Startups are hard, so is TV

Dave McClure

September 30, 2015

Last week Syfy piloted the first episode of our new docu-series called the Bazillion Dollar Club.  The initial episode followed Vango on their journey from the beginning of our accelerator program (500 Startups Batch 12) to Demo Day, where they raised over $1.5M. It was received positively by those who watched; Vango saw 12,000 new visitors to their website and 5,000 new downloads of their app the day after the pilot aired. Missed it? Check it out — the first episode is available free on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Hulu and Syfy.com.

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Starting early this year, we filmed the series with hardware accelerator Highway1 and Zero Point Zero Productions, the uber-talented folks behind Anthony Bourdain’s food and travel empire. The show followed six startups, three from 500 Startups, Vango, Ivee, Roost and three kickass hardware startups from Highway1, FishBit, Spinn Coffee and Sereneti Kitchen. Our goal was to show what it’s really like to to start a company in Silicon Valley — how to build product, get customers, grow the team, pitch the business, and raise capital. We didn’t change how we work for the camera, and both the ups and downs of running a startup were on display. Sometimes products didn’t work as planned, sometimes there were arguments, sometimes people got very humbling feedback about both the business and themselves. Sometimes people raised a million dollars.  Sometimes people got frustrated and quit. We showed both ecstatic and dejected founders.  Ultimately, we hope we showed people a little bit of what it takes to start a company.


There are five more episodes yet to air, each following a new startup facing unique challenges as they try to build a successful company. While Syfy did not pick up the rest of the series, we are optimistic the remaining episodes will find the right audience on another network in the near future. And if it doesn’t happen,  well, hey… at least we had a brief shining moment on the telly and we didn’t stink up the place.

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To everyone who was involved with shooting the show or supporting our efforts, we want to say ​THANK YOU. And, remember to believe in your fucking self… even if no one else does 😉

Recent Coverage: TechcrunchRecode, Venturebeat

IMDb: Bazillion Dollar Club, Dave McClure, Brady Forrest

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