Dave McClure’s 500 Startups has just announced the newest batch of companies to be accepted for its fifth accelerator class. This group is the first through which 500 Startups used an open application process, rather than rely solely on referrals when evaluating participants.
Initially, the startup incubator used AngelList’s platform to fill a few remaining spots, announcing just three weeks before the program started. But the application process worked out pretty well: It received hundreds of applications, from which 500 Startups selected eight companies. It went so well, in fact, that 500 Startups plans to use AngelList again, and might ask all interested companies to apply through the platform in the future, partner Christine Tsai told me.
As usual, the participating startups follow a few key themes: Mostly the fund’s focus on international and female founders. Seven of the startups chosen, or 21 percent, have at least one female co-founder. And more than half of the companies came from overseas.
500 Startups accepted international startups from places like Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Latvia and Estonia, Spain, and Taiwan. In addition, the accelerator has a number of other startups from outside Silicon Valley, including some from New York City, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Boston, Denver, and Tennessee.
The international focus is nothing new, of course: About 15 percent of the 500 Startups portfolio comes from overseas, and it’s looking to expand that. It’s made some investments and new hires to do so: It snapped up Latin American accelerator Mexican.VC in August, and recently brought on Pankaj Jain to focus on investments in India. That’s after adding partners Bedy Yang and George Kellerman as venture partners to focus on Latin America and Japan, respectively.
The program actually began on October 4, 2012, but as usual, 500 Startups waited a few weeks to announce to make sure it got all the stragglers in. The three-month program will end early next year, with Demo Days taking place in Mountain View, San Francisco, and NYC in February.
Here are the latest companies to join the accelerator:
- BabyList – A baby registry that works like Pinterest, allowing you to add anything on the web
- Chewse – A marketplace for groups to easily order great food
- Cinemacraft – Produces an interactive pictorial summary
of videos, making video thumbnails come to life
- Club W – A curated, personalized wine subscription service
- CompStak – Creates transparency in commercial real estate by gathering information that is hard to find, difficult to compile, or currently unavailable
- Cubie – A free messenger app for creating drawings and sharing them with friends
- Cuponomia – A marketplace to search, discover, and share deals and online coupon codes in Brazil
- Curious Hat – Builds mobile exploration tools for curious children
- Dealflicks – Offers movie tickets and concessions for up to 60 percent off, like Priceline or Hotwire for movie theaters
- Everbill – Provides an easy way to issue invoices and estimates
- Femeninas – A fashion and beauty portal for women
- GazeMetrix – Looks at videos and pictures and help brands measure their visibility
- Hunie – A community that helps designers get constructive and honest critiques from fellow designers
- Iconfinder – the world’s leading site for icons
- iDreamBooks – A Rotten Tomatoes-like ratings site for books
- Instamojo – A marketplace for selling your digital creations with just one click
- Kickfolio – Helps brands promote their iPhone apps by embedding interactive iPhone app demos on any web page
- LaunchGram – Aggregates news about products and launches coming soon in verticals such as movies, electronics, video games, and cars
- Markerly – Increases publisher page views and engagement by providing next generation social sharing and discovery tools
- Pick1 – Provides retargeting via automated market research
- Privy – An automated digital ad agency that lets customers set a budget and promo, and automatically delivers customers
- Qual Canal – Tracks conversations about TV shows in social media to deliver audience information to broadcasters, brands, and agencies
- Repairy – A web-based customer relationship and resource management system for car repair shops and dealerships, integrated with a spare parts marketplace
- SupplyHog – Creating a better way to purchase building materials
- Tealet – A marketplace that connects tea drinkers with tea growers
- TouristEye – A travel planner application for the web and mobile devices
- TradeBriefs – Empowers Indian professionals through industry expertise and jobs
- Traity – Measures people’s reputation in worldwide 360 feedback to improve transactions between strangers
- Translate Abroad – Building a suite of simple translation apps that use your smart phone camera to instantly translate text
- UniPay – A mobile payment platform for Brazil
- WalletKit – A SaaS platform to create, manage, and deliver digital passes to mobile wallets
- Wideo – An online platform that will allow you to easily create, quickly edit, and share your own animated videos
- WhoAPI – Delivers extensive information about domain data
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500 Startups is an early-stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View, CA. They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups, and related web infrastructure services. Their initial investment size is typically $25K-$250K.
Selected areas of interest include financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.