Jan 16, 2019 On Our Blog

500 Startups: 2018 by the Numbers

2018 was a busy year for 500. I’m proud of what our team has accomplished over the past 365 days and am excited to share some of our 2018 highlights. 500’s mission is to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. It has been inspiring to see this mission in full force as we work with incredible founders around the world.   2018 By The Numbers1 We added 155 new companies to the 500 portfolio, bringing our total portfolio count to 2,210 companies and over 5,000 founders. 7 of our portfolio companies joined the Unicorn Club in addition to our existing unicorns Twilio, SendGrid, and Credit Karma …


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Jan 9, 2019 On Our Blog

Don’t Be Amazon, Be The Best You

Right now, Amazon owns half an eCommerce market, which accounts for 11.9% of total retail sales. This means there is still–for now–far more opportunity for others. This begs the question; Why be an Amazon when you can be the best you? In the wake of so many iconic retail bankruptcies, we might start to believe in an inevitable demise for all retailers. But what can we really expect? How can retailers rethink their innovation strategy? These recent trends offer insight into some ways your organization can craft its own vision for innovative success.  Let’s review how some startups are making physical stores relevant again. Looking for a deep dive? Sign up below to immediately receive an extended white paper on this subject! Stores without Products Will “the …


Dec 21, 2018 Official Announcement

Announcing the Saola Accelerator in Vietnam

This is a “saola”, a long-horned ox so rare that it’s often called an “Asian unicorn.” (nevermind that it has two horns!). Saolas are found almost exclusively in Vietnam. I believe there are other Asian unicorns to be found in Vietnam, which is why 500 Startups Vietnam is pleased to announce the launch of the Saola Accelerator, our version of 500’s flagship program in San Francisco with local experts weighing in. It’s the right time to build a springboard for Vietnam’s next tech unicorns. Read on for more information about the current landscape, what Saola aims to do, and what kind of startups we’re looking for! (tl;dr — Apply here now: bit.ly/500saola)


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Dec 14, 2018 On Our Blog

500’s Ultimate Gift Guide

December is flying by, and if you’re still struggling to find the perfect last minute gift, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of holiday treats for everyone on your list—500 style. All of the gifts below are made by portfolio companies in the 500 family, so you can spread holiday cheer while also supporting your fellow startups. 1. Copper Cow Coffee’s Vietnamese Coffee Kit Once you taste this rich Vietnamese pour over, founded by Debbie Mullin of Batch 23, you’ll kick your Keurig to the curb. We keep this in stock at 500 HQ, and the perfectly sized single-serves (with included cream and sugar packets) have become an instant office favorite. The on-the-go packets are also convenient staples for travel …


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Dec 3, 2018 On Our Blog

Is Your Blockchain Company VC Fundable?

Are you thinking about applying to 500 with a Blockchain idea? Want to maximize your chance of getting selected? This article describes how one successful applicant, Crowdz, passed our rigorous acceptance process and explains how to formulate a successful strategy for your own 500 application. Earlier this fall, our accelerator team spent weeks reviewing and interviewing nearly 2,000 program applicants for Batch 24 of our Seed Accelerator program in San Francisco. Applications came from startups in enterprise software, deep technology, and of course, Blockchain. In the end we accepted just 22 companies, of which only five became part of our Blockchain track—a specialized cohort focused on foundational protocols, financial applications, tokenization of physical or digital assets, and enterprise applications. Why …


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Dec 2, 2018 On Our Blog

500 Kobe Gears Up for December Demo Day

Supporting a wide array of diverse founders across the globe has always been at the heart of our mission here at 500. We’re proud to be one of the most global VC firms, with an active presence in 5 of the 7 continents worldwide. This month we’re focusing on a slice of the world that you may already know for their world-renowned beef—but what we’re most excited about is tapping into their under-the-radar tech scene. This December, get ready to meet the top startups from our Kobe, Japan accelerator. Our Kobe program kicked off in October, and will conclude with Demo Day in Tokyo on December 10th. For the three months in between, the companies accepted to the program have …


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Nov 19, 2018 On Our Blog

5 Tips for Making Your 500 Startups Application Stand Out

Here at 500, every time a new batch opens up we receive a flood of applications to sift through. As we review them, we often see a lot of the same common mistakes repeated over and over, so we figured it was time to give a quick 101 on how to give your company the best head start when application time rolls around. 1. It’s all about the traction. It’s important for us to understand what stage your company is at—be clear about any traction you may have and put it front and center. This will look different if you are a B2B or a B2C company, so we’ve broken it down below: B2B: Highlight any pilots you have, and include …


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Nov 19, 2018 On Our Blog

500 Startups Vietnam Holds Oversubscribed Final Close (Pho Real!)

Given 500’s mission to back entrepreneurs globally, we strive to go where other investors rarely venture. Several years ago, Vietnam was not an obvious tech investment destination: the country was poor (GDP per capita was barely over US$2k, according to the World Bank), fraught with bureaucracy, and struggling to create an ecosystem for the few, disconnected founders and even fewer active angels and VCs. But entrepreneurial folks did see elements of something special: a fast-growing economy; a substantial supply of low-cost, high-tech talent; and a broad & experienced Vietnamese diaspora increasingly interested to reconnect with and contribute to the country. A new wave of tech founders decided to take the plunge. Despite — or because of — the lack of …


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Oct 31, 2018 On Our Blog

Private Jets, Smart Pill Bottles, Blockchain, & More: Meet the Startups of Batch 24

Batch 24 has officially kicked off in San Francisco, and we’re so excited to welcome these new companies into our 500 family. From personal jets to AR glasses to period underwear, the collection of companies we’ve invested in this batch are as unique and innovative as the founders that built them. By the numbers: This batch has 21 companies. 40% of Batch 24 companies have a female founder. 50% have a Black, Mixed, or Latinx founder. 31% have a company based outside of the US. The Batch 24 companies are headquartered amongst 8 countries: Chile, France, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Out of the Batch 24 companies, 27% of will be on our blockchain track, 18% …


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Oct 18, 2018 On Our Blog

Why 500 Startups is betting on Miami, and so should you

I am a Mexican who grew up in the “small” town of Guadalajara, Mexico (6M people, but feels small compared to Mexico City’s 20M+ population). I’ve had the privilege of studying and working in the LATAM, European and US markets, and calling world-class metropolises like Mexico City, Paris and New York my home. In 2016, following my heart, I reluctantly moved to Miami. Today, against all my expectations, I have fallen in love with this region and am ready to bet on its growth. And so is 500 Startups. Curious? Skeptical? Stay with me. As I wrote on the 500 Startups blog last March announcing the launch of 500 Startups Miami, this city and the larger Florida region is heating …


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