Since being founded in 2010, 500 Startups has been pushing the limits of what you might expect from a seed-stage investment fund. In just a few short years, it has invested in more than 600 startups (!!!), launched its own accelerator program, and aggressively added venture partners all over the world.
Now, it’s launching the first of what will be not just one, but a whole series of AngelList syndicates.
Actually, the firm is announcing two new syndicates — the first of which has been creatively named the 500 Startups Syndicate, and the second called the 500 Women Syndicate. The plan is to enable LPs, mentors, founders, and other investors to more easily co-invest with 500 through the program.
500 Startups will allocate $1 million toward each of the two syndicates, both of which it expects will be used to invest in about 10 companies per year. The firm expects its check size to be about $250,000 to $500,000, of which its share will be between $50,000 and $100,000. The rest will be funded by its syndicate backers.
The firm is looking to offer new ways to coordinate investment with others, since it does a lot of investments and is always trying to shorten that cycle, according to 500 Startups founding partner and Sith Lord Dave McClure. “Sometimes, it’s been hard to do co-investment stuff in the past, since we do investments pretty quickly,” he told me.
The 500 Startups Syndicate will likely highlight about one company a month that has already drawn some interest from investors, but the firm wants to close its investment more quickly. Meanwhile, the 500 Women syndicate will be focused on investments in startups that have at least one female founder who owns at least 10 percent of the company.
500 Startups prides itself on investing in female founders already, with more than 100 investments going toward companies that would fit that criteria. Some of the companies that McClure and 500 have invested in include Wildfire, TaskRabbit, and Viki.
The firm plans to announce the 500 Women syndicate today at the Women 2.0 conference. Backers that have already signed up include SlideShare founder Rashmi Sinha, Khush founder Prerna Gupta, DCM general partner Ruby Lu, and Wei Hopeman, who is the Asia head of Citi Ventures, co-founder of Angelvest, and co-chair of Women in Leadership.
The announcement of the syndicates seems like a natural extension of 500 Startups’ use of AngelList. Over the years, the firm has used the platform to find companies to invest in, and leverages it for its own 500 Startups Accelerator applications.
After testing the Syndicate model with those first two, 500 is planning to launch more syndicates as time goes on, each of which will probably be focused on a specific region or theme, McClure told me. With 500 leading the way, we could possibly see more firms launch their own suite of AngelList Syndicates.