Announcing VC Unlocked: Accelerator edition

Paulina Szyrmer

March 28, 2016

Have you ever caught yourself wondering how 500 Startups became one of the top accelerators in the United States in only five years? Well now is your chance to find out!

After running 20 batches of what is basically a bootcamp for companies (and doing a pretty darn good job), 500 startups is now launching a bootcamp for VCs on how to run an accelerator.

The program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Accelerator edition will run May 2nd to 5th in San Francisco. Apply here.

Why 500 is doing this

As anyone paying attention may have noticed, a lot of accelerators have been popping up recently, even in the most unexpected places such as the Department of Homeland Security, the National Association of Realtors, or Venezuela.

While some are doing well, many of them are failing, because running an accelerator is REALLY HARD (trust us).

As part of our greater mission to help develop entrepreneurship and venture capital ecosystems around the world, we want to share both our growing pains and our many successes with others so they can also excel (and hopefully send us some deal flow while they’re at it).


What do I get out of it?

In Venture Capital Unlocked: Accelerator edition, current and aspiring accelerator managers will take a 1 week deep dive into everything it takes to start and run a successful program.

It will be taught by 500 founding partners Christine Tsai and Dave McClure, along with managing partner Bedy Yang and various investment partners involved in running 500’s accelerator (Marvin Liao, Elizabeth Yin, Sean Percival and many others). They will offer an inside look at the 500 Startups accelerator playbook for the first time.

Dave McClure addressing our most recent VC Unlocked group at Preview Day in Mountain View

The instructors will share lessons learned throughout five years of operation and answer key questions such as:

  1. What makes you special?: Position your accelerator to get quality startups in the door
  2. How will you make money?: Explore the most viable revenue models and learn about the relevant legal issues when investing in startups.
  3. How do you choose startups? Practice due diligence and company selection while evaluating real start up applications.
  4. What’s your program? Plan a curriculum and key events to really add value to your companies.
  5. How do you create community and become a valuable link in the chain? Become the most important player in your ecosystem and attract high profile mentors, as well as follow on investments for your companies.

During the program, participants will:

  1. Hear and learn directly from top accelerator founders and managers in Silicon Valley
  2. Receive feedback on their accelerator from fellow participants and 500 Startups investment partners
  3. Put the concepts into practice by screening and evaluating startups
  4. Screen pitches at our invite-only investor events, including our sneak “Preview Day”
  5. Visit the headquarters of a top accelerator in the Valley

How will we do all of this in one week? We’re not sure, exactly.

Join us next month and watch the magic unfold.

How do I apply?

Apply by April 15th, 2016 at 500.vc/accelerator/apply.

We have limited seating so we encourage you to apply early. Successful applicants will be notified on a rolling basis.


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Program details*:

Tuition fee of 9.6K includes 5 days of densely scheduled talks and interactive workshops led by 500 partners and VIP guest lecturers, tickets to 500 Startups’ investor only Preview Day and Demo Day, one visit to another top local accelerator, breakfast and lunch daily, an opening and closing dinner, and countless SV networking opportunities. NGO discounts available.

See preliminary Program Agenda*.

*Details and agenda are subject to change.


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