Twilio, a web-based VoIP development platform is going to get a boost, thanks to one of its investors: Dave McClure and his fund, 500 Startups. Twilio, a San Francisco-based startup, allows web-app developers to add voice-related functionality to their web apps. 500 Startups is going to invest in many of these developers and has earmarked a quarter-million dollars for what it’s calling a Twilio Micro Fund. McLure told me that he’s seen a lot of startups use the Twilio platform. The new fund will invest up to $10,000 in up to 10 companies and will get about 1 percent equity in exchange. Some of these companies may get up to $50,000, and will be asked to work out of 500 Startups’ incubator space in Mountain View, Calif.
By investing in these startups, McClure is doing two things: getting access to very early stage companies and at the same time, looking to prop up the value of his Twilio investment. In order to succeed, Twilio has to keep growing as an ecosystem. More apps that use its platform means higher total voice minutes for the Twilio platform, and charging for voice is the key way for Twilio to make money. McClure told us he’s taking the lessons he learned running the FB Fund (a small fund that invested in Facebook-platform focused startups) and applying them to some of his portfolio companies. He’s considering a small micro-fund focused on the CrowdFlower platform as well.