500 Startups Batch 21 Demo Day

500 Startups Batch 21 Demo Day was muted compared to past Demo Days.  Normally it’s a festive themed environment.  However, there was no theme this time.   Christine Tsai, 500 Startups CEO, address the elephant in room and spoke about the difficulties following Dave McClure’s resigination after sexual hassament allegations.   She affirmed 500 Startups commitment to diversity and to build and support startups.  Despite the turmoil experienced during this time,  I found this batch to be excellent.  Batch 21 consisted of 31 companies.  Several have already achieved six digit MRRs.   So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite startups at Batch 21.

Save the World (and Make Money)

Folia Water is my favorite of the batch.  They developed a filter that can be used to make potable water.  The best part is that it only cost pennies to make.  One filter can make enough potable for a family of 4 for a week and only cost a quarter.  Folia Water has the potential to provide cheap clean potable water for third world countries where this is a challenge.


Wow, this is Really Cool!

Lumotune has develop a digital display that is transparent.  Essentially this enables any window to become marketing vehicle.    I can see every major brick and mortar retailer and restaurant adapting their technology.  

 

Best Display

I waited half an hour (it turns out that investors have a priority over pseudo-journalist) to take a ride in VR Motion’s  virtual reality vehicle simulator.  Their current business model is to sell their simulators to police departments.  I’m not sure what that market is like but it was a fun ride (I even got dizzy when I took the virtual car off roading).

 

My Vote for Unicorn

RealAtom is a market place for commercial real estate loans.  I would’ve assumed something like this was already developed.  They’ve taken a process the commercial real estate loan process from 40 days and reduced it to two.  In the nine months since they’ve launched, they’ve received $450 M in loan requests and booked $600 K in revenue.   I wouldn’t be surprised if they join the exclusive unicorn club.

 

Sign Me Up

As BillTrim was giving their pitch, it reminded me about several AT&T and Comcast bills that looked like I got overcharged but just don’t have the time to argue.   Upload your bills to BillTrim and they’ll negotiate a better rate.   If they’re able to save you money, they’ll get 25% of the savings.  Signing up with BillTrim is on my to-do list.

 

There are a lot of Janitors…

Swept is a management tool for the janitorial industry.  I really like startups that make niche industries more efficient.   Honestly, I don’t know what the market’s like but there are a lot of janitors…

I’d Recommend this to My Clients

I don’t think that I would get what MedStack if I wasn’t an app developer.  We’ve done medical related projects that require HIPAA compliance and it’s a messy complex process.  MedStack has a turnkey solution that makes the HIPAA compliance process a lot easier.

Join 500 Startups

How well the Batch 21 companies do remains to be seen, but 500 Startups does have an excellent track record. Producing 3 Unicorn startups (with a 4th possibly on the way), 37 Centaurs (valued $100-999 M), and over 300 Ponies ($10-99 M), you might be wondering how to get into 500 Startups. Well, first you’ve got to apply!

If you’re interested in joining 500 Startup, good candidates should have:

  • Balanced Team
  • Product Launched
  • Traction with Good Metrics

If your startup is interested in applying for a future batch, you can apply here.

After applying, be sure to ask your local Startup Grind director for a warm referral!

500 Startups’ Batch 20 Demo Day:  The Summer of Love

The 41 companies of Batch 20 proudly graduated from 500 Startups three month Accelerator program by pitching to an auditorium full of investors on their Demo Day held on May 12, 2017.  The startups fell mainly into the categories of Digital Health, FinTech and Civic Tech.  With a flair for fun, the theme for the event was the “Summer of Love” and Dave McClure and the 500 Team were dressed up in their groovy getups.  In no particular order, here are some of the startups that I found hip.

 

Outta Sight!

I have two Amazon Echo’s in my house and use Siri often with my iPhone.  Consequently, Mycroft AI was my top pick for the batch.  They’ve developed an open source voice assistant platform that allows companies to create their own voice assistant interface.

Bummer…You Need a Lawyer

The only thing worse than going to a dentist is having to find a lawyer.  Having personally done this in the past, it’s really not fun.  Court Buddy helps consumers find solo practicing lawyers that offer flat rates.

Keep on Truckin’

 Preteckt has developed a platform that uses both hardware and software to provide real time data for big rigs and effectively predicts needed maintenance and minimizes on down time for the trucking industry.

Flashback: It’s Been Done Before But…

With Printivo, you can make business cards, custom stationary, banners, posters via their web site.  Hmmm….aren’t there a ton of companies like VistaPrint and Shutterfly that already do this?  Yes, but Printivo is the only online service that does this in Africa which is green territory worth an estimated $8 B.  I personally like startups that do functions that we find mundane in areas that are underserved.

Head Trip:  Why Hasn’t This Been Done Yet?

BenRevo has developed a sales automation platform for the health insurance industry.  This essentially provides the ability for health insurance to be purchased online.  Why is this head trip?  I don’t know why the insurance companies do this themselves.  Kudos to the Benrevo team for recognizing the need and developing a solution.

It’s Hip to be Square

Combine the most boring topics, government, big data, and urban planning and you get the startup, UrbanLogiq.  UrbanLogiq has developed a platform where they aggregate big data into a usable format which really helps out city planners.   A yawn fest for me but, if you’re a city planner, UrbanLogiq is pretty hip.

Nark and Get Paid

Sacramento based Text To Ticket has developed an app where you can report texting drivers.  A good video that catches the culprit will nab the nark $5 (Text to Ticket gets a lot more when they forward the video to the appropriate enforcement agency).

Groovy:  A Fun Startup

Win-Win has developed a platform where athletes can engage their fans by hosting games while raising funds for their charities.  I found their CEO, Mike Tauiliili, pretty interesting.  He was an NFL Player that played for the Indianapolis Colts.  Afterwards, he learned to code and joined the Silicon Valley startup world.

Join Batch 22

How well the Batch 20 companies do remains to be seen, but 500 Startups does have an excellent track record. Producing three unicorn startups (with a fourth, possibly on the way). 37 Centaurs, (valued $100-999 M), and over 300 Ponies ($10-99 M).

If you’re interest in 500 Startups, they are currently looking for applicants for Batch 22.

A good candidate should have:

  • Balanced Team
  • Product Launched
  • Traction with Good Metrics​

If your startup is interested in applying for Batch 22, find the application here.

After applying, be sure to ask your local Startup Grind director for a warm referral!

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.