Jun 8, 2018 On Our Blog

Arrogance is Killing Blockchain Companies

The deadliest sin for startups is arrogance. Founders often approach us convinced that they have product market fit, sales forecasts for millions in revenue, “hack proof” systems, and simple plans for hiring hundreds of “top 1%” employees, sometimes without any evidence to back it up. A startup’s survival depends on a founder’s ability to stay humble. That means keeping an open mind, asking the right questions, and verifying the answers until the data — not just blind faith — proves out your hypothesis. Don’t be afraid to seek out help, and even to use creative methods to get what you need. Everyone needs help (including us), and the winners in this game have the courage to ask. Over the last seven …


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Apr 16, 2018 On Our Blog

The New Batch On The Block: 500 Startups Batch 23 Companies

500 Startups is excited to announce our latest batch from our flagship Seed Accelerator, this time welcoming not only a new cohort of 17 companies, but also a Blockchain track! Based out of our San Francisco HQ, Batch 23 will feature three tracks: Digital Health (22%), Blockchain (17%) and FinTech (17%). Accompanying these tracks are B2B, B2C, SaaS, and e-commerce companies, ranging from AI-driven legal services to biodegradable pour-over coffee technology. Our global outlook when discovering and backing talented entrepreneurs has again, helped form a diverse cohort. 50% of the companies are based outside of the United States include founders from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China, Canada, Egypt, South Korea, and Lebanon. 33% are of Asian …


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Aug 14, 2017 On Our Blog

Looking back at VC Unlocked 2017

After two weeks of intense coursework, six guest lectures, 32 investment thesis presentations, and a mind-boggling amount of coffee, another successful VC Unlocked Program with the Stanford Center for Professional Development is officially a wrap. With over 200 applicants, this was our most competitive application process yet. We’ve covered the amazing diversity and background of the class in a previous post, but suffice to say that we had several contenders for The Most Interesting Woman (and Man) in the World. Now that we’ve had some time to catch up on some sleep (and email), we’ll recap a few of the many highlights from the latest installment of our flagship educational program. Setting the framework “Whether they’re new to angel investing …


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Jul 25, 2017 Official Announcement

Kicking off VC Unlocked, and a New Website!

Big news! It’s the first week of VC Unlocked! We’re welcoming an awesome new group to the Stanford campus this week. They’ve traveled from as far as Lagos and Melbourne to be with us here in Silicon Valley and we couldn’t be more thrilled. In the spirit of #500Strong, we wanted to share some fun facts about the participants and the exciting program we have planned. Here goes: 47% of participants are women 74% are based internationally, representing 17 countries including Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Colombia, and the UAE Participants have made 250+ investments in total Areas of investment focus include FinTech, BioTech, telecom, FoodTech, and more Participants come from family funds, government offices, startup accelerators, and private equity backgrounds In addition …


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Jul 19, 2017 Official Announcement

Announcing “Silicon Valley Secrets for Investing in Asia” with INSEAD

We’re excited to announce that applications are now open for our newest course, “Silicon Valley Secrets for Investing in Asia.” We’ve teamed up with INSEAD, a leading global business school, to offer investors a one-week deep dive on how to apply Silicon Valley investing expertise to Asia-based startups. After the huge success of our VC Unlocked programs in the Bay Area, this marks the first time we’re taking one of our programs outside the U.S. The course will be held at INSEAD’s Asia campus in Singapore from November 6 – 10, 2017. For AIPAC investors, that means the same unrivaled access to our Silicon Valley network, investing know-how, and extensive Asia knowledge, minus the 12-hour flight and jetlag. Sound good? …


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Jun 21, 2017 On Our Blog

Announcing the 500 Startups Uruguay Accelerator

Silicon Valley and Montevideo are uniting to fuel startups in Latin America 500 Startups in partnership with ANII, Uruguay’s ecosystem development agency, will host a new accelerator program. The 500 Montevideo Accelerator Program will prepare 20 Uruguayan and international startups through 6 weeks of mentorship, growth workshops, and connections with investors and corporate partners.  This program is also being made possible through collaborations with the Uruguayan Agency for Research and Innovation / LATU, Technological Laboratory of Uruguay / ANDE, Uruguayan Agency for Development, and the Investment and Export Promotion Institute of Uruguay. The 500 Montevideo Accelerator Program will focus on growth hacking, product design, fundraising, and will bring Silicon Valley expertise to seed-stage companies in Uruguay. Space is limited to …


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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 18, 2017 On Our Blog

500 Batch 20 Demo Day Recap

On May 11, 2017 at Parc 55 in San Francisco, 500 Startups’ latest batch, Batch 20, celebrated their graduation from our 4-month accelerator program with Demo Day. The 41 Batch companies hailing from 10 different countries successfully pitched their companies to a room full of active and accredited investors, resulting in follow-up investor meetings and funding on-site. Below is a recap of the event.  B20 DEMO DAY OVERVIEW >> 414 total attendees (not including the batch companies) 300 investors and corporate strategics in attendance 35 current LP’s in attendance 19 guests from General Motors, a partner of Batch 20 3,813 people watched via Livestream. The top 10 countries who viewed remotely are as follows:   WHAT IS DEMO DAY? An invite-only event for 500+ …


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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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