It's an exciting week: 500 Startups just held their Demo Day for Batch 17 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Demo Day serves as the graduation for the Batch 17 class of 42 companies - and 500 Startups is infamous for throwing most festive sessions around. This year's theme: beauty & the geek, fitting with the theme of the batch - beauty & B2B.
500 Startups Co-Founder Christine Tsai kicked it off by doing a dance dressed up Napoleon Dynamite. Not to be out done, 500 Startups Co-Founder Dave McClure wore a rainbow colored unicorn wig as he spoke to the crowd. These guys know how to party.
With 42 companies to listen through, I picked 5 startups that really stood out:
Startup Best at Catching My Attention: Fuel Panda
As I parked my car, I was approached by the Fuel Panda team that offered to fill my car up for $1.99 while my car was parked. How could I say no? Their model is a subscription service for fueling up your car, delivered by fuel trucks while your car is idle during business hours.
Startup with Coolest Technology: Pair3D
Pair3D had the coolest technology. They build 3D models of furniture and have an app that allows the user to see what the furniture could look like in their home and office by using augmented reality on their smartphone or tablet. You can get a better sense of what they do in this video.
Startup with a Service I Would Buy for Business: InDinero
Given the theme, B2B startups were plentiful - but the one I'd actually use? InDinero. InDinero offers accounting software supported by book keepers and CPAs. Speaking to them directly, I found their solutions hits right at my own company's pain point. They're making sales at demo day!
Startup with the Best Unicorn Potential: Simless
Simless has created a product that replaces SIM cards with software. Though the pros & cons of this model are beyond me, the market sizing isn't: there's 7 billion phones out there, and lots of business travelers. With their market grab cut out for them, I'm betting Simless has the higest changes at becoming a startup Unicorn in the batch.
Startup with Weirdest Product Line: COIEO
I took a double take as COIEO CEO, Jae Rhim Lee arrived on stage, dressed in a black hooded burial suit. The twist? The robe was made from mushrooms. Describing her product as a green funeral product line, Lee wins weirdest product in my boom. But as death and taxes are the few certainties in life, they might be on to something.
Startup with the Best Swag: Babi Mori
Baby Mori touts itself as the world’s softest baby essentials. They also had the best swag at Demo Day. I shamelessly snagged the last boxed baby blanket - indeed truly soft - for my newly born nephew. You won't believe it until you cuddle it.
Startup Solving an Important Problem - Silicon Valley Housing: Montainer Homes
The biggest display at demo day was from Montainer Homes, taking up a parking lot with a tricked out home made out of a recycled storage container. They are currently targeting Bay Area home owners that want to add a second house on their property - and rent it out AirBnB to pay down their own exorbitant rent, most likely.
Startup with a Product I Would Buy for my Kids: Jewelbots
Jewelbots makes a smart programmable bracelet designed for kids between 7 and 14. It’s something that I can see my daughter using - and best of all, it teaches the basics of programing. I’m eying this for my daughter as a Christmas gift.
What's Next? Join the Next Batch of 500 Startups
How well the Batch 17 companies do remains to be seen, but 500 Startups does have an excellent track record. Producing 3 Unicorn startups, 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 I piqued your interest in 500 Startups, they are currently looking for applicants for Batch 19. Good candidates should have:
- Balanced Team
- Product Launched
- Traction with Good Metrics
If your startup is interested in applying for Batch 19, find the application here.
After applying, ask your local Startup Grind director if they can give you a warm referral!
Want more tips? Learn how 500 Startups makes it selection from Christine Tsai, 500 Startups Cofounder.
Check out the full 500 Startup Batch 17 Demo Day below