Jan 24, 2017 On Our Blog

7 Design Thinking Tips to Improve Your Startup Growth 💰🦄 🔑

Below is a collection of my tips and feedback from a creative branding workshop I led during the most recent 500 Startups’ seed accelerator program, Batch 19. The goal was to teach startups to apply design thinking methods to improve their UX/UI , and thus increase user acquisition and market growth. Did you know the human attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s? [Fun Fact about Attention Span] Goldfish: 9 seconds > Human: 8 seconds. 😱 Yep, your website has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time to get your key message to your audience. How do you do it? Here are 7 Design Thinking Tips to Improve Your Growth Rate 🔑: 1. Integrate Combine a strong marketing message (content) with effective visuals (form). …


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Dec 21, 2016 Official Announcement

Turbo Charging Growth: 500 Partners with GM

After 19 batches since 2010, we’ve seen our companies experience the impact of strong mentorship. Today, 500 Startups, is announcing a Seed Program collaboration between General Motors and 500 focused right here in Silicon Valley as an effort to continually evolve and heighten our programs. Our first corporate partner track aligns with GM’s vision to be innovative, autonomous, connected, electrified, and to create solutions that truly change the value and sustainability of transportation to enhance customers’ lives. This partnership with GM will provide important resources developed to give access and knowledge transfer to one of the largest global automotive companies in the world. When is this happening? Starting January 23rd, we will open the first class as part of Batch …


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Nov 22, 2016 On Our Blog

WMD ’16: Post-Conference Q&A with Brian Balfour

Guest blogger – Brian Balfour, Founder & CEO, Reforge The below article is comprised of audience questions asked to Brian Balfour during his presentation at Weapons of Mass Distribution 2016. Brian took the time to answer the questions in detail post-conference.   “How do you determine your platform?” One of the most powerful things I’ve done in my career is to build my blog. The blog acts as a platform for me to distribute my work, thoughts, and creations. The reason having this is so powerful today is because I believe we are moving towards a world where credentials matter far less, and it is more about your actual work/output. My blog is the way I do that but with …


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Nov 18, 2016 On Our Blog

The Artist Formerly Known As Accelerator

When Christine and I started 500 Startups six years ago, we knew we wanted to run an investment program for startups that emphasized community and education. We had long been inspired by other earlier programs such as YCombinator, TechStars, and SeedCamp. However, we had a new approach and perspective, and wanted to create our own VC firm + accelerator with a decidedly different vibe and experience.   All these programs, including the 500 accelerator, share several key concepts: Provide a modest amount of investment capital to a group of startups Startups work in shared physical space (note: YC de-emphasizes this) Connect them with a community of experienced founders and mentors Help companies “accelerate” their progress in a short amount of …


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Oct 20, 2016 Growth Hacking and Distribution

The Yin & Yang of Marketing and Innovation

Guest Blogger – Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Chief Marketing Officer Mozilla  “Business has only two functions—marketing and innovation.” I have heard this quotation attributed to Peter Drucker, a.k.a. “the father of business consulting” (talk about a guy with some dubious children), as well as Czech novelistMilan Kundera. Citations for Drucker usually extend the quotation, adding, “All the rest are costs.” Kundera. Drucker. Novelist. Consultant. Marketing. Innovation. The Circular Interplay There’s a wonderful, circular nature to the relationship between marketing and innovation. First, I should say I do believe everything other than innovation and marketing in business is a cost—a necessary cost, usually. But the only thing that produces business profit is innovation and the discovery of a market need for that innovation—or, …


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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 …


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Oct 4, 2016 Growth Hacking and Distribution

Hooks: An Intro on How to Manufacture Desire

Guest Blogger – Nir Eyal, Author “Hooked: How yo Build Habit-Forming Products” Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How is it that these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so addictive and what does their power mean for the future of the web? We’re on the precipice of a new era of the web. As infinite distractions …


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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 …


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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? …


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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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