500 Startups Brings Distro Dojo to Berlin!

Matt Lerner

October 07, 2016

For the first time ever, 500 Startups is running its highly selective “Distro Dojo” growth hacking program in Berlin. The three-month intensive growth marketing program for Pre-Series-A companies started in September with six startups. The program is hosted at hub:raum with sponsorship from Deutsche Telekom.

The program will focus on:

  • Teaching a scientific growth process
  • Creating a marketing experiment pipeline
  • Testing and adding emerging channels
  • Making the right hires for your growth team
  • Talks from 500 Partners and industry experts

“We see a lot of impressive startups in Berlin, so we’re expanding our local presence by launching our Distro Dojo program here, following on the program’s warm reception this past year in London,” said Matt Lerner, Head of 500 Startups London office.

This first Berlin batch of companies includes:

Voya.ai simplifies business travel by combining the expertise of travel agents with the efficiency of a chatbot. Offering a concierge like service on a familiar chat-interface, Voya built the simplest way to book and manage business trips. They created the first business travel service that both companies and their users love, which may be why their business is doubling each month.

Junomedical – A digital health platform where patients worldwide are matched with high-quality medical care abroad at an affordable price. Junomedical’s passionate team of digital experts and geeks is led by Dr. Sophie Chung – tackling a $50 billion medical travel industry.

Heycater! Lets busy office managers quickly order catering online. Founders, Sophie Radtke and Therese Köhler don’t simply plan to unite clients and caterers on a curated platform; their mission is to shape the way people eat at work and create a movement of happier, healthier and more productive companies.

Zenjob is a mobile tech company that solves short-term staffing emergencies by providing hourly workers on-demand. Zenjob actually hires the workers and lends them out to companies. People working with Zenjob earn more than minimum wage and companies have less admin hassle and more flexibility than with traditional temp agencies.

Movivo Movivo’s platform allows users to cover the cost of their mobile minutes by completing surveys, crowdsourced tasks and by downloading new mobile apps. Movivo works with many of the world’s largest telecoms operators and the service is growing quickly in a number of emerging market countries.

Job Pal builds chat bots that automate candidate engagement and pre-screening. Companies want to engage much more with prospective employees, but cannot due to a lack of resources. Meanwhile, recruiters mostly sift through irrelevant applications while they need to spend more time with relevant candidates. Job Pal solves both problems through Machine Intelligence.


About the Distro Dojo

The “Distro Dojo” is a three-month hands-on growth program where companies receive investment from 500 Startups and work side-by-side with world-class entrepreneurs and growth marketers to start the growth process within their companies. The process, created and refined by experts at many of the great hyper-growth startups of the past 15 years, includes identifying the right business metrics, identifying “hacks” to increase customer engagement, and testing them out through a process of experimentation and iteration. Participants work with experienced entrepreneurs and growth experts throughout the program. After 11 Dojos in 7 cities, participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“For us, the program was transformative” said Truly Experiences founder Jack Huang, who participated in the London Dojo. “In 1 month, we fully revamped our SEO, SEM, data stack, CRO and implemented a new experiment process. Not to mention gathered more ideas for channels and tactics to test. Plus, mentors and guest speakers really know their stuff and roll-up-the-sleeves to get dirty, unlike the majority of advisors and consultants out there.”

500 Startups in Europe

With over 140 investments in Europe, 500 Startups is fast becoming one of the most active investors in the region. Our European portfolio includes consumer and enterprise companies including TalkDesk, Intercom and Skimlinks.

Meet the 500 Berlin Team

Matt Lerner, Nopadon Wongpakdee & Jess Erickson.

Matt Lerner – Partner, 500 Startups

  • Matt runs our London office and leads our European Distro Dojo. He specializes in conversion optimization, analytics, engagement and retention. As a member of the in-house growth (AKA”Distro”) team, he works closes with 500 portfolio companies to help them build growth engines and scale. Previously, Lerner worked as Marketing Director at PayPal, where he built and managed growth teams for many years.

Nopadon Wongpakdee – Growth Hacker In-Residence

  • Nopadon Wongpakdee is a London-based Inbound Marketing Consultant with over 15 years experience. He specialises in SEO, User Acquisition, User Retention and Inbound Marketing Strategies. Before consulting, he was the 10th employee at acclaimed London startup Huddle.com, where I was responsible for developing and executing their digital marketing strategy.

Jess Erickson – Program Director, 500 Startups

  • Jess Erickson is the Program Director at 500 Startups. She spent her early startup years at Speaklike, 6Wunderkinder & General Assembly. She is also the Founder of Geekettes, an organization uniting, mentoring and promoting women in tech of worldwide.

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