Apr 28, 2017 On Our Blog

A Tale of Two Squirrels: The Not So Simple Math on Venture Portfolio Size

By now most VCs are familiar with Dave McClure’s theory of venture portfolio size. In short, he believes that at seed stage, it doesn’t make sense to have a fund with fewer than 50-100 companies, because venture returns depend on outliers and you need a big enough portfolio to consistently capture them. In the post, he outlines a range of typical outcomes for a large portfolio of seed-stage investments. You can see some variation of this trend in most published venture returns data such as Crunchbase or PitchBook. These are large ranges (because there’s a lot of randomness in startups), and depending on where you end up in these ranges, you could make or lose a lot of money. Most investors prefer a …


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Apr 24, 2017 On Our Blog

The Build Up to Batch 20 Demo Day

It’s two weeks out from Batch 20’s demo day and the energy is building in the 500 Startups San Francisco office, also known as 500 Del Norte. Startup team members are flying in from around the world to join their founders in the office in preparation for the flower-power themed extravaganza that is a 500 Demo Day (yes, the theme is ‘Summer of Love’). Thirty-six percent of Batch 20 hail from countries outside of the US, including Thailand, Hong Kong, Latvia, Estonia, Brazil, Britain, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, India, Canada and France. We also had our first team from Belarus in Batch 20, FriendlyData, a natural language interface for databases, who recently topped the 2017 charts on ProductHunt. (You can …


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Apr 20, 2017 Official Announcement

500 Startups Kobe Accelerator Launches Second Batch

500 Startups is returning to Kobe! After last year’s successful 500Kobe program, 500 Startups is partnering again with Kobe City to launch its second accelerator program that will be coming to Kobe this summer. The program is a 7-weeks course which will focus on bringing growth hacking techniques and Silicon Valley expertise to emerging companies in Kobe, while also boosting Japanese and domestic entrepreneurship in the region. After launching the $30M 500 Japan Fund in 2015 with the goal of engaging and investing in local startups, alongside seeing how more than half of the companies from last year’s program succeeded in raising capital, it naturally made sense to deepen the relationship with the City of Kobe by creating another program …


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Apr 19, 2017 Official Announcement

500 Startups “Hacks Health” with Planned Parenthood Partnership

500 Startups has announced today a partnership with Planned Parenthood Federation of America to offer more opportunities for both growth and technology to be applied to Planned Parenthood’s digital health offerings.  Planned Parenthood will be sending its Spot On app team through the 500 Seed Program in 2017, which is known for its tactical approach to rapid customer acquisition, also known as “growth hacking”. Spot On is Planned Parenthood’s free, award-winning birth control and period tracking mobile app that empowers people to take control of their period, their birth control, and their sexual health.  The goal of this partnership is to enable and empower more people to use Planned Parenthood digital tools to take charge of their health. The first …


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Apr 10, 2017 On Our Blog

Announcing Diversity Scholarship for VC Unlocked with Stanford CPD

Diversity is in our DNA  Anyone familiar with 500 Startups knows diversity is one of our core values.  We are concerned with the current “mostly male, mostly white” panorama in the VC world. According to TechCrunch, only 7% of senior partners at the top 100 venture firms are women and less than 1% are black or hispanic.* At 500 Startups, our team comes from more than 20 countries, and we have invested in startups in over 50 countries. About half our team is female, and more than half are people of color. About half of us like peanut butter and jelly; the other half thinks disco dancing is still cool. We look and act different from most other venture capitalists, and …


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