As the market for angel and seed investments has heated up, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups has been growing aggressively. It was just six months ago that 500 Startups raised its second fund, bringing on an additional $50 million to invest in early-stage companies.
It’s also been staffing up: With the second fund, it promoted Paul Singh and Christen O’Brien to partner, while hiring Bedy Yang and George Kellerman as venture partners, to focus on Latin America and Japan, respectively. In August it snapped up Latin American startup accelerator Mexican.VC, adding Cesar Salazar and Santiago Zavala to its ranks. Now, 500 Startups is adding two more venture partners, who will oversee investments in another two strategic markets.
500 Startups announced today that Shai Goldman and Pankaj Jain are joining the fund as Venture Partners, focusing on investments in New York City and India respectively. That brings the team up to nine people in total.
Goldman has spent the last decade working with early-stage startups and VC firms, most recently with Silicon Valley Bank. There he oversaw outreach to early-stage companies in New York City, working with accelerators, coworking spaces, and angel and seed funds. At 500 Startups, he will do a mix of investing in NYC and Boston startups, while also cultivating LP relationships and doing some community work in the New York tech community.
Jain has been a mainstay in the Indian startup scene over the last five years, as an entrepreneur, as well as a mentor and investor. He’s been a community builder at Startup Weekend and recently consulted for the TLabs accelerator in New Delhi. Prior to that, Jain ran technology and operations for New York City-based hedge funds. He’ll be focused on investing in India, as well as investor relations and community building in that region.
In a phone conversation, McClure told me that both new venture partners would be key to tackling some key strategic markets. He sees New York City clearly as the Number 2 tech market in the U.S., especially for industries like media, fashion, finance, and entertainment. 500 Startups already has made between 50 and 75 investments there, including MediaLets, Snapette, MakerBot, Bombfell, 72Lux, Chalkable, Simple, and DailyWorth. And it has a formidable group of 10-20 mentors in NYC.
As for India, investments there follow 500 Startups’ focus on international opportunities and startups. McClure’s made good on last year’s promise to invest in at least 5-10 Indian startups this year, and 500 startups has put money into more than 10 companies there, including Teliport.me, MyGola, and CucumberTown. It’s also been working with Rajesh Sawhney’s GSF India Accelerator.
500 Startups is announcing its new venture partners on the first day of its latest Accelerator class. Once again, it’s highly international, with about 50 percent of companies coming from overseas. It’s also the first group to use an open application process, with help from AngelList. According to McClure, the 500 Startups Accelerator class had about a 2 percent acceptance rate among AngelList applicants, but it still ended up sourcing more participants than it expected to from the applications process. 500 Startups plans to announce the full Accelerator class over the coming weeks.