It’s a big day for 500 Startups — you know, the seed-stage accelerator and capital fund founded by rabble rouser and geek on a plane, Dave McClure. Back in July 2010, McClure filed for the accelerator’s first fund, raising $30 million to begin officially investing in startups under the new venture capital fund. Today, we’ve learned via SEC regulatory filing that round two is officially on the books, and 500 Startups is going bigger for its second round, raising $50 million.
McClure and company are also today announcing an expansion of the team, as Paul Singh and Christen O’Brien have been promoted to partners. Singh will continue to lead investments, running the accelerator program, and acting as head Data/Metrics guru, while O’Brien continues on her role as head of business development, leading events and conferences, like Geeks On A Plane, Warm Gun, etc. Bedy Yang and George Kellerman have also joined as venture partners.
Yang will be overseeing investments in Brazil and Latin America, while Kellerman will be scouting emerging talent in Japan. The group of four join existing partners Christine Tsai and McClure, and highlight not only the fact that 500 Startups is no longer a one-person show, but that the team has not only been diversifying, but increasing its focus on identifying and investing in international talent.
In speaking with the Tsai and McClure, the founder was quick to point out that 500 Startups is no longer just an accelerator, but also a set of conferences, and a fund that invests not only in companies of its choosing but those of other accelerators as well. Of the some 257 investments 500 Startups has made to date, McClure says that more than 50 of those have been in other accelerators, including 25 from Y Combinator, 15 from TechStars, 5 from Seedcamp, 3 AngelPad companies, and 3 from Startmeet.
While 10 to 15 percent of the fund’s current investments are in international startups, the partners said that, with the new $50 million fund, this will be increasing in the future, as it looks to build upon its investments in accelerators in Mexico City and Beijing, and beyond. For example, the team held a Geeks On A Plane trip to India in December of last year, and intends to continue focusing on Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, both for Geeks On A Plane and in terms of investments, looking to build ties in those ecosystems.
In October, the accelerator and fund peeled back the curtain on its third batch of startups, which included 34 companies, making it the largest roster to date (the initial batch consisted of 12 startups and the second came in at 21). Our coverage also touches on 500 Startups’ growing domestic and international diversity. You can also check out 500 Startups video here. The accelerator’s fourth batch kicked off a few days ago, and we’ll have more on those companies soon.
But another thing that’s interesting to note is that the accelerator is rolling out a new program that enables its mentors to co-invest in its accelerator companies — something that not many other accelerators or capital funds are doing at this point. Co-investing is not required for mentors, and all startups get the final say on which mentors can participate, but it’s a great opportunity for startups to get strategic angels on board, and conversely, an opportunity for mentors to invest in fast-growing stages early in their trajectory.
500 Startups is also adding to its conference brigade, with a new event to be held on Friday April 20th, called MamaBear, which will be a one-day even focused on new technology for moms, kids, and families, with speakers representing companies like BabyCenter, Disney, Sesame Street, Plum District, MindSnacks and more.