Started in 2010 by the salty, so-called "super angel," Dave McClure, 500 Startups is a Silicon Valley based incubator. As of January 2013, it had launched approximately 300 companies in many different in industries. The organization emphasizes the "lean startup" model.
Notable among the (relatively few) education technology startups that have gotten a startup in 500 Startups is Udemy and eSpark Learning. It also actively seeks out internationally based startups. It convened its fifth "batch" of 33 startups in the fall of 2012 (the program began in January). More than half the companies selected were from outside the US. (McClure also invests in companies that haven't been part of his program, such as NoRedInk.)
Here's a list of edtech investments:
- eSpark Learning
- Miso Media
- Mom Trusted
- Timbuktu Labs
Startups pay $6K per founder to participate in the program. The program declares that its companies are eligible for up to $250K in funding as well as mentorship and other guidance. The application process is fuzzy and not spelled out on its site. In fall 2012, 500 Startups worked with AngelList to find applicants. Veterans suggest that that muddle is by design. Just "..fly to the valley and walk-in to their office..." recommends one entrepreneur. Here's a Quora discussion about it.
McClure is one of the main attractions of 500 Startups. In his overview video, he declares:
"I'm a greedy, bloodsucking venture capitalist here in Silicon Valley and my job is to make startups succeed, wildly."
Just the sort of shark you want on your side.