Jun 7, 2016 On Our Blog

How to Pitch a VC

“Everyone” understands the high-level goals of a pitch: Make yourself memorable, and drive home your product’s value. But working out how to put it all into one, non-boring pitch is another matter altogether — and something we work on extensively as part of the 500 Accelerator. Over the years, we’ve learned that sticking to a step-by-step strategy for pitching VCs is a common struggle for startup founders. Do they introduce themselves before or after their companies? Should they list their most impressive metrics upfront or work them into the pitch? What’s the proper way to end investor conversations? Good pitches follow a rigorous structure for engaging investors and proving a company’s value. Like all good marketing and sales, the startup pitch process starts before …


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May 26, 2016 On Our Blog

The Two Biggest Challenges For Beauty/Fashion Startups

Many founders in the beauty and fashion spaces mistakenly think growing a successful company is all about having a big following. They think the first step to a million dollars in revenue is having a million followers on Instagram. That’s not the case. Some fashion entrepreneurs have garnered massive followings as a result of building a great business, rather than establishing this audience as a prerequisite. Whether you’re building a name brand or a revolutionary piece of technology, the business model and the product always come first. But getting those right is not easy. Fashion and beauty are uniquely challenging verticals—they’re all about inspiring feeling, about capturing a sense of magic, about conveying a certain charm. You’re often not competing …


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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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