Jan 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Are there ghosts in your convertible notes?

Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney. Are you investing in convertible notes or securities? Do you know what a phantom liquidation preference is? Did you know it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars? Let’s illustrate how with a simple example… Sally purchases a convertible note with a valuation cap of $5 million in Tuber Corporation for $100,000. Six months later, Tuber closes its Series A with a pre-money valuation of $10 million, selling new shares at $1/share. Thanks to its valuation cap, Sally’s convertible note converts at $0.50/share and she receives 200,000 shares of Series …


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Nov 28, 2016 On Our Blog

WMD ’16: Post-Conference Q&A with Casey Winters

Guest blogger – Casey Winters, Growth Advisor to Pocket, Airbnb, Darby Smart; Former Growth Lead at Pinterest & GrubHub The below article is comprised of audience questions asked to Casey Winters during his presentation at Weapons of Mass Distribution 2016. Casey took the time to answer the questions in detail post-conference.   How do you personalize emails across all the metrics you recommended if you don’t have an in-house email data tool like Pinterest does? At GrubHub, we organized our user data into a weekly FTP upload to ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud) and built a complicated workflow inside of ExactTarget (you can do the same in Responsys). You can use their APIs too, but I don’t remember them being very good. What …


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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

#AnotherOne: 500 Startups Announces Batch 19 🔑

It’s that time again! Announcing our latest Mountain View cohort, Batch 19, with 44 companies.   Earlier this year, we experimented with vertical tracks to be able to provide greater value to companies, in particular, categories of interest.  These tracks have allowed companies to receive additional categorical mentoring and networking opportunities.  This year at 500 Startups, we’ve held specialized tracks in Health, Fintech, B2B, and Fashion & Beauty.  In Batch 19, we are, again, running tracks in B2B led by Robert Neivert and Fashion & Beauty led by Tanya Soman.  #MajorKey 500 Startups has always invested in a lot of B2B companies — in fact, many of our top performing companies in our portfolio, such as Intercom and Talkdesk are …


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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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Nov 14, 2016 On Our Blog

Venture Capital Unlocked: Deal Camp Yields 100% Satisfaction

Our inaugural class of Venture Capital Unlocked: Deal Camp ran from October 17- 21, 2016. With a NPS score of 100, we’re happy to tout our success. For those who missed it, don’t worry, we’ll be running the course again February 7-10, 2017. Created in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Business and the Economy, Deal Camp was laser-focused on investment practices related to the most important element of venture capital investing: closing the deal. Deal Camp focused on industry best practices for deal term negotiation, term sheet creation, and capitalization table modeling in early stage investing. Between Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, 500 Startups’ San Francisco office, and Commerce Venture’s office, participants perfected their knowledge of debt and equity venture capital …


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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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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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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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