500 Startups in deal with Enterprise Equity to fast-track Irish start-ups

4 Dec 2014

One of San Francisco’s most pre-eminent start-up accelerators has forged an alliance with venture capital firm Enterprise Equity to help fast-track the applications of Irish start-ups who want to join.

“We know Enterprise Equity and this is a very positive initiative to get more Irish companies into the heart of Silicon Valley,” said Sean Percival, partner at 500 Startups.

“We are looking forward to seeing more Irish companies through this relationship.”

In just three years, the 500 Startups accelerator has cemented its position as one of the top programmes for founders who are looking to improve their products and reach new users. The programme, which runs four times a year, now graduates more than 100 new companies annually, with each receiving an investment of US$100,000 on completion.

500 Startups puts start-ups in fields such as search, social and mobile through an intense 12-week accelerator programme focused on design and user experiences, distribution and customer acquisition, along with lean start-up practices and metrics.

The strategic alliance between Enterprise Equity and 500 Startups will offer Irish start-ups the opportunity to fast track through the process to take part in one of the accelerator programmes run by 500 Startups each year.

A game-changer for the right start-ups

500 Startups has agreed to fast-track selected Irish applicants recommended by Enterprise Equity, to interview stage, offering a significant head start to Irish start-up companies.

With just 30 places available on each programme, competition for inclusion is extremely high. About 1,000 applications are received for each programme, with just 100 proceeding to interview stage.

“This could be a game-changer for the right Irish companies, parachuting them into the very centre of the Silicon Valley internet ecosystem,” said Conor O’Connor, managing partner at Enterprise Equity.

Operating for more than 25 years, Enterprise Equity Venture Capital has invested in excess of €50m in more than 80 companies in the software sector and high-tech manufacturing, particularly the medical-device industry. The company manages three funds totalling some €84m/US$105m, including the AIB Seed Capital Fund, the largest and most active seed investor in the country.

The company has invested significant time over the years in developing its US networks, particularly in Silicon Valley, and to further extend this reach, the company has recently appointed Philip McNamara as its US venture partner, based in San Francisco.

San Francisco image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years