500startups is Not a Man.
500startups is still among the few VC and acceleration programs that is changing the imbalance between men and women in the Silicon Valley.
I’m a Brazilian founder from batch 16, and want to tell you a bit about what’s behind the 1,500+ companies that 500startups supports; and the secret sauce that makes them, by far, the most diverse, inclusive and open-minded VC and acceleration program in the world.
During my batch, there were approximately 50 companies and founders from all over the World including countries like: Nigeria, Brazil, England, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, Sweden, Canada, US, Australia, Israel, Venezuela and India. Among them, more female founders and CEOs from all races and upbringings than you would find in most other accelerators.
And that’s not all: If a diverse batch with plenty of female founders could be found seated on one side of the table, the other side had the same: both of my company’s direct mentors were female. Rebecca Woodcock and Susan Su, were seasoned entrepreneurs, as was our pitch coach, Andrea Barrica. She was responsible for training the entire batch for “demo-day”, the most important and challenging part of the acceleration program. Andrea tirelessly guided 50+ founders from all over the world to a brilliant demo-day presentation.
In another example of the 500starups mindset, my company has an additional office location in Atlanta, a city that among its attributes, boasts a large population of African Americans, who have been scarce in the Tech community up until now. The first big Silicon Valley VC fund to become involved in the Atlanta startup ecosystem was 500startups, by hosting a local event that discussed and offer support to the budding Atlanta community. Among the speakers, the majority was composed of young, female, African-American entrepreneurs who defied adversity and succeeded in a predominately white and male community. If you ever lived in Silicon Valley, you know how rare it is to find events with that many female or African-American speakers, much less African-American females.
I’m proud to have taken part in that event in Atlanta and proud to share the mindset of the 500family; composed of minorities; creating the tech world the future needs.
If 500startups is among the top VCs and acceleration programs in the world, it’s because they are a rare example of a fund that chooses to invest in founders because of their brain, soul and results and not because of their gender, skin color or background.
500startups will still be around when most VC funds no longer exist because its secret sauce is not a man, it’s a mindset. #500family #500strong #500startups