Contxto – Spirits were undeniably high at 500 Startup Latam’s Demo Day, the grand finale of its 16-week acceleration program that ended on Friday, August 9.
Approximately 250 people filled the auditorium to watch the tenth batch present their Pitch Decks. Most of the audience consisted of Mexico City investors at this invite-only event where 11 startups showcased their growth from the program, sponsored by BBVA.
“Everyone we invited is somebody who is important in the startup ecosystem,” said Operations Director René Lomelí, who reviewed over 1,000 applications before forming the tenth batch with colleagues. “We had a great outcome.”
In terms of stage-presence, the startups didn’t disappoint, either.
“The companies performed amazingly on stage. All of them looked very well prepared and that’s a result of a ton of work we did with them. As the director of the acceleration program, that’s very satisfying to see.”
The purpose of the accelerator is to provide valuable networking opportunities to participating startups.
Since the Latin American VC industry is still developing, interpersonal relationships between companies and investors are of the utmost importance at the end of the day.
“We’re still in an ecosystem that requires to build trust and relationships with investors,” said Lomelí. “The outcome of Demo Day is new relationships. All of them will soon be following up on these initial conversation with a lot of them having meetings next week.”
At the same time, the event is an opportunity for startups to re-evaluate models and strategize on optimal growth. Many, if not all, achieve this.
“The most important part (and I can say this of all the founders that come through the program) is that all of them become better versions of themselves as founders for the company,” added Lomelí. “That’s what’s amazing.”
Lomelí also stresses the importance of looking at this event on a “micro” level with more emphasis on individual startups. For example, some of the participating companies are currently in the fundraising stages while others are not.
“I don’t think we can measure the impact of each Demo Day. Instead, we should measure each individual company and its own story. It is very difficult to quantify the gain of the event in a group of companies based on different needs.”
Three years, 500 Startup Latam opened applications for its fifth batch. At that time, it got around 230 application. Since then, the number has skyrocketed to 1,421 applications for this past round back in January.
In three years, I’m just comparing two numbers that have practically quadrupled,” said Lomelí. “It’s a pretty exciting moment for entrepreneurship right now, people are building cool things in Latin America.”
Take a look here to learn more about the startups that participated.