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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May 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Announcing 500 Falcons first closing at $15m out of $30m target

  Today, I’m thrilled to announce the first closing of our 500 Startups MENA Fund (aka 500 Falcons) at $15M out of our $30M target. While we have been investing in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region since 2011, including 55 deals in 32 companies for a total of $6M, this is our first fund focused entirely on the Arab world. With this new fund, we plan to invest in approximately 100-150 companies with about half of the fund and reserve the other half for follow-on investment in the top 20% of companies. The fund will focus on early-stage startups in the MENA region, MENA diaspora founders and non-MENA founders targeting MENA. The MENA Team I’m so thrilled …


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May 1, 2017 Official Announcement

Indonesia Team Expands with Ashraf Sinclair as Latest Venture Partner

We welcome Ashraf Sinclair to the 500 Startups Southeast Asia team (also known as 500 Durians)  to help find and select the next wave of Indonesia investments. I personally relocated to Indonesia for close to a year now, in an effort to significantly deepen our coverage in Indonesia, and this is the first of more new 2017 hires to be announced. Ashraf is known locally as a celebrity actor. Aside from Ashraf’s career in the entertainment industry, he is also a seasoned business person, having started restaurants, gyms, content and production agencies, and most recently co- produced a sold out 3,500 person solo concert for his wife, Bunga Citra Lestari, Indonesia’s Award Winning Singer Actress. I’ve know him for the …


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