May 25, 2017 On Our Blog

3 Visual Marketing Lessons it Took Me a lot of Money to Learn

Guest Blogger – Brittany Murlas, Mentor, 500 Startups Optimizing adds on Pinterest isn’t necessarily straightforward, and can often involve a lot of trial and error. Brittany Murlas, a mentor for 500 Startups, spent time and money navigating what works and what doesn’t on the platform and imparts her hard-earned lessons below. Read on so you avoid the same mistakes, and instead, profit from BIG growth like she did.   Lesson #1: Build for platform. You know to design your Facebook ads differently than your Google ads, but do you tweak your Facebook ads for promotion on Instagram? Now I do. We humans open different apps for different reasons. I open Facebook for entertainment, SnapChat for connection, and Pinterest for ideas. My …


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May 18, 2017 On Our Blog

500 Batch 20 Demo Day Recap

On May 11, 2017 at Parc 55 in San Francisco, 500 Startups’ latest batch, Batch 20, celebrated their graduation from our 4-month accelerator program with Demo Day. The 41 Batch companies hailing from 10 different countries successfully pitched their companies to a room full of active and accredited investors, resulting in follow-up investor meetings and funding on-site. Below is a recap of the event.  B20 DEMO DAY OVERVIEW >> 414 total attendees (not including the batch companies) 300 investors and corporate strategics in attendance 35 current LP’s in attendance 19 guests from General Motors, a partner of Batch 20 3,813 people watched via Livestream. The top 10 countries who viewed remotely are as follows:   WHAT IS DEMO DAY? An invite-only event for 500+ …


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May 17, 2017 On Our Blog

Geeks on a Plane ’17 Africa Recap

From March 20 – April 2, 500 Startups brought a group of 22 “geeks” to Africa for our 18th Geeks on a Plane (GOAP) tour. Over two non-stop weeks, the group of entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate executives got an in-depth look at the West and South African startup and investment ecosystems through events like accelerator visits, mentoring sessions, dinners with US ambassadors, pitching events, tech conferences, and evening meetups. Below is our summary, insights, and takeaways from the trip. GEEKS ON A PLANE OVERVIEW >> 3 countries & 4 cities (Lagos, Nigeria / Accra, Ghana / Johannesburg, South Africa / Cape Town, South Africa) 43 events over 2 weeks (including accelerator visits, pitch competitions, intimate roundtable discussions, embassy dinners, red carpet events, and …


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May 12, 2017 On Our Blog

What We’re Changing in Our Accelerator after #500BAM

Guest author – Hi, I’m Michael Rivera. I’ve started (and exited) two companies in my career. I’ve been an early-stage venture investor, advisor and mentor. I’ve recently joined with three brilliant Stanford grads to launch an LA-based accelerator dedicated to consumer products in the health & wellness, toy, and home goods verticals. I just took 500 Startups Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers (April 24th – 28th) and here are some of my reflections.  During the weeklong Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers, Dave McClure, Christine Tsai, Bedy Yang and the 500 Startups team shared all the successes and failures they’ve had after running 40+ accelerator programs. They were transparent, hilarious, and incredibly inspiring. It. Was. Awesome. (Except the part where Dave McClure told us we …


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May 10, 2017 On Our Blog

3 Questions Every Accelerator Manager Should Be Able to Answer

500 Startups just wrapped our second Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers, which brought 23 participants from Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Iran, Japan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, and Uruguay together to learn best practices in accelerator management. From creating deal flow to connecting entrepreneurs to capital, BAM! participants learned tactics to improve investments and accelerator operations. Reflecting on the program, we’ve compiled a list of three simple questions every effective accelerator manager should be able to answer.   What problem do you solve? Are there gaping holes in UX/UI knowledge among entrepreneurs in your ecosystem? Do startups struggle to sell products internationally? Do you see too many founders fundraising the wrong way? Each ecosystem has it’s own set of challenges. …


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May 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Announcing 500 Falcons first closing at $15m out of $30m target

  Today, I’m thrilled to announce the first closing of our 500 Startups MENA Fund (aka 500 Falcons) at $15M out of our $30M target. While we have been investing in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region since 2011, including 55 deals in 32 companies for a total of $6M, this is our first fund focused entirely on the Arab world. With this new fund, we plan to invest in approximately 100-150 companies with about half of the fund and reserve the other half for follow-on investment in the top 20% of companies. The fund will focus on early-stage startups in the MENA region, MENA diaspora founders and non-MENA founders targeting MENA. The MENA Team I’m so thrilled …


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May 9, 2017 On Our Blog

From Drones to GM, Announcing Batch 21

They are here. Two weeks ago Batch 21 (B21) kicked off at 500 Startups in Mountain View. Thirty-one young companies will now spend the next four months hacking out of the flagship location nestled in the center of Silicon Valley where 500 Startups was launched six years ago (AARRR!). Since the original Batch 1, the 500 Seed Program has accelerated over 600 companies between the San Francisco and Mountain View programs (shout out to our LatAm program in Mexico City currently on Batch 007). As usual, B21 represents a wide array of technologies ranging between Conversational Commerce, Big Data, drones, VR, transportation, digital health and FinTech. There will also be a focus track in B2B Sales and an automotive track …


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May 1, 2017 Official Announcement

Indonesia Team Expands with Ashraf Sinclair as Latest Venture Partner

We welcome Ashraf Sinclair to the 500 Startups Southeast Asia team (also known as 500 Durians)  to help find and select the next wave of Indonesia investments. I personally relocated to Indonesia for close to a year now, in an effort to significantly deepen our coverage in Indonesia, and this is the first of more new 2017 hires to be announced. Ashraf is known locally as a celebrity actor. Aside from Ashraf’s career in the entertainment industry, he is also a seasoned business person, having started restaurants, gyms, content and production agencies, and most recently co- produced a sold out 3,500 person solo concert for his wife, Bunga Citra Lestari, Indonesia’s Award Winning Singer Actress. I’ve know him for the …


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