Aug 15, 2016 On Our Blog

How Might A Clinton Presidency Affect Silicon Valley?

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is Part 2 of a two-part series that examines how the U.S. presidential race could affect Silicon Valley innovation, an ecosystem that’s affected by economics, immigration policy, international relations, and other factors. These positions were publicly stated by each campaign; instead of characterizing proposals as good or bad, we’re merely speculating on their impact. Part 1 looked at the potential outcomes affecting Silicon Valley from a Trump presidency; today, a look at Hillary Clinton’s Tech & Innovation agenda. Hillary Clinton’s positions on innovation and tech are well-documented and generally reflect prevailing industry attitudes. This is likely because the candidate’s campaign team includes former government officials with tech backgrounds, as well as executives and entrepreneurs. Today, we’ll …


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Aug 12, 2016 On Our Blog

How Might A Trump Presidency Impact Silicon Valley?

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is Part 1 of a two part series examining how the U.S. presidential race could affect Silicon Valley innovation, an ecosystem that’s affected by the United States’ international relations, immigration policy, and other political factors. We have attempted to stay away from political preferences and present findings as publicly reported by the candidates themselves. Part 2 will look at how a Clinton presidency could affect Silicon Valley, and will be published next week. [Update, 8/14/16: Malcolm McGough, the Trump campaign’s California political director, contacted us after this was posted and confirmed that we stated the candidate’s views on these issues accurately.] With 87 days left until the 2016 presidential election, we’re taking a look at how the candidates’ policies …


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Aug 3, 2016 International Stories

Raising The Drawbridge? Brexit’s Implications For UK Startup Founders & Investors

In 2015, 500 Startups Partner Matt Lerner joined the firm so he could lead the London-based Distro Dojo, a growth marketing boot camp/think tank that helps early-stage startups scale up for their next round. When he took the reins, Lerner had many expectations, but the notion that 51% of British voters would soon vote to leave the European Union was not one of them. The UK’s relationship to the EU has been ambivalent for decades, but that hasn’t stopped London from becoming a hub for European startups, said Lerner. Like Silicon Valley, London has access to sufficient money, talent and experience to sustain a startup ecosystem. Brits haven’t imported California’s sunny optimism, Lerner said, but “they have always embraced and celebrated …


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Jul 22, 2016 Seed Program news

The Most Common Myths About Startup Accelerators — Busted

In most aspects of life, the gulf between expectation and reality is larger than expected, but that’s where growth comes from. This principle also applies to startup accelerators, where founders fortunate enough to gain admission can access networks that provide mentorship, emotional support, and eventually, funding. Tristan Pollock, a 500 Startups Venture Partner and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, is part of a team at 500 that reviews thousands of applications for each 12-week batch, which usually only admits 40 or 50 companies. Today, we’ll reveal the most common myths founders have when they join an accelerator, and how Tristan’s own expectations evolved after joining 500. What are some of the top misconceptions founders have before joining an accelerator? A large part of it is setting expectations at the beginning. Sometimes, …


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Jul 15, 2016 On Our Blog

Why Your Accelerator Rejected You

500 Startups Partners Marvin Liao and Elizabeth Yin are warm, friendly individuals, but they also break a lot of hearts. As gatekeepers for 500’s San Francisco-based accelerator, Liao and Yin lead teams that review anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 applications per 12-week round. There’s nothing fun about raining on someone’s parade, but with only 35 to 45 slots available, there’s a lot of disappointment to go around. “We have to look through every single one, then we filter it down,” said Liao. Which Applicants Are Most Likely To Hear “Yes” From 500? “We really do take it case by case,” said Yin, though there are a few hard and fast rules. “In most cases, we look for a complete full-time team that has …


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Jul 13, 2016 On Our Blog

The Best Startup Pitches Are Empathic, Not Egotistic

For entrepreneurs to pitch effectively, they must first free themselves of attachment — the root of all suffering. Which makes 500 Startups Venture Partner, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and pitch coach Andrea Barrica a spiritual guru. “I force people to constrain and use the smallest amount of time to explain what’s most interesting about their company,” she explains. It’s rewarding, but like any effective conditioning process, no pain, no gain. The 120 Second Investor Pitch Now coaching her fourth batch of founders for 500 Startups, Barrica has continually shaved the amount of time they have to present at Demo Day. Instead of 3.5 minutes, each team now has only 120 seconds to make its case. Investors are more excited and engaged, Barrica said, …


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Jun 23, 2016 On Our Blog

PreMoney 2016: The Global Investment Community Crosses Paths in San Francisco

PreMoney Brings Together US + International Angels, VCs, LPs Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner with Chanzo Capital in Accra, Ghana, traveled more than 7,600 miles to attend PreMoney San Francisco. “The world is flat,” he said, sipping a Coke immediately after his panel discussion, “Crossborder Investing: Let’s Go Global, Baby.” “When I started in tech in 1998, one of the terms that really rang in my ears was ‘the global village,’” said Osiakwan. “Today, it’s very real.” How real? Earlier in the day, Osiakwan bumped into Jill Ford, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for City of Detroit. “We first met in Ghana in 2002,” he said. “I didn’t know she would be here! After I finished my lunch, I was walking out …


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Jun 17, 2016 International Stories

LatAm Founders Are Hungrier for Success, Solving Big Problems Faster

Anyone who assumes Latin American founders are worse off than their amigos in Silicon Valley has it wrong. The region’s ecosystem is growing rapidly to support entrepreneurs in every sector, said Didier Quiroz, a 500 Mexico City Associate who joined the accelerator in March 2016. Quiroz, a self-described chilango who was born and raised in Mexico City, provides “a lot of portfolio support” in addition to research, analysis and event planning. “Six years ago, there were a couple of hundred people doing entrepreneurship in tech in Mexico,” Quiroz said. “Now, there’s opportunities for CTOs that have an idea, as well as junior developers who have an ability to build and construct things,” he added. “Seniority doesn’t affect them; if they have an …


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Jun 9, 2016 On Our Blog

500 Startups Batch 1 — 5 Years Later. Where Are They Now?

At 500 Startups, each group of founders that is accepted into the accelerator’s four-month program is called a “Batch,” an apt description, since participants receive a series of commands they’ll later process and execute. The founders who presented at 500 Startups Demo Day in August 2011 are considered Batch 1; today, Batch 17 is entering week six of a four-month program that will culminate in their own Demo Day, the product of intense study, practice and camaraderie. Batch 1’s pitches were presented at 500 Startups’ Mountain View office, but today, Demo Days are held at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum, a venue that can accommodate hundreds of attendees, including investors, friends and the media. High production values give these pitch sessions …


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Jun 1, 2016 On Our Blog

Unconventional Investing Promotes Innovation & Empathy — Interview with 500 Startups EIR Tristan Pollock

500 Startups Venture Partner and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Tristan Pollock is open to new experiences, and he hopes you are, too. “My focus is, ‘I’m really excited about this thing, so let me share it with people who are also excited about it,’” said Pollock. Tristan’s bio describes a person who has a strong interest in ecommerce, but conversation reveals that creating and sharing are his passions. After opening up, he confesses what he calls his “hidden agenda:” the ongoing search for products, services and people who combine novelty and value. “Behind the things I do, there’s usually some passion about why it’s interesting or cool and how it might help people or open their minds,” he explained, “but I also want to reduce judgment …


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