500 Startups is an early stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View California headed by the profane and prolific investor Dave McClure. 500 Startups was the most active fund of this past quarter, doing more than 35 deals. Most of the investments fell under financial services and ecommerce, search/social/mobile platforms and personal and business productivity.
500 Startups is unique in that they do not have an application process, rather founders are expected to find someone in the existing 500 startups network (or a recognized expert) and get them to vouch for you. Once 2-3 folks are committed on the behalf of your company, 500 will start paying attention.
The founder of 500, Dave McClure, founded his own company Aslan Computing, which was acquired in ’98. He was an early employee at Simply Hired as well as Mint.com. He also spent time at PayPal from 2001-2004, making him part of the PayPal Mafia.
According to Dave McClure, the 500 accelerator typically invests $50K at the equivalent of a $1M valuation and a $100K option to participate in the next round of funding. Unlike other accelerators, 500 will invest in the series A and even the follow-on rounds.
Here is an inspirational story from the founder of Kibin on how he scored funding: