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 resignation after sexual harassment allegations.  

Ms. Tsai 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!