Jan 24, 2019 On Our Blog

Selling Rides

There used to be a day when every third American owned a horse. Now, every 1.3 Americans owns an automobile. The landscape changed. Along the way, we stopped complaining about animal feed, stables, and horse dung, and we started worrying about smog, traffic, and climate change. Much of the change was propelled by the internal combustion engine. Later, cars were upgraded with electrical starters, power steering, anti-lock brakes. Soon the car became more affordable with Ford’s Model T and the assembly line. Over the course of several decades, horse ownership was replaced by car ownership. And with this shift, cars were woven into the fabric of America, affecting everything from infrastructure to culture. At 500, we have our eyes on …


Jan 9, 2019 On Our Blog

Don’t Be Amazon, Be The Best You

Right now, Amazon owns half an eCommerce market, which accounts for 11.9% of total retail sales. This means there is still–for now–far more opportunity for others. This begs the question; Why be an Amazon when you can be the best you? In the wake of so many iconic retail bankruptcies, we might start to believe in an inevitable demise for all retailers. But what can we really expect? How can retailers rethink their innovation strategy? These recent trends offer insight into some ways your organization can craft its own vision for innovative success.  Let’s review how some startups are making physical stores relevant again. Looking for a deep dive? Sign up below to immediately receive an extended white paper on this subject! Stores without Products Will “the …


Oct 18, 2018 On Our Blog

Why 500 Startups is betting on Miami, and so should you

I am a Mexican who grew up in the “small” town of Guadalajara, Mexico (6M people, but feels small compared to Mexico City’s 20M+ population). I’ve had the privilege of studying and working in the LATAM, European and US markets, and calling world-class metropolises like Mexico City, Paris and New York my home. In 2016, following my heart, I reluctantly moved to Miami. Today, against all my expectations, I have fallen in love with this region and am ready to bet on its growth. And so is 500 Startups. Curious? Skeptical? Stay with me. As I wrote on the 500 Startups blog last March announcing the launch of 500 Startups Miami, this city and the larger Florida region is heating …


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Oct 10, 2018 On Our Blog

Why IoT needs blockchain to grow

What if every company had their own version of WiFi that did not communicate? Can you imagine how difficult it would be to try to connect and get anything done? But that is exactly what is going on with the Internet of Things (IoT) today: many companies are building their own version of authentication and communication protocols that don’t talk to each other, crippling IoT’s growth and innovation. A lot has been written about IoT, and for good reason. By 2020 there will be over 30 billion devices—from cameras and alarm systems to cars and trains—connected to the internet, with billions more coming online every year. Firms spend billions every year to bring IoT devices into these complex ecosystems. Deploying …


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Sep 25, 2018 On Our Blog

6 Things We’ve Learned from the Investors Behind Lyft, Coinbase, Instacart, and More

PreMoney, our one-day conference on the future of venture capital, takes place on October 2nd in San Francisco. We’re putting the final touches on the program as we speak and we’re thrilled about the amazing speakers and discussions we’ve lined up. With just one week until the event, we’re sharing some of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from these VCs. Hacking value before hacking growth Floodgate’s Ann Miura-Ko delivered the final keynote at last year’s PreMoney and was so inspiring we had to ask her back. During her talk on Redefining Intelligent Growth, Ann challenged the audience, asking if it’s “really necessary to consume this much capital before we learn the lesson that maybe the startup isn’t going anywhere?” The job of …


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Sep 17, 2018 On Our Blog

Why you should use security tokens in Crypto fundraising

As an alternative to selling to the masses, US companies can issue security tokens to attract investors. Whereas 2017 was the year of the utility token, 2018 is for building new and better ecosystems, showing the maturation of the crypto world. Defining utility and security tokens Tokens can provide value for companies offering services. A security token is a type of investment instrument that may be issued by companies and purchased by institutional investors, accredited investors, and qualified purchasers. For contrast, utility tokens can be purchased by anyone, as currency in an ecosystem. Previously, many companies issued utility tokens as a way to offer future access to something still under development, like a pre-purchase of future software, access to services, …


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Aug 28, 2018 On Our Blog

The evolution of crypto – It’s time to ship some product

Is crypto just another trading platform or can it evolve into something with real long-term value? If you’re reading Cointelegraph, Cryptonews, or other industry outlets, you’ll notice the news is dominated by coin trading information, from BTC price changes to the analysis of alt-coin price movements. To a casual observer, crypto is highly focused on coin trading, much of which is driven by speculators. There’s less of an emphasis on the long-term value of the underlying products in crypto. Functional products are few and far between, and the majority of coins have little practical use as a way to pay for products or services. Speculation does have some positive effects on the ecosystem. More speculators buying coins tends to drive …


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Jul 20, 2018 On Our Blog

Founder Equity 101

Guest Post: Matt Howland is the GM of Private Markets at Carta. Matt is proud to be serving the 500 Startups network as a mentor. Founders can find Matt on Union for training and consultations. Understanding and managing equity can be confusing, but as a founder, it’s essential to take the time to learn equity basics. Getting equity right ensures: Your employees are motivated to do their best work and stick around You get the best possible investors and term sheets You as a founder retain a meaningful portion of what you’re building You avoid legal trouble Here are some answers to the most commonly-asked questions about equity that we receive at Carta: What is a cap table? A capitalization …


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Jul 12, 2018 On Our Blog

Edith Yeung’s 2018 China Internet Report

500 Partner Edith Yeung just released her 2018 China Internet Report in partnership with SCMP and Abacus. This 97-page report includes everything you need to know about China’s internet landscape including major trends such as e-Commerce, Content and Media, Social and Messaging, the Sharing Economy, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Devices, Autonomous Cars, Blockchain, FinTech, Education, Gaming and eSports. China Internet Report 2018 [Short Version] from Edith Yeung The full report can be downloaded here. Here are some of our takeaways: The Chinese internet giants want and need to do everything. Whether it’s building, investing, or acquiring, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are present across the internet ecosystem. China’s internet empowers the population of smaller cities and rural areas. The number of rural …


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Jul 9, 2018 On Our Blog

Persistence is Key: Advice from a Former 500 Founder

Hey there, My name is Aaron and I’m a Venture Partner here at 500 Startups. I also run the batch application squad, which is why I’m here to tell you… Applications for Batch 24 in San Francisco are now open! I know what you’re thinking: “we’ve been through this.” You’ve applied before, waited patiently, and you were told something along the lines of “Maybe-next-time.” Maybe this made you upset, or sad, or maybe you swore an oath to do whatever it takes to avenge our response. Look, I get it—putting yourself (and your startup) out there over and over again is friggin’ hard and, as always, there are no guarantees. But before you close this page, let me tell you three …


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