Co-founding Love: Skydiving

This story is by Mary Haskett, Co-founder of Tactical Information Systems the creators of WanderID. WanderID lets parents upload information about their child into a database. With it is a complementary smart phone app that uses biometric face matching technology. This technology allows police or hospital personnel to take a photograph of a lost child, find them in their database, and then connect them back to their parents in minutes. You can learn more at www.wanderid.com. Follow WanderID on Twitter  and on Facebook.

I met Alex Kilpatrick when we were undergraduates in college (it was the 80s). I was a member of the Texas A&M Skydiving Club and working at a skydiving school and he wanted to learn how to skydive. We became friends and he kept jumping and got his jump master certification when I got my instructor certification. When he graduated he went to California and joined the Air Force and I got a degree in Applied Math, stayed in Texas and kept skydiving.

I kept in touch with Alex, we would talk once a year or so and exchange email and holiday cards. After graduate school, my husband and I sold the skydiving school and started a training company — my first “real” startup. I bootstrapped that company and one day Alex contacted me – he had his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, had been managing the Air Force’s basic research in Computer Science but was ready to leave the Air Force and do something else. We decided to see if we could sell immersive, simulation based training and he moved his family to Texas and started working for me. Turns out not many people want to pay for very high-end training and eventually Alex left and started doing research for DARPA and then started working for a defense contractor in biometrics.

Later, he was working on a biometrics project for a foreign government and realized that they needed really good training. He called me and his company hired me as a vendor to produce training for his project. Of course, Alex supervised my team. Eventually that defense company bought my company and Alex became my boss. The company grew rapidly and eventually we both knew we wanted to do something else. Alex had worked for me and I had worked for him, so after twenty years it just seemed like it was time to start something new and be co-founders. We brainstormed and considered and thought and eventually quit our jobs to start WanderID – an ID service for young children. Almost nothing about the startup went the way we planned, and we have had our share of fights along the way.  However, our long-time friendship and compatible values has allowed us to handle the fights and move on. I do believe that if you aren’t occasionally fighting with your co-founder, you aren’t communicating.  You just have to be able to move past the fights and get on with the mission.

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Creating #500STRONG (Part 2)

  **

(This post was originally published here)

In my last post, I covered how we built a strong community at 500 Startups among our companies. In this post, I will focus on how we built the 500 Mentor network. (Fun factoid: “Mentor” is a character in Greek mythology)

The 500 Mentors are a tribe of 180 people (and growing) who commit time and energy to help our startups. They…

– are based all over the world
– work at startups
– work at big companies
– have founded startups
– have domain/operational expertise in one or more functional areas and verticals
– do this all on a volunteer basis
– may or may not invest in startups
– are opinionated (I mean this in a good way)
– LOVE helping entrepreneurs
– LOVE 500 Startups
– are LOVED by 500 Startups and our founders

Given mentors at a fund or accelerator program aren’t typically compensated for their time, there’s got to be something else that motivates them. From the beginning, we knew the 500 Mentors would be a very unique group. We wanted them to be as excited about helping our startups as we were, but we also were counting on them to help shape the direction of 500. To be able to come on board as a mentor to a brand new seed fund/accelerator program and actually help steer its direction was definitely a big motivator for the early mentors.

The following slide provides insight into how we approach mentoring. (screen shot from an internal team presentation I created for a recent partner offsite)

How it all got started, and what we’ve done so far:

1. We compiled a HUGE list of potential mentors from our networks – PayPal, Facebook fbFund, Google, YouTube, Mint, SimplyHired, and the list goes on. We categorized everyone w/ their areas of expertise, how we knew them, their location, and then rated each person by priority. (e.g. likely to be involved, maybe, not likely)  We extended invitations to a small number of individuals to join us on this crazy journey and be one of the first 500 Startups mentors. In those days, I actually met with every single mentor in person or by phone. Given we were so new, it was a great way to get their feedback on what a successful mentor program should entail. I will never forget meeting Blake Commagere at SBUX and him warning me that I’d most likely be late for my next appointment due to his incessant chattering.

2. We created a charter in the form of a Google Doc that captured the goals and objectives for the 500 Mentor Program, the 500 Culture, and 500’s expectations and requirements of any mentor. Every new mentor received this doc when invited to join as a mentor.

3. We created a community. We felt this was key in getting mentors motivated. While helping startups was already a big motivator, for mentors to feel like they were part of a ‘tribe’ and develop relationships with fellow mentors was just as important. Similar to the 500 portfolio, we also created a Google Groups mailing list and encouraged interaction on that platform. We also kicked things off with the first ever mentor meetup (even before mentors actually started meeting w/ any companies). At the meetup, we gave an overview of 500 Startups and then had mentors split into breakout groups where everyone discussed topics like what good mentoring is/isn’t, how 500 could differentiate ourselves with our mentor program, etc.

4. We actively communicate with mentors and kept them abreast of the latest with 500 Startups, even if it wasn’t directly related to mentoring. In being open and transparent with the overall fund strategy, that in turn made mentors feel like we were entrusting them with important information and thus really valued the relationship.

5. We offer numerous ways to mentor. Given mentors all have different schedules and in many cases actual day jobs, we wanted the mentoring options to be flexible. So we offered numerous options – having mentors give talks to the accelerator batch, hold office hours, participate in 1:1 formal mentor/mentee relationships, assist with pitch prep, etc. In the last few months, we revamped the mentor program and instituted a monthly time commitment. Going back to one of the beginning of the post and one of the bullets being “opinionated” (about our mentors), we certainly did hear from them about this time commitment – both good and bad. But as the saying goes, there is a thin line between love and hate, and neither is as bad as indifference.

6. We hold quarterly meetups at the 500 office for all our mentors. It’s a chance for them to mingle, for us to share updates on 500 Startups, and hold “townhall” discussions for them to tell us what’s working, what’s not, etc. The big challenge of these meetups is that they’re only accessible to the mentors in the local area. Mentors outside of Silicon Valley aren’t able to participate as easily (unless they happen to be in town). To that end, we’ve encouraged mentors in other areas to self-organize 500 meetups in their local geo. And of course if someone from the 500 team happens to be in town at that time, we’ll most certainly join in.

7. We try to differentiate the mentor experience such that being a mentor for 500 is something unique. In addition to everything I already mentioned, we also come up with creative ways to engage mentors. With the last accelerator batch, we launched a mentor co-investment program where mentors could invest an accelerator company via $5,000 convertible notes. We pushed it out a bit hastily and have more work to do to make the process smoother, but we plan to do more stuff like that.

8. We’ve even announced the mentors in press.

It really is amazing that we’ve recruited such an amazing group of people. I’m honored that they take time out of their busy schedules to mentor our companies and, in many ways, mentor us.

**From L-R, T-D: Andy Johns, Jenny Gove, Dror Shimshowitz, Blake Commagere, Hong Quan, Rebecca Meissner, Michal Kopec, James Levine, Natala Menezes, Jennifer Lum, Mike Greenfield, Christine Herron. They are 12 of our amazing mentors.

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Co-founding Love: Calling for Submissions!

Hello!  If anyone is interested in sharing a story for our Co-founding Love Series, we’re calling out for submissions. Tell us the story of how you met your co-founder(s) and started your company. Share advice on how to maintain a strong co-founder relationship or lessons learned through disputes.  If you’re a solo founder, tell us how it was like being a solo founder. Was it harder? Why did you decide to go at it alone?  The quirkier, the crazier, the funnier, the better. Oh, we like sappy stories too. We want to hear about you and your co-founder(s)! If interested, please send an email to vi(at)500.co with the subject line Co-founding Love. With it, please include:

1. Your story. Doesn’t have to be long.

2. First and last name of all the founders.

3. A picture of you and your co-founder(s).

4. A short description of your company. If you’re a 500 company, please mention it. If you were in the accelerator batch, mention which.

5. All the social media links you want us to link to.

We’re hoping to get some awesome stories soon! Thank you and happy Friday!

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WIN Wednesdays: Natala Menezes

This week’s WIN Wednesday Woman is 500 Startup Mentor Natala Menezes. She is currently the co-founder of The Shoestring Agency, focused on resourceful and innovative marketing and product development. She is interested in building efficient, beautiful and delightful self-serve web applications. Previously, she worked at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, TeachStreet & Gigwalk. Follow her on Twitter here.

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What Makes an Intern a Good Hire?

Nathan Parcells, Co-founder of Internmatch.com


This is a guest post by Nathan Parcells. Nathan Parcells is co-founder of InternMatch.com, a leading website to help students find amazing internships and help companies find amazing interns.  Nathan has spoken at universities across the country on intern hiring issues and InternMatch was part of 500 Startups’ first batch.

Why Fantastic Interns add $50K+ of Value to Your Startup, and Mediocre Interns Will Cost You

 

A few years ago Aaron Patzer, co-founder of Mint.com, gave one of the best startup presentations I have seen.  He dissected the process of Starting a Company, and in doing so sparked countless conversations about the value of business co-founders, all of which helped lead to the rise of the hustler over the MBA.

 

At InternMatch we hear a similar debate about the value of interns at early stage companies.  Some startup founders swear by interns, looking at them as a strategic pipeline to convert new hires and grow, while others write them off as too much of a distraction. A big reason for this spectrum of experiences is the delta between good and fantastic interns at early stage companies.

 

At a startup you simply cannot waste time and resources with employees who aren’t a good culture fit, are working on non-essential projects, or who need excessive attention.  You need fantastic interns, rather than simply good interns.

 

 

 

So what makes an intern fantastic?

 

Cultural Fit:

 

When an intern is the right fit for your company they bring energy, excitement, and new ideas into the office every day.  They complete their tasks with enthusiasm and precision and find new work to do even when you are too busy to assign something.

 

If an intern is a bad cultural fit, they’ll get bored and treat work like a class, doing just enough to pass.

 

Cultural fit is hard to define and can mean a number of different things for different companies.  For a language learning company like MindSnacks it might mean having taught yourself at least one language outside of class.  At a tech-centric company it might mean reading Hacker News on a weekly basis.  Regardless, of how you define culture, an intern won’t be fantastic if they aren’t thrilled about your startup’s mission and personality.

 

Find a Do-er:

 

Another attribute that is critical at small companies but not necessarily at large organizations is finding students who skew towards action over perfection.

 

At an early stage company you need someone who is scrappy, likes finding cost-efficient solutions, and isn’t afraid to turn in a mostly finished product.  You don’t want a student who comes up with great ideas, but needs a graphic designer, developer, and three grand to execute on them.

 

One way to find such “studentpreneurs” is to  screen for students who have completed quality extra-curriculars at college over those who have solely gotten straight A’s.  Students who are club presidents, have interesting side projects, and achieve outside of class, tend to be far more intrinsically motivated and comfortable creating their own goals rather than just following directions.

 

Understands the working world:

 

Fantastic students intuitively get what it is like to work in a professional setting.  This does not mean that they have 2+ years of experience (although that can help), but it does mean they can send quality emails, communicate with co-workers, and ask smart questions that help them solve problems more efficiently.  Some of this can be taught, but if you have to teach all these skills you are probably not leveraging your time effectively as a founder.

 

While you can usually detect these soft skills over the phone, at InternMatch we go a step further.  We mention in our internship descriptions that we love it when a student follows-up with us by email after they apply.  Those who follow these instructions and do so in a professional manner, pass another important bar in our mind.

 

Don’t Settle:

 

Many of the most successful startup companies grew their early teams by tapping into the inexpensive and often brilliant talent that is available on college campuses. However, to avoid a hiring pitfall ALWAYS screen for interns who fit your culture, know how to deliver, and can act professional.  This is more important than pure skill.

 

For more hiring tactics check out our how to hire a rock star intern presentation or feel free to email me at nathan@internmatch.com.

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Creating #500STRONG (Part 1)

(This post was originally published here)

The number one reason that entrepreneurs are attracted to 500 Startups is our community. I call it the “500 Family” because it really is a family. Everyone helps each other, is quick to jump in and provide help, gives tough love, and gets into squabbles (or downright fighting). At the end of the day, there is always a sense of unity, of something bigger that connects us all. We call it #500STRONG.

Over 600 founders and 180 mentors make up the 500 Family. Recently, people have asked me how we went about creating and nurturing this tight-knit community. So I’m sharing part I of it in this post. Before I get into any specific tactics, I will take a step back and explain why the notion of #500STRONG matters to us.

Community must be in your DNA.

In the early days of 500, we thought long and hard about the 500 brand and what our identity and culture should be. Fun at all costs. Move quickly, make mistakes, fall down, and get back up again. Willingness to teach others and learn from each other. “Open” rules, stealth drools. Diversity wins. But we didn’t just want this to be the staff’s culture. We wanted it to embody the entire portfolio and mentor network. We knew we’d be investing in a high volume of companies but we didn’t want the value of our resources to be inversely proportional to the size of our portfolio. Rather, we wanted them to scale together. Our solution? Help our founders help each other and build a community for them. We also worked tirelessly to personify all those tenets of our culture in how we engaged with our companies, mentors, etc.

Create a brand that people are proud to be part of.

Meet any 500 Startups founder or mentor and I guarantee that they will tell you how proud they are to be part of 500. In building 500 Startups from the ground up, we relied heavily on our founders and mentors to help us shape the direction of the fund and the accelerator – possibly more than other funds do. In the early days, much of 500’s brand was still closely intertwined w/ Dave’s personal brand. People knew of him, but not of 500. In the last 2 years, 500 alone has become a force to be reckoned with. Some call us edgy and rebellious, fighting tooth and nail for our startups. Others call us crazy, chaotic, and spread too thin. However we are perceived, there’s no denying that people are drawn to the 500 brand.

How you support your startups speaks volumes. 

Everyone says they’re founder friendly and that they help their startups. I’m sure there are many ways that we fall short in our founders’ eyes, but I still think we do a pretty awesome job (and sacrifice a lot of sleep while we’re at it). Beyond offering our own time and attention, we work really hard to help our founders. When startups announce funding, we tweet out that they’ve joined the 500 Family. In many cases, we help behind the scenes, connecting them w/ reporters and advising them on how they craft their launch announcements. We constantly play match maker, introducing companies and mentors to each other. We’re actively building out resources in areas like Design and Distribution, including our recent Growth Hacker-in-Residence hire. Our accelerator batches devise wacky videos to announce themselves (partly due to our encouragement), which we amplify with press outreach and social media. All of this helps to truly align the 500 brand with founders. Similar to what I said earlier, an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Now – the actionable stuff. Once you have the foundation set, what are some key tactics in building an engaged community?

1. Create and nurture an ACTIVE communication channel. A Google Groups mailing list might sound trivial at first, but it can make a huge difference. That’s what we started with. In the beginning, founders would still come to us directly with questions and I would direct them to email the list. I even “seeded” the list with questions to get conversations going. The first couple months were pretty quiet. Eventually, founders started to make more use of it, and the rest is history. The archives of our mailing list contain nuggets of wisdom that have benefitted everyone in the 500 portfolio. Now we have evolved into an awesome internal tool called dashboard that Paul is building – a hybrid of mailing lists, Quora, events calendar, directory, and messaging system. All for the 500 Family.

2. Create opportunities for the community to interact. We have the “luxury” of running an accelerator program and a physical office space that’s conducive to gatherings. So there’s ample opportunity for the 500 Family to participate and connect with each other — speaking or attending weekly talks, self-organizing meetups, attending one of our founder or mentor meetups, office hours, etc. Christen heads up all our events and conferences, which are also an amazing platform for our companies to get visibility as well as connect with folks inside and outside of the 500 community. Even if you don’t run a formal program, explore the idea of hosting a few workshops, talk series, or meetups for your companies. Many funds hold founder/CEO summits or events specifically for the [marketers/designers/engineers] of these companies, which is also a great way to increase connections among the portfolio.

3. We are all human. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable to your community.  I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve screwed up or dropped the ball on our companies because it’s far too many. For example, there was a big stink among the 500 Family about the fact that some of them never hear back from the 500 team when they refer/intro a prospective investment to us. In the end, we were pretty frank in acknowledging that we weren’t doing a good job and were open to ideas on how to fix it. And we really meant it.

Why does community matter for a VC fund/accelerator?

Truth be told, it may not matter. It really depends on what type of investor you want to be. If you’re only interested in writing checks, then community probably isn’t important to you. However, venture capital has gone through some dramatic changes in the last 10 years. To quote Dave’s recent post,“funds that offer serious expertise and mentorship in these areas have a substantial advantage – both in being able to attract higher quality founders and companies who want access to those resources, as well as the potential to improve financial outcomes by amplifying traction.”

Another key reason to foster community – practicing the concept of paying it forward, something that pervades startup culture (at least in Silicon Valley). Building a company is a challenge like no other. It’s impossible to do it on your own. Knowing that you have access to a community that will be there for you, even if it’s just to bounce off ideas with, can help make the journey easier. That is what the 500 Family is.

In Part II, I will talk about building a strong mentor network as part of the community.

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Co-founding Love: Start Something

This story is by Spence Murray on how he, Kevin Cheng, Arshad Tayyeb, and Scott San Filippo started working together on Incredible Labs, a 500 Startups funded company. Incredible Labs created Donna, a mobile personal assistant that anticipates your needs. You can follow them on Twitter here.

 

Summer of ’11, I found myself freshly free from running engineering, release and partner relationships at my 5th startup.  While I was a long time startup survivor, I’d only been a founder of 2 of the aforementioned ventures.  At that point in my career, I was still very fired up to dive into something, but was also feeling cautious.  Should I start something of my own?  Should I join someone else’s (again)?  Should I take a break?  Go somewhere big and forge some new relationships?

 

In timely fashion, a long-time friend approached me for his annual pitch of “we should start something!”… though this time was a little different.  It happened that 2 other good friends of his were also looking for their next passionate preoccupation.  So he convinced the 4 of us to get together, just to “see what might happen”.

 

I remember that first meeting well.  Right away, the talent and energy in the room felt good.  The ensuing discussion very quickly focused.  We found ourselves in orbit around a similar set of ideas… we started completing each other’s sentences.  I remember talking to my wife that night, and saying “I think I might have to do this”, before “this” had really been defined.  It just felt like the 4 of us could decide to make toasters and it would still be a great experience.

 

We decided on a direction, and gave ourselves a timeline of a couple of months to see what we could define in terms of a viable product and business.  3 months later we had a funded business, and a month after that we stared at each other in shock at our new SF office.

 

We were off and running!

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WIN Wednesday: Leah Busque

Sometimes at 500 Startups, we’d wish to ourselves that there was a startup out there we can use to find reliable people to help us with tasks and errands. Oh wait! There is! It’s called TaskRabbit and we’re an investor! We’re a big fan of TaskRabbit and the company’s founder, Leah Busque, that’s why Leah is today’s WIN Wednesday Woman.

Leah graduated Sweet Briar College with a B.S. in Math and Computer Science. She worked as a software engineer at IBM for a long time before co-founding Linkedup LLC. In true entrepreneurship spirit, Leah soon realized another brilliant startup idea and started TaskRabbit.  She is also an angel investor and is one of the many awesome women who have accepted the WIN Challenge.

 

Leah Busque, Founder and CEO of TaskRabbit

 

How did you become an entrepreneur?

My entrepreneurial days go all the way back to when I was 11 years old and started an environmental non-profit called Pollution Solutions. Even at such a young age, the entrepreneurial bug got me. After graduating from college, I accepted a job as a programmer at IBM. After working there for about 7 years, one night in February of 2008, my husband and I were waiting for a cab to pick us up to go out to dinner when we realized we were out of dog food. We had a 100-pound yellow lab, named Kobe, that never missed a meal. We thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place online we could go, say we needed dog food, and name the price we were willing to pay. We were certain there was someone in our neighborhood who would be willing to help us out. This led to the idea of TaskRabbit. Four months later, I quit my job at IBM and started down the path that brought me here today.

 

If you can give one word of advice to future founders, what would it be?

Surround yourself with powerful and engaging mentors and advisers who understand and believe in your idea.

 

Do you have any advice for women considering a career in tech?

Mentors and advisers are incredibly powerful and helpful – surround yourself with them, and it doesn’t matter if they are male or female. I get asked about how I feel being a woman in the tech all the time and my answer has always been the same: it’s a non-issue. I’m building a business – that’s what I keep at the front of my mind at all times.

 

What was one of the most helpful pieces of advice you received as a founder?

Very early on in the life of TaskRabbit, I met with Scott Griffith, the CEO of ZipCar. After hearing about my idea, he told me he thought I was onto something, and to “see how far I could take it.” Scott is still an adviser, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about that piece of advice he gave me.

 


As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

An astronaut!

 

Why did you decide to become an angel investor?

I remember what it was like when I first started TaskRabbit – spending all day, every day, working out of the 2nd bedroom of my house, building my company from the ground up and watching my own cash supply dwindle. I had just quit my comfy job to focus on TaskRabbit full time…it was nerve wracking; every extra cent spent mattered. I am thrilled to be able to support aspiring entrepreneurs early on to help them along in their journey. I couldn’t have done it without my angel investors and I am proud to pay it forward.

 

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500 Startups is HIRING – Want to connect Tech’s Influencers, Create content, & Travel the World with #GOAP?

We’re (still) on the hunt for a RAD person to join the Business Development & Events Group @ 500 Startups.

We’re looking for someone who:

> Knows the early-stage tech/startup community well
> Loves creating content (conference agendas, GOAP itineraries, website + email copy, blog posts, social media, etc.)
> Gets excited at the prospect of working 1-on-1 with some of the most successful/fascinating folks in tech + traveling the world to uncover opportunities
> Is super, super, super cool, funny, hard working, and genuine
> More info HERE

*** Know anyone that would be a fit? Send them to Christen > christen at 500 startups dot com

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Seedcamp vs. 500

This post is by Andrew Crump, co-founder of Bluefields. Bluefields’ app allow you to get your sports teams together without the hassle. They were part of our 4th accelerator batch. Follow them on twitter here.

Why would any startup decide to be in two accelerator programs at the same time?

We get asked the question a lot. Are we deranged, misguided; do we simply not care about equity dilution; or are we so lacking in confidence that we feel we need the warm fuzzy comfort blanket of an accelerator ecosystem to be able to achieve greatness?

No, to all of the above; but actually we think we have made quite a clever decision. You see, Seedcamp and 500 are two very different beasts in two very different geographies. Not all accelerators are created equal.

Seedcamp vs 500: Fight!

Well… Actually they get on rather swimmingly. It’s a little known fact that Seedcamp and 500 are indeed partners; we heard a rumor it all started after a boozy night in St Stephens Green when they ended up sneaking off together early (but we are not ones to spread rumours).

So what does this all mean? Well for Seedcamp companies it means that 500 can be a great soft landing in the US (and all the increased valuation/market trappings that US brings) and for 500 Startups it means access to the hottest European Startups.

There are a lot of similarities. Same money, massive signal, access to awesome mentor networks, access to investors and big validation, but there are also big differences between them. There are some obvious ones that you know already (residential vs non-residential, US vs EU, $50m fund vs €5m fund) but that’s not why we did both.

Both markets?

For us (a Euro-US startup) the decision to take them both was an easy one. There are some big differences between the startup landscape in the US and the UK and we wanted to make sure we could leverage the best of both worlds.

We spent last winter building and launching a product for the UK football market. It allowed us to prove some key metrics, but we have much bigger aims than the UK football market. Seedcamp’s investment in Bluefields was a massive signal to the world that we weren’t just content with making the [playoffs/knockout stages] (delete as appropriate for your region) but that we had [Superbowl/Cup Final] (again, delete as appropriate) ambitions.

Along the way we found our way into the only tall building in Mountain View and got to talk to the one and only Mr. McClure.

Those ambitions meant we needed to get to the US sooner rather than later. We needed to make sure we found the secret sauce for the US market too. Up steps the Seedcamp America Trip (another little known gem of the Seedcamp deal). One intense month of VC offices, flights, hotel rooms, pitch events, tech startup, laptop stickers and foursquare checkin competitions. Along the way we found our way into the only tall building in Mountain View and got to talk to the one and only Mr. Mcclure.

Before we knew it we had an offer to come spend 4 months in the Valley, working with some of the brightest minds in the US and and making sure we get Bluefields working in the US too.

Product-Market Fit.

We all know a Startup is not a business (if you didn’t know, you do now – consider yourself enlightened). A startup is instead an entity that is trying to make a business, it is looking for the keys to scale.

In fact most startups (the ones that get into accelerators anyway) can be defined as ‘Scalable Startups’. That is, that their goal is to find a business model that scales to large revenue.

And so we stumbled upon the point of accelerators. Accelerators allow startups to work in an environment that is conducive to finding that scalable model, and stage one is finding product-market fit.

‘But you inferred you had already cracked it’ – you mutter.
‘Yes but only in the UK and we want to own the US too’ – we retort.

Q: Why have we decided to be in two accelerators on different sides of the pond at the same time?
A: Well (apart from twice the fun) the answer is to find product market fit in the US in the best environment possible.

Q: Specifically why take 500 after taking Seedcamp?
A: Well, when you consider everything; the network, the signal, mentors, investors and the view from the office, there is one thing that clearly stands out…. The weather. Seriously have you been to London? It rains like all the time.

Reporting from sunny California, Andrew Crump

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