500 Strong(er) with Microsoft in 2013

Few things in life leave an impression quite like meeting Dave McClure….

The first time we met in person was at Le Web in December 2011.

Here we are at Brian Solis’ birthday drinks at the Intercon in Paris, sandwiched between Oren from Mashery and our mutual good pal, 500 Startups mentor and champion coach to startups, Mike Sigal. At that time Dave was mostly myth and legend to me. Our first exchange was ‘colorful’ (I had a lot of fine white burgundy on board by then) and I quickly realized that – beneath the controversy and Tasmanian dust devil persona – was a uniquely talented, smart and interesting, passionate and inspirational entrepreneur – and a leader.


Since then I’ve had the extreme good fortune to leave the sub-zero temperatures and sub-optimal transport systems of London and Paris behind me, relocating to sunnier climes in Mountain View, CA. The home of 500 Startups.

Quite by coincidence (not truly by design), I was just down the road witnessing 500 Startups growth and expansion (into Russia, India, China, LATAM and beyond) as they became a real player on the international scene. What a year they have had. Next stop for Geeks on a Plane is SE Asia. One of my colleagues will be on that plane. Lucky Peking duck.


Pretty much everyone who spends time with McCrazy develops a fond memory or two…

Dave does have an extensive vocabulary and amazing energy and, with it, a boat load of insights, eager to challenge the status quo. One of my favorite memories is watching him on stage at Mega Startup Weekend @ MSFT Silicon Valley – where he encouraged everyone to ‘give failure the finger’. Everyone loved his Friday night motivational speech. Teams were sending Dave pics of the bird gesture all weekend and they worked on ideas, formed teams and built prototypes.

(If you didn’t make it to Mega you can watch the video for a flavor of the event)….


Now on their 6th class, 500 goes from strength to strength. We are witnessing the “rise of the angels"..

We recently hosted the 500 Startups Mexican Demo Day at MSFT SV – some of the companies are brilliant. We wish them well. So many entrepreneurs, domestically in the US and from all corners of the globe, aspire to join the program in Mountain View. Their grads and alumni speak highly of their experience.

Last we heard, Dave was in Brazil.

At least his flip-flops are not out of place there. Check out his slides from the Startup Weekend Organizers Summit in Rio this week. F-bombs aside, I am tempted to use the same approach in my next team meeting: the sun is shining, the air is warm and the beer is cold. Let’s go and enjoy it. Life is too short for slides.

With that – let’s just say that we’re delighted to announce the next chapter of the Microsoft partnership with 500 Startups.

We love their energy, their mission, and their impact.

Felix is here to help startups @ 500 make the most of Microsoft platform technologies (like Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone) and the BizSpark program. We’ll post some updates during the year on our site and in the meantime, please welcome Felix to the Bay Area and feel free to reach out to him. Maybe Dave and he will get along (note: similar glasses)…. and I’m sure Dave can teach Felix a thing or two.. about birds.

Claire Lee is head of Strategic Partnerships for Microsoft Startups (@Claire0h)

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