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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Mar 24, 2015 On Our Blog

How Meerkat Can Stay Hot & Grow MOAR

At our recent 500 Startups PreMoney conference in Miami we used Meerkat to live stream the full conference to thousands of people worldwide. Since its launch just a few weeks ago, Meerkat’s blown up. Below is the graph of installs and stats for the Meerkat iOS app. According to the company, it hasn’t done paid acquisition to get this traction. Meerkat Installs Growth (Feb 21 – March 21, 2015) Meerkat iOS stats 50,000 installs in 30 days (souce: App Annie) and 300,000 total users (source: Techcrunch) 10,000+ video streams created in 30 days 2,000 average new installs per day Meerkat has been featured by Apple over 46 times on the iTunes homepage since its launch on Feb 21, 2015 (source: …


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Mar 18, 2015 On Our Blog

CASE STUDY: GrabTaxi’s Growth Hacks

GrabTaxi, part of the 500 Startups portfolio, is a leading taxi hailing app covering Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia that’s also the startup darling of Southeast Asia. The company’s been busy doing some impressive things like getting 3.6 million app downloads, hitting 620,000 MAU, reaching a milestone of 70,000 drivers on its network, offering driver insurance (the first platform to do so), and closing a $250 million round from SoftBank — the highest raise for any startup in Southeast Asia to date. Less than half of GrabTaxi’s app installs have come from direct paid acquisition, and they don’t run ads for driver acquisition. How, then, has GrabTaxi managed to grow to over 60K drivers on its network, 3 …


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Mar 17, 2015 On Our Blog

5 Premoney Talks Every VC Should Watch

T-3 days until PreMoney MIAMI!  500 will be heading to Miami for a one-day conference to cover the most disruptive strategies, models, and technologies for the future of venture capital.  Attendees will: Get the Inside Track on undercurrents in the rapidly shifting VC industry Hear Tips & Tactics for building successful & scalable venture portfolios Connect with tech’s leading VCs, fund managers & game changers Want a sneak peek? Here’s a collection of some of our popular Premoney talks from 2013/2014:  1. Marc Andreessen & Dave McClure: The Future of Startups, VC’s, and Technology 2. Y Combinator: The Sequel — Sam Altman On The Future Of The Original Accelerator 3. The Explosion Of Micro-Funds & The LP Fatigue Epidemic with Mark Suster (Upfront Ventures) 4. The Death Of Mid-Stage & Birth Of …


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Mar 11, 2015 On Our Blog

Q&A with Christian Hernandez Managing Partner at White Star Capital

Christian Hernandez has over 16 years of operating experience in technology companies, developing and scaling products and businesses internationally. Prior to co-founding White Star Capital, Christian worked at Facebook and led the international expansion of the company’s Business Development, Platform and Gaming Partnerships groups. He previously held leadership roles in the U.S. and Europe at Google and Microsoft and started his career in technology at MicroStrategy, a startup he joined prior to its 1999 IPO. Christian has worked closely with entrepreneurs and leading VCs and has been an active angel investor and advisor.  He serves on the Board of Advisors of Seedcamp and the Digital Task Force for the EVCA and is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic …


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Mar 5, 2015 On Our Blog

Q&A with Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital

Eileen Burbidge (@eileentso) is Partner at Passion Capital, the leading early-stage technology venture capital investment firm in Europe, based in London. She brings extensive operational experience to her investment activities gleaned from business and product roles at Yahoo!, Skype, Apple and elsewhere. Premoney Miami is around the corner (March 20th) and 500 caught up with speaker and Passion Capital Partner, Eileen Burbidge. Looking back on your last fund, what are your plans for going forward?  My partners at Passion and I are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Passion Fund I — Nearly 4 years after we first launched we now have 41 investee companies, including outstanding examples such as Adzuna, DueDil, Digital Shadows, GoCardless, Lulu, and so many more. Along with the …


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Feb 24, 2015 On Our Blog

14 Marketplace Mistakes That Are Killing Your Startup

One week ago, I hosted my fifth Marketplace Dinner. This particular one took place at the DogVacay headquarters in Santa Monica. Marketplace Dinners are a series of happy hour-esque meetups that bring together founders and leaders at startup companies growing, you guessed it, marketplaces. So far, we’ve gathered over 250 founders and leaders (averaging about 50 founders per event), including entrepreneurs and executors from Airbnb, Odesk, eBay, Lyft, Uber, Thumbtack, and many more. Each event is three hours of eating, drinking, and telling tales of what it took to build a marketplace. Why the need for Marketplace Dinners? Two reasons: 1. Startup founders are incredibly collaborative and thoughtful. As a Minnesota kid moving to San Francisco, I felt welcomed by …


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