With its goal of funding 500 companies already accomplished and well in the rear-view mirror, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups accelerator is looking to the future. And that future involves Naval Ravikant’s AngelList Syndicates, which allows investors to invite others to co-invest in companies.
Today, 500 Startups announced it’s launching its first two syndicates, one general 500 Startups fund and a 500 Women fund devoted to companies that have at least one female founder who owns at least 10% of the company.
Because it invests in so many companies (around 10-20 a month), the Syndicates platform is a good match for 500 Startups. “A lot of our investors want access to the deals we’re doing, and we’re not always able to get them in fast enough,” McClure said. “Now it’s a much more efficient process.” 500 Startups plans to cover around $50,000 to $100,000 per company while co-investors will pitch in $200,000 to $400,000.
The fact that 500 Startups has devoted a whole syndicate to women entrepreneurs should come as no surprise to those who closely follow the accelerator. Last October, partner Christine Tsai told me that between 25 and 30 percent of its accelerator and seed companies have at least one female founder. That’s way above average: Only 13 percent of US venture deals go to companies with a female founder.
McClure emphasized that investing in women-led companies isn’t about image or charity. It’s just smart business.
“Smart women entrepreneurs are not getting the access to capital they could,” McClure said, viewing this as an arbitrage opportunity. “We are not theorizing women are a good bet, we have proof they are a good bet.” He points to successful past investments by 500 Startups in companies like Wildfire, Taskrabbit, and Viki, all of which had a female founder.
Depending on the success of the syndicates, 500 Startups aims to launch more in the future, zeroing in on categories like ecommerce, video, and education, or regions like Latin America.
The Syndicates platform is not for everybody, but for 500 Startups, which is always trying to mobilize more capital to more companies all over the world, it seems like a good match.