500 Startups Founder, Dave McClure, on The Indian Startup Space, Emerging Markets and Entrepreneurship


Dave McClure is the Founding Partner and Sith Lord at 500 Startups, a venture capital firm and internet accelerator. 500 Startups has made a name for itself as a truly global accelerator and operates in Brazil, Mexico and India, apart from USA. Dave has previously worked at Founders Fund, Facebook fbFund, PayPal, Mint.com, and Simply Hired. After leaving PayPal, McClure became a frequent investor in consumer Internet startup companies, investing in and advising more than 15 consumer internet startups and gained a reputation because of his blog 500 Hats. Post this, he founded 500 Startups in 2010. Here, we get in a conversation with him at the Global Superangels Forum to discuss India and Entrepreneurship.

Dave starts off with describing his India Connect, how he started off and opportunities in India. "There are opportunities which will start looking very interesting in 3-5 years from now but it surely isn't too late to start investing in these," he says. Paul Singh and Pankaj Jain have been involved with the investments 500 Startups (already 10), but Dave has had his own associations with Indian companies like Mygola and Shareaholic which he shares.

We tried to put Dave on the spot by pointing out stereotypes in terms of factors which differentiate Indian entrepreneurs and he points out a few interesting aspects here. Dave also talks about his association with the GSF accelerator and what prompted him to be a part of it.

Moving on, Dave talks about 'scale' and how India stands when compared to similar developing markets like Brazil and Mexico. "There are more similarities than differences when comparing these markets," says Dave and elaborates on some of the areas these markets need to focus on and what are the challenges in the space. "Areas we focus are a lot in consumer commerce," says Dave and goes on to talk about sectors they're actively looking at.

500 Startups intends to make 10 investments (on the lower end) a year with smaller cheques of about $ 25,000-50,000 and more as they go on. Dave concludes with what kind of products Indian entrepreneurs should focus on and a piece of advise that comes from years of experience of building great companies...