Nov 11, 2015 On Our Blog

Why the Middle East Needs a Funding Ecosystem

I am a strong believer that entrepreneurship can bring positive change to a region plagued by economic challenges. For the past 5 years I have been working on building the angel investment ecosystem in Bahrain and the broader MENA region. But while much effort has been devoted to building the start-up ecosystem, there is room for improvement when it comes to the funding ecosystem. The Backstory The economic situation in the MENA region today is less than ideal. The World Bank states that the MENA region must create 100 million jobs by 2020 to accommodate the burgeoning youth population below the age of 25. This demographic makes up 60% of the overall population. Oil prices have collapsed, from around $100 …

Nov 10, 2015 On the Web

Tech Diversity: Accelerators Go After Women, Underrepresented Minorities For New Startup Ideas

Accelerators focused on entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities, have begun to spring up across the tech industry. Above, an entrepreneur from the accelerator Startupbootcamp, which this month launched a program in Miami focused on entrepreneurs helping underserved communities with tech healthcare startups.

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Nov 10, 2015 On Our Blog

500 Startups Announces $15M Nordics Fund

We’re excited to announce our latest regional fund focused on the Nordic region (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland). This excitement is not just because the area is constantly ranked as one of the happiest and most economically prosperous parts of the world. No, it’s because the viking spirit is alive again in the form of tech entrepreneurship as the next generation of great founders sharpens their axes for battle. This fund will be targeting $15M USD and focused on early stage investments. We plan to make 100+ investments into the region through the fund over the next few years. Our main areas of focus will be SaaS, Mobile, Marketplaces, E-commerce, Fintech and Music/Video. The fund will be led by …

Nov 6, 2015 On Our Blog

“This 1 User Acquisition Hack” That Took Us from 150K users to 2 MILLLION in 170 Countries in 5 Months

Today’s growth case study comes from Lucas Emma at Social Tools, a company in the 500 Miami Distro program, our growth accelerator targeting post-seed, pre-A companies in the LatAm and Miami ecosystems. We started Social Tools from an abandoned garage in Córdoba, Argentina, humble beginnings for a marketing tool that’s now making life easier (we hope) for 2 million marketers in 170 countries around the world. 3 years in, SocialTools is now the leading social media marketing suite in all of Latin America, with customers in 30 different countries. But this wasn’t enough for us. Although everything was great in the cozy world of LatAm, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t seem to break into any other markets …

Nov 5, 2015 On Our Blog

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 & …

Nov 2, 2015 On Our Blog

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.” 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 At 500, …