Mar 24, 2014 On Our Blog

How We Doubled Our Conversion Rate – Bombfell Co-Founder Bernie Yoo

Bombfell is a 500 Startups-backed company, and completed the 500 Startups Accelerator program in 2012. This post from Bombfell co-founder Bernie Yoo is part of our Distribution series, presenting actionable material your startup can use today.  More marketing tips @500Distribution on Twitter and via Distrosnack, our daily email of bite-sized marketing tips and awesome GIFs. We recently 2x’d the conversion rate for Bombfell:    Oddly, we did this by making things more complicated. Some context: the first question people want to know if you position yourself as a monthly subscription is how much will it cost every month? You have to answer that question for a potential customer clearly. But for a service like ours, which sources an extensive variety of products (Button-down shirts! Jeans! Coats! Wallets! Oh, …


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Mar 19, 2014 On Our Blog

Series A is a Moving Target

This post is brought to you by the combined forces of Elizabeth Yin and Tim Chae. As the year wraps, many of our Batch 11 Accelerator companies have expressed interest in fundraising in 2015. We fund a lot of early stage companies here at 500 (850 and counting), most of them before their seed rounds via our Accelerator. Image Source: CB Insights We naturally get to see many of these startups’ seed fundraising process from start to finish. Many of the companies we observe approach seed fundraising thinking they want to raise $1M or $1.5M…but a $1M raise is an arbitrary number that most founders think they want to raise. Raising an arbitrary amount of money for their seed is …


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Mar 14, 2014 On Our Blog

COMMERCISM Comrade Q&A: Part 3 With Bonobos, BrainTree & Zappos Labs

500 Startups has always been bullish about online commerce, despite economic fluctuations. The future of commerce is not in traditional brick & mortar stores, but in the innovative online plays from companies like Bonobos, BrainTree and Zappos Labs. We’ve asked leaders from these companies, who also happen to be speakers at our upcoming COMMERCISM conference, to share their thoughts on what they’ve learned as early-stage founders/leaders + the future of commerce. Q. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since founding your startup or starting your career in the eCommerce space? A. There is nothing wrong with building a $1, $10 or $100 million e-commerce company.  You should be proud of that, pay you and your team very well, treat your customers right, etc. …


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Mar 13, 2014 On Our Blog

5 Distribution Experiments You Can Do For $10 Or Less

” This is part of our Distribution series, presenting actionable material your startup can use today. Get more marketing tips by following @500Distribution on Twitter and subscribing to Distrosnack, our daily email with bite-sized tips to grow your startup’s reach. Last week, we wrote about about the Whatsapp Fallacy, and why zero distribution will not work for 99.9% of companies out there, including yours. One of the common reasons / excuses I hear from companies as to why they’re not focused on distribution experiments has to do with the fact that founders think they need a large budget to have meaningful results. We get it. It’s understandable not to want to blow through precious seed dollars with haphazard distro experiments. Don’t do that! But just …


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Mar 4, 2014 On Our Blog

COMMERCISM Comrade Q&A: Part 1 With Wanelo’s Chief Executive Officer

500 Startups has always been bullish about online commerce, despite economic fluctuations. The future of commerce is not in traditional brick & mortar stores, but in the innovative online plays from companies like Bonobos, Warby Parker, and Wanelo. Wanelo founder and CEO Deena Varshavskaya is speaking at our upcoming COMMERCISM conference, so we asked her to share some lessons she has learned as an early-stage founder + her thoughts on the future of commerce.   Q. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since founding your startup or starting your career in the eCommerce space?   A. Startups are a series of black boxes. Examples of black boxes are building your product, hiring a team, raising money, public speaking – basically any new …


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Mar 3, 2014 On Our Blog

The WhatsApp Effect: Don’t Base Your Acquisition Strategy on Outliers

“There may be no greater testament to the viral nature of WhatsApp than the fact that the company has accomplished all this without investing a penny in marketing. Unlike their smaller competitors, it hasn’t spent anything on user acquisition. The company doesn’t even employ a marketer or PR person.” –http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-is-buying-whatsapp-2014-2   “We haven’t done any paid marketing!” Stop It   There’s that statement again. Every time I hear someone say this, especially when they’re a founder trying to raise money, I cringe. Yes, there are those rare products that grow like wildfire without spending a dime, but those are few and far between. For most startups, paid marketing and distribution are critical to success. If you’re boasting about the fact …


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