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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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 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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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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Jun 3, 2016 On Our Blog

The Career-Changing Impact of Learning How to Invest

Our flagship Venture Capital Unlocked investor training program is back! The 2 week executive ed. program that we co-run with Stanford Center for Professional Development is now accepting applications for its July 25th – August 5th cohort. APPLY HERE Getting the Inside Scoop In the program, participants get an inside look into 500 Startups’ investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, angels, startups and entrepreneurs. We are looking forward to another great session taught by Stanford faculty and 500 Startups partners, as well as top speakers like the ones who visited during the February cohort (below). Program Impact At the end of 2015, we highlighted the successes of some of our VC Unlocked participants in a …


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Apr 20, 2016 On Our Blog

500’s Tammy Camp: “Growth Hackers Hate The Term ‘Growth Hacker.'”

If getting your startup off the ground is war, you want Tammy Camp in your foxhole. Tammy is a master tactician; a 500 Startups Partner since November 2014, she creates the curriculum for the accelerator’s growth-hacking program in Silicon Valley, which includes an infamous Marketing Hell Week. When she’s not working with the latest batch of entrepreneurs, Tammy brings her skills to bear for 500. As with other seasoned commandos, many of her missions remain classified, but it can be revealed that she led the company’s HubSpot integration, assists internal fundraising teams with internal processes and uses her unique skill set to help convert prospects into LPs. Like other members of the Distro team, Tammy’s also an investor who offers input on …


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Apr 13, 2016 On Our Blog

Announcing the 500 Startups Kobe Pre-Accelerator

There’s something bubbling in Kobe… and it’s not just the waters of the Arima hot springs. 500 Startups in partnership with the government of Kobe, Japan is launching a new pre-accelerator that will be coming to the city this summer. The pre-accelerator is a 6 week course which will focus on bringing growth hacking techniques and Silicon Valley expertise to emerging companies in Kobe, while also boosting Japanese and domestic entrepreneurship in the city. Space is limited to 15-20 startups and you can apply here. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2016. After recently launching the $30M 500 Japan Fund in 2015, with the goal of engaging and investing in local startups, it naturally made sense to deepen our …


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Apr 13, 2016 On Our Blog

“Good Companies Solving Real Problems” — That Happen To Deal With Your Money

Before becoming 500 Startups’ FinTech manager, Sheel Mohnot consulted for a company that was striving to be more competitive after the 2008 financial crisis. When pitching ideas, “the answer was often, ‘raise the fees on your customers,’” said Mohnot. “I didn’t like that.” In his view, shaking users down for nickels and dimes creates little value over the long term. “I fundamentally believe that the way to build an amazing business is to make people’s lives better.” Mohnot discovered his affinity for financial services and products as an early team member of Kiva, the social lending platform that’s granted more than $837M in micro loans to 1.9M people. “It has had a huge impact on what we’re trying to do at 500 …


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