Feb 26, 2016 On Our Blog

Startup India: What Investors & Founders Really Think

Editor’s Note: This following is the second of a 3-part research series from Walter Thompson, 500 Startups Journalist-in-Residence. (See Part 1 here: India’s Startup Ecosystem: Sure Bet or Impending Bust?) Walter will be covering key topics on international and emerging ecosystems, and mid- to late-stage startup growth. In our ever- (and rapidly) expanding world of VC content, there are a lot voices chiming on from Silicon Valley, from Silicon Valley.   We brought Walter on board because we believe — and are seeing evidence of — “Silicon Valleys” springing up in new places around the globe. Each has their own important story to tell, with actionable takeaways for all those who are listening closely, investors and founders alike. Please share …

Feb 24, 2016 On Our Blog

Growth Case Study: Aircall on One Metric That Matters & Selling to Uber

Aircall is a 500 portfolio company that addresses this one single truth about growing a business and getting repeat customers: Phone calls still matter. The company offers next-gen phone support solutions that integrate your stuff with Slack, a Chrome app, Zendesk, and a bunch of other services, and they recently raised $2.75 million upon graduating from the 500 Accelerator’s Batch 14. Now, raising a decent round from Balderton Capital, Funders Club and others is nice and all… but internally driven, ongoing growth is where the real money’s at. Recently, I spoke with Aircall’s founder and CEO Olivier Pailhes about the company’s One Metric That Matters, growth process, and the tactic that helped them get 800 clients, including the likes of …

Feb 23, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Announces 500 Kulfi: $25M India Fund

Namaskar! We’re excited to announce our latest regional fund focused on India including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 500 Kulfi will be a $25M fund focusing on early stage companies with product-market fit and demonstrated traction. Although we’re sector-agnostic, we will take a closer look at FinTech, EdTech, Health & Wellness, Data Analytics, Content and SaaS/SMB. Why is India important to invest in? As Walter Thompson (500 Startups Journalist-in-Residence) recently noted, private equity investment activity in India was up 67% from 2014 to $21 billion. GDP is expected to grow at 7.6% this year, faster than any other large global economy. India has the second largest Internet population in the world after China, more than 300 million users. The number of smartphones …

Feb 18, 2016 On Our Blog

India’s Startup Ecosystem: Sure Bet or Impending Bust?

Note: In researching this post, I contacted multiple founders and investors from India and the US to get their take on whether recent developments will create a startup environment where friendly regs and access to capital can balance the need to bootstrap and network.) Lifehacking is a core aspect of Indian culture. Nearly every citizen employs Jugaad: necessity-driven problem solving that uses whatever tools are at hand to get things done, whether it’s constructing a water pump, mailing a parcel or building a new house. India’s entrepreneurs in every sector rely on Jugaad to cut through red tape, reduce R&D costs and resolve other inefficiencies. Also known as frugal engineering, the ethos is associated with breakout successes like Grey Orange …

Feb 17, 2016 On Our Blog

Inside the 500 Accelerator, Week 4: Growth Experiments, Startup Legal & Tequila

Inside the 500 Accelerator is a weekly series by 500 founder Troy Sultan. This week, Troy shares takeaways on what it really means to “run experiments,” the black box of startup legal, and when startup founders finally get to take a vacation.  4 weeks in, we’re finally getting settled. We’ve developed a cadence among our team, our work, and we’re even having fun when no one’s looking. The first quarter of the program was intense: ~150 new people to meet, names to remember, companies to understand, relationships to build, questions to field, pitching to do, announcements to make — all while maintaining our daily duty as startup firefighters. I spent much of month 1 understanding the landscape. What levers exist here? Who controls them? Which ones …

Feb 10, 2016 On Our Blog

Inside the 500 Accelerator, Week 3: Marketing Hell

In this week’s post 500 founder Troy Sultan shares his take on the ~25 hours of lectures, workshops and presentations by 500 growth mentors that we call Marketing  Hell Week. The week’s programs cover everything from pricing and positioning to marketing metrics, content marketing, viral growth and more. MHW did indeed live up to its name. There was far less time for “real” work, so a lot of us had to get creative. Taking calls and meetings during breaks or lunch, scheduling walking meetings to and from the office, and leaving the office at or past midnight were common themes for most of us. This post is long, so I’ll get right to it. Note: There were few sessions I didn’t attend which is reflected …

Feb 2, 2016 On Our Blog

Inside the 500 Accelerator, Weeks 1 & 2: Content, Progress, & the Original Name for 500 Startups

This is the 2nd post in a weekly series from founder Troy Sultan and his team at Resource, currently a part of 500 Accelerator Batch 16.  Troy will be documenting Resource’s trials and wins throughout Batch 16, so you’ll get an (only mildly censored) look behind the scenes at the 500 Accelerator.  We interviewed for 500 in December, and during the month between the interview and our start date, we heard many opinions on how much value 500 might bring to our company. Not all of them were positive. My hope for this series is to be open and honest, even if that means sharing the uncomfortable. With that, I’ll admit we likely wouldn’t be a part of 500 today had …

Feb 1, 2016 On Our Blog

Marketing Hell Week is Here [DAY 1]

Marketing Hell Week is HERE. Today’s guest post comes from Marshall Darr, a founder who’s helping us pull off our most complex — yet elegant — choreography of a growth marketing crash course ever created. Read on to see the full schedule of material, and find out how to grab it for yourself. There’s a chance I’m in way over my head. The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, concluding with me sitting in an empty auditorium at 500 Startups as the firm’s Batch 16 gears up for one of the most intense weeks at one of the most intense startup accelerators in the world. For this one week, I’m going to be joining them. Saying I’m new …