500 Startups Taking Applications


Silicon Valley’s famous 500 Startups program is rounding up its first batch of applications. Originally applications were only taken through recommendations from mentors within in the program, but recently applications have been opened up to all through AngelList. Here is the site.

Korean companies are open to apply. If you’re selected it doesn’t mean that you are provided with investment right away but it means that you can spend three months working in a place in Silicon Valley with startups from around the world (although companies must pay fees for use of the space), and you are able to use the 500 Startups brand on resources introducing your company. There is also the chance to receive seed funding through Demo Day.

Below are the conditions for companies that 500 startups are looking for:

Strong cross-functional team: A solid team is the foundation for all great companies. We usually look for a small cross-functional team with the combination of technical skills, design talent, marketing know-how (“Hacker, Hustler, Designer”). We look for smart, passionate people who work well together (and have known each other for a long time), and are driven to solve problems for a target customer group.

Investment themes: The following are our major investment themes. We’ve also included examples of 500 companies that fall under that theme. You’ll also find that many companies may fall under more than one theme:

Consumer & Commerce (ex. zozi, 9GAG, Ipsy)
SMB / SaaS (ex. LucidChart, Recurly, Crocodoc)
Family Tech (ex. ecomom, Kiwi Crate, Red Tricycle)
Education (ex. Udemy, MindSnacks, Chalkable)
Marketing / Distribution services (ex. Wildfire, FanBridge, Reachli)
Video Content & Infrastructure (ex. Zencoder, Virool, Vungle)
Language / International (ex. Gengo, Babelverse, Language Cloud)
Mobile / Tablet (ex. Elacarte, SearchMan, AppStack)
Financial Services / Payments (ex. Credit Karma, ReadyForZero, Simple)
Food Tech (ex. Kitchit, LoveWithFood)
Functional product that solves a problem for a specific target customer: We have a strong preference for companies whose products are launched and have demonstrated some usage validation (beyond just friends and family). The product should address a problem for a specific target customer and rely primarily on scalable methods of distribution, particularly using online platforms (search, social, mobile, local).

Real customers (and better yet, some revenue too): We don’t expect companies to have millions of customers or dollars in revenue, but showing promising traction that proves usage validation and that you’re approaching (or at) product market fit is key. At minimum, we want to see small but measurable usage – some customers, some revenue.

Simple revenue model: We prefer simple and straightforward revenue models. Examples include subscription, lead generation, transaction/SaaS, etc.

Capital-efficient businesses: We look for companies that can be operational with less than $1M in funding.
Rely primarily on internet-based, scalable distribution: We have a preference for companies that rely on scalable, online forms of distribution. So that might mean search via Google, social via Facebook and Twitter, mobile via Apple and Android, etc.

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