe

Unwind Me

Building the brand for accessible massage and wellness. We make it easier than ever for anyone to book and receive a high-quality massage, when and where they want, at an affordable price.

AngelList: angel.co/unwind-me
Founders: Akaash Achreja, Milan Thakor
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: We make a real difference in the lives of massages therapists as well – massage therapists on Unwind Me earn 2-3x what they make in the industry today.

VenueSpot

VenueSpot

An online marketplace where venues bid to host your events. Post your event, receive multiple bids, and choose your venue.

AngelList: angel.co/venuespot
Founders: Jerome Ng, Tom Chan
From: Vancouver, Canada
Fun Fact: We currently have over $250,000 worth of events which your venue can host.

whalepath

Whale Path

An on-demand research platform where professionals can order business research from a group of qualified and vetted top tier students. Our technology allows us to deliver research to customers in just a few days.

AngelList: angel.co/whale-path
Founder: Artem Gassan
From: Mountain View, CA
Fun Fact: Within 5 months we have conducted 52 research projects for 35 paid customers. Our customers include: Oracle, Siemens, HP, Woodside Capital and startups like TechFetch.

Wuzzuf

WUZZUF

We do intelligent job matching by simulating how “human” recruiters actually think, screen applicants, and communicate with both employers and job seekers.

AngelList: angel.co/wuzzuf
Founder: Ameer Sherif
From: Cairo, Egypt
Fun Fact: We managed to survive 3 tough years through the revolution in Egypt and bootstrapped until we reached profitability.

Mark Saldaña

Resident marketing manager and baker at 500 Startups.

Never miss a beat

  • Revel Systems

    Good luck ! Welcome to SF

    • http://clipppr.com/tk thomasknoll

      Thank you! Excited to be back (at least for a while).

  • http://jaydengvc.tumblr.com/ Jay Jay Deng

    Some really great startups that I will definitely consider investing in. Some other startups are awful though…….a few thoughts:

    BidAway: awesome and simple concept with a great business model. All you need is great branding to go along with it and you are set. Should expand to more niche markets like smaller hotels in beautiful places i.e Amalfi Coast. Potential M&A in the future from Expedia?

    ClippPR: Really simple. Lots of potential. CEO comes from Zappos so ClippPR should have a great startup culture.

    CultureAlley: A bit torn on this one; it has a good idea but the path to monetization will be difficult. Then you have the issue of competition – simply too many language startups out there right now.

    Doorman: same problem as CultureAlley – too many competitors already in this space. Going to need some crazy marketing and branding to differentiate. Maybe your “doormen” could wear funky costumes?

    Enchanted Diamonds: not sold on the concept. You have to remember that buying a ring is an emotional experience that engages your senses and cannot be replicated online. There is a reason why people go to a Tiffany’s and Harry Winston store to buy a ring because of the involved experience. You might capture that small market of people who want to buy something custom but changing the buying habits of the rest of the market will be tough.

    Guidekick: awful idea and completely pointless. Trying to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist. You have to put yourself in the mind of a traveler: it’s all about self directed discovery. Telling tourists where to look sounds appealing, but it takes the wonderment out of the discovery process. Constantly referring to your smartphone will also create a disconnect. Traveling is all about just going places and keeping your eyes wide open.

    Holidog: another awful idea that is not solving a huge problem. Market is far too small to make any revenue. You might end up making money on some of those crazy, obsessed pet owners but I don’t see a business overall.

    Pijon: awesome idea. But what I love most is the branding – they understand that they are not just selling a box of goodies but a box of love.

    Quest: probably will get crushed by Jelly because it already has a headstart, better branding and a great team. Good luck though.

    Raisy: I can see the potential. Looks like they are the first to try something like this.

    Rapt.fm: silly idea. Suffers from the same problem as SoundBetter: talent can’t be created with technical means. There are too many problems with the idea: 1. Even if you got the thousands of aspiring rappers out there to use Rapt, why would people want to invest the time to watch all of them rap on a live stream? It’s too tedious because you have nothing to filter out the crap. 2. Rap battles are incredibly emotional and visceral experiences – something that you cannot replicate on a live video stream. I highly doubt Eminem would have found his break by rapping over a video stream. 3. There are so few promising rappers out there. Even if Rapt were to feature a rapper who goes on to become famous and successful, that rapper would have found success regardless of whether or not they used Rapt. TRUE TALENT will always be discovered. 4. Poor monetization model. Sponsorships and ads can only go so far because sponsors will only spend money on the live streams of the most popular rappers (of which there will be very few).

    Simmr: awesome idea. I love how they are trying to reimagine the dining experience. Great potential to create unique dining experiences. I would focus on branding the business as something exclusive. Ask restaurants to create a secret menu for all Simmr dinners.

    Unwind.me: not solving a big enough problem. People looking for a good massage therapist could just use Yelp.

    VenueSpot: I love how simple this concept is. Will save people tons of time and money.

    SoundBetter: not enough potential. You are targeting indie musicians but most of them can’t even afford a budget music engineer or mixer. Even if you could afford a Grammy winning engineer/mixer/producer, why would they want to work with you when they can be working with the famous musicians that helped them win a Grammy to begin with?

    You might solve a small problem in the short run, but in the long run, musicians want to be successful and sell records and in order to do that, you need TALENT – this is something SoundBetter can’t solve.

    • http://500startups.com/ Dave McClure

      um dude… srsly, you’re ready to pass judgement from just reading their 1-paragraph bios?

      jump to conclusions much?

      anyway, feel free to gaze into your crystal ball and tell us what you think.

      meantime these folks will be working on building product & getting customers.

      check in after a few months & then compare your predications with outcomes.

      peace out,

      DMC

      • http://jaydengvc.tumblr.com/ Jay Jay Deng

        Nope, I went through their websites, studied their profiles and read the pitch decks when possible like any good VC should have done. Jumping to conclusions? On the contrary. I am not the one investing in dozens upon dozens of startups by using a carpet bombing investment strategy when I already know that most startups eventually fail.

        I would wager a bet that all of the startups I favored in this batch (BidAway, Prime Loop, Pijon and VenueSpot) will go on to raise a Series A bigger and faster than the startups I disliked. If I am wrong, well if you are up for a friendly bet……….

        • http://www.anji.us/ Anji

          Hi Jay,

          Would love to have your opinion on http://www.doz.com.
          It’s always good to get an external feedback :-)

          Hopefully, this batch will have a 100% success rate !

        • Rudi Leismann

          I think the point is this announcement may not be the best moment – or the right place – to say anything negative about those startups. People expect some decorum in these kind of situations so let’s all say something motivating and wish best of luck to all the founders representing the companies in this batch.

        • Rudi Leismann

          … and regarding your internet bet proposal, I guess Dave is already too busy making *real* bets via this thing called 500 Startups ya know :)

          • http://jaydengvc.tumblr.com/ Jay Jay Deng

            Real bets? Sure. A few will be good ones, most will be bad. But even if Dave takes me up on my offer, I hope I lose the bet because I want as many startups to innovate and succeed as possible – that’s why I am in this business to begin with. But I am certainly not blind to the realities of failure, something many of these startups will inevitably face.

    • http://clipppr.com/tk thomasknoll

      Two things batchies:

      1. We can only hope for such straight forward gut reactions to elevator pitches. This is what most conversations with investors will result in. Dont’ waste (too much) time trying to convince people who don’t believe, and instead focus on finding the ones who see your vision and putting more effort on follow up there. End of the day, you’ll make it or break it by convincing customers of your story, not investors.

      2. Look how Dave goes to bat for us. We have a belieber in our corner. Let’s make him and the 500Family proud.

      • http://jaydengvc.tumblr.com/ Jay Jay Deng

        You make some good points. Dave is obviously a savvy investor because he chose some great startups (like the ones I pointed out above) but how much of a “belieber” is he really? His company has invested in over 500 startups and he isn’t even personally involved with most of them. I don’t invest in hundreds of startups for a good reason because I want to be personally involved with helping my founders build the best companies possible. I don’t see my startups as just another investment with dollar signs pasted all over it.

        To be clear, I don’t think Dave’s business model is wrong in any way; he is providing a platform for which many startups can grow and blossom. But don’t think for a second that he cares about EVERY single one of his startups because that’s just not possible.

        I get the feeling that Dave or anyone else involved with these startups are “hurt” by my analyses. If that’s the case, its pretty silly. If you can’t handle critical judgement, you probably won’t be good at creating a great startup. There is no problem with having pride in the companies you invested in, but confirmation bias can be extremely bad especially if you are a VC or startup founder.

        I applaud founders like Anji of DOZ because he is smart enough to seek out second opinions and not leave on the blinders. That’s probably why he has the best startup in this batch.

        • http://clipppr.com/tk thomasknoll

          Jay Jay,

          1. It *sounds* like you assume that your personal involvement is somehow going to be the value add. It’s great that you like to spend personal time with all your investments, and I’m certainly not going to challenge your investment approach. I don’t see much value in judging things I’m not personally involved in, so I’d rather cheer you on and wish you the best.

          2. It *sounds* like you assume that Dave is the only person at 500 who cares about their investments and has the ability to add value to the companies. In case you haven’t see this yet, there are over 25 partners and staff whose 110% full-time jobs are to support these investments. They have built a mentor network of over 200 do-ers who are hands on providing experiences, support, and connections to the companies. And the network of startups themsevles provide support and insight. I’d take that network of experience over the input of one “value-add” investor any day.

          3. I think there is more value in encouragement than critique for early founders. Except in this case, where like I pointed out to my batchies, you provided a perfect example of how quickly investors will judge their business. Thank you for providing that early lesson as many of them start the process of closing a seed round.

          Have an amazing day, and best of luck with your business.

          • http://jaydengvc.tumblr.com/ Jay Jay Deng

            Thomas, I really appreciate your thoughts. Right or wrong, at the end of the day we are all interested in building the best and most innovative startups and that’s something we should celebrate. And as I mentioned in my first post, I think Primeloop is going to be great. I will definitely be following your progress in the coming months!

  • scottebales

    Dave, there is a bunch of great ideas there. Love the international mix, should be a fantastic cultural journey for the mentors. Do let me know if I can help in anyway from Singapore