Sep 27, 2016 On Our Blog

10 Ways to Make Your Video Go Viral

I almost didn’t write this post. Because I wanted to keep the magic behind my viral video to myself. Because of my ego. Because I would have loved to brag that I just sat back and it took off on its own. But that’s not what happened. I did a ton of marketing, and it started long before the video was released. Going viral was not an accident — it was work. I tried a lot of things. This is what worked for me. 1. Don’t be “too good” for marketing I almost didn’t put together a marketing plan. Because what if I did all this marketing, and then the video still flopped? That would’ve been embarrassing. Then I realized how stupid …


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Sep 12, 2016 On Our Blog

The Smart Investors’ Toolkit: 12 Resources to Invest Better

The third session of our flagship venture capital investor program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing run in conjunction with Stanford’s Center for Professional Development wrapped up almost a month ago. With investors hailing from 6 continents and 40% of the class composed of female investors, it’s our most diverse class yet. Whether novices or seasoned professionals, our class learned the importance of keeping it simple and staying informed when doing venture deals.  Tools to Help Investors Keep Up with the Market   Regardless of your profession or geography, education is critical. Investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders know the importance of staying informed and keeping up with the latest business developments. Our VC Unlocked participants were no different. Over the course …


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Aug 30, 2016 On Our Blog

Next, Final Frontier: Lessons Learned Investing in West & South Africa

Exciting businesses are growing in emerging markets. During my time at global early stage seed fund, 500 Startups, I’ve led deals in agriculture marketplaces in Indonesia (iGrow), global workflow management software from Brazil (Pipefy), and even education or sewing marketplaces in “emerging markets” like the MidWest of the United States. 500 Startups has a culture of looking ahead to emerging markets, so I was encouraged to follow my investment thesis that there is massive opportunity in thinking ahead. There were many haters, especially when I became interested in West Africa: “These markets are too early.”  or, “There’s no downstream capital for these companies.” Initially, I was worried about whether I would be stranding these companies or whether it was too early …


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Aug 29, 2016 On Our Blog

The Virtual World is Calling: 16 Predictions for the (Near) Future of VR

A year ago, I met up my friend Eugene Chung who used to run film & media for Oculus virtual reality (VR).  Eugene was telling me about his first VR film he created. At the time, I had very little knowledge about VR but definitely wanted to learn more and very curious. I asked Eugene why anyone should care about VR. His reply? He simply insisted that I should try it for myself and experience “The Rose and I”. That day, I went to Eugene’s studio in SOMA and put on the Oculus Rift headset for the very first time. Boom, and finally I got it — I was in space and could see the little prince standing on the little planet not too far …


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Aug 23, 2016 On Our Blog

How to Invest “Smart Money” — 4 Lessons Learned

I recently attended VC Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing, an investor training program run in partnership with 500 Startups and Stanford Center for Professional Development. The two-week program took place July 25th – August 5th, 2016, and a class of 28 participants dove deeply into the world of tech, understanding fund dynamics and hearing from seasoned experts. My big takeaway was that along with all the attention and hype startups are garnering around the world, there is still a large gap in the knowledge available to investors entering the space. We hear a lot about “dumb money” and to avoid it like the plague, but is that it? As a former educator I believe not – and so here …


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Aug 17, 2016 On Our Blog

How to Use PR + Thought Leadership to Grow Your Startup

Editor’s Note: This post is a continuation of The Art of the Press Release, and comes from Conrad Egusa, CEO of Publicize and a 500 Startups Mentor specializing in media relations and PR.  PR can be invaluable for startups — not only as a one-time bump in growth but also for long-term amplification of your good efforts. In today’s post, Conrad talks about how startup can extend the PR halo beyond initial “buzz” and establish a foundation of thought leadership to influence customers and potential investors. So your business doesn’t have an announcement but you’d still like some media coverage? Given the constant need to stand out from the host of other startups and businesses, it makes sense to promote your name …


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Aug 16, 2016 On Our Blog

From “Here, Take my Money” to Investing with Vision

We just finished up our 3rd investor training with Stanford Center for Professional Development and we are on a roll! The highly diverse mix of participants spent two weeks unlocking the secrets of venture capital investing and refining their investment theses. They participants finished the program with a much clearer vision of where they are going and how they plan on getting there. They also left with a certificate from Stanford, a maroon baseball cap and a crazy, fun group of friends and future co-investors that were very excited about their new investment theses! The Venture Capital Unlocked program ran from July 25th – Aug 5th and was held at Stanford University and the 500 Startups accelerator in Mountain View. Diverse …


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Aug 15, 2016 On Our Blog

How Might A Clinton Presidency Affect Silicon Valley?

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is Part 2 of a two-part series that examines how the U.S. presidential race could affect Silicon Valley innovation, an ecosystem that’s affected by economics, immigration policy, international relations, and other factors. These positions were publicly stated by each campaign; instead of characterizing proposals as good or bad, we’re merely speculating on their impact. Part 1 looked at the potential outcomes affecting Silicon Valley from a Trump presidency; today, a look at Hillary Clinton’s Tech & Innovation agenda. Hillary Clinton’s positions on innovation and tech are well-documented and generally reflect prevailing industry attitudes. This is likely because the candidate’s campaign team includes former government officials with tech backgrounds, as well as executives and entrepreneurs. Today, we’ll …


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Aug 12, 2016 On Our Blog

WANTED: Tall, Rich, Powerful Scandinavian to Invest in Lots of Amazing Nordic Startups and Help Them Kick Ass

In the past year 500 Startups has been expanding our efforts in the Nordics with the goal of bringing Silicon Valley best practices to the region and to help early stage startups grow faster. During this time we have made 27 investments into promising Nordic startups and helped them grow and raise capital. Our focus has been on companies doing e-commerce, marketplaces, SaaS, fintech as well as mobile and AI technologies. We have run two investment programs in the region, one focused on early-stage companies in Oslo, as well as a growth marketing program in Stockholm. We’ve also brought seven of these companies back to Silicon Valley to participate in our accelerator programs. Some of our Nordic investments include: IRIS AI …


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Aug 12, 2016 On Our Blog

How Might A Trump Presidency Impact Silicon Valley?

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is Part 1 of a two part series examining how the U.S. presidential race could affect Silicon Valley innovation, an ecosystem that’s affected by the United States’ international relations, immigration policy, and other political factors. We have attempted to stay away from political preferences and present findings as publicly reported by the candidates themselves. Part 2 will look at how a Clinton presidency could affect Silicon Valley, and will be published next week. [Update, 8/14/16: Malcolm McGough, the Trump campaign’s California political director, contacted us after this was posted and confirmed that we stated the candidate’s views on these issues accurately.] With 87 days left until the 2016 presidential election, we’re taking a look at how the candidates’ policies …


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