Meet 500 Startups’ 26th batch of startups

Following TechCrunch’s coverage of 500 Startups’ 25th batch (and numbers 24, 23, 22, and 21, in case you wanted to go back in time), today we’re saying hello to  the accelerator’s 26th cohort.

500 Startups, in case you weren’t aware, is a seed-stage accelerator and a collection of venture funds. The group, now with a few dozen accelerator batches under its belt, has several thousand companies in its universe. 500’s 26th cohort contains 29 companies, including a handful that we’d already heard of (Juked.gg, to pick one).

Data, diversity

Before we get to the startups themselves, a few notes. To get a handle on the companies included in the batch, TechCrunch spoke with Aaron Blumenthal, a venture partner at the firm. After sharing a number of batch metrics with TechCrunch, we pressed for a bit more detail on the makeup of the startups in the group.

Here’s a hybrid of our notes, and his details (condensed and edited for clarity), on the batch that the venture partner called “another rung on the ladder of our diversity and inclusion state of mind”:

  • 37% of the startups are international. According to Blumenthal, “this particular batch from the ‘outside United States perspective’ is a little bit smaller — we usually see north of 50% outside the United States.”
  • 30% of the companies’ founding teams include a woman. TechCrunch asked Blumenthal if that number was up, flat or down, to which he responded that 500’s “average is usually in the mid 30s or so. Our last batch, for example, was 26% female. And this one is more [in] that direction which, of course, we are a fan of.”
  • 70% of the founding teams of the batch “have one or more founders who identify as a racial minority,” according to the firm.

It would be interesting to see a more granular breakdown for future cohorts, but the information provided was more than I expected, and the numbers a bit better. And on the subject of numbers, Crunchbase has recorded 215 exits for 500 Startups. From its accelerator, 500 cites TalkDesk and Shippo as highlights.

Turning to mechanics, 500 Startups invests $150,000 apiece into its accelerator companies for 6% of their equity, and charges a $37,500 for the program itself. So, in effect, it’s a bit less capital for the same ownership percentage.

What else? Just that we’re walking into demo day season. 500 Startups will host the showcase for its 26th batch on March 19. Y Combinator will hold its own on March 23 and 24. The Techstars website defeated my hunt for its next demo day, but in the name of fairness, it’s probably hosting one around the same time somewhere in the world.

Here’s the list of companies in batch 26, with small notes from 500 on what they do:

  • Acadium: Connects business owners and marketing professionals with aspiring digital marketers.

  • Alloy Card: Offers a consumer credit card with automation that gives people more control over their finances while saving time.

  • Amixr: Incident management software that helps engineering teams around the world optimize their workflow while minimizing hassles.

  • AppBind: Lets partners buy and resell online software subscriptions as easily as licensed software, by bringing B2B SaaS into the global reseller market of implementation consultants, system integrators and distributors.

  • Bliinx: Offers an easy and fast way to find information on business relationships by aggregating all interactions with contacts into Office 365.

  • Briza: Provides an insurance-as-a-service API that enables instant quoting, binding and issuance of commercial insurance policies.

  • Butlr: Through sensor networks and AI, Butlr helps retail stores increase in-store sales by applying real-time customer behavior analytics.

  • CENOS: Easy-to-use simulation software that allows engineers to iterate designs faster than physical prototypes for induction heating and antenna design, among others.

  • Connected Analytics: Nigeria-based company helping businesses and banks integrate data analytics and rewards in order to retain customers and increase revenue.

  • Fakespot: Eliminates misinformation and deceptive content on e-commerce sites for consumers, brands and platforms.

  • GamerzClass: Offers exclusive esports masterclasses with professionals to shape the future of gaming.

  • Get on Board: Recruitment platform that connects global companies with the best Latin American tech talent.

  • Juked: Aggregates information on esports games, including live streams, player profiles, scores and calendars to make esports easier to watch and to promote engagement.

  • Kyndoo: Helps advertisers weed out fraudulent social media influencers, and provides data around their authenticity and performance.

  • Mero Technologies: Retrofits commercial buildings with sensors to analyze in real time traffic and consumables, such as toilet paper and soap, to inform cleaning routes.

  • Omnitron Sensors: Enables full autonomy of self-driving cars and drones with novel silicon photonics processes for sensors in safety-critical systems.

  • Pilota:  Applies machine learning to predict flight disruptions for passengers and automatically re-books a traveler’s flight for free.

  • Plant an App: Gives IT teams the speed of low-code development without compromising flexibility.

  • Pluto: Customizes sleep pillows at scale based on the user’s body stats, such as height, neck-to-shoulder ratio and sleep preferences in order to optimize sleep.

  • Predina: Applies AI to predict the risk of vehicle crashes for insurance and safety purposes, by analyzing more than 14 million historical crashes and other factors, such as street intersections, weather conditions and time.

  • Renetec: Enables the creation of GUIs for embedded systems with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, which reduces development time and costs.

  • ShardSecure: Enables enterprises to securely move and store sensitive information to the cloud.

  • Shiplyst: India-based ocean freight procurement marketplace that reduces costs for exporters and importers and gives them greater visibility into their shipments.

  • Silk + Sonder: Provides a women’s mental wellness subscription service that makes daily self-help more personalized through journaling and peer-to-peer support.

  • Sira Medical: Helps clinicians plan surgeries more efficiently through augmented reality, by providing them with high-fidelity 3D holograms of CT scans and MRIs.

  • The Atlas: An online community of city officials crowdsourcing ideas that is modernizing the $1.6 trillion local government market.

  • Thematic: Matches content creators who need great songs for their videos with music artists who need influencer marketing.

  • Trash Warrior: Offers on-demand junk removal services for businesses. Customers can book services online for affordable pricing and reliable quality.

  • Userpilot: Helps software product managers personalize the in-app experience across the user journey at scale.

Living in the unicorn era as we have now for some time, it’s easy to lose track of the earliest-stages of startup investment. But accelerators do have a history of helping birth some impressive companies. So it’s worth paying attention. More when we get to the various demo days.


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