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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Jul 25, 2016 On Our Blog

The Hunt: How Startups WIN on Product Hunt

Product Hunt (PH) has become the de facto source for new and upcoming technology products. If you get featured on the homepage, the next 24 hours could be glorious: Thousands of site hits, a boost in customers MOAR revenue Massive brand awareness among target audience Or, it could be an utter failure. You might get low conversion rates to your site, ghosted from the PH featured page and buried under your competitors. You choose. How to WIN at Product Hunt I’ve helped companies like Indemand and Arka gain over 1,000 upvotes in less than 24 hours, which — with high conversion from PH to landing page — led to hundreds of new customers and thousands of revenue dollars in just …


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Jun 3, 2016 On Our Blog

The Career-Changing Impact of Learning How to Invest

Our flagship Venture Capital Unlocked investor training program is back! The 2 week executive ed. program that we co-run with Stanford Center for Professional Development is now accepting applications for its July 25th – August 5th cohort. APPLY HERE Getting the Inside Scoop In the program, participants get an inside look into 500 Startups’ investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, angels, startups and entrepreneurs. We are looking forward to another great session taught by Stanford faculty and 500 Startups partners, as well as top speakers like the ones who visited during the February cohort (below). Program Impact At the end of 2015, we highlighted the successes of some of our VC Unlocked participants in a …


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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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Apr 21, 2016 On Our Blog

From “Dormant” List to 66% Open Rate, to 48K Subscribers — Here’s How.

Last Updated: August 29, 2016 Today I want to get into all the juicy details for how I got a 66% open rate to 48K subscribers (over 60% that would count as “dormant”) within 24 hours. A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to reactivate the 500 Startups email list. It’s not a huge email list, because we’re niche and are only looking to target specific, relevant audiences. But it’s decent. About 48K give or take, as I’m writing this. In my previous post about email marketing, I talked about unsubscribes and tired, beaten lists where all your subscribers are annoyed at you for blasting them with irrelevant content at high (or low) frequency. This was exactly …


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Apr 4, 2016 On Our Blog

Rethinking The Accelerator: What You’ll Achieve At 500 Startups

Before Avanoo arrived at 500, they were making about $2,000 a month selling self-help videos. But after a spell of stardom on Reddit, their social marketing channels had pretty much dried up. As cofounder Daniel Jacobs put it, “you can only do so many #1 posts before the Reddit people want to throw pitchforks at you.” They had a plan to move from consumer to B2B and pivot from self-help into ongoing employee education for large corporations, but they were having trouble starting conversations with the execs they needed to reach. That’s when Jacobs and his cofounder got accepted to Batch 12. Less than six months later, Avanoo was an enterprise company worth $15M. Avanoo’s success wasn’t about changing anything …


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Mar 30, 2016 On Our Blog

Miami’s Startup Ecosystem Only Needs A Little Gas In The Tank

Few of us who live and work in the Bay Area hail from here, but we still have a regional bias; the Bay Area is the best. We enjoy moderate weather, natural beauty and diverse communities that produce culture so rich, we had to coin the word “hella.” Still, entrepreneurs don’t require a Mediterranean climate, Bay views and burritos to thrive; startup ecosystems are budding in Detroit, Syracuse, Denver and elsewhere. In Miami, now home to early-stage investment funds, multiple angel networks and several co-working spaces, the startup scene is closer to blooming. In 2013, Endeavor, a non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets, opened its Miami office. With $2 million in support from the John S. and James …


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