Four companies, 12 weeks, and a whole bunch of new customers

Matt Lerner

November 11, 2015

We’re now past the halfway point in our London Distro Dojo program and are happy to report some very encouraging results. The attendees, some of Europe’s most promising young companies, have been working their tails off to iterate and grow. And they are seeing great payoff.


As a reminder, the Distro Dojo is 500 Startups’ intensive three-month growth-hacking program based at WeWork Moorgate. Post-seed startups receive an investment from 500 Startups and hands-on mentorship from our team of top-notch growth marketers, 500 Distro.


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Truly Experiences is a marketplace for unique, extraordinary experiences (a $610B market).  These include gourmet truffle hunts in Alba, behind-the-scenes tours at Sotheby’s, near-space flights, and spy training with ex-MI6 agents. With a net promoter score of 78, their best source of customers are their own growing community.

Truly’s founder and CEO, Jack Huang says, “In the first month, we fully revamped our SEO, SEM, data stack, CRO focus and implemented a new experiment process. We also gathered more ideas for channels and tactics to test.”

Early results: The search marketing refinements reduced Truly’s cost per acquisition (CPA) by 75%. In terms of natural search, Truly  increased their volume of monthly backlinks 10X. They also tested some new email capture on-site, boosting their capture rate by 4X.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.16.32 PMTRData has been called “Bloomberg for emerging markets.” Their platform lets professional traders exchange and share actionable information, such as prices, news & analytics. TRDATA provides the basic data access free of charge, focusing on faster content acquisition. They collect market data, automate trading flows, processes trades and help traders manage risk. Their customers include Bloomberg, Barclays, Societe Generale, Raiffeisen, USAID, AIG and over 500 other companies worldwide.

Since joining the Dojo, TRData has focused on growing customer acquisition, and it shows! Their new signups have gone from flat to +20% week-on-week since they started the program. In case you’re wondering, that looks like this:

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Anton Pasechnikov, founder of TRData says, “We developed a new dashboard and a clear set of goals, plus a simple process to highlight where in the funnel to focus. Our active user base has grown by 20%, and our website traffic has grown 2.5X. The program has proven to us that with a structured approach, smart resourceful people, and the right technology, a company can achieve fantastic levels of growth!”

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.22.16 PMTamatem is the leading mobile games publisher for the Arabic market of 100M users. With only 20 months since launch, they have published 50 games with over 15M downloads and 1.5M monthly active users – currently growing at 40% per-month (no typos in that paragraph, all those numbers are real).

Hussam Hammo, Tamatem’s founder, summarizes their early results: “We were able to launch 4 new games by the end of the first month, including one that reached #2 in the overall apps chart just 48 hours after launch. We signed 2 publishing agreements and have many new leads. 500 Startups also introduced us to a great advisor who will join our team to help us with monetization and our overall ad strategy.”

Hammo continued: “Thanks to the Dojo, our eyes were opened to many things we we were missing. So we’re rebuilding our technology from the ground up. This includes our new SDK, a connected centralized customer database, a full reporting system to the developers we are dealing with, and an ad server.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.23.57 PMOree Artisans crafts a collection of technology tools that are a radical alternative to strictly functional and disposable mainstream tech gadgets.

In the first week of the program, Oree ran a simple button test, that immediately delivered a 35% conversion lift. They also dramatically increased email capture on-site. Now they’re rolling out the PR machine and testing new paid channels, steadily lowering their CPA.

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According to Julien Salanave, Oree’s founder, “The program allowed us to step out of our day to day operational tasks and think about what will really make the biggest difference to our company. We’re pleased with our early results.”

Stay Tuned!

Each of our four kick-ass teams have made tremendous headway. Over the next two months, the teams will continue to test and execute with the skills they’ve acquired to boost their key performance indicators (KPIs). This will be capped off in January with the very first Distro Dojo Investor Showcase, where the teams will meet top VCs from London and beyond.

Want to train with our Master Sensei?

The next London Distro Dojo will commence in Q1 2016. My team and I are scouting Europe for companies with a live product and good customer traction (pre-Series-A). We take applications on a referral only basis, but our European founder and mentor network is over 2,000 strong. So if you’re a true hustler, it won’t be hard for us to connect!


500 Distro is 500 Startups’ in-house team of growth marketing experts. 500 Distro helps companies scale growth and close their next round of funding via the 500 Accelerator, a $10M DistroFund, and, now Distro Dojo.

In addition to the growth program in London, 500 Startups has Distro Dojos in Kuala Lumpur, Miami, and more on the way.




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