500 Startups has today officially announced the fall 2012 batch for their accelerator program. This is the 5th batch of 500 Startups which commenced on October 4, 2012 . 33 companies have been announced as a part of this batch, including 4 Indian companies, namely,gazeMetrix, Instamojo, TradeBriefs and WalletKit.
In a conversation with YourStory, Pankaj Jain, Venture Partner for 500 Startups from India had this to say about the current batch, “This is the first time we
utilized an open application process. We used AngelList’s platform to fill a few of the remaining spots in this batch, 3 weeks before the program started. The process worked really well for us, and we plan to keep working with AngelList for future batches. We received hundreds of applications and ended up selecting 8 companies. In the current batch, 21% of the companies have at least 1 woman founder and more than half the batch (57%) is from outside the US; 19 companies joined us from outside the U.S.”As part of the accelerator program all the companies in the batch will work in 500 Startups' Office in Mountain View, California. “The real value of the accelerator program is derived when the companies from around the world come to the Valley. We like companies to come to our office in Mountain View and work here for the duration of the program so that they can benefit by getting access to the functional expertise that may be hard to find in their local geographics as well as connecting with highly experienced mentors and investors. By bringing their international experience to the Valley, they add a significant amount of knowledge and expertise to the other companies as well as mentors, in many cases. However, we don't require or even ask founders to move to the US permanently. In case of the 4 Indian startups, all of them will be returning to India once the batch the batch is complete,
” said Pankaj Jain.He further added that data, design and distribution are the key focus areas of the accelerator program. “We bring some of the best minds from around the world in these fields to speak and mentor the companies in the batch. Functional experts in domains ranging from design to SEO/SEM to email/social media marketing to fundraising and much more are available to the whole batch throughout the program.” 500 Startups has made over a 190 mentors available to the companies during the batch. “The Office Hours that these mentors hold are booked on average within 3 minutes of being scheduled,” added Pankaj Jain.
500 Startups has been very bullish on international markets. About 15% of 500 Startups' overall portfolio comes from outside the U.S. Furthermore, they recently brought in Pankaj Jain as a venture partner for India and merged forces with Mexican.VC. “Out of all of the companies in the current batch the highest number of international companies have come from India. We hope to continue this trend and find exciting companies in India that can gain a great deal from being a part of the 500 family,” said Pankaj Jain.
The dates for Demo Days have not been announced yet, but we have been told that it will take place in February 2013 in Mountain View, San Francisco, and NYC. Find the list of 33 companies here.
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