Oct 31, 2018 On Our Blog

Private Jets, Smart Pill Bottles, Blockchain, & More: Meet the Startups of Batch 24

Batch 24 has officially kicked off in San Francisco, and we’re so excited to welcome these new companies into our 500 family. From personal jets to AR glasses to period underwear, the collection of companies we’ve invested in this batch are as unique and innovative as the founders that built them. By the numbers: This batch has 21 companies. 40% of Batch 24 companies have a female founder. 50% have a Black, Mixed, or Latinx founder. 31% have a company based outside of the US. The Batch 24 companies are headquartered amongst 8 countries: Chile, France, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Out of the Batch 24 companies, 27% of will be on our blockchain track, 18% …


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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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Aug 14, 2017 On Our Blog

Looking back at VC Unlocked 2017

After two weeks of intense coursework, six guest lectures, 32 investment thesis presentations, and a mind-boggling amount of coffee, another successful VC Unlocked Program with the Stanford Center for Professional Development is officially a wrap. With over 200 applicants, this was our most competitive application process yet. We’ve covered the amazing diversity and background of the class in a previous post, but suffice to say that we had several contenders for The Most Interesting Woman (and Man) in the World. Now that we’ve had some time to catch up on some sleep (and email), we’ll recap a few of the many highlights from the latest installment of our flagship educational program. Setting the framework “Whether they’re new to angel investing …


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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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Apr 28, 2017 On Our Blog

A Tale of Two Squirrels: The Not So Simple Math on Venture Portfolio Size

By now most VCs are familiar with Dave McClure’s theory of venture portfolio size. In short, he believes that at seed stage, it doesn’t make sense to have a fund with fewer than 50-100 companies, because venture returns depend on outliers and you need a big enough portfolio to consistently capture them. In the post, he outlines a range of typical outcomes for a large portfolio of seed-stage investments. You can see some variation of this trend in most published venture returns data such as Crunchbase or PitchBook. These are large ranges (because there’s a lot of randomness in startups), and depending on where you end up in these ranges, you could make or lose a lot of money. Most investors prefer a …


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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 30, 2016 On Our Blog

Next, Final Frontier: Lessons Learned Investing in West & South Africa

Exciting businesses are growing in emerging markets. During my time at global early stage seed fund, 500 Startups, I’ve led deals in agriculture marketplaces in Indonesia (iGrow), global workflow management software from Brazil (Pipefy), and even education or sewing marketplaces in “emerging markets” like the MidWest of the United States. 500 Startups has a culture of looking ahead to emerging markets, so I was encouraged to follow my investment thesis that there is massive opportunity in thinking ahead. There were many haters, especially when I became interested in West Africa: “These markets are too early.”  or, “There’s no downstream capital for these companies.” Initially, I was worried about whether I would be stranding these companies or whether it was too early …


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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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Jun 23, 2016 On Our Blog

PreMoney 2016: The Global Investment Community Crosses Paths in San Francisco

PreMoney Brings Together US + International Angels, VCs, LPs Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner with Chanzo Capital in Accra, Ghana, traveled more than 7,600 miles to attend PreMoney San Francisco. “The world is flat,” he said, sipping a Coke immediately after his panel discussion, “Crossborder Investing: Let’s Go Global, Baby.” “When I started in tech in 1998, one of the terms that really rang in my ears was ‘the global village,’” said Osiakwan. “Today, it’s very real.” How real? Earlier in the day, Osiakwan bumped into Jill Ford, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for City of Detroit. “We first met in Ghana in 2002,” he said. “I didn’t know she would be here! After I finished my lunch, I was walking out …


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