500 startups

500 Startups Peels Back The Curtain On Its Third And Largest Batch Yet

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It’s Halloween, so it’s the perfect day to unveil the newest group of 500 Startups’ “little monsters”. Yes, this is the name that founder Dave McClure and his partner in crime Christine Tsai give to all the rock star entrepreneurs that grace the halls of their Mountain View offices.

500 Startups, as you may have heard by now, is the early-stage seed fund and incubator program founded in 2010 by the globe-trotting angel investor, which seeds between $25K to $250K in each of its startups that meet its “Three Ds” criteria: Design, data, and distribution.

The fall batch kicked off on October 10 and includes 34 awesome startups, which makes this its largest roster to date (the initial batch consisted of 12 startups and the second came in at 21, bringing 500 Startups’ total to 174).

The breakdown of this batch’s demographics shows this to be a diverse group of companies, as 8 of the startups have female founders: 72Lux, DressRush, Gizmo, LoveWithFood, MeMeTales, Talkdesk, Tiny Review, WeddingLovely, and fifteen of the startups have international founders (UK, Croatia, Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, Australia, Portugal, Bulgaria, Estonia, Russia, Japan). There’s also some good geographical distribution in the U.S., as the majority of this batch hails from outside of Silicon Valley, with teams from Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington DC, Boston, and more among its ranks.

Two of the companies, TinyReview and WeddingLovely, have also received investments from Designers Fund, which, for those unfamiliar, is a community of designers that invests in design-experienced founders through mentorship, angel funding, and network access. Designers can also apply for investment, much in the same way founders apply to AngelList.

The “Demo Days” for this batch of startups has not yet been confirmed, but we do know that they will take place sometime in January 2012. It should also be noted that, in the spirit of Halloween, the third batch of 500 Startups companies is not only made up primarily of zombies, but it also appears that part of the strict regimen of business plan-building and product-honing also includes instruction in the fine art of dance. Thrilling, thrilling dance.

These 34 startups will give a more complete peek into their various products and plans to take over the world at 500 Startups’ Demo Days in January, but for those of you who are too antsy to wait until then, here’s a sneak preview below in alphabetical order:

300milligrams is a priority inbox for team conversations. The team hails from Estonia, which just so happens to be a country with a disproportionate number of startups per capita.

72Lux offers consumers a universal checkout and personalized
shopping experience while also offering a white-label version for publishers. (It also appears that 72Lux is currently in 500 Startups’ fall batch as well as First Growth Networks’ fall 2011 class, but maybe they’re just that good.)

BrandBoards is bringing Google Adwords simplicity and reach to live event digital advertising.

BrightNest is the Mint.com for home maintenance, helping homeowners manage their most valuable asset with customized tips and reminders.

Cadee helps golfers understand and improve their game.

Central.ly wants to connect all of the social media profiles for small business owners.

Chorus is customer feedback without the hassle. It automatically extract meaning from thousands of customer messages as they arrive in real time.

ContaAzul is a web-based, SaaS accounting system for Brazilian SMBs.

Contactually is a personal assistant for your professional email contacts that connects directly with your CRM.

DressRush (“Gilt for Weddings”) wants to make “bridezillas” everywhere clamor to get couture without the cost. Up to 100% off retail.

eSpark Learning is “Pandora for education”, creating custom playlists of fun education apps on iPads for elementary school students.

Farmeron is a Croatian startup that helps farmers across the world to manage their production data online and to do automatized farm performance analysis using exciting statistics.

Fileboard is a service accessed from the iPad that helps manage files and attachments across email, Dropbox, Evernote, and other cloud repositories.

Fitocracy turns fitness into an addictive gaming experience where you level up in real life. (Check out TC’s early coverage of Fitocracy here.)

Forrst is where developers and designers improve their craft and companies come to hire them.

Gizmo is a cloud-based multichannel marketing platform for mobile, tablet, social, and the Web.

GoVoluntr is a social platform that brings together volunteers, nonprofits, and businesses to solve today’s social problems.

Hapyrus offers the easiest way of leveraging Hadoop to make your system highly scalable.

HighScore House turns a child’s chores and boring routines into a game, making the lives of families a little less hectic and a little more fun.

Intercom lets web businesses build powerful, personal relationships with their users, turning them into loyal customers.

LookAcross is a sales productivity tool helps you to have more conversations and up your connect rates by improving your company’s odds of connecting with people.

LoveWithFood, is the easiest way to find culinary deals & samples, curated by a community of foodies for foodies. Like Tom’s shoes for food, with every deal served, LoveWithFood donates a meal.

Meloncard wants to keep your personal information private and out of the hands of the companies that sell it.

MeMeTales is a mobile game and reading platform for kids. “Fun like Angry Birds without the guilt”.

MoPix wants to define what the movie experience can be on tablet devices and make distribution accessible to anyone with film or video content.

OneSchool is a free mobile app that connects students to the people, places, and things around them.

PayByGroup wants to make it so that you never have to front money for your group purchases again. The startup coordinates your friends’ payments to the merchant so you can plan activities without the hassle.

Redeemr helps businesses and celebrities get un-ignored by their social media fans.

RotaDosConcursos is a Brazilian test prep service designed to get users into those coveted government positions.

Spinnakr simplifies website targeting and increases your click-throughs and conversions by automatically displaying the right message to the right visitor.

Switchcam recreates the concert experience by combining and syncing fan-recorded videos.

Talkdesk lets your company have a contact center in the browser. It provides information about the caller by integrating with services like Salesforce and Zendesk.

Tiny Review is “Instagram for Yelp reviews”, or a fast and fun way to say what you think about a place.

WeddingLovely is building tools and directories to promote small and independent wedding vendors.

One of the best parts of becoming a 500 Startups company is its strong list of advisors and mentors, which you can check out here. Not to mention the fact that more than 50 percent of its first batch raised at least $250K, two raised a million or more, and every startup finished with some money in their pockets.

For more McClure on why 500 Startups is like the Oakland A’s of seed-stage investing, compared to Sequoia as the Yankees, check out Alexia’s interview here, or for seven of the most interesting startups from the accelerator’s last batch, check out our coverage here.