Oct 16, 2014 On Our Blog

Growth in Asia: How Shopline Acquired 6X Users in 9 weeks

When you travel a lot and end up somewhere jetlagged and hungry at random hours of the night, sometimes you have to make compromises. On a recent trip to Taipei, I found myself sober and eating a tea egg out of a plastic bag from the corner 7-Eleven at 1 in the morning. It wasn’t a Facebook moment, but my snack turned out to be surprisingly good (I severely regretted not buying more), and it was then that I began to understand the deep bond between the Taiwanese and their unglamorous yet satisfyingly functional everything-store. When I spoke to Fiona Lau at Shopline — Batch 10 — I was surprised to learn that she and her team weren’t Taiwanese because I’d …


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Oct 6, 2014 On Our Blog

7 Ways to Use Facebook Custom Audiences to Grow Your Startup

This growth guest post comes from Massimo Chieruzzi, CEO of AdEspresso, a SaaS company that helps advertisers and media agencies create, analyze, and optimize their Facebook ads. AdEspresso was an Accelerator Batch 7 startup, is now part of the 500 Startups portfolio of companies.  Startup growth is both tough and exciting with so many options available to marketers nowadays: inbound, social marketing, content marketing, SEM, SEO, social advertising, retargeting and more. But let’s say you’re on a tight budget and you’ve got a lonely marketing team of one — yourself. Experimenting with all of these channels with limited resources can be tricky. Mastering them to achieve a great ROI can be even harder. In this short guide, we’ll go through all …


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Sep 25, 2014 On Our Blog

How to Track Mobile Campaigns, Get 500 Users to Talk to You, & Other Magic Tricks

I recently spoke with Vijay Ramani, CEO and co-founder of Totspot, a mom-to-mom mobile marketplace for buying and selling kids’ fashion. Totspot came in to Batch 9 with decent traction, great product market fit and an experienced team — in other words, in the awesome category of early stage companies. They walked away with new acquisition channels, actionable tracking, more users and more commerce. Here’s how they did it. Who were you pre-Accelerator? We had a product live, and were growing around 20% month over month for about 3 months running. We were in the app store and having some growth already because we’d tried a bunch of things. What was an early “aha” moment? We had early product market …


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Sep 8, 2014 On Our Blog

Local Businesses Are Your Friends … And Customers

This Growth guest post comes from Rick Kawamura at LocBox, a company that helps local businesses grow by providing end-to-end online marketing tools and services. LocBox is a 500 Startups portfolio company. Many of us in the “startup world” lump small-to-medium sized businesses and local businesses into a singular market, ready to be automated and conquered. In reality, SMBs and local businesses make up a promising but highly diverse market of customers — not archaic competitors — that most startups haven’t even begun to tap into. In this post, we’re going to share the 24 questions we used at LocBox to begin to filter and convert high-quality leads in the lucrative, but elusive, SMB and local business owner market. The Elusive …


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Aug 28, 2014 On Our Blog

Growth Never Sleeps

Demo Day is over, the lights have dimmed. What happens when your Accelerator Batchwraps? We recently checked in with Laura Behrens Wu, founder of Shippo, on growth during and after (there’s an after??) the Accelerator Program. Shippo provides businesses with an easy and affordable shipping at bulk discounts. Shippo secures access to better rates offered by smaller courier companies that are hard to find and compare, and the company has seen traction through Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Where were you when you joined Batch 8? We were one of the earliest startups. We had exactly 3 paying customers, and that was the extent of our traction. At the end of the Accelerator program, we reached 450 active paying …


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Jul 16, 2014 On Our Blog

Activate or Die: 10+ Ways You Can Improve Your User Activation for SaaS – Part 2

Today’s post comes from Justin Mares, 500 Distribution Hacker-in-Residence, co-author of Traction Book and formerly the Director of Revenue at SaaS developer tools company Airbrake (acq’d by Rackspace in 2013).  So you’re now convinced you should improve your activation, and are willing to dedicate some time to it. Not much time — luckily, improving activation often only takes a few minutes a week to set up and run a new A/B test — but enough time to make it a priority for your company. What should you focus on? The first step is to map out the ideal path a customer takes after signing up for your app. To do this, ask yourself: In an ideal world, what steps would every new user take after signing …


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Jul 2, 2014 On Our Blog

How to Get More Out of A/B Testing When Your ‘Better’ Variant Fails

We’re big advocates of a/b tests on your most important real estate. But what happens when you run an A/B test where your new ‘improved’ version doesn’t win? Today we look at how Love With Food (a 500 company) extracted an important conversion funnel optimization even when their original version won a major homepage A/B test. First, an A/B review. It’s all too easy to fall into the shotgun approach to A/B testing. Remember that frequency doesn’t make up for randomness, and simply running more test won’t on its own yield meaningful insights or lift. Instead, the A/B test itself is just one part of the optimization process: 1. Start with a problem 2. INTERVIEW customers 3. Design a hypothesis 4. …


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Jun 24, 2014 On Our Blog

Activate or Die: 3 Keys to User Activation for SaaS (Part 1)

This post is Part 1 in our 500 Distribution series on activation for SaaS, by 500 Distribution Hacker-in-Residence Justin Mares. Get more growth goodness with Distrosnack, our daily email of bite-sized growth + GIF awesomeness. Imagine you’re living the marketer’s dream. You’re acquiring hundreds, even thousands of customers every day because your product and marketing are just that awesome. Your team, investors and family are pumped, and there’s a feeling of excitement as your user metrics go up every day. However, all this means nothing if you ignore one key metric – activation. Activation is one of the most important metrics for any SaaS company. It’s the second Big A in AARRR, and it’s a measure of the key action your users need …


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Mar 19, 2014 On Our Blog

Series A is a Moving Target

This post is brought to you by the combined forces of Elizabeth Yin and Tim Chae. As the year wraps, many of our Batch 11 Accelerator companies have expressed interest in fundraising in 2015. We fund a lot of early stage companies here at 500 (850 and counting), most of them before their seed rounds via our Accelerator. Image Source: CB Insights We naturally get to see many of these startups’ seed fundraising process from start to finish. Many of the companies we observe approach seed fundraising thinking they want to raise $1M or $1.5M…but a $1M raise is an arbitrary number that most founders think they want to raise. Raising an arbitrary amount of money for their seed is …


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