500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure took the stage at Startupfest in Montreal on Thursday to chat with festival co-founder Phil Telio, and while a lot of what he covered was the McClure Classic Hits playlist you might recognize if you ve ever seen him speak, he also shed some light on what he sees as 500 Startups competitive advantage in the field of high-profile fund/accelerator combos that also includes Y Combinator.
McClure said that 500 now have about 1,500 investments spanning 16 countries, with a full third of their staff now both not born in the U.S., and working outside the U.S. McClure says that they ve been making investments internationally since the very start, which is why over a third of their portfolio companies actually reside outside the U.S.
That provides part of its advantage over big competitors, including YC, which McClure, whose metaphor-making ability may have been impacted by the Harambe debacle, called the big gorilla on the hill.
It s tough, he added, describing how he feels about the inevitable constant comparisons between 500 and YC.
It s hard feeling like I m Seabiscuit all the time.
A lot of startups at the festival were interested in some guidance around what 500 is looking for in portfolio companies, and McClure provided some pretty clear guidance.