Apr 25, 2013 On Our Blog

Why Facebook for India Is a Waste of Time

 This article first appeared on CitizenTekk In a country of almost 1.3 billion people, mid-20th century infrastructure, rampant corruption, over 400 million people below the international poverty line, roughly another 400 million people that are considered middle class and one of the youngest populations on the planet – building the next Facebook is not exciting. So what *is* exciting? Solving problems for over 800 million people who don’t have access to smartphones, tablets or computers. The real opportunities in India for smart, savvy entrepreneurs is to solve the problems plaguing them on a daily basis. And there really is no shortage of problems, big or small. For example, A SMS based service that brings “mandi” (market) prices directly to a …

Apr 23, 2013 On Our Blog

Sink or Swim: What it’s Like Being at 500 Startups

When I was a kid, my dad taught my brother and I how to swim using an unconventional – and some might say, borderline negligent – method: he threw us into deep end of our pool and yelled, “use your arms and stay above the water!” I won’t lie; It was scary as f*ck, and I may be traumatized even to this day. But crazily enough, we learned how to keep ourselves above water in just a matter of minutes. *Disclaimer* my dad is an amazing swimmer, so he could have jumped in and saved us. Don’t do this with your kids unless you want a visit from CPS. The point is, we didn’t learn how to swim by reading about it, …

Apr 11, 2013 On Our Blog

It’s Not Michelin Star Cuisine: Why Venture Capital Can (and Should) Scale

TL;DR: Venture capital, like other kinds of businesses, can scale beyond traditional constraints like time and space. Investors that make “too many deals” can add lots of value outside of just a check. When I ask an entrepreneur why they are picking us or anybody else as their investors, I get a very similar answer: “It’s because of the value you bring to the table.” I agree with the broad idea that there’s some value an investor can bring on top of their checkbook. However, I believe most people in the startup world are misguided about how that value is delivered. At 500, people are always asking why we make so many investments – usually implying that we are participating in …

Apr 10, 2013 On Our Blog

#500Fuerte – Mexican Founders Share Their Startup Stories

Last week, our Mexico City Venture Partner, César Salazar, told you why Mexico is shaping up to become one of the biggest markets in the next decade. We’ve had more than a few Mexican founders come through the 500 ranks over the last few batches – here are a few of their startup stories: Manolo Diaz, CEO and co-founder, Yogome Our story with 500 Startups had an amazing start. We meet Dave at Mexican.VC Demo Day in March last year, and during that week one of our games reached the Top 10 in the app store. I remember watching Dave go to his iPhone after I mentioned that, and it worked because after the presentation, he went directly to us and …

Apr 9, 2013 On Our Blog

How .CO Kicked Goliath’s Ass

Tired of everyone saying you’ll never beat the competition? Well guess what…sometimes David beats the hell out of Goliath. Case in point: Juan Diego Calle. He’s the guy responsible for going up against the giant of his industry, Verisign –  and winning. So how did he do it? Below, he opens up about competition and scaling for massive growth. How did you become an entrepreneur? What was it about entrepreneurship that attracted you? I never made the conscious decision to become an entrepreneur – it just kind of happened organically. My family is very entrepreneurial and it felt natural to follow in my father’s footsteps. In middle school, I sold sandwiches out of my locker. When I was high school, …

Apr 5, 2013 On Our Blog

Mexico: The Sleeping Giant

TL;DR: If you think Mexico is a violent, derelict nation with a couple really nice beaches, think twice. This economic and cultural powerhouse represents one the most overlooked investment opportunities on the planet. Over the last few decades, Mexico’s reputation has suffered tremendously. From the late seventies to the mid-nineties, the government’s economic policy proved to be flawed, creating two unfortunate effects: a substantial increase in undocumented immigration to the US and a spike in organized crime. Clearly, these are major issues, and there are still challenges ahead. But they do not represent Mexico in its entirety. During the last 15 years, Mexicans have built upon a couple of their core strengths: relentlessness and creativity. The work of many has …

Apr 4, 2013 On Our Blog

Health, Wealth, & Startups: Tapping Qualcomm Ventures’ $100 Million Fund

Spurred by new regulations, astronomical systematic costs, and a population that seems to be getting sicker and sicker, the healthcare space is going through major changes. Jack Young heads up the $100M Qualcomm Life Fund (QLF) at Qualcomm Ventures, which was recently ranked as one of the most prolific venture investors in the digital health sector. Check out what Jack has to say about how startups are being affected by new regulations, key trends he’s seeing for emerging opportunities, and how he decides whether to pull the trigger on a startup investment. What’s happening in the healthcare industry, and how is it affecting startups? Traditionally health care in the US has been a “fee-for-service” model. Under this system, providers often …

Apr 3, 2013 On Our Blog

Hacking VC: Why Community Is 500’s Secret Sauce

I met Dave McClure in 2006. I had been producing a bunch of tech shows, and Dave was nothing if not memorable on the conference circuit. In those days, he was actually tamer on stage…maybe he would throw in a few f-bombs when you’d least expect it, but he wasn’t at the point of, say, flipping the bird to an audience. Still, he was shocking…and the tech atmosphere amplified it. This was a time when funding rounds were much larger than they are today, tech was still rebounding from the crash of 2002, and the general mood was more conservative. So let’s just say Dave stuck out. It was obvious to me (and a lot of other folks in the …