Jul 25, 2016 Accelerator News

The Hunt: How Startups WIN on Product Hunt

Product Hunt (PH) has become the de facto source for new and upcoming technology products. If you get featured on the homepage, the next 24 hours could be glorious: Thousands of site hits, a boost in customers MOAR revenue Massive brand awareness among target audience Or, it could be an utter failure. You might get low conversion rates to your site, ghosted from the PH featured page and buried under your competitors. You choose. How to WIN at Product Hunt I’ve helped companies like Indemand and Arka gain over 1,000 upvotes in less than 24 hours, which — with high conversion from PH to landing page — led to hundreds of new customers and thousands of revenue dollars in just …


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Jul 21, 2016 Accelerator News

4 Steps Every Startup Must Take To Build Culture, Compete for Talent, and Win

I talk to brilliant founders every day who are 100% focused on growing their company. They’re solving problems and improving their business at light-speed, turning their great idea into an even better company. Unfortunately, a lot of them have the same blind spot: They don’t understand company culture. Having a strong culture doesn’t mean you have a beautifully designed office or that you offer your employees unlimited vacation days or catered lunches. Culture, at its core, is the way your team works together. In other words, it’s not about the perks. When your culture is strong, your team is deeply connected and each member takes personal ownership over their own little piece of the company. This commitment is what powers …


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Jul 20, 2016 On Our Blog

Should You Take the Offer? A Growth Marketers’ Framework to Climbing the Startup Career Ladder

This post comes from Alex Nucci, VP of Growth at ClutchPrep, a company that provides textbook-specific videos and tutoring in science subjects to college students. Under Alex’s guidance, ClutchPrep has tripled their MRR over the past 8 months. 8 months ago, I hit a crossroads. About to choose my next career move, it wasn’t clear to me which option was best. They were all great, but there was definitely a better one to pick (there always is). I created a list of things that one considers when making a decision like this. The idea was to put them all in perspective with what my long term goals were, as opposed to being lured in by what might be a short term win. After …


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Jul 15, 2016 Accelerator News

Why Your Accelerator Rejected You

500 Startups Partners Marvin Liao and Elizabeth Yin are warm, friendly individuals, but they also break a lot of hearts. As gatekeepers for 500’s San Francisco-based accelerator, Liao and Yin lead teams that review anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 applications per 12-week round. There’s nothing fun about raining on someone’s parade, but with only 35 to 45 slots available, there’s a lot of disappointment to go around. “We have to look through every single one, then we filter it down,” said Liao. Which Applicants Are Most Likely To Hear “Yes” From 500? “We really do take it case by case,” said Yin, though there are a few hard and fast rules. “In most cases, we look for a complete full-time team that has …


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Jul 13, 2016 On Our Blog

The Best Startup Pitches Are Empathic, Not Egotistic

For entrepreneurs to pitch effectively, they must first free themselves of attachment — the root of all suffering. Which makes 500 Startups Venture Partner, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and pitch coach Andrea Barrica a spiritual guru. “I force people to constrain and use the smallest amount of time to explain what’s most interesting about their company,” she explains. It’s rewarding, but like any effective conditioning process, no pain, no gain. The 120 Second Investor Pitch Now coaching her fourth batch of founders for 500 Startups, Barrica has continually shaved the amount of time they have to present at Demo Day. Instead of 3.5 minutes, each team now has only 120 seconds to make its case. Investors are more excited and engaged, Barrica said, …


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Jul 6, 2016 On Our Blog

Fintech Investment is Exploding — 5 Ways Governments & Ecosystem Builders Can Help

with Sheel Mohnot Investment in fintech companies is up 8X in the past 5 years, with over 200 financings for a combined $4.9 billion in 1Q2016 alone.   “Silicon Valley is coming. There are hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking.” Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, pointed out: “Silicon Valley is coming. There are hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking. They are very good at reducing the ‘pain points’.” Quarterly financing to VC-backed fintech companies has been growing immensely: But investment is not flowing freely everywhere.   For example, in 1Q2016, Chinese fintech companies received $2.4 …


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Jun 30, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Launches 500 LABS

Today 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley VC specializing in middle-out technology, is announcing 500 LABS, a startup studio that creates awesome companies from scratch (see infographic). 500 Labs will bring together founders and teams from all over the world to make startups go harder, faster, better, stronger. 500 LABS is led by experienced entrepreneurs and hyperloop enthusiasts Selcuk Atli and Dominic Coryell. Selcuk and Dom reside in San Francisco, but occasionally migrate north for the summer to Toronto and Waterloo (that’s in Canada, you hoser). They make stuff that works. Startup Studio: A Model that Works Startup studios aren’t exactly new — they have been popularized in recent years by firms like Betaworks (creators of Giphy), and Expa (creators of …


Jun 23, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Announces $25M Microfund to Invest in Black and Latino Founders

500 Startups is raising a $25 million dollar microfund to make early stage investments in Black and Latino founders. This fund will invest in ~100 companies and give Black and Latino founders the access to capital, networks, and expertise that they need to grow their businesses. The United States’ shifting demographics is a clear opportunity for investment. By 2044 people of color with be the majority in the US and Black and Latino consumers currently have a combined $2.5T in purchasing power. The fund will be led by Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups and co-founder of Black Founders. Monique has access to some of the best deals in this market and her network has a massive pipeline into …


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Jun 23, 2016 On Our Blog

PreMoney 2016: The Global Investment Community Crosses Paths in San Francisco

PreMoney Brings Together US + International Angels, VCs, LPs Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner with Chanzo Capital in Accra, Ghana, traveled more than 7,600 miles to attend PreMoney San Francisco. “The world is flat,” he said, sipping a Coke immediately after his panel discussion, “Crossborder Investing: Let’s Go Global, Baby.” “When I started in tech in 1998, one of the terms that really rang in my ears was ‘the global village,’” said Osiakwan. “Today, it’s very real.” How real? Earlier in the day, Osiakwan bumped into Jill Ford, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for City of Detroit. “We first met in Ghana in 2002,” he said. “I didn’t know she would be here! After I finished my lunch, I was walking out …


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Jun 21, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Announces $25M FinTech Fund

We’re excited to announce a new vertical fund, 500 FinTech, which will focus on investments in companies that we are deeming as: “Financial Services For the Rest of Us.” Over the last 6 years, 500 Startups has made some great investments in the FinTech space. With nearly 80 investments in 10 countries, including CreditKarma, Flywire, FeeFighters (acquired by Groupon), Simple (acquired by BBVA), iMoney, and RealtyShares, CB Insights has tapped 500 as the most active early-stage FinTech investor in the world. During those 6 years, we’ve learned a lot about building next generation financial services: Financial Institutions are still not serving millennials, minorities, women, and emerging markets effectively Technology (especially smartphones) will slash the cost of delivering financial services to …


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