Apr 24, 2015 On Our Blog

To Build a Mobile App Business, Build a Growth Engine First

Mobile growth is something we haven’t talked about enough here on the 500 blog. All that’s about to change with the following monster 500 DISTRO post from our friend Alex Austin at Branch Metrics. Btw, you can catch Alex on stage at 500’s conference on startup growth, Weapons of Mass Distribution — next Friday May 1  in San Francisco. You’ve decided you want to take a stab at building the next successful mobile app business. First off, spend some time and think about whether you’re ready for this. I’d liken the process to running in a marathon followed by wrestling in a sumo match. If you have the energy to make it through the first part, you’re most likely going to be eliminated …


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Apr 23, 2015 On Our Blog

YouTube Famous: Is Video a Viable Growth Channel for Startups?

YouTube gets more than a billion uniques a month, featuring “big” influencers with multiple millions of subscribers, “mid-size” influencers who have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and “small” influencers who still boast more followers than some small towns have people. It’s not just YouTube, though. Influencers on Vine, Instagram and elsewhere have aggregated millions of followers on those channels too. So the numbers are exciting, and video is clearly a promising medium for content distribution and growth. But is it really ROI-driven — and affordable — enough for startups? 500 Distro recently partnered up with General Assembly in L.A. to talk about video as a viable growth channel for startups, not just fancy brands with buckets o’ dollars. Our panelists …


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Apr 7, 2015 On Our Blog

Distro Tigers: Growth Lessons Learned in Hong Kong and Taiwan

500 Distro and two awesome mentors just got back from a 9-day trip to Taipei and Hong Kong. These are two talent-filled ecosystems in the “Asian Tiger” constellation of developed economies that have a lot going for them. A recap of challenges and opportunities from our perspective focused on startup growth and distribution.


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Mar 18, 2015 On Our Blog

CASE STUDY: Grab’s Growth Hacks

Grab (formerly GrabTaxi), part of the 500 Startups portfolio, is a leading taxi hailing app covering Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia that’s also the startup darling of Southeast Asia. The company’s been busy doing some impressive things like getting 3.6 million app downloads, hitting 620,000 MAU, reaching a milestone of 70,000 drivers on its network, offering driver insurance (the first platform to do so), and closing a $250 million round from SoftBank — the highest raise for any startup in Southeast Asia to date. Less than half of Grab’s app installs have come from direct paid acquisition, and they don’t run ads for driver acquisition. How, then, has Grab managed to grow to over 60K drivers on its network, …


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Jan 29, 2015 On Our Blog

2015 is the Year of Distro EVERYWHERE

Waaah, more marketing?? We know it’s sexy to talk about features and fundraising. But cool features, and even a round in the bank, won’t a business make. Great companies find a way — ideally multiple optimized ways — to acquire, activate and retain customers. We’re the 500 Distribution Team, and 2015 is the year of Distro EVERYWHERE. And we work with 500 companies to do just that. In the old days, 500 Distro was a 500 family affair: — hands-on advising for every company in the current 500 Accelerator Batch. — intensive consulting and implementation for selected portfolio companies through our Distro 1-on-1 program. But 2015 means Distro EVERYWHERE. We’re bringing the growth specialization of 500 Distro to EVEN MOAR …


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Dec 30, 2014 On Our Blog

Happy DISTRO New Year: 7 Growth Resolutions for 2015, in GIFs

Instead of another list of doomed goals about weight loss and iPhone use… the 500 Startups Distribution team is officially making this a DISTRO NEW YEAR. Here are 7 growth resolutions for 2015 we’d like to see more early stage founders take on. 1. COLLECT MORE EMAILS Before you get fancy with email marketing or Facebook Custom Audiences, get a list. Are you collecting user emails: In your personal email footers — yours + all the people on your team On your home page On all your social profiles: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube channel At all offline events & promotions On your Angellist & Crunchbase profiles On your company / team About pages Persistently throughout your site in the …


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Dec 26, 2014 On Our Blog

The Year in Distribution – Our Top 10 Posts You Don’t Want to Miss

On the plane, on the train, on your parents’ 20 year old couch — there’s no time like RIGHT NOW to catch up on your growth reading, and do better distribution in 2015.   1. This Email Got a 60% Open Rate — Here’s How The 500 Events team is a production powerhouse, putting on 5 – 6 major content conferences per year. But the party’s no fun unless people show up. This post goes behind the scenes on 500 Events’ single most effective conversion channel — EMAIL — and look at how 500 Events has gotten up to 60% open rates on sales emails (not just transactional messages and confirmations).   2. 23 Campaigns Every Startup Should Run to Gain Immediate …


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Dec 5, 2014 On Our Blog

This Email Got a 60% Open Rate — Here’s How

The 500 Events team is a production powerhouse, putting on 5 – 6 major content conferences per year. But the party’s no fun unless people show up. Today we’re going to go behind the scenes on 500 Events’ single most effective conversion channel — EMAIL — and look at how 500 Events has gotten up to 60% open rates on sales emails (not just transactional messages and confirmations). 5 factors influence open rates: Subject line Sender List quality Snippet Preview Content Let’s dig into each of these in more detail. 1. SUBJECT LINE A campaign’s subject line has the most obvious direct impact on open rates. Good subject lines: — have a CTA  in the form of short, action verbs …


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Nov 14, 2014 On Our Blog

Things That Don’t Scale: Boatbound Shares 4 Surprising Ways to Turn Random Strangers into (Paying) Fans

A lot of founders or would be founders don’t have the time of day for things that “don’t scale” despite what’s been published on the subject. The most opened 500 #distrosnack emails are the ones that contain subject lines with a quant inflection. Fewer people want to hear about hitting the sidewalk. And still fewer want to actually do it. And yet, that’s exactly what some of the most successful companies at 500 and elsewhere have done. Solidarium offers their artisans (the sellers that list items in their online marketplace of handmades) a direct line to the CEO. Totspot’s founder went to Bay Area families’ homes — more than 60 of them — to sit in their living rooms and …


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Oct 31, 2014 On Our Blog

More to Growth Than FB Ads? Solidarium Talks Strategic Partnerships & Accelerator Aha Moments

Solidarium is a Brazilian marketplace connecting artisans and their crafty goods to online shoppers all over the country. Having had a number of conversations with founders from the 500 Accelerator, I thought I knew what Tiago Dalvi, Solidarium’s founder, was going to talk about. 500 is known for being really kickass at distribution and performance marketing. Every single founder I’ve talked sounds like a newlywed that just married Facebook ads, metrics, and drip campaigns. But Tiago had a different story to tell, and it wasn’t about Custom Audiences (though at one point he did admit that learning to do Custom Audiences the right way during Batch 9’s Marketing Hell Week was awesome). Instead, Tiago recounted a tale of big strategic …


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