Jun 12, 2018 On Our Blog

Turkish Ecosystem: The Rise of Third Wave Entrepreneurs

Turkey, once the leading startup ecosystem in the region with its vibrant local market, now seems to lag behind newcomers like Slovenia, Greece, Romania and the UAE. Overlooked and buried under the macro trends, the Turkish ecosystem is in the midst of a transition and about to make a tremendous leap forward. Political challenges and a turbulent local market pushed a new generation of entrepreneurs to pursue their passions globally and create market-independent businesses following a model similar to Israel, Estonia or Sweden. These third wave entrepreneurs are now re-building the ecosystem from the ground up. Early signs of entrepreneurial success and market readiness The first wave of internet entrepreneurs in Turkey started at the end of the 1990s and …


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Jun 4, 2018 On Our Blog

Why we’ve been cutting really large follow-on checks

Photo of Carousell’s founders giving Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups, a T-shirt as VC initiation back in 2013 when 500 Startups invested in Carousell’s first round of financing. 500 has ambitions to be the most global Silicon Valley VC firm and invest in companies at the early stages. However, I wanted to take time to explain the larger-than-usual follow-on checks that we have been cutting. Recently, 500 wrote a $20 million follow-on check into Singapore-based Carousell’s recent $85M Series C. Earlier in the year, we led and filled an entire Series B of $13.3M for one of Japan’s hottest startups, SmartHR. We have historically doubled down on many of our top investments, but not at these check sizes. …


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Feb 13, 2018 On Our Blog

How to Attract (and Scale)
Deal Flow

Most VCs think they can predict the future when it comes to early stage deals. At 500, we’re more realistic about our strengths and weaknesses as seed stage investors. We realized early on that building high-velocity deal flow – more than the art of predicting winners – was our super power and we’ve built on that strategy ever since. (We’ve been shouting our investment strategy and portfolio approach from the rooftops since 2010. Read more about how we pick investments) We’re sharing that approach, as well as some tips on how to build a pipeline of high-quality deals that can scale in the future, in today’s blog post. From hundreds to thousands When you’re just getting started as a VC, …


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Feb 4, 2018 On Our Blog

The MENA Ecosystem: The Year Ahead

2017 was a landmark year for the MENA startup ecosystem. That hectic pace of development has continued, even accelerated in the first month of 2018. Having been in the MENA startup space in one form or another since 2007, looking back on what has happened in the past year astonishes me. The rapid pace of development, growth and maturity that took place over the last year is astounding. So, below I wanted to document a few of the main developments I’ve seen from my personal perspective in 2017, which I hope to see continue in 2018. An increasing government focus on entrepreneurship TL;DR – Almost every government across the MENA region has woken up and is actively supporting the startup …


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Nov 21, 2017 International Stories

Highlights from our first VC Unlocked in Asia

Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets to Silicon Valley Investing in Asia, our inaugural course taught in collaboration with INSEAD, wrapped up on November 10th. This course convened 23 participants from 10 countries for five days to learn how Silicon Valley’s best practices can be applied to Asian markets. Here’s a quick introduction the class: 10 countries represented: Cambodia, China, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam Participants have made 40+ investments in total $50M+ in total projected investment budgets over the next two years Areas of interest include: AI, BioTech, B2B Consumer, Digital Payments, E-Commerce, EdTech, Fintech, Food, Logistics, Regtech, retail, AR/VR A Long Time Coming Our collaboration with INSEAD marks the first time we’ve conducted a full …


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Oct 16, 2017 On Our Blog

3 Insights from Doing 200 Deals in Southeast Asia

Over the past five years, 500 Startups has operated at breakneck speed in Southeast Asia. Our team of 20 people in the region have invested in over 200 companies across eight countries. We’re thankful to have been an early part of some amazing stories like Grab, Carousell, Kudo (acquired by Grab), Viki (acquired by Rakuten for $200M), Gilmour Space and Revolution Precrafted. One of my favourite times to reflect on the region and what we’ve built there is on the long 17-hour flight back to Singapore from San Francisco. I’m always amazed by how remarkably fast the ecosystem has matured in the past two to three years and on its contrast to Silicon Valley in terms of the startups, founders, …


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Sep 19, 2017 International Stories

Venture Capital na teoria e prática [Portuguese]

[Editor’s Note] This is a guest post from Gabriela de Salles van der Linden, a participant in our recent Venture Capital Unlocked program at Stanford CPD. Gabriela has 10 years of work experience in the Brazilian venture capital industry, most recently as an executive partner of CRP Companhia de Participaçōes. O que aprendi no curso da 500 Startups em conjunto com Stanford University Quando tive conhecimento sobre o curso da 500 Startups em conjunto com Stanford University, o VC Unlocked, me perguntei se de fato um curso com tais características poderia ampliar minha visão depois de quase 10 anos trabalhando com venture capital no Brasil. Seria essa uma boa oportunidade para refletir e atualizar sobre o que está acontecendo sob uma perspectiva …


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Jun 15, 2017 On Our Blog

Growth Hacking the MENA Region

Following up on our earlier post announcing the first closing of 500 Falcons, our fund for the Middle East and North Africa, we’re going to be posting a few more announcements on the MENA region and the meaningful ecosystem-building projects we’re working on. As we’ve been investing in the region over the last 6 years, we’ve seen a lot of similarities between the Middle East and other emerging entrepreneurial markets in comparison to the startups we see in Silicon Valley. One particular area of focus that we felt needed a big boost was growth hacking. Growth hacking in simple terms is data-driven, online customer acquisition and distribution methodologies that have evolved as a distinct skill set from either traditional business …


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Jun 12, 2017 On Our Blog

7 Marketing Secrets from 500 Startups Demo Days

Have Fun, Get Deals Done – The Future of Marketing is the Brand Experience Pitching to top Silicon Valley investors like Tim Draper is nerve-racking. It helps when he’s dressed in a superhero costume. From Valentine’s Day-Themed (Batch 19) to Summer of Love-Themed (Batch 20), 500 Startups Demo Day is more than a pitch day, it’s a festival where everyone has fun and gets deals done. Here’s a look back at lessons we’ve learned from the last 7 Demo Days, and how 500 Startups stumbled upon creating the unique pitch day in Silicon Valley. 1. Listen to Your Audience Back in the day, 500 Startups Demo Day was pretty basic (see Batch 8): 500 Startups Founding Partner, Dave McClure, speaking …


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May 17, 2017 On Our Blog

Geeks on a Plane ’17 Africa Recap

From March 20 – April 2, 500 Startups brought a group of 22 “geeks” to Africa for our 18th Geeks on a Plane (GOAP) tour. Over two non-stop weeks, the group of entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate executives got an in-depth look at the West and South African startup and investment ecosystems through events like accelerator visits, mentoring sessions, dinners with US ambassadors, pitching events, tech conferences, and evening meetups. Below is our summary, insights, and takeaways from the trip. GEEKS ON A PLANE OVERVIEW >> 3 countries & 4 cities (Lagos, Nigeria / Accra, Ghana / Johannesburg, South Africa / Cape Town, South Africa) 43 events over 2 weeks (including accelerator visits, pitch competitions, intimate roundtable discussions, embassy dinners, red carpet events, and …


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