May 7, 2015 On Our Blog

COMMERCISM Comrade Q&A: Part 2 With Shopify’s Chief Platform Officer

500 Startups has always been bullish about online commerce, despite economic fluctuations. The future of commerce is not in traditional brick & mortar stores, but in the innovative online plays from companies like ModCloth, Polyvore and Shopify.  Shopify’s Chief Platform Officer, Harley Finkelstein, will be speaking at our upcoming COMMERCISM conference, so we asked him to share some lessons he’s learned as a serial entrepreneur + his thoughts on the future of commerce. Q. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since founding your startup or starting your career in the eCommerce space? A. Test and test and test and test. I think that persistence is really important in business, but in the ecommerce retail space, you have an opportunity to …


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May 7, 2015 On Our Blog

Upcoming Events in NYC, Russia, Estonia, Croatia & Germany

In this post….SMASH Summit – Thurs, Jul 26th, NYC Geeks on a Plane ‘Eastern Europe’  – Sept 18 – 20, Moscow, Tallin, Zagreb, & Berlin (more details below). up next… At SMASH,  we’ll cover new tactics, “hack-tics”, and strategies for Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter & more, because let’s face it – customer acquisition is hard as sh*%, and relying on your awesome product to move the needle is probably a terrible strategy.  At SMASH, you can hear case studies and lessons learned from folks like: Fred Wilson (Managing Parnter, USV), Chris Ackermann (Strategic Partnerships, Facebook), Dan Porter (Founder, OMGPOP), Dror Shimshowitz (Head of Product, YouTube), Katia Beauchamp (Co-Founder, Birchbox), Jessica Lawrence (Managing Director, NY Tech Meetup), & many more! MORE SMASH …


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May 7, 2015 On Our Blog

Periscope vs. Meerkat

A data-filled breakdown of the two hottest livestreaming apps, Periscope and Meerkat — and who’s most likely to win from the perspective of investors AND users (yes, including tips on how to get more viewers).


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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 28, 2015 On Our Blog

Join the #500Strong Family – Land a Job at One of Our Companies!

Want to get on the fast track to working at an kickass startup? We’re hosting a Job Fair on Friday, May 8th at our HQ in Mountain View, CA. From 2-5pm, you’ll get a chance to meet founders in our current batch of startups (Batch 13) and wow them with your awesome skills and sparkling personality. In addition to working an early stage startup, you’d get to experience everything that comes with 500’s accelerator program – working out of our awesome office space, meeting tons of people in the 500 family, attending events and fireside chats with big-name founders, and more. “I showed up and instantly felt like I was in the right place. Every person I talked to was enthusiastic and …


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Apr 24, 2015 On Our Blog

To Build a Mobile App Business, Build a Growth Engine First

Mobile growth is something we haven’t talked about enough here on the 500 blog. All that’s about to change with the following monster 500 DISTRO post from our friend Alex Austin at Branch Metrics. Btw, you can catch Alex on stage at 500’s conference on startup growth, Weapons of Mass Distribution — next Friday May 1  in San Francisco. You’ve decided you want to take a stab at building the next successful mobile app business. First off, spend some time and think about whether you’re ready for this. I’d liken the process to running in a marathon followed by wrestling in a sumo match. If you have the energy to make it through the first part, you’re most likely going to be eliminated …


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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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Apr 8, 2015 On Our Blog

Silicon Valley Etiquette

As a Minnesotan in Silicon Valley, I learned a lot of tech founder subtleties the hard way. Today, I’m sharing some of these mundane but incredibly important notes on communication, to give other founders and tech people that have relocated from different parts of the US or world a head start in the Valley.


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Apr 7, 2015 On Our Blog

Distro Tigers: Growth Lessons Learned in Hong Kong and Taiwan

500 Distro and two awesome mentors just got back from a 9-day trip to Taipei and Hong Kong. These are two talent-filled ecosystems in the “Asian Tiger” constellation of developed economies that have a lot going for them. A recap of challenges and opportunities from our perspective focused on startup growth and distribution.


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Apr 2, 2015 On Our Blog

Why Facebook Doesn’t Work for Health

Post contributed by Eric Peacock and Mary Ray, co-founders of MyHealthTeams. MyHealthTeams believes that if you are diagnosed with a chronic health condition, it should be easy to find the best people around to help you. To date, they have launched MyAutismTeam (for parents of kids with autism), MyBCTeam (women with breast cancer), and most recently MyMSTeam (individuals with multiple sclerosis). 500 Startups was an investor in MyHealthTeams’ seed round over the summer. A recent statistic from the CDC reported that 1 in 50 kids in America will be diagnosed with autism. Chances are someone in your life will be affected by it – perhaps your friend’s son, a daughter of an employee in your startup, or even your own child. …


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