San Francisco Accelerator Program

Build your startup and learn from the best. All in one place.

Take your startup to the next level with our flagship seed program in San Francisco. We’re one of the first major accelerators to break away from the rigid deadline system by accepting applications on a rolling basis. We tailor the program to your needs. We’re founders first.

Apply 365 Days A Year

Our flagship accelerator that started it all

Back in 2010, 500 Startups set out to create a 4-month long accelerator program for early-stage startups in Silicon Valley. After moving the program to downtown San Francisco and most recently opening up applications on a rolling basis, we continue to offer founders the opportunity for a $150,000 investment and a full program focused on growth and scaling their startup.

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What do startups get out of the program?

Here are a few reasons why hundreds of founders have chosen 500.

Community

Starting a company is solitary and challenging. Working with other people going through the same challenges makes a huge difference. Founders who’ve gone through our program tell us that the 500 community is extremely valuable.

Advice

Starting a company is solitary. Working with your peers going through the same challenges makes a huge difference.

Curriculum

500 brings in a wide variety of experts focused on marketing, culture, startup accounting, product design, sales, finance, and more. Think a Startup MBA on steroids.

Hands-on Support

We’ll work together on your business and product strategy, growth metrics and investor pitches.

Network

You’ll have access to 1,000+ founders, 200+ mentors and our own staff. Thanks to our massive network, startups build relationships and partnerships that wouldn’t be possible at their size without 500. Need an intro to a customer? Early access to a new platform feature? API access blocked? Stuck at the border? We have connections.

Money

Being a 500 Startups company will validate your business, and our network will help you connect with investors when the time is right. 500 Startup’s standard accelerator deal is a $150,000 investment in return for a 6% stake. We charge $37,500 to participate, but the fees can be deducted from our investment.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

You can apply for our flagship accelerator 365 days a year on a rolling admissions basis here

Do you invest in the companies that go through the Flagship Seed Accelerator?

Yes. The investment is structured as a convertible security. Companies receive an investment of $150,000 for around 6% of their company (subject to dilution at the time of conversion of our convertible security).

The convertible security has certain special rights for 500 Startups, including the right to make a follow-on investment of an additional $500,000 or 20% of your next priced round of $1,000,000 or more, whichever is lower, which expires after the conversion of our convertible security.

Does it cost money to participate in the Flagship Seed Accelerator?

Yes – We charge $37,500 per company to participate, but these fees can be deducted from our investment amount, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. As mentioned above, our gross investment is $150,000. Once program fees are deducted, you would receive $112,500. These program fees help to cover basic costs of running the Seed Accelerator, paying outside speakers and should be viewed like tuition.

What will I get out of being in the 500 Flagship Seed Accelerator?

Mentorship: One of the biggest benefits of going through the 500 Startups Seed Program is having access to knowledgeable mentors.  You will have access to the 500 team, seasoned entrepreneurs, experienced investors, and individuals with considerable expertise in their field to give feedback and offer guidance.  We also host numerous talks and fireside chats.  Speakers include top domain experts on important topics such as distribution, design, data, fundraising, and more.

Help with Distribution: We have in-house distribution experts that will help you GROW, GROW, GROW.  Whether it’s trigger emails, event-based analytics, SEO, paid ads, or creative growth tactics, we’ll help you get your business where it needs to be.

Fundraising: Our Seed Accelerator staff is made up of experts with years of experience in fundraising and pitching.  You will learn how to run an effective fundraising process, how and when to talk to investors, and how to effectively tell your story.

Access to the 500 Family: The 500 Startups network consists of over 5,000 company founders and over 200 mentors.  They come from diverse backgrounds, areas of expertise, and locations.  You’ll connect to a growing list of engineers, designers, marketers, and founders from all around the world.

Brand and PR: 500 Startups is ranked as one of the top seed programs worldwide and one of the most active seed stage investors in the universe. The 500 brand draws an impressive group of people, ranging from investors, strategic corporates, platform partners, press, and even the occasional celebrity.  In addition, we run events and conferences throughout the year that are consistently sold out.  All of this means great exposure and visibility for your company.

FUN: The 500 culture is best described in one hashtag: #500STRONG. This means collaboration and support, creativity, taking risks, embracing failure, transparency, and moving quickly.  We want you to push yourself past your comfort zone and take your company to the next level. You will work hard, but have fun in the process. 

How many of your companies are not located in the Bay Area? How many are international?

500 Startups has a global reach.  On average 30-40% of a batch is international, and many US-based companies are from outside the Bay Area.

What type of companies does 500 invest in?

500 invests in a diverse range of companies in the tech industry, from marketplaces to SaaS, from media to AI. 

What are some companies that have gone through the 500 Seed Program?

Examples include Talkdesk, 9GAG, Havenly, ManyChat, Mejuri, Le Tote, Mayvenn, Neighborly, RapidAPI, RealtyShares, Shippo, and many more.

I’ve applied and haven’t heard back! When will I get an answer?

We receive thousands of applications for each batch and we review each one individually. We try to respond to everyone with a yes or no, but it could take up to a few weeks to get a response.

Should I apply again if I am rejected?

Yes, definitely!  There is no downside to applying more than once. Many of our most successful founders were not accepted on their first try, but chose to keep making progress on their business, reapply to the program, and were ultimately accepted.