Jul 21, 2011 On Our Blog

Entrepreneurship == Lewd Jokes + Product/Market Fit?

Saumil Mehta is the Founder of LocBox, in addition to being a Housekeeper, Frequent Complainer, Occasional Janitor and Producer of Egregious Software Engineering Bugs. He has never been referred to as a visionary founder internally or externally and is rather miffed about the same. He tried to bribe fellow partners in crime to refer to him as “Dear Leader” but experiment was safely declared unsuccessful. I am a freshly minted entrepreneur. I am also a failed stand-up comedian. Much to my surprise, my year of telling lewd jokes on stage under lights – a financially unrewarding activity if ever there was one (unless you’re on Comedy Central or HBO) – has proved invaluable as I go from employee to entrepreneur. Today …


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Jul 20, 2011 On Our Blog

The New Food Chain: Investing in Food Startups

Are you really what you eat?  As people move out of the traditional healthcare delivery system in search of healthier lifestyles and a more holistic approach to interventions, food is becoming the new designer drug.  Food isn’t just about the healthier choice anymore; it is also about the culture and community that it breeds. Whether it’s organic, gluten-free, low carbs, low sodium or if it’s highly social or tweetable, there is a new food economy emerging today. Inspired by insights from our last event, “Design a Healthy Startup: Prevent Burnout,” we decided to take a look at the world of food and technology and what kinds of investment opportunities there are today. Join us on August 10th from 6:00-9:00 p.m. …


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Jul 20, 2011 On Our Blog

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

      A true visionary, Leah Busque (@labusque) is the founder and CEO of TaskRabbit.com, the pioneer in “service networking.” Now an industry-wide concept, service networking describes the productive power of a web-based, social-networked community. Since it’s founding in 2009, Leah has grown the company to more than 20 employees and has expanded the service to Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and soon New York, Seattle, Chicago and beyond. Prior to founding TaskRabbit, Leah was a Software Engineer at IBM, working in the Messaging and Collaboration Software Development group. Leah graduated magna cum laude from Sweet Briar College, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science. It was a cold night in Boston in February 2008.  My husband, Kevin …


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Jul 18, 2011 On Our Blog

We are 500. (No, really… we’re gonna be 500… as in 500.CO)

People often ask me if 500 Startups is a name or a goal. Although we don’t plan to get to 500 investments in our first fund, at 165 companies and counting we are already scaling up faster than any other investor on the planet. You may call us crazy — hopefully, crazy like a fox — but you sure as hell can’t call us lazy. And in the long run, we plan to grow far past 500 companies.  But beyond the simple number of companies, there are many aspects to 500 we find appealing. My fascination with the number 500 originally came about because I’m a fan of Dr. Seuss, author of the book “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”. …


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Jul 14, 2011 On Our Blog

Cohort Metrics For Startups Revealed – Part II: Aged Groups

500 Startups Mentor Dan Martell (@danmartell) continues with Part 2 of “Cohort Metrics for Startups Revealed.” Catch up on Part 1 here. Authors note: This post was written in collaboration with Assaf Arkin, Flowtown’s lead engineer and the creator of Vanity – a ruby framework for experiment driven development (EDD). In part one we reviewed segmenting customers into cohorts, understanding what channel they were acquired through and then looked at their behavior over time. That was the easy part. The cohort analysis that throws a curve ball for most people is the one dealing with age groups. And no, we’re not talking about the biological age of your customers, but how long they’ve been a customer. Weekly cohorts Let’s say …


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Jul 13, 2011 On Our Blog

Cohort Metrics For Startups Revealed – Part I: Plain English

Meet Silver Surfer aka 500 SuperMentor Dan Martell (@danmartell).  Dan is the Co-Founder of Flowtown, a social marketing application for businesses.  Self diagnosed as having intense ADHD, you can either find him hosting dinners, speaking about marketing or jumping off cliffs around the world. Authors note: This post was written in collaboration with Assaf Arkin, Flowtown’s lead engineer and the creator of Vanity – a ruby framework for experiment driven development (EDD). Every time I speak at a conference and present how we do weekly cohorts for our product metrics, everyone wants an explanation. They kind of get it, but don’t fully understand it. The following 2 part series is going to try and define what a cohort is and …


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Jul 5, 2011 On Our Blog

The Designer-Driven Startup

The author, Zach Weiner is the co-founder of Storytree, one of the first d.funded companies.  Zach is the product of the Stanford Symbolic Systems program, equal parts computer scientist and designer.  This post is the second in a series about the design-driven startup.  The first, entitled “The Designer-Driven Startup: Why”, explains the need for a new kind of startup, and it can be found on the Storytree blog.  This post details the solution. First, since design is an overloaded word, a clarification about what design means to us (I’m not talking about making things look good): design is a process* concerned with a product’s meaning, not just its use and usability.   While design in this sense of the word is not yet what people usually mean in …


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