Oct 17, 2016 Accelerator News

500 Startups Announces 18 New Investments in Latin America

Today we are announcing our newest LatAm Accelerator Batch, a program based in Mexico City which focuses on startups in LatAm and Spanish speaking regions. This is our 6th LatAm batch and we’ve invested in 91 companies to date through the program. Alongside this news, we’ve also opened a new LatAm HQ in Mexico City with an expanded team! After receiving over 408 applications for the current LatAm program, and conducting over 100 founder interviews, 500 Startups chose 18 high potential teams to participate in the program. Each company receives $65K in investment, and joins for 4 months of working side-by-side with support from 500’s team and global family of mentors. Among the 18 startups in Batch 6, there are …

Oct 7, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Brings Distro Dojo to Berlin!

For the first time ever, 500 Startups is running its highly selective “Distro Dojo” growth hacking program in Berlin. The three-month intensive growth marketing program for Pre-Series-A companies started in September with six startups. The program is hosted at hub:raum with sponsorship from Deutsche Telekom. The program will focus on: Teaching a scientific growth process Creating a marketing experiment pipeline Testing and adding emerging channels Making the right hires for your growth team Talks from 500 Partners and industry experts “We see a lot of impressive startups in Berlin, so we’re expanding our local presence by launching our Distro Dojo program here, following on the program’s warm reception this past year in London,” said Matt Lerner, Head of 500 Startups …

Oct 4, 2016 Official Announcement

500 Startups Doubles Down on Durians: New $50M Fund II for Southeast Asia

Currently, 1/4 of our Southeast Asia portfolio companies have raised > $2 Billion US dollars for further growth, and none of them have shut down. Our thesis being that some of these companies will grow to be Southeast Asia’s next generation of startup success stories. The return of the King (of fruits) Our second fund, 500 Durians II, builds on this momentum. We target to raise a $50M* fund to invest $50K to $150K in ~200 more seed stage companies. Historically, we’ve primarily invested alongside other seed stage and angel investors that we’ve grown to trust and respect and will continue to do that. The $50M fund will also allow us to follow-on with up to $500K of additional capital in …

Sep 29, 2016 On Our Blog

The 4 Components of a Winning Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail is part science, part art—there is no single best solution. Innovative technologies allow us to customize mail in new ways, and the USPS continually changes rates (usually raising them) and rules. However, a couple of things stay constant: Any direct mail campaign will include the four key components of list, offer, creative, and delivery. And at every stage, consistently A/B testing what you send and who you send it to will improve recipient response and lower your costs. Let’s take a closer look at the four main components of direct mail: The list: You need to mail the right audience, who are interested in your product. The offer: You need to provide the right offer to motivate them …

Sep 29, 2016 Official Announcement

500 Startups Office Hours @ Startup Istanbul

500 Startups will be full force with 4 partners at Startup Istanbul between 6th-10th of October. The tech conference will gather 500 startups and 4,000 attendees; along with prominent investors from all over the world. 50 selected startups will pitch to a jury of investors; and 15 of them will get to be on stage during the final day.   500 will be present at the event, with team members coming from different geographies. Arjun Dev Arora (Venture Partner) and Rina Onur (GP of 500 Istanbul) will speak on stage, while Sharif El-Badawi (Venture Partner) and Enis Hulli (AP of 500 Istanbul) will be active as mentors. Exclusive for the event, 500 Startups will be holding open office hours for startups from …

Sep 27, 2016 On Our Blog

10 Ways to Make Your Video Go Viral

Guest Blogger -Karen X Cheng, Founder/CEO Karen X LLC. 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? …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …