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 …

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 …

Feb 8, 2017 On Our Blog

Batch 20 triples down on FinTech and Digital Health, Takes on Uncle Sam with GovTech

500 Startups’ 20th program (B20) in Silicon Valley starts at time that will be remembered across the world. Only three days after a new (and highly controversial) United States government administration has taken power and Silicon Valley is preparing for a Trumpocalypse. Seeing this regulatory disruption as an opportunity for private sector tech companies, B20 includes GovTech (13.6% of B20), FinTech (27%) and Digital Health (15.9%). In total, there are 44 companies in the four-month program that will run from January to May. Popular technology trends — including SaaS, marketplaces, AI/bots, big data, analytics, devops and hardware — also remain prevalent in the seed program formally known as an accelerator but continually geared towards scaling companies with early traction. In …

Aug 1, 2016 On Our Blog

Announcing Batch 18 — Bring on the Bits, Bots and Bods!

We’re proud to announce our 18th cohort of accelerator companies (appropriately called B18) residing in the 500 Startups San Francisco office for the next four months. The batch has a few themes and includes 46 companies total. There is an 11 company FinTech track (five in insurance) led by Sheel Mohnot who runs the 500 FinTech fund and 8 company Digital Health track led by Rebecca Woodcock. There are also themes in industrial applications, Tristan Pollock’s experiential lifestyles track (think about companies like Outsite that let you live and work from anywhere), and MOAR bots, including bot analytics company Statsbot, Track for freelance taxes, AI homeowner financial dashboard Homebot, and SimplifiMed for monitoring high risk patients. 500 Startups continues to remain one …

Jul 25, 2016 On Our Blog

The Hunt: How Startups WIN on Product Hunt

Product Hunt (PH) has become the de facto source for new and upcoming technology products. If you get featured on the homepage, the next 24 hours could be glorious: Thousands of site hits, a boost in customers MOAR revenue Massive brand awareness among target audience Or, it could be an utter failure. You might get low conversion rates to your site, ghosted from the PH featured page and buried under your competitors. You choose. How to WIN at Product Hunt I’ve helped companies like Indemand and Arka gain over 1,000 upvotes in less than 24 hours, which — with high conversion from PH to landing page — led to hundreds of new customers and thousands of revenue dollars in just …

Oct 27, 2015 On Our Blog

Silk Road was the fastest growing online marketplace ever — here’s why

First, what is Silk Road? THIS: NOT THIS: Silk Road, the anonymous, dark web, Tor protected, drug marketplace lived for over 2 years online. Eventually the founder, Ross Ulbricht, was caught and arrested. Silk Road 2.0 emerged. After the FBI shut the 2.0 site down, there was a 3.0. Now there are around 50 separately affiliated marketplaces that sell drugs online, including Agora, Amazon Dark, and Silk Road 3.0. Over $1.2 billion dollars (9.5 million bitcoins) was transacted on Silk Road 1.0 in a little less than two years.* On average, they took a 10% fee on every transaction, so the business made over $120 million in that same time, plus the increase in value of Bitcoin. Those are numbers …

May 7, 2015 On Our Blog

Periscope vs. Meerkat

A data-filled breakdown of the two hottest livestreaming apps, Periscope and Meerkat — and who’s most likely to win from the perspective of investors AND users (yes, including tips on how to get more viewers).

Apr 8, 2015 On Our Blog

Silicon Valley Etiquette

As a Minnesotan in Silicon Valley, I learned a lot of tech founder subtleties the hard way. Today, I’m sharing some of these mundane but incredibly important notes on communication, to give other founders and tech people that have relocated from different parts of the US or world a head start in the Valley.

Feb 24, 2015 On Our Blog

14 Marketplace Mistakes That Are Killing Your Startup

One week ago, I hosted my fifth Marketplace Dinner. This particular one took place at the DogVacay headquarters in Santa Monica. Marketplace Dinners are a series of happy hour-esque meetups that bring together founders and leaders at startup companies growing, you guessed it, marketplaces. So far, we’ve gathered over 250 founders and leaders (averaging about 50 founders per event), including entrepreneurs and executors from Airbnb, Odesk, eBay, Lyft, Uber, Thumbtack, and many more. Each event is three hours of eating, drinking, and telling tales of what it took to build a marketplace. Why the need for Marketplace Dinners? Two reasons: 1. Startup founders are incredibly collaborative and thoughtful. As a Minnesota kid moving to San Francisco, I felt welcomed by …