Both Twilio and 500 Startups are dedicated to growing and connecting the international startup community. Twilio’s technology simplifies building global communication networks, and 500 Startups nurtures entrepreneurs from around the world. When their powers combine, they will provide financing and mentorship to applicant companies that make “creative use of the Twilio API.”
Twilio provides telephony infrastructure via the cloud. Using the technology, developers can add call, text, and VoIP capabilities to their web and mobile apps. The service is active on six continents (penguins don’t have much need for VoIP) and can power communication in 150 countries. Historically, setting up cross-border communication systems was not something the average startup could do. Twilio’s API helps make telephony services globally accessible.
“At Twilio, we think SMS and voice should work the same way,” said Twilio product manager Patrick Malatack in a statement last year. “There are no geopolitical boundaries for the web, and we want to ensure developers can work with the telecom network like they do other Internet services.”
500 Startups is a global seed fund and accelerator program founded by the colorful Dave McClure. McClure has been an extremely vocal advocate for startups in emerging markets and makes a significant number of investments in companies operating in Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
“I’m being Captain Obvious to say that that there is incredible innovation happening in Europe,” McClure said in a statement. “Entrepreneurs in those countries often have limited access to venture capital. We’re already investing actively all around the world, Europe included. So we’re pumped to be continuing with Twilio Fund Europe.”
Twilio Fund 2013 will provide seed funding as well as free Twilio credits. Applicants must be building or about to launch a service powered by Twilio’s web service APIs, privately held, less than five years old, and have received less than in funding.
The microfund was first formed with 500 Startups back in 2010. Over a dozen startups have received funding to date. The 2012 finalists were announced yesterday — Babelverse, Call Loop, Healthsouk, Sessions, and Wedgies. The deadline for applying for the 2013 fund is May 1.