Oct 18, 2018 On Our Blog

Why 500 Startups is betting on Miami, and so should you

I am a Mexican who grew up in the “small” town of Guadalajara, Mexico (6M people, but feels small compared to Mexico City’s 20M+ population). I’ve had the privilege of studying and working in the LATAM, European and US markets, and calling world-class metropolises like Mexico City, Paris and New York my home. In 2016, following my heart, I reluctantly moved to Miami. Today, against all my expectations, I have fallen in love with this region and am ready to bet on its growth. And so is 500 Startups. Curious? Skeptical? Stay with me. As I wrote on the 500 Startups blog last March announcing the launch of 500 Startups Miami, this city and the larger Florida region is heating …


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Feb 4, 2018 On Our Blog

The MENA Ecosystem: The Year Ahead

2017 was a landmark year for the MENA startup ecosystem. That hectic pace of development has continued, even accelerated in the first month of 2018. Having been in the MENA startup space in one form or another since 2007, looking back on what has happened in the past year astonishes me. The rapid pace of development, growth and maturity that took place over the last year is astounding. So, below I wanted to document a few of the main developments I’ve seen from my personal perspective in 2017, which I hope to see continue in 2018. An increasing government focus on entrepreneurship TL;DR – Almost every government across the MENA region has woken up and is actively supporting the startup …


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May 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Announcing 500 Falcons first closing at $15m out of $30m target

  Today, I’m thrilled to announce the first closing of our 500 Startups MENA Fund (aka 500 Falcons) at $15M out of our $30M target. While we have been investing in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region since 2011, including 55 deals in 32 companies for a total of $6M, this is our first fund focused entirely on the Arab world. With this new fund, we plan to invest in approximately 100-150 companies with about half of the fund and reserve the other half for follow-on investment in the top 20% of companies. The fund will focus on early-stage startups in the MENA region, MENA diaspora founders and non-MENA founders targeting MENA. The MENA Team I’m so thrilled …


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Dec 28, 2016 International Stories

What the World Could Look Like in 2040

“The best way to build the future is to create it” the quote from Peter Drucker best explains Singularity Universities vision for the world of tomorrow. Earlier last month I had the opportunity to attend Singularity University’s demo day at NASA in Silicon Valley. SU is a global community and accelerator that uses the phrase ‘exponential’ to describe the focus of their entrepreneurs who take part in their programs. The energy was high, the demo tables were bare, but had just enough energy to catch a passerby interest. Eleven early stage companies were set to pitch on exponential technologies which shape industry on earth and in space. I chose six of them to spotlight below. Keep in mind, most all …


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Jul 6, 2016 On Our Blog

Fintech Investment is Exploding — 5 Ways Governments & Ecosystem Builders Can Help

with Sheel Mohnot Investment in fintech companies is up 8X in the past 5 years, with over 200 financings for a combined $4.9 billion in 1Q2016 alone.   “Silicon Valley is coming. There are hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking.” Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, pointed out: “Silicon Valley is coming. There are hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking. They are very good at reducing the ‘pain points’.” Quarterly financing to VC-backed fintech companies has been growing immensely: But investment is not flowing freely everywhere.   For example, in 1Q2016, Chinese fintech companies received $2.4 …


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Apr 28, 2016 On Our Blog

LA’s Startup Ecosystem: Talent, Capital, and… Velocity?

Many of us who’ve never lived in Los Angeles have strong opinions about the place. It’s the galactic center of the media universe, but we snark about its cultural inferiority, inauthenticity and general lack of seriousness. All prejudice is based on ignorance; arguably, the Southland encompasses the nation’s most diverse startup ecosystem. Between Santa Barbara and San Diego, “there’s a huge spread of startups,” said Andrei Marinescu, a 500 Startups LA-based Partner on the Distribution Team. Increased access to capital and a more mature talent base have helped make the difference, he said. There hasn’t been a shortage of people who are entrepreneurial and had fun or crazy ideas, but the ability to execute on those ideas was lacking for …


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Mar 30, 2016 On Our Blog

Miami’s Startup Ecosystem Only Needs A Little Gas In The Tank

Few of us who live and work in the Bay Area hail from here, but we still have a regional bias; the Bay Area is the best. We enjoy moderate weather, natural beauty and diverse communities that produce culture so rich, we had to coin the word “hella.” Still, entrepreneurs don’t require a Mediterranean climate, Bay views and burritos to thrive; startup ecosystems are budding in Detroit, Syracuse, Denver and elsewhere. In Miami, now home to early-stage investment funds, multiple angel networks and several co-working spaces, the startup scene is closer to blooming. In 2013, Endeavor, a non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets, opened its Miami office. With $2 million in support from the John S. and James …


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