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.