Recruit Top Talent Like Ari Gold From Entourage

This post was written by Ethan Bloch. Ethan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Flowtown where he built the company to 26,000 businesses, profitability and a team of 8 in less than 11 months only to be faced with the decision to shutdown the company or start from scratch on an entirely new product. He and his team choose the latter and have since been working on the new version of Flowtown which allows businesses to easily give gifts to their fans, followers and customers. You can find other startup musings from Ethan at West Coast Tech Meets East Coast Hustle.

Your investors say it, your advisors preach it, the entire startup community practically chants it: only hire A+ team members.

There’s boatloads of reasons why, but I think there’s one that trumps them all.

Startups are about solving problems, the bigger opportunity the bigger the problem. The bigger the problem the less probability you’re going to solve it. The more non-A+ people you have on your team the more friction you’ll face when solving your hard problems.

Why create more friction for an already close to impossible challenge?

That’s why you hire A+.

The thing is hiring A+ is really hard and if you don’t treat it like a process, the same way you’d treat sales or product development you’re going to suck at it.

So here’s a few tactics that are essential when recruiting A+ for the early stage startup.

Source Like A Pro

 

Asking friends and team members ‘who’s the best X you ever heard of or would love to work with’ is a very good place to start building your list. Even if you’ll never hire these people they help set the bar to compare other candidates to.

Next, you need to be where your potential candidates are and go where they hang out. Online and offline.

This means: GitHub, Dribble, Forrst, Google Groups, Meetups, Hack-a-thons, Startup Weekends.

It helps a lot to write your occasional script that quickly scrapes together sub-lists of potential candidates. You can then manually review these use by sorting on things like Repositories, Shots and Followers, adding people to your main list when appropriate.

Another great place to source is companies who have closed a Series B round of financing or later. Typically that’s when the fun starts to fade and things get more bureaucratic and slow. Plus I also thinks it’s fair game to poach from a Series B or later stage companies. Poaching from a Series A and earlier just feels wrong.

Finally, once you start researching candidates on your list, go deep down the rabbit hole, reviewing all sites, online profiles and even friends. The point here isn’t stalking but discovery. There’s a good chance if they rock they have friends who do too. It’s also another way to find mutual friends who you’ll soon be asking for a warm introduction.

Pipeline Management For Closers

 

Alright, so you’ve got a list of several hundred potential candidates, now what?

It’s time to start meeting people

 

    1. Get a warm introduction (via mutual Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn friend). LinkedIn and Facebook make this easy, Twitter not so much (and usually it’s better then Facebook and LinkedIn re: loose connections). So I wrote a handy script called Twitter Friend Finder, you can grab it here.

 

    1. Send a cold email [or other kind of message, mentioned below]. Example emailhere.

If you don’t have someones email address try the following

 

    1. Hack it (guessing email addresses isn’t hard if the persons name isn’t generic) – start with gmail.com. You can easily hack together a script that uses an email check tool and automatically guesses variants of a persons name.

 

    1. Message them directly in this order: GitHub, Dribble, Twitter, Facebook. Example tweet here.

 

    1. LinkedIn mail (I’ve heard this work really well for some people, never so much for myself)

Every teams recruiting process is different but I think it’s a good idea to have a similar first step: get the introduction or reply and then setup a phone/skype meeting with the goal of building rapport and getting them excited. If it then makes sense you can then loop them into your interview/recruiting process.

Much of the time, you’ll find candidates [who weren’t really candidates to begin with but smart MoFo’s you happened to add to your list] aren’t ready to bounce from their current job but still take a meeting cause they’re excited about meeting smart people.

Just cause they’re not ready today doesn’t mean they won’t be sometime in the 6-8 months. These seeds are golden so plant as many as you can.

Finally, make sure you’re tracking this entire process in a shared spreadsheet with your team or in some other kind of candidate tracker. I personally like using Highrise and have an account used solely for recruiting.

I track candidates with the following tags: new (no reply or introduction), open (meeting setup, talking to or no definitive outcome yet), closed (interested, thinks your ugly or not interested atm) and if closed I write a reason and possibly a next action. I then set reminders in ConnectedHQ to followup with ‘closed for now’ candidates within the next few weeks or months.

ABR: Always Be Recruiting

Recruiting isn’t something you only do when you need to hire 3 people by end of the quarter. It’s something you should always be doing now and forever.

You might not need a front-end engineer today [you probably do] but just because you meet ‘so and so’ who’s a front-end engineer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add him to your list and periodically followup just to say ‘hi’.

Additionally anytime you stumble upon some awesome open source project or app design you should be discovering who was responsible for said project and adding them to your list.

You should always be asking new friends and acquaintances who the smartest at or best at ‘X’ and, you guessed it, add them to your list.

With recruiting, just like customer development, you need to get out of the building. If someone on your founding team isn’t spending 50%+ of their time recruiting, you’re not going to hit your head count goals and you’re not going to hire A+.

Feel free to hit me up with any questions you don’t wanna leave in the comments: ethan(at)flowtown.com

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Startup Dad Gives Baby Up For Adoption

Meet Professor X, aka 500 SuperMentor Hong Quan (@hongdquan). An entrepreneur and recruiter building cars and startups, Hong has even hired a real honest-to-goodness rockstar (#3 on Billboard charts).  He uses his superpowers of recruiting and abilities to read and influence human minds to bring young Startupers in to the 500 Institute.  After hand-picking a game development team for John Romero, Hong worked in Corp Dev for Gazillion Entertainment, resulting in the Lego Universe game and an upcoming Marvel MMO. Similar to his namesake, Hong rolls around in a vehicle of his own creation and is going bald working on Outgrown.it.

Before anyone gets their Pampers in a bunch, I didn’t actually put my human children up for adoption. I’m talking about my other “child”, my first startup Prong Motors, which I just sold last week. Someone less sappy might call it an acquisition or a company sale (sorry, it wasn’t an acqhire), but I have two kids and I compare startups to parenting for folks who haven’t experienced both. The analogy works pretty well. If you have done both (especially concurrently) then you are one crazy motherfather and I salute you!

1) No one is ever “ready” for kids.

I get to talk to a lot of smart coders, developers, designers and engineers in my day job recruiting for Quantum Startups. Doing a startup is getting very popular and lots of people want to do it because it’s “cool”. Being a founder is totally different. People who think they are “ready” to be parents or founders have no frick’in clue. You can read all the books and blogs you want, you’ll never know what kind of parent you’ll be until you have kids. Being an early employee at a startup is the closest thing to being a founder, but it’s still leagues away from being one. All the pain and suffering of the first few years, pre-revenue, pre-funding, pre-anyone believing your crazy idea will work – no one glamorizes that part of the journey. It’s dirty, it’s messy, you’re constantly cleaning up shit and you get puked on every so often. You get about four hours of sleep a night and you worry if every decision you make is the right one for your baby.

If you think you’re not ready, you’re right. But neither is anyone else. Jump in, the water is fine.

2) The hardest, but most rewarding job.

A guy tweeted this on Father’s Day:

“Being a father is sometimes my hardest but always my most rewarding job. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.” – BO

I couldn’t agree more, even if he’s totally copying me (wait ‘till I see you Barack!). I’ve read that startups are like roller coasters, swimming in the deep sea, running a marathon, etc. I generally agree but from an emotional perspective it is the best job in the world and the most rewarding, right up there with being a dad. Parents will talk your head off about how wonderful it is but no one tells you how much work it is. No one talks about the herculean efforts required to do a good job. No one else determines if your kid grows up to be a success or a bum. No one else is as deeply invested in your child as yourself. And everything is 100% your responsibility.

Being a parent, it’s as if we only remember the good parts and can’t recall the rough patches. But you’ll be an expert in two years, having gone through the steepest part of the learning curve – getting started from nothing. Like founders, parents love to help those who are going through what they’ve already done. You’ll get a ton of advice and what worked for their kids might not be best for yours. Or it could be the perfect solution. And you’ll want to do it again. Most parents go for two and most founders I’ve met can’t stop after one startup either.

3) Don’t go it alone.

Being a single parent is extremely hard. I have tremendous respect for those who are going that route. As a solo founder, I came very close to calling it quits – multiple times. I think that’s the greatest value of a co-founder. They keep you going when you think you’re done. And your startup will be on the brink of death at least once. My wife does the bulk of the “parenting” but we make a great team and support each other, especially when the two little ones team up against us! As founders, the whole world is against you. Find your family.

An extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and supportive friends does wonders for the health and well-being of a child. Nothing wrong with a nuclear family, it’s just easier with help. Your network of support and advice could be investors, advisers and other entrepreneurs who (might) know what you are going through. I think that’s the greatest value of doing Y-Combinator, taking an investment from Ron Conway or joining 500 Startups. Your family will get you through every trough of sorrow and they’ll celebrate each victory. Family first is a core value of Outgrown.it, and not just because we’re a site for parents.

Also, every good parent will take the incubator if their baby needs it.

When to sell your company is heartbreakingly simple. Find amazing adoptive parents when you’re maxed out and ask if they can do a better job than you could? We could have taken investor money to get to a production vehicle but that would have raised our expectations for revenue or an exit. Having bootstrapped and self-funded, we made the decision to hand over our baby and hope the new owner realizes our dream. I’m not trying to make light of a real-life adoption decision but having worked my ass off for 2.5 years, getting a big check wasn’t as joyous an occasion as I thought it would be. Next time will be better.

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Never Been a Better Time for Women Entrepreneurs

Meet Phoenix (Jean Grey) aka 500 SuperMentor Wendy Tan-White. Wendy is Founder of Moonfruit, a simple and powerful website builder for SMBs who expect better design tools to produce better designed sites. Moonfruit was founded in 1999, survived the Dotcom crash in 2000 and made a rapid resurgence in 2009. Wendy was Marketing Director of Gandi Group, helped start-up Zopa.com – first European P2P lending site and Egg.com – first UK internet bank. She sold her soul to Arthur Andersen after getting a BEng Computer Science from Imperial College, London. Wendy’s also a designer for fun and has a MA in Smart Textiles from Central St Martins. She is married to Joe who is COO/CFO of Moonfruit and they live with their 6 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter in London. Finally, Wendy was chosen as the CWT Everywoman 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year.

This post is reblogged from the original post on Women 2.0.

It’s been a great 12 months for our business, taking a $2.25M Series A round from Stephens(US) for international growth, backing from Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups, relaunching Moonfruit to focus on SMB’s who expect better DIY design tools to build better designed websites, record revenues and the Everywoman Entrepreneur of the Year award. There has never been a better time to be a women entrepreneur, get out there and set up your own business!

Women-led firms are the fastest growing sector of new venture creation in the US. The trend is international, in Brazil there are more female than male entrepreneurs and China has created half of the female billionaire entrepreneurs globally a direct result of women’s economic empowerment. I believe there is also growth opportunity for women in the UK. As business owners, women in the UK still have a lot of ground to make up on our American cousins.

Recent statistics have shown that if the UK had the same level of female entrepreneurship as the US, there would be approximately 600,000 extra women-owned businesses, contributing an estimated additional £42 billion to the economy. To put it into perspective, with businesses started by men in the UK too, an extra 150,000 start-ups would be created per year if women were to meet their number of businesses started.

It raises interesting questions for debate – why are women more reticent taking the leap versus men? Is it rooted in education and awareness from a younger age? A collective psyche which has ambition elsewhere perhaps? I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

Supporting Women of All Ages in Technology and Entrepreneurship

I believe it’s important to support young women at grass roots level. Breaking the Mouldis an event run by Lisa Buckingham, Editor of Financial Mail and FMFW which supports girls of school-age who are interested in getting into industries, such as tech, which are predominantly dominated by men. Speaking there I asked 300 girls, aged 16-18 ‘Who’s interested in working in the technology sector?’ Silence, no-one raised their hands. ‘Who uses Facebook?’ The majority raised their hands. This led to a debate on technology as an enabler. The girls were turned on by what tech can achieve as opposed the technology itself.

Women control 89% of household income, today four of the highest value consumer tech businesses globally today have more female customers than male, Facebook, Groupon, Zynga and Twitter. Moonfruit provides a simple but powerful, design-led DIY website builder for small businesses. 41% of our customers are women, up 20% from last year. The increase in women led businesses and the dominance of female consumers driving the growth of technology consumer markets is clearly a commercial opportunity.

From Consumer to Capital Investment

Coupled with the current buoyant investment climate, this has led to an increase interest in this sector from investors. Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC gave a thoughtful interview on the matter to Pemo Theodore-Ezebis, Fred and Joanna Wilson strongly support Women 2.0Founders Lab and Dave McClure and Christine Tsai from 500 Startups fund have around 15% female founders in their 120+ strong portfolio. We are also seeing the rise of women run funds such as Cynthia Padnos’s Illuminate Ventures and funding support programmes like Astia, led by Sharon Vosmek and Simone Brummelhuis.

Technology certainly seems to be a market-leader when it comes to women’s businesses, and I’ll be watching with interest to see how future generations flourish in the business world. Women are also showing astronger representation, and indeed initiative, online, with the phenomena of ‘mummy bloggers’ sweeping the western world. Whole networks and communities are taking off, creating a movement of real significance to women’s lives, that’s something we’re looking to encourage with our intuitive tools. It’s there in the Gen X culture too, with 75% more girls blogging and publishing than boys. My daughter is 3 but is more proficient on an iPad than I am!

From what I’m seeing and experiencing first hand in the tech industry, and even in wider business industries, I feel like there’s a real rising opportunity and resonance for women to express their passions and knowledge, creating businesses which lead on a national and international scale.

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Why Working So Hard Might Be Doing Your Startup More Harm Than Good

It’s no secret that s

tartups are unhealthy places to work. At 500 Startups we have observed all kinds of masochistic behaviors by founders and team members while they try to get their companies off the ground. Common pitfalls include: founder’s syndrome, daily fry, living in the dungeon, lack of sleep and exercise, anxiety over funding and burn rate. Inspired by recent posts by our very own Lion-O aka SuperMentor Brenden Mulligan like Pizza and Ramen are Hurting your Startup and Celebrate the Small Victories as well as by feedback from our previous and current batches of startups, we hosting an event to help address these issues.

On Saturday June 25th from 1-6pm, we will host a half-day workshop called, Design a Healthy Startup: Prevent Burnout.” Attendees and our very own resident startups will learn practical and actionable tips to avoid burn out from other successful entrepreneurs who have been through the trenches. Learn more about the event and reserve your spotHERE.

*10 discounts for the first 10 people to use code, ‘500blog’*

Some of the day’s speakers include: Gopi Kallayil, Group Product Marketing Manager at Google, Bret Terrill, former Senior Director of Corporate Development at  Zynga, Danielle Morrill, Marketing Director at Twilio, Scott Hublou, serial startup founder and SVP/ Co-founder of EcoFactor, Ron Gutman, 2 time startup founder and CEO/Founder atHealthtap, Dr. Neha Sangwan, Wellness Expert, Libby Weathers, founder of SpiritWell, Maria Molfino from yesplus and Jared Goralnick, founder of AwayFind, the productivity expert behind TechnoTheory. Check out the full list of speakers here. We will talk about intuitive management techniques, how to build creative, fun, and productive workplace cultures and also experience how to do meditation and yoga in the cube. Demos from cool new startups in the wellness space like Dojo, Habit Labs, and FitSquid, will also be presenting the future of health tech behavior.

Sometimes we need to take an afternoon to remind ourselves that success has more to do with how well a great idea is executed. Building the next cool thing is important but startups also have to pay attention to how teams are assembled, managed, and how and where people work. Even at 500 Startups where teams enjoy many perks, it is hard to maintain a culture of wellness. People still end up eating junk food and pizza and pulling all-nighters. But what happens when the code breaks – or when we have to present non-existent product to an investor – or when the team starts falling apart? New businesses will inevitably have ups and downs but for the long term health of our startups, let’s stop for a minute and learn how to give our bodies and teams the attention they deserve. Learning to stay healthy in a startup environment is just as important as reaching a product milestone, because you can’t have one without the other (at least in a sustainable way). Come join us for an afternoon of actionable techniques and expert advice from founders who have lessons to share. Make your startup the healthiest it can be!

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Top Tech Connectors in Brazil: The GOAP Organizers

Want to know how exciting Brazil is right now?

 

    • Brazil’s middle class is booming, their economy is growing steadily, and the 2014 World Cup & 2016 Olympics have made it one of the most attractive emerging markets worldwide.

 
From April 29th – May 8th, Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) toured Brazil, Chile and Argentina and had the extremely unique experience of connecting with other geeks throughout South America.  Check out the video:

Along the way, we partnered with tech connectors on the ground who helped to organize events, rally the community, and support the GOAP mission: to connect geeks worldwide, share challenges and opportunities, and make new friends.

Want to get hyper-connected in Brazil? Here’s who you need to ping…

Reinaldo Normand
CEO & Co-Founder, 2Mundos
Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Find Reinaldo on Facebook HERE
@rnormand

What is your background and how did you end up in the world of entrepreneurship?
I started my first company at 19 when I worked at an Internet ISP in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. After that, I started 5 other companies in Brazil, the U.S., and China. Currently, I am based out of San Francisco with a social gaming company focused on Brazil.
What does a geek in (your city) look like?
A geek is a normal person but prefers wifi over beer.
How has the face of entrepreneurship in Brazil changed in the last 5-10 years?
In Brazil, until 2009, entrepreneurs were seen as losers. That is not the case anymore. Entrepreneurs are cool and they’re flocking all over.
Which, in your opinion, are the 3 most successful tech startups in Brazil and why do they matter?
Submarino, Buscapé and Peixe Urbano. Submarino was founded during the bubble and has spearheaded e-commerce in Brazil.  Buscapé was the largest exit so far and Peixe Urbano leads the pack of Groupon clones, showing that execution is more important than branding.
What is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face in Brazil?
Lack of experience, an open environment to share ideas and networking and lack of mentorship. Also, the legislation punishes those who want to start a company.
What changes would you like to see in the startup ecosystem in Brazil?
More interaction between Silicon Valley and Brazil. Changes in the labor laws, tax system and mindset of politicians to support startups.
What are the advantages to having a startup in Brazil?
1) The internal market is huge. 2) The hype Brazil is getting right now. 3) The unfulfilled opportunities.
What are some unmet needs that you think entrepreneurs should pursue in Brazil?
Mostly focus on the needs for the World Cup 2014 and the Olympic Games. These are the best opportunities for startups right now to get traction.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I ran an internet portal in 1999 and was about to be acquired. I wasn’t prepared for the bubble burst that occurred in April 2000. After that, I was abandoned – I had no money left and was almost bankrupt. I needed to scale down and start from zero again. Timing is everything.
How can entrepreneurs in Brazil get connected with the tech ecosystem there?
Mostly through social networks and meetups organized by companies such as Brazil Innovators and universities.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Carl Sagan. The man was ahead of his time, made very complex subjects looks simple and was bold enough to face the establishment with his beliefs. He was the first serious scientist to talk seriously about black holes, alien life and other dimensions.
What do you love most about living in your city? What is a MUST SEE for visitors?
I live in San Francisco now but in my hometown, Belo Horizonte, I recommend that people go to the happy hours that happen every day in the thousands of bars scattered around the city.
Describe your experience with Geeks on a Plane. Why does it matter to entrepreneurs there?
It is amazing how you meet awesome people that are really low profile and at the same time accomplished. I think the greatest effect of GOAP in a country such as Brazil is to raise awareness about entrepreneurship and bring the mentoring and experience of Silicon Valley folks to local entrepreneurs.

Ricardo Normand
Co-Founder, Perspeck
Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Find him on Facebook HERE
@rinormand

What is your background and how did you end up in the world of entrepreneurship?
I am a seasoned professional with a depth of experience in different industries, particularly dealing with venture capital investments in life sciences and IT, strategic planning and entrepreneurship. I have a solid educational background in different and complementary areas of knowledge, from biology to law, and IT & Finance. I have always had an entrepreneurial soul. My experience as a Seed Capital fund manager in tech companies brought me back to this amazing world of entrepreneurship – now as an entrepreneur!!
What does a geek in Brazil look like?
Looks like every Geek around the world, sometimes they are exotic, sometimes they look like ordinary people…
How has the face of entrepreneurship in Brazil changed in the last 5-10 years?
In Brazil, it has changed a lot in the last 5 years. We didn’t have an entrepreneurship culture in the past because we were a hyperinflation country, but now entrepreneurs are becoming more organized and are better than ever..
Which, in your opinion, are the 3 most successful tech startups in Brazil and why do they matter?
i. Sensedia (www.sensedia.com) a startup that is a spin-off from one of the most successful IT companies in Brazil (Ci&T). Sensedia has its own high-level tech entrepreneurs and started as a world class company – now based in Brazil and US.
ii. Busca Pé (www.buscape.com.br) – probably the most successful startup in Brazil (the largest exit until now) that is still growing by acquisitions of many other tech startups – not so common in Brazil…
iii. Deskmetrics (www.deskmetrics.com.br) – is the newest one, but a very promising startup nonetheless. They raised angel investor money from the beginning and are looking to reach the global market. They think big!
What is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face in Brazil?
Our ecosystem is so young that is so difficult to start here: i. Because it is not easy to sell tech solutions to other companies in Brazil; ii. Our early stage investment structure is just starting to increase now; and iii. Brazil has one of highest tax-to-GDP rates in the world, over 35% and taxes are so numerous and complicated that it encourages informality (hence, tax evasion), discouraging innovation.
What changes would you like to see in the startup ecosystem in Brazil?
i. To have more investors looking for early stage and startup companies (angel investors, VC’s, etc); ii. To have a specific legal system (taxes) for tech startup companies; and iii. More international investors looking and investing in opportunities here – they can help to quickly change our ecosystem.
What are the advantages to having a startup in Brazil?
Nowadays, Brazil has a larger market than ever and the country is more stable. Furthermore we are a very “social country” and we have creative people – a nice place for all kinds of social apps development.
What are some unmet needs that you think entrepreneurs should pursue in Brazil?
Most of our entrepreneurs are 1st time entrepreneurs. So, they need to learn more about how to build a business (and make money). A great place for accelerators in my opinion…
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
As manager of the 1st seed capital fund in Brazil I didn’t realize that most of our entrepreneurs had no understanding about venture capital and the startup process. We had some amazing tech solutions in our portfolio, but usually the entrepreneurs didn’t realize how to make a successful company. Some nice companies died during this period… We have to help our entrepreneurs in many ways and work hands-on inside the companies.
How can entrepreneurs in Brazil get connected with the tech ecosystem there?
Nowadays they have been more organized. We have a lot of initiatives of startup meeting all around the country, but the investors’ community has to participate more in these kinds of events to help the ecosystem mature quickly.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Pitch Johnson from Asset Management Company – he showed me that it is possible to change and create an ecosystem. You just have to be connected to the right people and work hard. You will have success if you are persistent in what you believe.
What do you love most about living in your city? What is a MUST SEE for visitors?
Belo Horizonte-MG (Brazil) is one of the most important cities after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but a better place to live IMHO. All visitors have to visit our historical cities around here – baroque architecture.
Describe your experience with Geeks on a Plane. Why does it matter to entrepreneurs there?
It was an awesome experience to be able to connect with a large and diversified  group of people (geeks, entrepreneurs, VC’s and investors).  After the 1st group from Silicon Valley that we brought in November, 2010 to be connected with the entrepreneur community all around the world, Silicon Valley will help us put Brazil on the map of potential opportunities.

Veronica Serra
Founding Partner, Pacific Investimentos
Sao Paulo, Brazil

What is your background and how did you end up in the world of entrepreneurship?
I’m a private equity investor but have been investing my own capital in early stage companies for more than a decade. I am also part of endeavor.org which supports entrepreneurs
What does a geek in Brazil look like?
Like anywhere else
How has the face of entrepreneurship in Brazil changed in the last 5-10 years?
Entrepreneurship has grown to be recognized, and despite all challenges, today there is more access to capital.
Which, in your opinion, are the 3 most successful tech startups in Brazil and why do they matter?
1. Mercado Libre – a regional success with its largest operation in Brazil. Has been the consolidator in its market, helped many smaller retailers access the e-tail market and is a pioneer on secure payments
2. Buscapé: successful, gained scale and helps everyone buy better online
3. Zaz – a pioneer at its time, acquired later by Terra (Telefonica)
What is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face in Brazil?
There are challenges with the complex tax and labor system, high interest rates and poor infrastructure
What changes would you like to see in the startup ecosystem in Brazil?
– On the entrepreneur side: more down to earth expectations on valuation, more informed about standard investment terms and governance
– On the buyer side: large corporations being more open to doing business with tech start-ups
– On the press – more coverage on the sector
What are the advantages to having a startup in Brazil?
São Paulo – largest consumer market in Brazil, qualified workforce, large corporate customers – all in one huge city
What are some unmet needs that you think entrepreneurs should pursue in Brazil?
Mobile applications, security applications that work, technologies that serve classes C & D
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Early on, trusting people who did not deserve it
How can entrepreneurs in Brazil get connected with the tech ecosystem there?
Being open and reaching out to other entrepreneurs, angel investors and endeavor.org
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Various entrepreneurs who are resilient, think big, work hard and built amazing businesses, some of them global
What do you love most about living in your city? What is a MUST SEE for visitors?
The diversity and energy. A must see? The great restaurants and art galleries on week days, and the gorgeous beaches on the seaside during the weekends
Describe your experience with Geeks on a Plane. Why does it matter to entrepreneurs there?
I was intro’d by Wences Casares, and helped organize a day of visits in São Paulo, later hosting everyone for a dinner at my place. Interesting to meet people involved with innovation in a variety of ways.

Other folks who helped us in Brazil include:

    • Wenceslao Casares – Co-organizer of GOAP South America and Co-CEO, Bling Nation
    • Bedy Yang – Organizer in Sao Paulo and Founder, Brazil Innovators
    • Diego Remus & Bob Wolheim – Orgainzer in Sao Paulo and Founders, Startupi
    • Endeavor.org – Many other folks at Endeavor Brazil, Chile, Argentina, & Global

More info on Geeks on a Plane and upcoming trips to Asia and India can be found atwww.geeksonaplane.com

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Top Tech Connectors in Chile & Argentina: The GOAP Organizers


Want to know how exciting Chile and Argentina are right now?

 

    • Chile’s focus on entrepreneurship has strong support from the government and its Startup Chile incubator – in fact, President Sebastián Piñera, who was an entrepreneur himself, has made it a government mandate to invest in startups and embrace the future of technology.

 

    • Argentina’s Palermo Valley is brimming with geeks, their tech community is strong, the city of Buenos Aires is a vibrant culture to live and work, and they count startups like Globant and Mercado Libre as hometown successes.

 
From April 29th – May 8th, Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) toured Brazil, Chile and Argentina and had the extremely unique experience of connecting with other geeks throughout South America.  Check out the video:

Along the way, we partnered with tech connectors on the ground who helped to organize events, rally the community, and support the GOAP mission: to connect geeks worldwide, share challenges and opportunities, and make new friends.

Want to get hyper-connected in Chile & Argentina? Here’s who you need to ping…

Tim Delhaes
Director Americas, First Tuesday
Santiago, Chile
Find Tim on Facebook HERE
@tim_delhaes

What is your background and how did you end up in the world of entrepreneurship?
My last “traditional” job was working as a surfing instructor on a small German islandwhen I was 16. Even at the beach I could not tolerate having people ordering me around and telling me when to surf or not.
What does a geek in Chile look like?
Usually a broke musician or alcoholic comic artist.
How has the face of entrepreneurship in Chile changed in the last 5-10 years?
In an interview before his last concert, Bono – a self declared “Chile fan” – said that Chile´s exciting past is one of the things that brings U2 back every few years. But, he continued, more exciting than the past is the country´s future. The country has become “sexy”.
Living in Chile for over 10 years, starting, busting and selling start-up´s has been a wild ride. We have shared this journey with many other entrepreneurs in Chile who have contributed to the transformation of Chile from a third world country with no translation for the word “venture capital” to an international brand with a vibrant and multinational economy.
What is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face in Chile?
Chile is still lacking “entrepreneurial culture”. More competitive markets, faster iteration of ideas, more honesty and acceptance of failure are part of that. No matter how heavy your foot is on the gas, the traffic only lets you drive in first gear.
What changes would you like to see in the startup ecosystem in Chile?
While in Silicon Valley usually a lot of second rate ideas can evolve into multinationals, in Chile the few shitty ideas usually stay shitty ideas. Chile needs more networking events that allow for faster “street smart” learning as well as more innovation in financial instruments, specifically for the missing middle.
What are the advantages to having a startup in Chile?
It’s hard to beat the quality of life mixed with consistent economic growth and unbeatable sense of security. Go surfing, sailing, skiing, climbing, hiking or parachuting within one hour of the city without getting robbed, shot or living behind cement walls.
What are some unmet needs that you think entrepreneurs should pursue in Chile?
Want to make money? Go clone something.
Want to innovate? Ask yourself what can you do in Chile that is hard to do somewhere else? What local industries exist that could use innovation? Where can you “pivot” with customers quickly?
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Timing is everything. You can be a great surfer but without waves you will paddle your ass off with no results. Once you have waves, its timing again: one second too late you won’t get the wave. One second too early you go over the falls.
How can entrepreneurs in Chile get connected with the tech ecosystem there?
Join us at firsttuesday.cl
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Laird Hamilton, apart from riding 60 foot waves and making it look like a walk in the park, invented tow surfing as foil boarding. Go out, Invent a sport.
What do you love most about living in Chile? What is a MUST SEE for visitors?
Leave the city, go surfing, sailing, skiing, climbing, hiking or parachuting. Give me a call to join in;)
Describe your experience with Geeks on a Plane. Why does it matter to entrepreneurs there?
Always put lifestyle – not work – first. There is no better thing than to make new friends, share a beer, wine or Pisco Sour.  Trust is the base of all business. GOAP is a great example of that.

Vanesa Kolodziej
Founder, Palermo Valley
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Connect with Vanesa on Facebook HERE
@Vanesak

What is your background and how did you end up in the world of entrepreneurship?
I finished high school at the Lester B Pearson United World College in Canada, with students from 80 countries from around the world and studied Political Science at San Andrés University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I also took some MBA classes at Babson College. San Andrés is an amazing institution, where I got not only a world-class education but it also introduced me to entrepreneurship. I was fortunate enough to study there with some of the best local entrepreneurs, who started their own businesses as soon as they graduated. So I followed and learned from them.
What does a geek in Argentina look like?
He or she definitely works in Palermo, is most probably a Mac user but could have both an iPhone and an Android phone at the same time, and has attended many Palermo Valley Nights. If the geek is a guy, he loves soccer (Futboll as we call it). If the geek is a girl, she will buy her clothes at the local design shops in the Palermo area.
How has the face of entrepreneurship in Argentina changed in the last 5-10 years?
Entrepreneurship has changed tremendously, thanks to the increase in ideas and technology transfer (due to the extended use of blogs, among many others), and the deep decrease of the cost to start a company. This was helped for a long period of time by a favorable dollars to peso exchange rate, where building companies locally was very cheap in dollar value. Nowadays more people are learning all they need online, then starting their businesses and gaining much traction with little investment. Also, the ecosystem has matured much and many successful entrepreneurs have become angel investors, helping and supporting a new batch of entrepreneurs.
Which, in your opinion, are the 3 most successful tech startups in Argentina and why do they matter?
Mercado Libre (www.mercadolibre.com) is the main e-commerce website of Latin America, present in 12 countries and having a presence in Nasdaq (MELI). It also offers one of the main payment platforms, Mercado Pago. Started in 1999 by Hernan Kazah and Marcos Galperin, then students at Stanford, it quickly grew to become one of the most successful companies in Lat Am.
Globant (www.globant.com) is the main Argentinean software development house. Started in 2003, it has grown to have more than 2000 employees and global operations, having Google, LinkedIn, Disney and EA, among many others. It was stated by Martin Migoya (CEO), Guibert Englebienne (CTO), Nestor Nocetti (VP Innovation Labs) and Martin Umaran (COO).
OLX (www.olx.com) is the main free classified provider in India, Portugal, Mexico and South America. Stated in Buenos Aires in 2006 by Fabrice Grinda (Co- CEO) and Alec Oxenford (Co- CEO), it has grown to be used in 96 countries and have classifieds in 40 languages.
What is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face in Argentina?
There are many challenges, including the limited local market size and the lack of investment capital. What I consider to be the most important challenge also constitutes the base for the most important strength of Argentinean Entrepreneurs: the constant instability and rule changes, that has helped local entrepreneurs to develop a special stamina that prepared them to deal with uncertainty and chaos, a great core competence in today’s constantly changing world.
What changes would you like to see in the startup ecosystem in Argentina?
Argentina has amazingly creative entrepreneurs, who are always willing to give 100% for their projects in all areas. We need two things: first, to have more capital available for these entrepreneurs and their start ups. We need to have more investors, especially at the early stage level, who will be willing to risk their money in creative ideas. Second, we need to have more mentors: we need more experienced entrepreneurs transferring their knowledge and experience, and providing valuable recommendations.
What are the advantages to having a startup in Buenos Aires?
Buenos Aires is an amazing city to start a business. The human resources and the talent available are great. Also, there is a big entrepreneurial community, with events almost every week and much needed peer support. Finally, the city is so vibrant, so alive, that it is constantly providing entrepreneurs with new ideas and inspiration.
What are some unmet needs that you think entrepreneurs should pursue in Argentina?
There are many unmet needs, especially in the e-commerce area, as well as in the mobile and payments areas. Another sector that could dramatically benefit from clever entrepreneurial solutions are the problems of the bottom of the Pyramid consumers (those who live with less than 2 dollars a day), including education, transactions and media consumption, among many.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I have many failures from which to obtain valuable learning. My latest one taught me a simple but very important lesson for all entrepreneurs: to ask what I wanted, if I don’t ask, I will never receive. But to ask, you need to have a clear idea of what you want. My lesson: decide what you want and ask for it! You will most probably get it.
How can entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires get connected with the tech ecosystem there?
The main local tech connector is Palermo Valley, a NGO that organizes networking events almost every month, for 500+ entrepreneurs and tech related people. I co-founded it 3 years ago: it started as a simple twitter message, and it has grown to a movement with similar events in over 50 cities in LatAm and the US. If you are in town, do not miss your opportunity to connect with the local community at a Palermo Valley event.
You can also check Startup Digest Buenos Aires, which I co-curate, for the most updated tech events every week.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
I have an enormous admiration for the Mercado Libre co-founders, Marcos Galperin and Hernan Kazah. They have created one of the most amazing companies in Lat Am following simple but effective principles: great focus and impeccable execution. They have done what all entrepreneurs can only dream of: ringing the Nasdaq bell! And they are still incredibly approachable people, always willing to help the local entrepreneurs with advice and contacts.
What do you love most about living in Buenos Aires? What is a MUST SEE for visitors?
I love EVERYTHING! I love the super modern Puerto Madero where you can safely walk down its Rivera any time of the day and night, the design and chic stores in Palermo, the Boca Soccer stadium that looks like it’s alive each time the local team plays there, the coffee stores at any corner, the great bbq restaurants, the parks… Come to BA in November or December… you will fall in love with the city and its energy, I promise!
Describe your experience with Geeks on a Plane. Why does it matter to entrepreneurs there?
I had the most amazing experience with the GOAP group, and all of them seemed to have had a great experience in BA too! They had a chance to meet many local entrepreneurs and organizations, and have great fun also!
It was a really important visit for our ecosystem too: it helped put Buenos Aires on the map for many people in Silicon Valley and other tech centers. Also, many entrepreneurs had a chance to exchange ideas, create new links and explore business opportunities. I hope GOAP South America becomes an annual trip!

Other folks who helped us in Chile & Argentina include:

  • Alan Farcas – Organizer in Santiago and Managing Director, Endeavor Chile

 

  • Oskar Hjertonsson – Organizer in Santiago and Founder, Groupon Latin America

 

  • Endeavor.org – Many other folks at Endeavor Brazil, Chile, Argentina, & Global

 

  • For the awesome connectors in Brazil – check out this post HERE.

More info on Geeks on a Plane and upcoming trips to Asia and India can be found atwww.geeksonaplane.com

 

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Celebrate The Small Victories

Meet Lion-O aka SuperMentor Brenden Mulligan (@bmull). Brenden founded ArtistData, a music industry startup that enables artists to easily keep their content up-to-date across multiple marketing channels and consumer touch points, which was acquired in May 2010 by Sonicbids. More recently, he built PhotoPile and MorningPics, two ways to revisit previously published Instagram memories.

Startups aren’t easy. They are a never-ending series of extreme ups and downs.

Your product launches! No one uses it. You get unexpected press and the user base spikes! The servers go down and all those users are pissed. You get funded by top-tier investors! A major tech blog claims a competitor will make your startup irrelevant. You strike an amazing partnership with the biggest company in the industry! The partner re-prioritizes and cancels the deal. Your company goes viral and the mainstream starts using it! Another company sues you for some stupid reason. You spin the lawsuit to generate international press! The legal fees bleed your company dry. Google wants to acquire you for tons of money! Then they acquire that competitor the tech blogs said would make you irrelevant. Oh, and the dog pissed all over your bed. And it smells.

You get the point.

Although this scenario is extreme, it’s not that exaggerated. It’s different for every company but inevitably, you will go through some of the most intense joys and disappointments. It happens to everyone, even seasoned entrepreneurs. It’s part of the process and why living this life is so exciting (and why having a supportive team/family is so important.)

Unfortunately, the gaps between the cycles might (and usually do) contain more downs that ups. And often the downs are more extreme than the ups. So overall, especially at the beginning, the good times don’t come as often as the challenging ones. It’s rough, but there is one thing I learned to do to make this whole process easier (and more fun): celebrate the little victories.

Now, I’m not encouraging entrepreneurs to get ahead of themselves, but I want to remind everyone that creating a business from an idea and having people express any interest in what you’re doing is an insanely huge accomplishment. Be proud of it. Be excited when things go well.

Some ideas of little victories to celebrate:
*First employee hire
*First time you see or hear about someone who you didn’t talk to directly about your product, using it
*When the first major company emails you about partnering
*Someone expresses interests to acquire you
*You get an email from a customer whose life is better because of what you created

Remember, these are little victories, so the celebrations should be as well. Don’t overdo it. The point is to do something just a little out of the ordinary and special. Take your team to go see a movie some afternoon when you’d normally be working. Or go eat taco’s together away from your desks. Buy a new (reasonably priced) TV for the office. Bring in donuts one morning. Take everyone to go kart racing. Go to the supermarket and get them to make a $10 “congratulations” cake and bring it to the office. Hell, go buy a piñata and give your team a bat. Again, it’s just a small, fun activity to reward yourself and your team for doing something great.

As important as it is to celebrate with your team is, it’s equally important to share these little victories with your spouse. Most likely, whoever you share your life with hears you bitch more than they hear you celebrate. So make sure to share the good news with them too. Take them on a date. And again, make sure you’re reinforcing how rewarding your career is. When you share good news, it makes it a lot easier for them to support you through the not-so-good news.

With my first startup, I would make sure to tell my wife every exciting thing that happened. For example, the first time we got an email showing serious acquisition interest, my wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate. Although we knew the deal probably wouldn’t happen (it didn’t), it was a huge accomplishment just to have someone express interest. That was worth raising a glass to.

Celebrating these victories is healthy, and will make it easier to make it through the times when things seen dismal (incidentally, it’s not nearly as dismal as you think). Everyone celebrates the big victories (the product launches, the funding, the user and revenue milestones, the exits). But make sure to take the time to celebrate the little ones too.

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An Inside Look at the Secret 500 Accelerator

In response to the accusations by Mountain View residents of accelerator participants emerging with third arms or combining within the accelerator to form shimmering/glowing super-startups, we can neither confirm nor deny these totally awesome side effects. However the Sith Lord himself sees fit to address the questions that seek to pierce the mystique of the accelerator by releasing this top secret, never-before-seen video.

Fear not, brave souls of the second class, behold the secrets of the 500 Accelerator:

Thanks to micro-documentaries for producing this video.

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FITTY GRAND FOR TEH FAST & FURIOUS #500STRONG #WINNING

“Our startups live their lives a quarter mil(e) at a time.”

In January 2011, 500 Startups opened its doors to an underground group of racers. For several months, they built product. They burned the midnight oil. They hustled their asses off. Finally, they demoed to a captive audience of investors during Demo Days.

Fast forward to today. A new crew is ready to take down the streets of Silicon Valley and beyond. They are the epitome of #500STRONG. 30% international. 20% women. 100% AWESOME.

The renegade n00b crew:

 

    • AppGrooves

 

    • BugHerd

 

    • Cardinal Blue

 

    • Culture Kitchen

 

    • DailyAisle

 

    • HelloWorld

 

    • Kibin

 

    • LaunchBit

 

    • LaunchRock

 

    • Ovia

 

    • Scoopola

 

    • Snapette

 

    • StoryTree

 

    • ToutApp

 

    • Vayable

 

    • VidCaster

 

    • Volta

 

    • vvall

 

    • Welcu

 

    • Zerply

 

 

www.appgrooves.com
AppGrooves is an iOS app that recommends iPhone and iPad apps. We fill the gap between Apple’s App Store and modern advanced EC sites such as Amazon and Netflix.

 

    • Where in the world? Palo Alto, CA and Tokyo, Japan

 

    • Did you know? Two engineers are from the same class of the same university but never met in person until 7 years after graduating and 5,000 miles away from home.

 

 

 

www.bugherd.com
Log and discuss bugs within your own website with BugHerd, the world’s simplest bug tracker for web designers and developers.

 

    • The Team: The left side of Alan Downie and most of the right side of Matt Milosavljevic

 

    • Where in the world? We come from the land Down-Under”… oh…right …we currently reside in Melbourne, Australia.

 

    • Did you know? BugHerd actually started life as an internal communication tool. Our users call themselves “Bug Herders”. BugHerd is not an anagram for David Hasselhoff.  MacGyver once used BugHerd to locate and retrieve a downed satellite in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

www.cardinalblue.com
Cardinal Blue is building a better way for people to work together in real-time using photos and chat.

 

    • The Team: John Fan, Jaime Cham, Ching-Mei Chen

 

    • Where in the world? Our company is based in Taipei and Mountain View, CA — but we are originally from exotic places such as Singapore, Panama and New Jersey.

 

    • Did you know? A few days after receiving an iPad 2 in a blog contest (held by New Relic), we won another iPad 2 at a hackathon (held by Podio)!

 

 

 

www.culturekitchensf.com
Culture Kitchen connects lower-income immigrant women skilled in cooking authentic, ethnic cuisines with food lovers who want to learn this craft and the story behind food. We’re excited to share that Culture Kitchen is one of two Designer Fund recipients!

 

    • The Team: Jennifer Lopez & Abby Sturges

 

    • Where in the world? Culture Kitchen was birthed at Stanford, CA. Jennifer is Originally from NY (no ‘C’ needed because the rest of NY is irrelevant). Abby is from OH (the home of Wendy’s)

 

    • Did you know? Our original inspiration for culture kitchen came from Abby’s trip to Kenya poking around in latrines (sanitation research with farmers / human compost) and Jennifer’s foray into marketing treddle pumps in Myanmar after the government passed a law prohibiting more than 10 people from gathering in public places.

 

 

 

www.dailyaisle.com
Daily Aisle is the easiest place for brides to search and book their wedding vendors

 

    • The Team: Jeff Lu, Conan Jen, Kim Dowd

 

    • Where in the world? Boston, MA… We still got love for Boston and its startup scene. Boston entrepreneurs – Keep that chip on your shoulders! Also Pittsburgh, PA, consistently voted “Worst Place for Singles.”

 

    • Did you know? When we pitched the idea we kept getting the same questions. So we made tee shirts emblazoned with the text, “Yes I’m a guy. No, I’m not married.”

 

 

 

www.helloworld.im
Simple profiles for developers.

 

    • The Team:Alex Manelis and Alex Baldwin

 

    • Where in the world? Texas, home of amazing breakfast tacos

 

    • Did you know? Hello World’s first version was built in 36 hours at 3 Day Startup, despite a hospital visit and lack of techno.

 

 

 

www.kibin.com
Your momma won’t tell you that your writing sucks, but Kibin users will give you unbiased feedback on essays, resumes, or breakup notes.

 

    • The Team: Travis Biziorek, Jim Nguyen

 

    • Where in the world? Travis Biziorek – Harbor Springs, MI – In the next 12 months, 500 Startups will probably fund more companies than our entire population (~1,600). Jim Nguyen – San Jose, CA – The bangin’ house party below San Francisco (you know, like the US is to Canada!).

 

    • Did you know? Travis and Jim met through a Craigslist job posting. Travis used to trade foreign currencies at a hedge fund, splitting time evenly every 2 weeks between US, Asia, and European work-shifts.  Jim studied as an apprentice shinobi (aka ninja) in Japan for 4 years until his mentor was killed during a practice exercise in a tragic accident.

 

 

 

www.launchbit.com
LaunchBit builds tools to help new web entrepreneurs do customer development.

 

    • The Team: Jennifer Chin and Elizabeth Yin

 

    • Where in the world? We hail from the Bay Area, where we first met the day before starting 6th grade.

 

    • Did you know? Knowing nothing about holography, Jennifer once built a holography lab at our high school from scratch and produced beautiful holograms.  In effort to get out of the Bay Area, Elizabeth previously worked/consulted in Japan, Switzerland, India, and New Zealand.

 

 

 

www.launchrock.com
We launch stuff, mostly companies and products but occasionally iPods in rockets.

 

    • The Team: LaunchRock the boy band:
        • Jameson Detweiler – The Hair
        • Zachary Melamed – The Face
        • Thomas Knoll – The Sensitive Guy
        • Sean McCullough – The Dark & Mysterious One
        • Where in the world? Zach and Jameson are from Philadelphia. Yes, we have startups there. Also, forget Pat’s and Geno’s. John’s Roast Pork has the best cheesesteak in the city. Thomas and Sean are from somewhere else but we met them in San Francisco. We don’t hold that against them.

 

    • Did you know? Jameson once ironed a shirt while it was on his body. Everything was fine until he pressed the steam button. Zach has traveled to over 30 countries and has had almost every immunity shot that exists. Thomas falls in love with almost everyone he meets. Finally, Sean hasn’t had a clean shaven face in 15 years.

 

 

 

www.ovia.me
OVIA is using the power of video to provide a more human approach to finding the best talent and making the hiring process more effective, because recruitment is all about finding the right people, not just the best resume.

 

    • The Team.. and where in the world they are from:
        • Rodrigo Martinez – Mexican citizen of the world having lived in the UK, India, Czech Republic, Mexico and the US.
        • Imo Udom – Houston born Nigerian American.  Grew up in London, went to college in Philadelphia, but most recently hailing from LA.
        • Jaime Romero – Tapatio engineer passionate about creating high-impact & high-value products.
        • Jaime Rovirosa – Yoga practicing vegetarian Argentine. Looking for samadhi and the meaning of life in peculiar places.

 

    • Did you know? What do 2 Mexicans, 1 Nigerian and an Argentinian have in common? They founded OVIA.

 

 

 

www.scoopola.com
Scoopola is the HotelTonight for live music and theater.

 

    • The Team: Julian Tescher, Patrick Tescher, Donnie Dinch

 

    • Where in the world? Seattle, WA

 

    • Did you know? We only eat meat from animals that we’ve killed.

 

 

 

www.snapette.com
Discover and share great fashion products from around the corner or around the world conveniently on your phone.

 

    • The Team: Jinhee Ahn Kim & Sarah Paiji

 

    • Where in the world? Snapette was started in Cambridge MA, but we’re warm weather gals at heart from Honolulu and LA.

 

    • Did you know? Sarah loves shopping and dancing in 5” platform heels (which makes her over 6 ft tall). Jinhee loves eating and dancing in her bare feet (which makes her only 5′ 4″ tall).

 

 

 

http://storytree.me
StoryTree brings families and loved ones closer together by capturing and sharing the stories that matter. We’re excited to share that StoryTree is one of two Designer Fundrecipients! Special note: StoryTree is offering private beta invitations to the first 500 people who sign up at storytree.me/500s

 

    • The Team: Matt Sullivan, Zach Weiner

 

    • Where in the world? Stanford, CA. Go Cardinals!

 

    • Did you know? Matt and Zach woke up on the roof of a hotel in Las Vegas with an idea about capturing family stories and coded it on their drive back to Stanford where they ran into Dave, pitched the idea, and got into 500.

 

 

 

www.toutapp.com
ToutApp is canned responses on steroids with analytics.

 

    • The Team: Tawheed Kader, aka “TK”

 

    • Where in the world? New York City – the planet’s up-and-coming startup scene

 

    • Did you know? ToutApp has saved over 23,000 minutes for over 1,700 people by templating their repetitive e-mails.

 

 

 

www.vayable.com
Vayable is a marketplace for things to do on vacation.

 

    • The Team: Jamie Wong, Samrat Jeyaprakash

 

    • Where in the world? All over. We’re global citizens.

 

    • Did you know? The founders met on Airbnb. Jamie answered Sam’s last-minute plea for a place to stay when he moved to SF.

 

 

 

www.vidcaster.com
VidCaster is an easy way to create a video site on your own domain.

 

    • The Team: Kieran Farr, Steve Cochrane, and Ray Pawulich

 

    • Where in the world? The team met at Indiana University, voted the nation’s #1 party school at the time. While partying in moderation, they co-founded a student-run TV station that continues to thrive and is now a VidCaster client:iustv.com

 

    • Did you know? Kieran drove a San Francisco taxi to pay rent while bootstrapping the project. He even drove his taxi during Bay to Breakers, which is like being the lone survivor in a zombie movie.

 

 

 

http://getvolta.com/
Volta is an A/B testing framework for live, outbound phone calls. *In addition to being part of the 500 Accelerator, we’re happy to announce that Volta is also the $50K recipient for the Twilio Fund!

 

    • The Team: Patrick Stockwell

 

    • Where in the world? Palo Alto CA (via Austin, TX)

 

    • Did you know? Before moving to California, Patrick was a daily BMX cyclist in Austin, riding 15+ miles per day.

 

 

 

www.vvall.com
vvall helps you complete your memories by collecting moments captured by friends.

 

    • The Team: Ray Chan, Chris Chan, Marco Fung

 

    • Where in the world? Hong Kong – the brightest pearl in the East (though a bit smoky and stinky nowadays)!

 

    • Did you know? These guys don’t know anyone in the valley but they run Startup Quote; they are not funny at all but they built a fun site. Hopefully they know what they are doing right now…

 

 

 

www.welcu.com
Complete control of your event planning: Efficient, effective and white label.

 

    • The Team: Nico Orellana (CEO) / Sebastian Gamboa (CTO)

 

    • Where in the world? Santiago de Chile, the #1 place to visit in 2011 by New York Times. What are you waiting for?

 

    • Did you know? Two years ago, we said, “By 2011 we’re going to live in Silicon Valley” and we started attending events around the world (Madrid, San Francisco, Manchester, Santiago, Buenos Aires, etc) just because we thought that networking with people could open our eyes to new ideas. We ended up living in Mountain View building a product for event planners. (Be careful what you wish for)

 

 

 

www.zerply.com
Zerply is a non-corporate LinkedIn, built for the generation who has grown up with the web.

 

    • The Team: Christofer Karltorp CEO. Taaniel Jakobs CTO

 

    • Where in the world? Christofer is from Trosa, a small town in Sweden literally translated “panties”, aptly dubbed the worlds end. Taaniel is from Tallinn, Estonia, a tiny Baltic country that proudly celebrates two Independence days.

 

    • Did you know? Zerply was born in Sweden, learned to crawl in Estonia and then took off running in Silicon Valley, picking up a team as it went. Josef from the Czech Republic walked into the Estonian office without a clue as to what Zerply actually was. Ethan motorcycled from Ohio to California in 5 days. Luke, who we found on Zerply, took a month off his job in England and then quit to join us. Eliza just happened to be married to the CEO.

 

 
#500STRONG

#END

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