#500Strong Rules The Universe (Well, At Least For Two Days)

Designed by Elliot Loh, 500 SuperMentor

Last week, we held our first-ever Demo Days at the 500 Startups Secret Lair. Over two days, our startups from the 500 Accelerator program, as well as a few seed companies, presented to a collective audience of ~300 people (and almost 500 viewing via live stream).

What was most impressive about the Demo Days? Our companies, natch. But what else was impressive was the sheer POWER and camaraderie of the 500 community. Both in the Twittersphere and in person, you couldn’t get away from #500Strong. The 500 network of founders, mentors, and supporters-at-large showed just how awesome this community is. We can’t help but feel warm fuzzy feelings inside every time we think about all that love! <3

A few notable press hits from the Demo Days:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed the live stream or want to re-watch any of the pitches, check out the videos below:

Thursday April 7th morning session (Part 1):

Thursday April 7th morning session (Part 2):

Finally, a complete list of all the companies that presented:

500 Startups Accelerator Companies

InternMatch

InternMatch connects students with amazing internships. The founders are Andrew Maguire, Nathan Parcells, and Kyle Wilkinson. Follow them on Twitter at @internmatch. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.com/internmatch-1.

Spoondate is the easiest way to meet and eat with someone wherever you go. The founders are Raissa Nebie and Van Nguyen. Follow them on Twitter at @spoondate. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/spoondate

Punchd puts loyalty cards on your smartphone. Businesses get analytics & a way to recognize, reward, contact their regular customers directly. The founders are Reed Morse, Niket Desai, and Xander Pollock. Follow them on Twitter at @getpunchd. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/punchd

Rewardli is a social commerce platform that lets small businesses pool their buying power to get cash back and discounts on their purchases. The founders are George Favvas and Jean-Sebastien Boulanger. Follow them on Twitter at @rewardli. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/rewardli

Visual.ly is 2 things: a platform for exploring, sharing, and promoting great visualizations, and a service that connects dataviz pros, to advertisers & publishers looking for compelling content. The founders are Stew Langille and Lee Sherman. Follow them on Twitter at @visually. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/visually.

Get connected IRL. Wednesdays makes it easy to coordinate face-to-face lunches with colleagues, interest groups, and friends. The founders are Hugh Olliphant and Andy Chen. Follow them on Twitter at @wednesdayslunch. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/wednesdays

YongoPal is mobile photo-sharing for English learning and cultural exploration. The founders are Darien Brown, Daron Hall, and Jiho Kang. Follow them on Twitter at @yongopal. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/yongopal

Ninua connects readers and writers through social news exploration. Largest Facebook news app. New mobile app. 1.7M active users and growing. Check out Jay Jamison’srecent post on Ninua’s prototype. The founder is Waleed Abdulla. Follow them on Twitter at @ninuanews. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/ninua

Crowdrally is making videos social. The founders are Evan Kuo and Andy Chen. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/crowdrally

Baydin

Baydin is building the future of email. The founders are Alex Moore, Aye Moah, and Michael Chin. Follow them on Twitter at @baydinsoftware. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/baydin

SpeakerGram is the easiest way to book and manage speaking engagements. The founders are Sam Rosen and Dana Levine. Follow them on Twitter at @speakergram. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/speakergram

955 Dreams is a new media publishing company focused on the Music and Education verticals. The founder is Kiran Bellubbi. Follow them on Twitter at @955dreams. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/955-dreams

500 Startups Seed Companies

Tokyo-based startup myGengo is the Mechanical Turk for translation: A platform and API for human translation at huge scale. The founders are Robert Laing and Matthew Romaine. Follow them on Twitter at @mygengo. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/mygengo-1

Saygent is the world’s smartest voice response & analysis SaaS for superior customer insights at scale without using costly call centers. The founders are Guy Hirsch and Mariya Genzel. Follow them on Twitter at @saygent. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/saygent

Volta is an A/B testing framework for live, outbound phone calls. The founder is Patrick Stockwell. Follow them on Twitter at @getvolta. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/volta

Too much email? AwayFind puts an end to constant email interruptions, only notifying you with messages that matter NOW — via mobile/SMS/etc. The founder is Jared Goralnick. Follow them on Twitter at @awayfind. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/awayfind-1

Social Stork bottles the social activity of new moms and gives advice, community, and contextual introductions to the perfect baby products along the journey. The founder is Joel Auge. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/social-stork

Evoz connects busy moms to their babies from ANYWHERE and delivers personalized parenting content and services based on their baby’s data. The founders are Avishai Shoham, Yasmin Lukatz, and Ruwan Welaratna. Follow them on Twitter at @evozmonitors. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/evo

Motion Math creates learning games for mobile, turning math’s stumbling blocks into delightful game experiences. The founders are Jacob Klein and Gabriel Adauto. Follow them on Twitter at @motionmath. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/motion-math

ReadyForZero is online financial software that tracks your credit card debt, and helps you make and follow a plan to eliminate it. The founders are Rod Ebrahimi and Ignacio Thayer. Follow them on Twitter at @readyforzero. Connect with them on AngelList atangel.co/readyforzero-1

WorkersNow is an online staffing platform that is changing the way blue-collar workers are hired. The founders are Pablo Fuentes, Joe Mellin, and Sean Falconer. Follow them on Twitter at @workersnow. Connecrt with them on AngelList at angel.co/workersnow-1

GinzaMetrics makes website optimization for search and social media simple, fast and super- scalable. The founder is Ray Grieselhuber. Follow them on Twitter at @ginzametrics. Connect with them on AngelList at angel.co/ginzametrics

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500 Little Monsters To DOMINATE Demo Day, Then DEVOUR VC Dollars

More than 300 investors, press, and paparazzi will join us at the 500 Startups Secret Lairfor our first ever Demo Days! Our little monsters from the 500 Accelerator Program and a few special guests from our seed companies will be presenting their latest and greatest to a captive audience.

Good things happen in 3’s, so we are actually holding 3 sessions of Demo Day to accommodate the demand – once today (Wednesday April 6), and two more tomorrow (Thursday April 7).  And great news for those of you who can’t make it in person: We’ve decided to broadcast the Thursday sessions! Be sure to tune in LIVE tomorrow atwww.livestream.com/500startups at 10:00AM PDT and 5:00PM PDT for all the action.

Once our Demo Days have come to an end, look for a complete wrap-up of this week, including a closer look at the startups that presented. In the meantime, follow the fire hose of tweets from @500startups. #500Strong

P.S. Startup geeks and DJs – we’re taking suggestions for your favorite startup anthems and videos. Tweet URLs to @500startups with hash tag #500Tunes.

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The Top 5 Myths about Distributed Teams

Emi Gal is the founder and CEO of Brainient, part of the 500 Startups family. Based in London, Brainient builds tools that help agencies turn existing video ads into interactive experiences. Brainient is a Seedcamp winner, a The Next Web runner-up and part of the UKTI Global Entrepreneurship Programme. Brainient is Emi’s third company. Previously, he founded a number of UK and Romanian startups: Skimbit / Skimlinks, eOk (Romania), BrainTV (Romania), iHireyou (UK), to name a few. Emi is also a speaker and lecturer at various entrepreneurship and internet events, a Seedcamp Week ’09 Winner and one of Romania’s top 5 achievers according to PEPSI. He blogs very often at www.emigal.com

“Yes, we’re seven people, full-time, and our burn-rate is just about ten thousand pounds (which, for those of you across the pond, is about fifteen thousand dollars).” The investor could not believe it. How could seven people work full-time for less than $2500 / month and be able to eat every day? “Location,” I told him while showing a simple slide with the faces of our team members on it.

Location has always been something I’ve tried leveraging as much as possible in all my entrepreneurial endeavours. It’s worked out quite well so far. At Brainient, we have nine people in Bucharest, Romania and four in London, with the cost of those in London almost the same as the ones in Bucharest. If we were to employ thirteen people in London, we could not afford it.

There’s some skepticism regarding outsourcing and distributed teams, deservedly so, because most “outsourcing” projects fail. But having done it for the past few years, I’ve discovered that they can be successful. So here are a few myths floating around that I would like to address, as I think that’s all they are: Myths.

Myth #1: Distributed teams are difficult to manage
That’s true. Except it’s not. As a matter of fact, they’re easier to manage because you have less meetings and less face-time. Which, provided you’ve hired the right people, means better productivity. Of course, there are times when you need to shout at the developers and the internet connection “drops” all of the sudden (ISPs be damned), but other than that you grow to love it after a while. Plus, there’s nothing more pleasant than waking up in the morning to see that the bug you reported in the evening is now fixed.

Myth #2: Outsourced developers will steal your IP
I used to run a web development outsourcing company and not once did I see this happen. Truth be told, there are two types of developers: those who care and those who don’t. Those who care will want to stick with you because you have the product vision and customers, so the IP is somewhat useless to them. Those who don’t only care about the pay-check and don’t give a fuck about the IP (this one’s for you Dave). You don’t want to hire the latter anyway.

Myth #3: You need to be in the same room in order to be creative
When I moved to London almost two years ago, this was my main worry. How will I be able to bounce ideas off my CTO if he’s not sitting in front of me anymore? Well, as it turns out, he is. Skype is King, long live Skype. I actually love it now, because it means I can work from literally anywhere, without the psychological barrier that I have to be in the same room as everyone else. I’m in Hawaii as I write this post. Ok, I’m not but I could be if it weren’t so damn expensive. How about you?

Myth #4: I don’t speak the language. Oh my, what if they swear at me?
Well, first of all, that’s the first thing you need to learn. You’ll use it a lot and McClure likes it. But I’ll tell you a secret: in Eastern Europe, if you’re under 35 and you don’t speak English, you’re a twat. So everybody speaks it. Of course, you’ll often giggle when you hear us speak, but you will be able to communicate. Quite well. Full stop.

Myth #5: Outsourcing never works
I hear this over and over again. But at the same time, many startups have been doing it successfully for years: 37signals, LiveRail, Seesmic and UberVU, to name just a few. And it works like a charm. Ask them.

To sum up, leveraging location is something every startup should look at. It’s probably not for everyone, but if you need to expand your runway or run faster without fighting Facebook & Google for the smartest brains in town (we all know what that means), you should give it a try. If you need help, drop me an email. (You can find it at www.emigal.com) I know some people.

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