500 Seed Program Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you invest in the companies that go through the Seed Accelerator?
We invest $150,000 in companies that take part in the Seed Accelerator. The investment is structured as a convertible security.
The convertible security has certain special rights for 500 Startups, including the right to make a follow-on investment of up to an additional $500,000 or 20% of your next priced round of $1,000,000 or more, whichever is lower.
Q: Does it cost money to participate in the 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.
Q: What will I get out of being in the 500 Seed Accelerator?
Mentorship: One of the biggest benefits of going through the 500 Startups Seed Accelerator 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 Growth: 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 300 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.
Coworking Space: During the Seed Accelerator, you’ll work in the 500 Startups office along with your batchmates. Everyone offers advice, encouragement, and support to help others succeed. Previous batches have likened it to the most awesome summer camp they’ve ever attended. In fact, many founders say the most important relationships they develop while in the 500 Seed Accelerator are with their batchmates.
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.
Q: 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.
Q: When should I apply?
Applications are now open 365 days a year. You can find the application here. Let us know you exist or update us on your status, whenever the time is right for you!
Q: When should I expect to hear from you after applying?
Four to six weeks, on average, though this may vary depending on volume.
Q: What happens if I am accepted?
Upon acceptance to the program, we’ll work with you to decide the best time to start based on your individual situation and needs.
Q: 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. Check out our portfolio here.
Q: What are some companies that have gone through the 500 Seed Program?
Q: Can I stop by 500 Startups with no appointment?
This is not a good idea. It is unlikely someone will be able to talk to you if you show up unannounced; you’re more likely to get our attention by submitting a thorough application with a detailed pitch deck or through referrals from people we know.
Q: Should I apply again if I am told “no”?
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.
Q: How long is the program?
The program is four months long, with up to six months of access to our office space.
Q: Can you describe the program?
During the four months you are in the program we will place you with a select group of startups based on your growth stage and sector. A dedicated mentor will lead these groups and help you with your growth and business goals. Additionally, we will pair you with a dedicated investment lead who will meet with you on a weekly basis.
Throughout the entire six months, you will have access to many benefits of the 500 community. These include talks, workshops, office hours with our network of hundreds of mentors and thousands of alumni. We’ve designed the program to give you all the resources you need, no matter what stage your business is in.
DISCLAIMERS: 500 STARTUPS PROGRAMS AND EVENTS ARE OPERATED BY 500 STARTUPS INCUBATOR, L.L.C. (TOGETHER WITH ITS AFFILIATES, “500 STARTUPS”) AND THE FUNDS ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS MANAGEMENT COMPANY, L.L.C. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY REVENUE GENERATED BY THESE ACTIVITIES. SUCH PROGRAMS AND SERVICES ARE PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY CONTENT PROVIDED AS PART OF ANY SUCH PROGRAMS, SERVICES OR EVENTS BE CONSTRUED AS INVESTMENT, LEGAL, TAX OR ACCOUNTING ADVICE BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES. INVESTMENT IN SEED ACCELERATOR COMPANIES FROM A 500 STARTUPS FUND IS NOT GUARANTEED.