Mar 31, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Announces $30M Canada Fund

Excuse us, but 500 Startups is expanding into Canada in a BIG way! We are launching a $30M regional fund for Canadian based startups. Canada is huge, and not just in geography; it has many thriving entrepreneurial communities across its 3,000 miles of mostly-populated tundra, as well as some of  the most talented engineers and lowest operating costs of any developed country. With the creation of 500 Canada (#500CAN), startups across the country will be able to leverage the 500 Startups brand and extensive network of mentors, founders, and partners that come from over 1,500 portfolio companies around the world. 500 Startups has already made 37 Canadian investments out of its Silicon Valley main funds including Breather, Lagoa, Unbounce, Cleanify …

Mar 30, 2016 On Our Blog

Miami’s Startup Ecosystem Only Needs A Little Gas In The Tank

Few of us who live and work in the Bay Area hail from here, but we still have a regional bias; the Bay Area is the best. We enjoy moderate weather, natural beauty and diverse communities that produce culture so rich, we had to coin the word “hella.” Still, entrepreneurs don’t require a Mediterranean climate, Bay views and burritos to thrive; startup ecosystems are budding in Detroit, Syracuse, Denver and elsewhere. In Miami, now home to early-stage investment funds, multiple angel networks and several co-working spaces, the startup scene is closer to blooming. In 2013, Endeavor, a non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets, opened its Miami office. With $2 million in support from the John S. and James …

Mar 29, 2016 On Our Blog

Inside the 500 Accelerator Weeks 8, 9 & 10: The Founders Speak

Inside the 500 Accelerator is a weekly series by 500 founder Troy Sultan. Today, 10 weeks in, Troy presents “inspiring” takeaways from other Batch 16 founders. But it’s not all fluffy kittens and cotton candy… being a founder is tough, even with world-class support and mentorship. This week, the founders get real.   Accelerators are like kitchens, not restaurants. They give you access to all the tools, ingredients and guidance needed to satisfy your hunger — but it’s up to you to mix things up, try new approaches and make use of what’s available. This is contrary to a restaurant where you show up, sit down and expect to have your hunger satisfied. My team and I recently reflected on the first 10 weeks of …

Mar 28, 2016 On Our Blog

Announcing VC Unlocked: Accelerator edition

Have you ever caught yourself wondering how 500 Startups became one of the top accelerators in the United States in only five years? Well now is your chance to find out! After running 20 batches of what is basically a bootcamp for companies (and doing a pretty darn good job), 500 startups is now launching a bootcamp for VCs on how to run an accelerator. The program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Accelerator edition will run May 2nd to 5th in San Francisco. Apply here. Why 500 is doing this As anyone paying attention may have noticed, a lot of accelerators have been popping up recently, even in the most unexpected places such as the Department of Homeland Security, the National Association of Realtors, or Venezuela. …

Mar 25, 2016 On Our Blog

Announcing 500 Startups in LA: All About “DISTRO” (aka Growth Marketing)

500 Startups has already invested in over 65 companies in LA and is noted as one the most active investors in LA-based internet startups according to a recent post from CB Insights.  Our LA portfolio includes consumer and enterprise companies to the likes of Tradesy, Club W, MeUndies, Lettuce, FabFitFun, and StackCommerce. We see a large market opportunity in LA and we’re expanding our LA presence by launching our Distro Dojo curriculum, which is a 3 month growth intensive program for Pre-Series A companies, on May 2nd. 500 Startups is selecting and investing in up to 10 companies for the LA Distro Dojo and we currently have a few spots left (apply here). Companies should be doing at least $100,000 …

Mar 24, 2016 On Our Blog

Introducing Specialty Tracks at 500 Startups: Beauty and the B2Beast

Over the past 5 years, we’ve watched 16 batches of startups come through 500 Startups. We’ve seen first-hand how founders benefit from mentorship and advice that’s tailored to the key problems they face in their specific businesses. That’s why this year, we’re launching specialty tracks at 500 Startups. You can think of joining a specialty track as declaring a major in college. You go deeper into your area of interest, and that gets you to where you want to go faster. For Batch 17, which starts on May 2 in Mountain View, CA, we’re launching 2 specialty tracks within the batch: B2B: Led by Robert Neivert, this track will focus on the specifics of selling to the enterprise and SMBs …

Mar 23, 2016 On Our Blog

4 Realizations From My Day In Prison

Yesterday, I battled torrential rain and excruciating traffic in a 2.5 hour drive up to Vacaville. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best mood when I finally arrived at my destination — Solano State Prison. However, the grumpiness melted away immediately when I was greeted by one of the guards. He was the polar opposite of what I would expect from someone guarding the entrance of a prison — cordial, friendly, and mild mannered. With a warm smile on his face, he asked me if the drive was okay, which bridge I took. Then, after directing me to the right parking lot and where to go, he bid me a kind farewell. Not at all what I expected. It was just one of …

Mar 22, 2016 On Our Blog

Introducing Corporate Startup Innovation Unlocked

Corporate Startup Innovation Unlocked Learn How Big Companies Work Best with Startups Today we are announcing our first Corporate Startup Innovation Unlocked course in partnership with Pilot44 Innovation Lab; a 4-day executive education program taking place in San Francisco from July 11-14, 2016 with participation from leading corporations including Nestle, Microsoft, and Google. What is it? In partnership with Pilot44, we’ve created a 4-day intensive course to teach digital innovation leaders how to tap into the startup ecosystem. Who is it for? Anyone responsible for driving innovation strategy and execution within a complex corporate environment.Participants will walk away with the skills and methodology needed to support an agile, startup-driven approach to innovation within their organization. What executives will learn from course: …

Mar 21, 2016 On Our Blog

Growth Case Study: StudyPool on Growth for Fundraising & Increasing Revenue by 25% — monthly

Studypool is an online marketplace that has seen 25% month over month revenue growth — 90% of which comes through organic acquisition. In the 3-month period that they worked with 500 Distro, the company also increased site traffic by 46% and grew customer conversion rate by 18%. I recently spoke with Studypool cofounder Richard Werbe about growth, fundraising, and the “obvious” things that every founder should know (but often doesn’t). Give us a summary, Richard. Where are you at, and what did you do with 500 Distro? We raised 2.3 million dollars, 1.2 of that on the morning of Demo Day and the rest shortly thereafter. We went that route because it looked like the market was going to be tough so we …

Mar 17, 2016 On Our Blog

How We Used Poker to Meet Investors & Do Sales Prospecting

Live events can be a great way to do leadgen. Case in point, our events here at 500 Startups have been very effective in building out our lead pipeline for investors and founders alike (yes we are running a business too). It seems like a simple formula: throw a good event, meet people, make $$. But there are a few simple additional ways to make sure you actually collect on all those parties. The following is a guest post from Frank DeGeorge, founder of 500 Accelerator Batch 16 company YouStake, who recently hosted a poker tournament for fun and for profit. Last week, the first ever YouStake Invitational at 500 Startups HQ in San Francisco brought together founders, staff, mentors, friends …