500 Startups is among the world’s top startup accelerators. According to SeedRankings, it was among the top tier of accelerators except for last year. In 2017, 500 Startups was considered “Gold,” which comes after the “Platinum” and “Platinum Plus” tiers. 500 Startups offers the same funding of Y Combinator in addition to a three-month training program. During this program, most startups learn to scale their products.
In this infographic, we will cover the performance of those startups that graduated from this program. We will focus on only two batches (17 and 18). The reason for the selection of these batches is that startups that graduated from them have had over 12 months to scale. These two batches include 84 startups (according to 500 Startups’ page).
As with YC startups, the most common team size in 500 Startups is two members. The second most common team size is three members, followed by four or more members, and single founders. Unlike YC and TechStars, 500 Startups accepts single founders if they have solid traction. However, 500 Startups advises these founders to look for cofounders if they will invest in their startups. Beyond the team size, these two batches don’t have any non-profit startups.
As with the YC program, females are a bit underrepresented in these batches. Only 25% of these batches’ startups have at least one female founder. It is also worth noting that 500 Startups seems to favor the Business-to-Business (B2B) model over the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) model. Only 34% of startups from these batches target the end consumer.
As with YC startups, startups from these batches target 12 markets around the globe. The map in the infographic shows the distribution of these markets. The US has the lion’s share (69 startups), followed by the UK (2), Brazil (2), Canada (1), Angola (1), Nigeria (1), China (1), Hong Kong (1), Australia (1), New Zealand (1), the Czech Republic (1), Finland (1), Norway (1), and Switzerland (1).
We consider a startup to be a failed one when its founders leave, announce the closure of the business, or shut down their website for more than one month. Based on these criteria, only nine startups failed from these two batches. In addition to failed startups, three startups from these batches (Department of Better Technology, Efflux Systems, and Hamptons Lane) were acquired. Finally, a majority of the startups (72 out of 84) are still in operation.
We couldn’t find any fundraising records for 21 startups from these batches. In addition, 12 startups raised undisclosed amounts. In addition to these startups, 20% of these batches (17 startups) raised less than one million dollars. On the other hand, 33 startups raised over a million but less than 10 million dollars. Finally, only one startup (Kin) raised more than 10 million dollars.
Unfortunately, most of 500 Startups’ graduates from these batches have very low traffic. Sixty-two percent of these batches’ startups have monthly traffic of less than 10k. On the other hand, 25% of them have monthly traffic between 10k and 50k. Only seven startups from these batches have monthly traffic between 10k and 100K. Finally, four startups have monthly traffic exceeding 100k. These startups are Oddup (310K), Blavity (217K), Avocode (162K), and SidelineSwap (102K).
As we did with YC startups, we measured the popularity of those that graduated from 500 Startups in these batches by counting the backlinks they have. For every article posted about the startup or every link shared on social media, the website would gain an additional backlink. We didn’t count redundant backlinks from the same page. We also ignored the link type (follow and no-follow).
According to the data we received, only 5% of startups from these batches have more than 100K backlinks. These startups are Parkbench (306K backlinks), Blavity (259K), Efflux Systems (197K), and Linkett (106K). In addition to stars, 13% of startups from these batches are considered popular (having between 10K and 100K backlinks). Tacerto (55K backlinks) leads this tier, followed by Oddup (48K) and Tallyfy (48K). Beyond stars and popular startups, the majority of startups from this batch have moderate popularity (40%) or no popularity (42%).
We also noticed the existence of a link between the number of backlinks the startups have and the current traffic they receive. More backlinks usually means more traffic. We also noticed that most failed startups reside in the unpopular tier. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Kin, which raised $17 million, has only 4k backlinks. In addition, some successful startups have few backlinks, like Indio (102 backlinks) and WhereFor (599 backlinks).
Online user engagement
We measured the bounce rate to determine how engaging the websites are. A high bounce rate indicates that most users aren’t taking any action (like buying products, signing in, checking out, reading other pages, etc.). Sadly, most 500 Startups graduates (batch 17 and 18) have very high bounce rates. In addition, 25% of these batches’ startups have bounce rates between 40% and 60%. On the other hand, 13 startups from these batches have engaging websites. Finally, 10% of startups have bounce rates of less than 20%. These startups are Up All Night (bounce rate: 14.2% – average time: 6 minutes), WhereFor (bounce rate: 19.2% – average time: 4 minutes), and Oddup (bounce rate 19.4% – average time: 4.5 minutes).
500 Startups graduates from batches 17 and 18 are doing quite well. The failure rate is low (10%) as compared to the average startup failure rate. In addition, most startups raised funds after or during the program. Finally, when we checked their online presence, we found that these batches’ startups are doing well on average.
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