Feb 5, 2019 On Our Blog

Announcing the “MENA Dojo” Series A Program Batch 3 launch

It’s going to be quite busy this year in the MENA region! In line with our objective to help develop the regional ecosystem, we are pleased to announce that we’re opening the applications for the third batch of our annual 500 Startups MENA Dojo Series A Program, in partnership with Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). The MENA Dojo Series A Program is for startups that have reached a certain level of scale and are likely to raise a Series A in the next six to nine months. We will be bringing in a roster of mentors from our Silicon Valley and global team focused on instilling a growth mindset, growth hacking and marketing techniques. The program is one-to-one mentorship driven, which …


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Dec 21, 2017 On Our Blog

7 Ways SEO Can Get You to a Million+ Monthly Users

Guest Post: Giulio Chiarenza is the co-founder of Equipboard, the world’s largest database of artists and the gear they use. SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is a fickle beast. We usually see companies fall into one of two camps; those that think of SEO as a “nice to have” secondary growth channel, and those that rely on it as the primary driver of growth and monetization. Our site Equipboard (batch 8) decidedly falls into the latter, but the journey to SEO competency has been an adventurous one to say the least. We’ve taken our fair share of missteps, and were it not for the SEO gurus we’ve met through 500 and the rest of our network, one of those …


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Jan 24, 2017 On Our Blog

7 UX / UI Design Tips to Improve Your Startup Growth

Below is a collection of my tips and feedback from a creative branding workshop I led during the most recent 500 Startups’ seed accelerator program, Batch 19. The goal was to teach startups to apply design thinking methods to improve their UX/UI , and thus increase user acquisition and market growth. Did you know the human attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s? [Fun Fact about Attention Span] Goldfish: 9 seconds > Human: 8 seconds. 😱 Yep, your website has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time to get your key message to your audience. How do you do it? Here are 7 Design Thinking Tips to Improve Your Growth Rate 🔑: 1. Integrate Combine a strong marketing message (content) with effective visuals (form). …


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Nov 22, 2016 On Our Blog

WMD ’16: Post-Conference Q&A with Brian Balfour

Guest blogger – Brian Balfour, Founder & CEO, Reforge The below article is comprised of audience questions asked to Brian Balfour during his presentation at Weapons of Mass Distribution 2016. Brian took the time to answer the questions in detail post-conference.   “How do you determine your platform?” One of the most powerful things I’ve done in my career is to build my blog. The blog acts as a platform for me to distribute my work, thoughts, and creations. The reason having this is so powerful today is because I believe we are moving towards a world where credentials matter far less, and it is more about your actual work/output. My blog is the way I do that but with …


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Oct 20, 2016 Growth Hacking and Distribution

The Yin & Yang of Marketing and Innovation

Guest Blogger – Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Chief Marketing Officer Mozilla  “Business has only two functions—marketing and innovation.” I have heard this quotation attributed to Peter Drucker, a.k.a. “the father of business consulting” (talk about a guy with some dubious children), as well as Czech novelistMilan Kundera. Citations for Drucker usually extend the quotation, adding, “All the rest are costs.” Kundera. Drucker. Novelist. Consultant. Marketing. Innovation. The Circular Interplay There’s a wonderful, circular nature to the relationship between marketing and innovation. First, I should say I do believe everything other than innovation and marketing in business is a cost—a necessary cost, usually. But the only thing that produces business profit is innovation and the discovery of a market need for that innovation—or, …


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Oct 4, 2016 Growth Hacking and Distribution

Hooks: An Intro on How to Manufacture Desire

Guest Blogger – Nir Eyal, Author “Hooked: How yo Build Habit-Forming Products” Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How is it that these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so addictive and what does their power mean for the future of the web? We’re on the precipice of a new era of the web. As infinite distractions …


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Jun 2, 2016 On Our Blog

How to Grow a Startup, Marketing Hell Week Edition

Today’s post comes from guest author Lauralynn Stubler, a growth marketer who’s been helping out 500 Startups’ brand new Batch 17 survive our Accelerator program’s (in)famous Marketing Hell Week. Batch 17 Marketing Hell Week is over, but the learnings from our startup resources have just begun…. Today we’re sharing some key takeaways on how to grow a startup from our recent Marketing Hell Week roster of speakers. HOW TO GROW A STARTUP – THE QUICK TIPS “Start with running A/A tests to test your tools.” — Hiten Shah on A/B Testing Click-to-tweet: http://ctt.ec/hK6zd A/A testing is often overlooked but it’s an excellent method of double-checking the effectiveness of your A/B testing software. A/A testing is the tactic of using A/B …


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May 24, 2016 On Our Blog

The Startup Pivot Pyramid

In 2011 we raised $2M from some of the top investors in Silicon Valley. Our startup, SocialWire (later renamed Manifest), helped online retailers instantly personalize the shopping experience when their customers signed in with Facebook. However — we soon learned that it was hard to convince the big retailers to add our product recommendations to their websites which they’ve been optimizing for years. We also found that not enough customers wanted to sign in with Facebook while they were shopping online to get a more personalized experience. With most of our $2M still in the bank, and a technology that was good at matching Facebook users to the right products, we decided to pivot on the problem we were solving for the …


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Feb 10, 2016 On Our Blog

Inside the 500 Accelerator, Week 3: Marketing Hell

In this week’s post 500 founder Troy Sultan shares his take on the ~25 hours of lectures, workshops and presentations by 500 growth mentors that we call Marketing  Hell Week. The week’s programs cover everything from pricing and positioning to marketing metrics, content marketing, viral growth and more. MHW did indeed live up to its name. There was far less time for “real” work, so a lot of us had to get creative. Taking calls and meetings during breaks or lunch, scheduling walking meetings to and from the office, and leaving the office at or past midnight were common themes for most of us. This post is long, so I’ll get right to it. Note: There were few sessions I didn’t attend which is reflected …


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