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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Mar 21, 2016 On Our Blog

Growth Case Study: StudyPool on Growth for Fundraising & Increasing Revenue by 25% — monthly

Studypool is an online marketplace that has seen 25% month over month revenue growth — 90% of which comes through organic acquisition. In the 3-month period that they worked with 500 Distro, the company also increased site traffic by 46% and grew customer conversion rate by 18%. I recently spoke with Studypool cofounder Richard Werbe about growth, fundraising, and the “obvious” things that every founder should know (but often doesn’t). Give us a summary, Richard. Where are you at, and what did you do with 500 Distro? We raised 2.3 million dollars, 1.2 of that on the morning of Demo Day and the rest shortly thereafter. We went that route because it looked like the market was going to be tough so we …


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Sep 3, 2015 On Our Blog

When Ecommerce Meets SMS: A Growth Case Study with Bohemian Guitars & Sonar

Today’s Growth Case Study takes a scientific look at the explosion that happens when you layer SMS marketing on top of a growing ecommerce business. Big thanks to Neeharika and Matt at Sonar, who authored this case study with their client, Bohemian Guitars.
Let’s talk about Bohemian Guitars: beautiful, resonant, unconventionally artistic guitars made of oil cans that are one of Indiegogo’s hottest campaigns right now. Born three years ago as Adam and Shaun‘s basement project, the company has become a full-scale manufacturing operation. Behind this growth is strong demand and behind the amazing sales conversion metrics is SMS.


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Jul 14, 2015 On Our Blog

Zero to Million Dollar Run Rate — A Story of Growth & Hustle ft. Avanoo

Avanoo is a 500 Startups Batch 12 company that went from being a zero dollar business to hitting a million dollar run rate by the time they got to Demo Day this past June.
Today’s growth case with Avanoo’s Prosper Nwankpa looks at:

  • how Avanoo went from a 3% email open rate
  • their biggest time waster for building out sales teams
  • their early strategic mistake that almost cost them their business
  • and how they went from zero dollars in revenue to a million dollar run rate in 10 months


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Jun 25, 2015 On Our Blog

Mayvenn is Killing It Because of Community

Today’s GROWTH case study looks at how 500 portfolio company Mayvenn is leveraging one of the most untapped — but high ROI — distribution channels out there: SMS. Neeharika Bhartiya at Sonar, another 500 company, breaks down how SMS has helped Mayvenn scale reach and conversions to a customer base that’s increasingly post-email.


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Jun 18, 2015 On Our Blog

Podcast is the New Blog

Awhile back, a rather unassuming dude named Franco asked to interview me for his startup-related podcast. Podcast? Do people still listen to podcasts? Way MOAR than you think. This post shows how founders can get in on this under-leveraged content marketing channel to grow your audience and get more customers. Read more…


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Apr 30, 2015 On Our Blog

Who’s 500 Distro?

Back in January, we bombastically proclaimed 2015 to be the year of DISTRO EVERYWHERE. How exactly are we doing on that? Apparently, fuzzy ideas + sharp ambitions = REAL STUFF HAPPENING. Since then, we’ve given “DistroCamp”-style workshops to 50+ startups in Hong Kong and Taipei, joined up with General Assembly to put on a video marketing panel in Los Angeles, and recently announced a $10 million DistroFund to put our money where your growth is. We’ll also be at 500’s Weapons of Mass Distribution conference on startup growth, giving on-stage talks and doing hands-on growth office hours — the event is TOMORROW. But the purpose of this post was only kind of to blatantly promote and side-mote our various DISTRO happenings. …


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Apr 23, 2015 On Our Blog

YouTube Famous: Is Video a Viable Growth Channel for Startups?

YouTube gets more than a billion uniques a month, featuring “big” influencers with multiple millions of subscribers, “mid-size” influencers who have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and “small” influencers who still boast more followers than some small towns have people. It’s not just YouTube, though. Influencers on Vine, Instagram and elsewhere have aggregated millions of followers on those channels too. So the numbers are exciting, and video is clearly a promising medium for content distribution and growth. But is it really ROI-driven — and affordable — enough for startups? 500 Distro recently partnered up with General Assembly in L.A. to talk about video as a viable growth channel for startups, not just fancy brands with buckets o’ dollars. Our panelists …


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