500 Startups: New batch, new map, new song
Dave McClure's 500 Startups accelerator is notable for a few reasons: There's the sheer number of startups it funds (it's well beyond 500 at this point), its focus on international startups (over half of its last three classes are based outside the United States), and the comparatively large percentage of its investments that are founded by women. At last count, 500 Startups' Christine Tsai told me that between 25 percent 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.
Its latest batch is no exception, though there is a slight drop in the number of female-founded and international startups this time around: 5 of its 30 companies have a female founder and 12 are based internationally. Some of the more notable companies in this batch include zBoard, a weight-sensing electric skateboard that's like a Segway without handles. Or a hoverboard with wheels. 500 Startups has also brought on its first biotech startup, uBiome, which will map your "microbiome." In other words, it will tell you all the bacteria that are using your gross body as a campsite. (For more on uBiome, Scientific American has a run-down of some possible ethical concerns with uBiome's process).
And finally, 500 Startups has produced another music video to celebrate its latest class. Last time it was a ridicule-ready rendition of "Thrift Shop," but luckily the accelerator's musical parody skills have improved (somewhat), as they take on Lorde's hit song "Royals." It's not as bad as when Samsung tried to re-appropriate the song's rejection of materialism to sell phones to rich people. But, you know, it's a tech startup parody of a hit single, so manage your expectations: