Nov 25, 2015 On Our Blog

Q&A with Jake Park, Founder and CEO of Between

In this Q&A, we get to know Jake Park (29), Founder & CEO of Between, a beautiful messaging and photo sharing app for couples. Learn more about Jake’s approach to fundraising, Seoul startups, and more below. Location : Seoul, Korea Investors: $4 million raised with SoftBank, Ventures Korea, Japan’s Global Brain Corporation & 500 Startups. What is your definition of a successful entrepreneur?   One who solves a problem by creating meaningful social impact. How do you approach fundraising? Before we launched Between, we failed two products in the span of a year. During that process, we were able to build relationships with our investors. They saw us at our best and our worst, how we built our team and product, how we failed, and …

Nov 23, 2015 Official Announcement

Grateful, Not Dead

Thanks to everyone who tuned into our Periscope stream, where we discussed the past 5 years at 500. To watch the saved video, tune in here. 500 Mountain View office in Fall 2010 (before we moved in) A little over five years ago, we started working on something called 500 Startups.  At the time we really didn’t know exactly what we were doing, but we wanted to combine a bunch of things which included a VC fund, an accelerator, startup education, conferences and events, the best elements of our years at PayPal and Google, but most importantly a community of geeks and founders and startups. When we started there were barely five of us, and we hardly had any money to get …

Nov 20, 2015 Accelerator News

Our Journey to the Front Page of Product Hunt

Jeremy Vandehey is Cofounder and CEO of, a bot that makes it easy to show appreciation in Slack, and a 500 Startups Accelerator company (Batch 15). Previously Jeremy led products at Intuit, Verizon, and several startups. In his spare time, you’ll find Jeremy making beer or music (often at the same time). Founders can check out applications for 500’s Batch 16 accelerator program. 2 weeks ago we introduced Growbot for Slack to Product Hunt and the audience @ 500 Startups demo day. It was a crazy day for both Growbot and its builders, so we wanted to bring everyone up to speed. But first what is Growbot? Growbot is a simple Slackbot that helps employees appreciate each other. It …

Nov 18, 2015 Accelerator News

We Saw 20% MoM Growth through the 500 Accelerator

Jose ‘Caya’ Cayasso is a co-founder and CEO of Slidebean, an online presentation software and 500 Startups accelerator company. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Caya is a TEDx Speaker and a cinephile. Founders can check out applications for 500’s Batch 16 here. A pivot is a change in one or more of your company’s value propositions: PRODUCT, MARKET or BUSINESS MODEL. Choosing which, when, and especially how to change the direction of your company inevitably involves a lot of gut decisions. Measuring the success of that pivot accurately is fundamental to know if the path you chose is correct. Our company, Slidebean is an online presentation software that takes your content and automatically formats it into an awesome deck, no …

Nov 17, 2015 On Our Blog

500 Growth Talks — a universe of top growth advisors, on your Slack

“Hey, what’s that thing you used to verify email sender?” “Which of you has used this b2b sales automation tool?” “What’s the best way to SMS-based referrals with this 10k list?” Today, we’re thrilled to announce 500 GROWTH TALKS, a members-only Slack for early stage startup growth. WHAT IS IT A membership-protected community connecting growth marketing mentors and startup founders over Slack. Think of Growth Talks as a growth advisory board at your fingertips. Growth Talks gives founders exclusive access to experts who’ve defined the growth category, including Sean Ellis, Andrew Chen, Aaron Batalion, and of course 500 Distro. It’s open at ZERO COST to 500 founders, but it’s application-gated. This helps us make sure participating founders are ready to …

Nov 12, 2015 On Our Blog

7 Little Known Techniques in the NEW Email Marketing

Email = reach. Email is STILL the most effective, highest ROI way to communicate with an audience — of ANY size — and email is the foundation of all other channels.

Today I’m going to share the NEW rules of email marketing that I’ve discovered through recent experiments of my own, and through my advisory work with pre-A startups in the 500 portfolio.

Nov 11, 2015 On Our Blog

Four companies, 12 weeks, and a whole bunch of new customers

We’re now past the halfway point in our London Distro Dojo program and are happy to report some very encouraging results. The attendees, some of Europe’s most promising young companies, have been working their tails off to iterate and grow. And they are seeing great payoff. As a reminder, the Distro Dojo is 500 Startups’ intensive three-month growth-hacking program based at WeWork Moorgate. Post-seed startups receive an investment from 500 Startups and hands-on mentorship from our team of top-notch growth marketers, 500 Distro.   Truly Experiences is a marketplace for unique, extraordinary experiences (a $610B market).  These include gourmet truffle hunts in Alba, behind-the-scenes tours at Sotheby’s, near-space flights, and spy training with ex-MI6 agents. With a net promoter score …

Nov 11, 2015 On Our Blog

Why the Middle East Needs a Funding Ecosystem

I am a strong believer that entrepreneurship can bring positive change to a region plagued by economic challenges. For the past 5 years I have been working on building the angel investment ecosystem in Bahrain and the broader MENA region. But while much effort has been devoted to building the start-up ecosystem, there is room for improvement when it comes to the funding ecosystem. The Backstory The economic situation in the MENA region today is less than ideal. The World Bank states that the MENA region must create 100 million jobs by 2020 to accommodate the burgeoning youth population below the age of 25. This demographic makes up 60% of the overall population. Oil prices have collapsed, from around $100 …

Nov 10, 2015 On Our Blog

500 Startups Announces $15M Nordics Fund

We’re excited to announce our latest regional fund focused on the Nordic region (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland). This excitement is not just because the area is constantly ranked as one of the happiest and most economically prosperous parts of the world. No, it’s because the viking spirit is alive again in the form of tech entrepreneurship as the next generation of great founders sharpens their axes for battle. This fund will be targeting $15M USD and focused on early stage investments. We plan to make 100+ investments into the region through the fund over the next few years. Our main areas of focus will be SaaS, Mobile, Marketplaces, E-commerce, Fintech and Music/Video. The fund will be led by …

Nov 6, 2015 On Our Blog

“This 1 User Acquisition Hack” That Took Us from 150K users to 2 MILLLION in 170 Countries in 5 Months

Today’s growth case study comes from Lucas Emma at Social Tools, a company in the 500 Miami Distro program, our growth accelerator targeting post-seed, pre-A companies in the LatAm and Miami ecosystems. We started Social Tools from an abandoned garage in Córdoba, Argentina, humble beginnings for a marketing tool that’s now making life easier (we hope) for 2 million marketers in 170 countries around the world. 3 years in, SocialTools is now the leading social media marketing suite in all of Latin America, with customers in 30 different countries. But this wasn’t enough for us. Although everything was great in the cozy world of LatAm, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t seem to break into any other markets …