Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.
500 Startups has announced the names of the startups that joined its accelerator program this spring — perhaps the most internationally diverse yet as 71 percent of companies come from outside the US. Additionally, the firm has been rather active with other investments, with several companies coming from Africa and the Middle East, a first for 500 Startups.
This spring is the sixth batch of companies for “Sith Lord” Dave McClure and his firm. 500 Startups says that it admitted 28 companies this time around, five less than the last class, but with a different makeup. As noted already, almost three quarters of the companies come from outside the US. In addition, 28 percent have at least 1 female founder, of which two of these founders are CTOs.
It was this class that 500 Startups began accepting 100 percent open applications. The venture firm had been modifying its application model over the past couple of accelerator classes and this time required any interested company to apply using its AngelList profile. However, while 500 Startups is accepting open applications, it hasn’t entirely done away with referrals. But through an open process, it’s believed that the firm will be able to expand its network and meet more startups and founders everywhere.
Here are the 28 companies that make up the newest 500 Startups class, and how they describe themselves:
- AppSocially (Japan): Make your application’s Viral Loop awesome with an API that lets you track activity and conversion, allowing you to take action using customer data.
- BinPress (Israel): A service to help increase adoption of open-source within small-to-medium-sized businesses and in the enterprise.
- BoxC (US and China): It helps make buying directly from sellers in China fast and safe, almost like you’re buying from Amazon.
- Credii (India): A service that arms businesses with all the intelligence they need to make smart software and service choices.
- Dakwak (Jordan): A website translation technology provider.
- Dropifi (Ghana): An “intelligent replacement” service geared towards contact forms. It bills itself as a company that makes customer support more effective and helps increase lead generation.
- Feast (USA): An online cooking school featuring teaching guides and recipes, while also including an online community for users to ask questions and get feedback as they cook.
- Floqq (Spain): A service to “make it easy for anyone, anywhere to learn the skills they need.”
- Flyer (USA): Aimed at commercial real estate agencies, Flyer helps them create beautiful property flyers online.
- Geekatoo (USA): It offers local and onsite tech support at a “great value”. Customers can receive competing bids on tech support needs from verified providers.
- GreenGar (Vietnam): Seamless real-time collaboration on mobile devices. It’s building a platform that enables apps to intuitively connect people together.
- InstaGIS (Chile): A geographic information system that allows retail stores to target their audiences.
- KiteReaders (USA): Platform for publishers and authors to create, distribute, and market their children’s picture books for iBooks, Kindle, and Nook.
- Koemei (Switzerland): A service that provides algorithmic transcription of videos for search and accessibility, helping education and large enterprises gain value from their video investments.
- Mayvenn (USA): A mobile commerce solution that eliminates a salon’s inventory cost and opens a new revenue stream for their business.
- PinMyPet (Brazil): Social-based software for monitoring and improving the experience between pets and owners. It works with powerful, small and low-cost hardware for real-time health and location detection.
- POPAPP (Taiwan): An app to help sketch application prototypes quickly.
- PriceBaba (India): A product research engine that lets users shop around them.
- Reesio (USA): Billed as a new way to disrupt the real estate transaction process for agents, clients, and third-parties.
- School Admissions (India): Helps parents and children choose the right school.
- Seat 14A (India): A clothing subscription service for the “discerning man” every week.
- SeMeAntoja (Mexico): A restaurant service to help accept orders online.
- Sverve (USA): A self-service influencer marketing platform for small businesses.
- Tamatem (Jordan): A mobile gaming development studio focused on creating culturally-relevant games for the Arabic gaming market.
- TRDATA (Ukraine): Dubbing itself the “Bloomberg for Emerging Markets”, TRDATA collects real-time financial market information from remote places.
- Tushky (India): A self-service platform to monetize free time by offering interesting activities.
- WHILL (Japan): A personal mobility service for wheelchair users and the elderly.
What’s noteworthy of the 28 companies is that they include startups from regions that are entirely new to 500 Startups, such as Dropifi from Ghana, Africa and Dakwak and Tamatem from Jordan in the Middle East. In comparison to its last batch, there were 19 non-US companies — one less than this current class.
The proliferation of international companies in 500 Startups’ portfolio highlights the firm’s belief that there is great talent beyond the shores of the US. Over the past couple of years, it has made strides to find more companies, either through the Geeks On A Plane program or by expanding its service to new territories, like the merging with Mexican.vc and also adding a new venture partner in Beijing, China.
It also added a new partner to its ranks when it promoted George Kellerman back in March. He has been tasked with growing 500 Startups’ global partnerships and will also continue to look for emerging talent and startups in Japan.
500 Startups says that its latest class will complete their program in July 2013 when they appear at Demo Day in Mountain View, San Francisco, and in New York City.
Photo credit: Thinkstock/Top Photo Group
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