December 26, 2015
500 Startups, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator managing $200M in assets and having invested in 1300+ technology startups, is launching a FinTech-exclusive batch comprised of eight companies starting from January 19, 2016. 500 Startups has actively been investing in financial services startups such as Credit Karma, WePay, Simple (acquired by BBVA), ReadyForZero, FeeFighters (acquired by Groupon), Recurly, CoinPip etc. They have also invested in eight bitcoin-related startups to date and they plan to invest in another 10–20 per year going forward. Sources also reveal that their demo day will take place in mid-May at Levi's Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers football team) in Santa Clara, California.
In May 2014, this California-based accelerator announced the launch of a bitcoin and FinTech investor syndicate on AngelList. This bitcoin+FinTech investors syndicate was 500 Startups’ third syndicate. The other two syndicates are for general startup investing and female founders. In 2014, 500 Startups also invested in five bitcoin startups, each receiving $100,000 in exchange for 7% equity. Each company was valued at roughly $1.4 million.
Founding partner of 500 Startups, Dave McClure, has a FinTech background. He has spent three years with PayPal, two years with Mint.com and one year with Facebook fbFund in the past. Parker Thompson, Partner at 500 Startups and AngelList and Sean Percival, Partner at 500 Startups, with McClure are the founding partners for 500 Startups’ FinTech+Bitcoin division. Sheel Mohnot, General Partner at 500 Startups, leads FinTech investments at 500 Startups. Mohnot has founded two FinTech companies in the past with successful exits. He also runs a podcast called The Pitch where founders pitch to investors. 500 Startups has a host of partners coming in from the financial technology industry. It has never been a FinTech-focused accelerator, but the new FinTech-specific batch beginning in January indicates its inclination towards investments in FinTech.
The other global FinTech-focused accelerators include Plug and Play, FinTech Innovation Lab (New York), QC FinTech Lab, Startupbootcamp and Level39. Many banks like Citi, Barclays and Wells Fargo also have their accelerators to foster innovation. The FinTech industry has always been in the eyes of VCs, investors, accelerators and banks. LTP analyzed the investments that were made in the FinTech Industry during July–November 2015. According to the analysis, more than $4.5 billion of investments were made in the FinTech Industry during this period. The analysis also revealed that the majority of the funding raised by the companies was to expand their services globally.