Mar 8, 2018 On Our Blog

500’s Commitment to #MovingForward

Today, we have committed to join Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy and Andy Coravos in their mission to launch a collective step forward for the VC industry. #MovingForward, which was birthed at a dinner for founders, is an open source directory that pools diversity, inclusion and anti-harassment commitments from VCs. It is especially meaningful that this initiative launches on International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. A recent report by the World Economic Forum found gender parity is over 200 years away. While these findings seem overwhelming, we believe that as more people commit to change now, we will move the needle together. We are honored to pledge our commitment to …


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Feb 13, 2018 On Our Blog

How to Attract (and Scale)
Deal Flow

Most VCs think they can predict the future when it comes to early stage deals. At 500, we’re more realistic about our strengths and weaknesses as seed stage investors. We realized early on that building high-velocity deal flow – more than the art of predicting winners – was our super power and we’ve built on that strategy ever since. (We’ve been shouting our investment strategy and portfolio approach from the rooftops since 2010. Read more about how we pick investments) We’re sharing that approach, as well as some tips on how to build a pipeline of high-quality deals that can scale in the future, in today’s blog post. From hundreds to thousands When you’re just getting started as a VC, …


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Feb 6, 2018 On Our Blog

KISSs and SAFEs and
Notes….oh my!

[Editor’s Note] This is a guest post from Adam Sterling, Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Business, and a lecturer at VC Unlocked: Deal Camp at Berkeley. This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. In 2014, 500 Startups, a global venture capital firm, took a little-known action that would help change the landscape of international venture finance. This action had nothing to do with investment dollars, new hires, or liquidation events. 500 Startups simply open-sourced their proprietary investment contract for early-stage investments, the KISS (“Keep It Simple Security”), to startups and investors around the world. In the next year, fellow venture capital giant Y Combinator followed suit and open-sourced their own proprietary investment contract, the SAFE (“Simple Agreement …


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Feb 4, 2018 On Our Blog

The MENA Ecosystem: The Year Ahead

2017 was a landmark year for the MENA startup ecosystem. That hectic pace of development has continued, even accelerated in the first month of 2018. Having been in the MENA startup space in one form or another since 2007, looking back on what has happened in the past year astonishes me. The rapid pace of development, growth and maturity that took place over the last year is astounding. So, below I wanted to document a few of the main developments I’ve seen from my personal perspective in 2017, which I hope to see continue in 2018. An increasing government focus on entrepreneurship TL;DR – Almost every government across the MENA region has woken up and is actively supporting the startup …


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Oct 16, 2017 On Our Blog

3 Insights from Doing 200 Deals in Southeast Asia

Over the past five years, 500 Startups has operated at breakneck speed in Southeast Asia. Our team of 20 people in the region have invested in over 200 companies across eight countries. We’re thankful to have been an early part of some amazing stories like Grab, Carousell, Kudo (acquired by Grab), Viki (acquired by Rakuten for $200M), Gilmour Space and Revolution Precrafted. One of my favourite times to reflect on the region and what we’ve built there is on the long 17-hour flight back to Singapore from San Francisco. I’m always amazed by how remarkably fast the ecosystem has matured in the past two to three years and on its contrast to Silicon Valley in terms of the startups, founders, …


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Jul 25, 2017 Official Announcement

Kicking off VC Unlocked, and a New Website!

Big news! It’s the first week of VC Unlocked! We’re welcoming an awesome new group to the Stanford campus this week. They’ve traveled from as far as Lagos and Melbourne to be with us here in Silicon Valley and we couldn’t be more thrilled. In the spirit of #500Strong, we wanted to share some fun facts about the participants and the exciting program we have planned. Here goes: 47% of participants are women 74% are based internationally, representing 17 countries including Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Colombia, and the UAE Participants have made 250+ investments in total Areas of investment focus include FinTech, BioTech, telecom, FoodTech, and more Participants come from family funds, government offices, startup accelerators, and private equity backgrounds In addition …


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Jul 19, 2017 Official Announcement

Announcing “Silicon Valley Secrets for Investing in Asia” with INSEAD

We’re excited to announce that applications are now open for our newest course, “Silicon Valley Secrets for Investing in Asia.” We’ve teamed up with INSEAD, a leading global business school, to offer investors a one-week deep dive on how to apply Silicon Valley investing expertise to Asia-based startups. After the huge success of our VC Unlocked programs in the Bay Area, this marks the first time we’re taking one of our programs outside the U.S. The course will be held at INSEAD’s Asia campus in Singapore from November 6 – 10, 2017. For AIPAC investors, that means the same unrivaled access to our Silicon Valley network, investing know-how, and extensive Asia knowledge, minus the 12-hour flight and jetlag. Sound good? …


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Jan 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Are there ghosts in your convertible notes?

Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney. Are you investing in convertible notes or securities? Do you know what a phantom liquidation preference is? Did you know it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars? Let’s illustrate how with a simple example… Sally purchases a convertible note with a valuation cap of $5 million in Tuber Corporation for $100,000. Six months later, Tuber closes its Series A with a pre-money valuation of $10 million, selling new shares at $1/share. Thanks to its valuation cap, Sally’s convertible note converts at $0.50/share and she receives 200,000 shares of Series …


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Aug 23, 2016 On Our Blog

How to Invest “Smart Money” — 4 Lessons Learned

I recently attended VC Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing, an investor training program run in partnership with 500 Startups and Stanford Center for Professional Development. The two-week program took place July 25th – August 5th, 2016, and a class of 28 participants dove deeply into the world of tech, understanding fund dynamics and hearing from seasoned experts. My big takeaway was that along with all the attention and hype startups are garnering around the world, there is still a large gap in the knowledge available to investors entering the space. We hear a lot about “dumb money” and to avoid it like the plague, but is that it? As a former educator I believe not – and so here …


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Aug 16, 2016 On Our Blog

From “Here, Take my Money” to Investing with Vision

We just finished up our 3rd investor training with Stanford Center for Professional Development and we are on a roll! The highly diverse mix of participants spent two weeks unlocking the secrets of venture capital investing and refining their investment theses. They participants finished the program with a much clearer vision of where they are going and how they plan on getting there. They also left with a certificate from Stanford, a maroon baseball cap and a crazy, fun group of friends and future co-investors that were very excited about their new investment theses! The Venture Capital Unlocked program ran from July 25th – Aug 5th and was held at Stanford University and the 500 Startups accelerator in Mountain View. Diverse …


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