Mar 18, 2020 Official Announcement

Welcoming New Partner and Global Digital Transformation Expert Flavio Dias as We Step Up Our Presence in Brazil

I first met Flavio in 2013, when he co-invested alongside 500 Startups in Olist, one of Brazil’s largest online marketplaces–which recently raised a Series C round. Olist’s founder was in our San Francisco accelerator program, and in his next round of funding turned to Flavio, who was then president of Walmart.com in Brazil. He became instrumental in building Olist’s name.  Flavio already had a solid reputation as an e-commerce pioneer and operator in the country. For nearly two decades, he helped multiple companies, including multinationals, launch their online operations in Brazil. After a successful experience at Philips, Magazine Luiza, one of Brazil’s biggest retailers, hired him to re-launch its website and improve the user experience as head of e-commerce. Those …


PUBLISHED BY
Dec 16, 2019 On Our Blog

The Future of Startup Ecosystems Across the Globe

The idea of being a founder has never been so popular around the world, so how is that going to change industries and entire regions? This year we dove headfirst into the rise of corporate venture capital, the changing nature of venture capital education, and the important task of startup ecosystem building. Fast Growing Corporate Venture Capital  With headlines from Softbank, Google Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and more, corporate venture capital is growing faster than ever. In 2018, we saw this trend reach new heights with more corporate venture capital (CVC) funds than ever. And in 2019, 500 decided to dive into CVC behavior in an unprecedented way.  From May to July 2019, we surveyed over 100 unique corporate venture capital …


PUBLISHED BY
Nov 27, 2019 On Our Blog

Ready to scale in Southeast Asia? Start in Singapore.

While people may think of Singapore as a top startup city, what they may not realize is that this city-state potentially has quite a bit more to offer as a local hub when looking to scale throughout the region. This fall, we kicked off Global Launch, a program aimed at building bridges between Singapore and the Silicon Valley. This two-way program brings Singaporean startups here to San Francisco for targeted immersion and education in the heart of the Silicon Valley, and sends another group of global startups to Singapore as they prepare entry into the Southeast Asian market.  We caught up with a few startups from Batch 1 of the Global Launch – SF Program, who have scaled in Singapore …


PUBLISHED BY
Oct 25, 2019 On Our Blog

The Future of Corporate Venture Capital

The following is an excerpt from 500’s latest report, Unlocking Corporate Venture Capital. How has corporate venture capital changed? In the decade since the Great Recession, we have seen digital upstarts – taking advantage of disruptive technologies from AI to IoT – reshape the economy and the corporate pecking order.  Conventional wisdom dictated that incumbents should focus their innovation efforts on R&D and growing their cash cows while investing in a few startups. But the rate of change has accelerated and with it, the balance of internal versus external investment. We believe the new corporate landscape calls for new strategies. As one of the most active, early-stage investors in the world¹, 500 Startups has a unique perspective on the innovation …


PUBLISHED BY
Oct 4, 2019 On Our Blog

500 Around the World: Takeaways from the Sberbank-500 Accelerator

If 500 has learned one thing from investing in over 75 countries, it’s the importance of placing bets in all the right founders and helping build ecosystems for them to thrive in. 500 is a firm believer of the idea that talent can be found everywhere, but you have to understand where that talent is and what unique challenges they are going to face in their region. One of these often-overlooked regions is Russia, which despite challenges, has a booming tech and startup ecosystem.  Last year, 500 partnered with Sberbank—Russia’s largest bank and a leading global financial institution—to launch an accelerator in Moscow, bridging the gap in knowledge and social capital between Silicon Valley and Russia. Thirty hand-selected startups took …


PUBLISHED BY
Jul 30, 2019 On Our Blog

500Kobe Accelerator Program is back, now with a Focused Track on Health

500 Startups and Kobe City are thrilled to announce our 4th consecutive accelerator program, which will commence on November 4th, 2019.  This year’s program will continue to support startups across all industries and sectors, but will include a special focus on startups within the health space.  For the past three years, 500 Startups and Kobe City have together supported the growth of startups from around the world, including Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, United States, and more. This year, we will be accepting up to 20 startups.  The program will be led by the 500 Startups team and hand-selected mentors from our global network. They will work closely with each startup to accelerate their development through best operational practices, …


PUBLISHED BY
Mar 11, 2019 On Our Blog

Women in the Startup Ecosystem: How Can We Accelerate Inclusion?

From Salaried Employee to Entrepreneur According to the IDB (Interamerican Development Bank), if we had equal participation of men and women in the Latin American labor market, the regional GDP would increase by 16%. On the other hand, according to the ILO (International Labor Organization), women are more likely to be unemployed than men. In Latin America, the rate of male unemployment is 6.8%, while female unemployment is a considerably higher 9.5%. According to academic research, some of the factors that lead to this figure include discrimination, barriers to work-life balance, and lack of perspective for career growth. However, many of those reportedly unemployed women are not doing so to stay at home, but rather to become entrepreneurs. The GEM …


PUBLISHED BY
Feb 5, 2019 On Our Blog

Announcing the “MENA Dojo” Series A Program Batch 3 launch

It’s going to be quite busy this year in the MENA region! In line with our objective to help develop the regional ecosystem, we are pleased to announce that we’re opening the applications for the third batch of our annual 500 Startups MENA Dojo Series A Program, in partnership with Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). The MENA Dojo Series A Program is for startups that have reached a certain level of scale and are likely to raise a Series A in the next six to nine months. We will be bringing in a roster of mentors from our Silicon Valley and global team focused on instilling a growth mindset, growth hacking and marketing techniques. The program is one-to-one mentorship driven, which …


PUBLISHED BY
Dec 21, 2018 Official Announcement

Announcing the Saola Accelerator in Vietnam

This is a “saola”, a long-horned ox so rare that it’s often called an “Asian unicorn.” (nevermind that it has two horns!). Saolas are found almost exclusively in Vietnam. I believe there are other Asian unicorns to be found in Vietnam, which is why 500 Startups Vietnam is pleased to announce the launch of the Saola Accelerator, our version of 500’s flagship program in San Francisco with local experts weighing in. It’s the right time to build a springboard for Vietnam’s next tech unicorns. Read on for more information about the current landscape, what Saola aims to do, and what kind of startups we’re looking for! (tl;dr — Apply here now: bit.ly/500saola)


PUBLISHED BY
Nov 19, 2018 On Our Blog

500 Startups Vietnam Holds Oversubscribed Final Close (Pho Real!)

Given 500’s mission to back entrepreneurs globally, we strive to go where other investors rarely venture. Several years ago, Vietnam was not an obvious tech investment destination: the country was poor (GDP per capita was barely over US$2k, according to the World Bank), fraught with bureaucracy, and struggling to create an ecosystem for the few, disconnected founders and even fewer active angels and VCs. But entrepreneurial folks did see elements of something special: a fast-growing economy; a substantial supply of low-cost, high-tech talent; and a broad & experienced Vietnamese diaspora increasingly interested to reconnect with and contribute to the country. A new wave of tech founders decided to take the plunge. Despite — or because of — the lack of …


PUBLISHED BY