500 Startups today unveiled the seven companies that have been selected to participate in its first Data Track, which kicked off two weeks ago in San Francisco. The track focuses on three sectors, namely big data, machine learning, and AI.
The candidates, all from different countries, are currently taking part in the three-month accelerator program alongside the other startups from 500’s latest batch — Batch 22. In addition to the traditional program, they will be receiving coaching and mentoring from sector-specific experts, such as Silicon Valley Data Science founder and CTO John Akred and Robert Munro, the vice president of machine learning for CrowdFlower.
“The goal of the Data Track is to help these innovative startups successfully transition from minimum viable product (MVP) to product-market fit,” 500 Startups venture partner Chris Neumann told VentureBeat in an exclusive interview. “At a high level, many first-time founders of ‘deep tech’ data companies have relatively little experience in sales and marketing and often fewer connections to the markets that are a natural fit for their solutions,” he added. “We’re hoping to bridge those gaps.”
Neumann previously worked at DataHero, a data visualization startup that he cofounded. He joined 500 Startups in February and was promoted in May from entrepreneur in residence (EIR) to venture partner to oversee the Data Track.
Here are the seven startups participating in the track:
Botsociety is a design tool for previewing, prototyping, and testing conversational interfaces.
Curio.io (United Kingdom)
Curio.io delivers professionally narrated audio of curated articles from publications like the Financial Times and the Guardian.
Mobile Forms (Nigeria)
Mobile Forms allows users to convert their paper forms to mobile and start collecting data from anywhere, instantly.
OpenUp tells companies how people behave after viewing their ads.
reDock helps professional services companies win complex contracts by mining and tailoring corporate information on demand.
Texel reduces the bandwidth needed to stream virtual and augmented reality content by more than 50 percent, using viewing data and behavioral analytics.
VCV operates AI-powered recruiting software that identifies candidates, screens them using voice recognition, and submits a video interview of qualified applicants to hiring managers.
Like all startups in 500’s Seed Program, the Data Track participants will each receive $150,000. ReDock received part of this investment from 500 Startups Canada prior to joining this batch and before the organization shut down.
The past few weeks have been tumultuous ones for 500 Startups. Cofounder Dave McClure resigned after the organization revealed publicly that an internal investigation found he had sexually harassed multiple women. The accelerator program is working to move forward under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Christine Tsai, something she made clear at last week’s demo day.
This isn’t 500 Startups’ first sector-specific track. The accelerator previously rolled out several others with focuses ranging from health care to fintech to beauty. In addition to Batch 22’s Data Track, a Fintech Track and a Digital Health Track are currently underway.