Sh*t 500 Says

There are no words to describe our newest batch of accelerator companies.

Ok, there are a few:




But most of all – #500STRONG. (one day that will be an official word – just wait and see!!)

In celebration of their announcement, the Fall 2012 batch masterminded and created this video, “Sh*t 500 Founders Say.” We hope you like it as much as we do.

Without further adieu – here are the 33 companies in the Fall 2012 batch of 500 Startups!

A baby registry that works like Pinterest. Put anything on the web onto your baby registry. Makes pregnancy less overwhelming and more fun.

Founders: Natalie Gordon
San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact:
Created by Natalie when she was pregnant.

We’re a marketplace for groups to easily order great food.

Founders: Tracy Lawrence, Jeff Schenck
Santa Monica, CA
Fun Fact:
We’ve fed over 17,000 people!

Video thumbnails are archaic. Cinemacraft’s videogram service produces an interactive pictorial summary of the video (comic). Makes video thumbnails come to life.

Founders: Sandeep Casi
Tokyo, Japan

Club W
Curated, personalized wine subscription service.

Founders: Xander Oxman, Mark Lynn, Geoff McFarlane
Denver, CO
Fun Fact:
We’ve shipped over 60,000 bottles of wine in a little over 6 months.

We create transparency in commercial real estate by gathering information that is hard to find, difficult to compile or currently unavailable.

Founders: Michael Mandel, Vadim Belobrovka
New York, NY
Fun Fact:
We have employees from 5 different countries.

Cubie Messenger (Android, iPhone) is a free messenger for the creative to chat and draw. Over 4M users and growing.

Founders: Yenwen Feng, Cjin Cheng
Fun Fact:
Cubie’s video:

Cuponomia is a marketplace to search, discover and share deals and online coupon codes in Brazil.

Founders: Vinicius Dornela, Antonio Miranda
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Fun Fact:
We hate that we can’t find coupons and deals in Brazil the same way we do in the US.

Curious Hat
We build mobile exploration tools for curious children.

Founders: Luca Prasso, Erwan Maigret
San Mateo, CA (by way of Italy and France)
Fun Fact:
We prove that Italians and French can get along very well and create great apps. (as long as they don’t talk about soccer, cheese or wine!)

Dealflicks offers movie tickets and concessions for up to 60% off. We’re like Priceline or Hotwire, but for movie theaters.

Founders: Sean Wycliffe, Zachary Cancio, and Kevin Hong
Oakland/San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact:
For over 2 months after quitting his job, Kevin (co-founder) continued to get up every morning at 5am, put on a tie, and drive to “work” to avoid breaking the news to his strict Korean parents.

The easiest way to issue invoices and estimates.

Founders: Harald Trautsch, Gerald Aichholzer, Robert Beisteiner, Michael Kunz
Vienna, Austria
Fun Fact:
We are the vegan CrossFit machines.

Fashion and beauty portal for women.

Founders: Ricardo Lerch
Fun Fact:
Fashion is cool by default.

We look at videos and pictures and help brands measure their visibility.

Founders: Deobrat Singh, Saurab Paruthi, Debayan Banerjee
Delhi, India
Fun Fact:
Two of us do not have US visas yet!

Hunie is a community that helps designers get constructive and honest critiques from fellow designers.

Founders: Damian Madray
From: Silicon Valley, CA

Iconfinder is the world’s leading site for icons.

Founders: Martin LeBlanc Eigtved, Steffen Thilsted, Nick Bruun
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Fun Fact: More than 100 million icons have been downloaded from Iconfinder.

Rotten Tomatoes for books.

Founders: Rahul Simha, Vish Chap, Mohit Aggrawal
From: Canada/India
Fun Fact: The founder of Rotten Tomatoes (Patrick Lee) is one of our investors!

Sell your digital creations with just one click. Gumroad for India.

Founders: Sampad Swain, Akash Gehani, Harshad Sharma
From: Mumbai, India
Fun Fact: Instamojo was our side project.

We help brands promote their iPhone apps. Instead of screenshots or movies, brands can embed interactive iPhone app demos on any web page.

Founders: Chris Nolet, Edward Dowling, Diesel Laws
From: Melbourne, Australia
Fun Fact: We hung out at 500 Startups for 4 hours to meet with Dave. And then our demo failed.

LaunchGram aggregates news about products and launches coming soon in verticals such as movies, electronics, video games,and cars.

Founders: Andy Sparks, Zach Boerger, Carrie Phillips
From: Columbus, Ohio
Fun Fact: We used to be named Soonzy, but everyone thought it was Snoozy, so we changed it.

Markerly increases publisher page views and engagement by providing next generation social sharing and discovery tools.

Founders: Sarah Ware, Justin Kline, Rahf Noor
From: DC
Fun Fact: What do you get when a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim start a company? Markerly.

Retargeting via automated Market Research – Big Data for Opinions.

Founders: Paolo Privitera, Armando Biondi
From: Italy
Fun Fact: Multinational in a pocket: US company 100% Italian team, Chilean funding (so far).

Online advertising used to suck for SMBs. Not anymore. Privy is an automated, digital ad agency. You set a budget and promo, we deliver the only metric that matters: customers.

Founders: Ben Jabbawy, Jake Cohen
From: Boston, MA
Fun Fact: Team Privy traveled in a velour-lined van to get to 500 Startups.

Qual Canal
Qual Canal tracks conversations about TV shows in social media to deliver insightful audience information to broadcasters, brands, and agencies.

Founders: Anderson Fér (CEO), André Terra (CMO), Fabricio Buzeto (CTO), Flávio Ferrari (Advisor)
From: Brazil

Repairy is a web-based customer relationship and resource management system for car repair shops and dealerships, integrated with a spare parts marketplace.

Founders: Maksim Fjodorov, Mareks Veinbergs, Arvis Zeile
From: Estonia & Latvia
Fun Fact: We are rapid fast due to Marek’s driving style and his Subaru Impreza STI. After two weeks of programming, we visited 60 repair shops presenting the Repairy concept. The only challenge was maintaining that healthy and smiling look we usually have for sales pitches!

Creating a better way to purchase building materials, so you can Get – Ship – Done.

Founders: Nathan Derrick, Philip Brown
From: Chattanooga, TN
Fun Fact: We come from the GigCity. Our CEO is obsessed with unicorns and mermaids. Sorry, mermen.

Marketplace that connects tea drinkers with tea growers.

Founders: Elyse Petersen, Christian Kamau, Jane Gonsowski
From: Honolulu, HI
Fun Fact: Employee perks include all-you-can-drink tea, travel around the world, and relocation to Hawaii.

The Trip Planner every traveler falls in love with. Plan your trip on the web, view all the info & maps offline on your mobile.

Founders: Ariel Camus, Javier Fernandez Escribano
From: Madrid, Spain
Fun Fact: We have traveled to more than 40 countries combined. Call us if you want to travel around SV!

Empowering Indian professionals through industry expertise and jobs.

Founders: Sree Vijaykumar
From: Mumbai, India
Fun Fact: TradeBriefs has been interpreted on more than one occasion to be a company dealing with underwear.

Traity measures people’s reputation in worldwide 360 feedback to improve transactions between strangers.

Founders: Juan Cartagena, José Ignacio Fernández, Borja Martín
From: Madrid, Spain
Fun Fact: In Traity, people perceive us as the “executive”, the “researcher”, and the “computer geek” (exactly our roles in the startup). We defined those personality types beforehand though – we didn’t intentionally rig the results!

Translate Abroad
Translate Aboard is building a suite of simple translation apps. Use your smart phone camera to instantly translate text without internet.

Founders: Ryan Rogowski, Huan-Yu Wu, Kevin Clark
From: Providence, Rhode Island
Fun Fact: We have a white Chinese speaker.

UniPay is a mobile payment platform for Brazil.

Founders: Tahiana D’Egmont, Mayara Campos, Sergio Costa
From: São Paulo, Brazil

WalletKit is a SaaS platform to create, manage and deliver digital passes to mobile wallets.

Founders: Kevin Rajasekaran, Ramakanth Dorai
From: Chennai, India
Fun Fact: To get into 500 Startups, we stalked Paul Singh at his hotel in India. We actually figured out the location based on one of his tweets and found him in the hotel lobby. He was in a rush to get to the airport, so we pitched him on the way to the airport, which included getting into his cab. We also came prepared with these sketches of the 500 Partners.

Wideo is an online platform that will allow you to easily create, quickly edit and share your own animated videos.

Founders: Agu De Marco & Agustin Esperón
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Delivering extensive information about domain data.

Founders: Goran Duskic, Edi Budimilic
From: Rijeka, Croatia
Fun Fact: Both founders are high school dropouts.

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#GOAP is heading back to INDIA this Feb!





1.2 billion people ~ 900 million mobile accounts ~ 600 million under the age of 25 ~ 400 million internet users by 2015 ~ $40 billion e-commerce market in the next 3 years ~ $1.3 trillion in online ad spend


WHEN: February 16th – March 3rd (tentative)
WHERE: Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai (tentative)

Past Geeks include Founders & Execs from…

National Geographic










World Economic Forum

> BUILD strategic alliances w/ the tech + startup community in India
> MEET key influencers driving innovation – startups, investors, execs, & gov’t leaders
> LEARN about growth markets, challenges, and opportunities
> DEVELOP lifelong friendships and business contacts with locals & other GOAPers
Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) is an invite-only 12-14 day tour for startups, investors, and executives to learn about burgeoning technology markets worldwide. We travel by planes, trains, and automobiles to the most exciting international startup scenes with the sole mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border opportunities. The result: a lifelong bond with fellow travelers, a wealth of new friends and business contacts in exploding technology markets, and a stronger appreciation for the cultural and economic ties that bind us globally.
> Visited over 25 cities in 19 countries across 4 continents
> Connected more than 10,000+ tech entrepreneurs worldwide
> Met with startups, execs, VC’s, Ambassadors, Secretaries of State, & Presidents
> Been covered by 100+ press outlets such as CNN, BusinessWeek, TechCrunch &GigaOm


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50 ‘EARLY BIRD’ Tix Released for Warm Gun!

WARM GUN: Conference on Measurable Design


November 30th ~ San Francisco 



Join 500+ startups & designers to learn about UI & UX that isn’t just pretty, but also CONVERTS! JUST 50 EARLY BIRD TICKETS RELEASED.






<don’t act like you’re not impressed>




    • Mark Kwano, User Experience Evangelist, Apple


    • Josh Brewer, Principal Designer, Twitter 


    • Andrew Otwell, UX Design Manager, Amazon



    • Melissa Cooper, Director of User Experience, Eventbrite


    • David Cole, Product Designer, Quora




    • Stephanie  Hornung, UX Designer, Asana


    • Daniel Gatsby, Head of Brand & Product Marketing, Square



    • Andrew Crowe, Experience Design Designer, GE







Warm Gun is 1-day conference that unites designers & startups to learn about web design that isn’t just pretty, but actually converts! Now in its 3rd year, Warm Gun has sold out each time (we’re not just saying that as a marketing ploy, btw) with 500+ designers & developers packing the room.

If you’d like to be considered for speaking or partnering, ping bruna at 500 dot co

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Week 1 at @500startups: Get Better

This post is a guest post from Andy Sparks. It is the first in a series titled “The Chronicles of 500: Weekly Essays on What I Learned from 500 Startups.” You can follow his journey in 500 on his blog here.

Andy is a Facilitator with Startup Weekend and the Co-founder of Launchgram, a 500 Startups Batch 5 company. Launchgram makes it painless to stay updated on products and projects that haven’t yet launched or reach completion . Follow LaunchGram onFacebook and Twitter.

You can also join the discussion on Hacker News here.

Last week, I wrote about the path that led my team at LaunchGram to our new home at500 Startups and this week I’m pumped to kick off a new series of essays that detail what I’ve learned from my experience at 500.

Quick Introduction

Our first week diving into 500 Startups was a bit short, as it officially kicked off on Thursday, October 4th. There was no shortage of knowledge to be gained. This week’s takeaways are as follows:

1. 500 Startups facilitates opportunities, but is not a solution to your problems,
500 Startups is a Family
2. Immediately after joining 500 Startups, fundraising is your full-time job.

3. 500 as a facilitator of opportunity, but not a solution to problems

Our first week at 500 Startups reminded me of anepisode of Mad Men where Don tells Peggy, “You’re good. Get better. Stop asking for things.”

Dave, Paul, Christine, and the entire 500 team kept reminding us that we were good enough to make it into 500, but that ~80% of us would be “fucking dead” within one year. If we want to survive, we need to get better pronto, and that’s on each company individually.

Our survival, and ultimately our success or failure, will depend on each team’s ability to learn from the functional expertise of our batchmates, mentors, and previous 500 founders. The difference between Don and Dave is that not only is asking for things okay, it is encouraged. “Your problems are not unique,” is a phrase that’s been echoing around in my head all week. Dave would support Don’s overarching point: stop asking for permission from others, focus on your work, and just get shit done.

While getting into 500 feels like a pretty big accomplishment, the team there made it clear that a long road lies ahead and while they can help us, they are by no means a “silver bullet.”

500 Startups is a Family

The first thing that really struck me was how disarming the atmosphere of 500 Startups was. Prior to this, going to 500’s office was a relatively stressful experience given that we were pitching to be part of the program. It’s amazing how fast the energy in the 12th floor of 444 Castro changes when Dave McClure is bouncing up and down on a silver exercise ball with a shit-eating grin. The occasional mentor filtering in to give advice with a bottle of DeWarshelps, too.
Something families are great about is staying in touch, so naturally, if 500 is to be one grand family, internal communication is going to be pretty important. Lucky for us, Paul Singh has created a completely internal tool called “Dashboard,” that makes it ridiculously easy to interact with their network of 190+ mentors and countless past founders. Immediately after signing paper, multiple invitations to Google Groups and 500 founders-only resources went out. Internal communication tools are great, but only if people use them, and somehow the 500 team has made this happen.

In short, 500 Startups has successfully made it easy to feel like we’re part of an epic family which cares about each of its members from very early on, and that’s powerful.

Immediately after joining 500 Startups, fundraising is your full-time job

It’s easy to get excited about a fresh infusion of $50k because at first that number sounds huge, but when you budget it out and you only have a few months suddenly you’re losing sleep. Losing sleep is something that’s mentioned a lot in the valley and in startup blogs all across the web, but when you actually can’t sleep because you’re worried you won’t be able to pay your friends you convinced to move across the country to work on a company, shit gets real fast.

Getting into 500 Startups certainly doesn’t make fundraising harder. On day two, Paul Singh and George Kellerman dropped some serious knowledge about fundraising. Here are a few gems I picked up on:

1. You have 2-3 minutes to pitch your traction, problem, and solution. If they can’t understand what you do in that 2-3 minutes, they won’t understand you in 8, 10, 15 or 30.
2. After your 2-3 minute pitch, shut the hell up; the next person to talk wins.
Entrepreneurs think in terms of how much money they’re getting, but sometimes investors think in terms of what % of the company they’re buying (this varies from angel to angel / with VCs, but is good to be conscious of)
3. Finally, you can’t go very long in Silicon Valley without hearing the phrase “fundraising is a full-time job.” It’s tough to give up some control over the product, but by this point I know I’ve built a team that can more than handle it on their own. Know that your people deserve big paychecks, so go get out there are bring them home.

After our first week at 500 Startups, I’ve realized it’s on me to make things happen for LaunchGram. I’ve known this all along, but having it shoved in your face again never hurts. The 500 family can and will help; resources are on the table. The opportunities are right in front of me. The question is, will I take advantage of them? Will I leverage the brand? Will my company succeed? Will LaunchGram get better? You bet your ass it will, because we’re going to leverage every single opportunity and every single second to build the best damned company we can.

Join the discussion on Hacker News here.


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Co-founding Love: Muppet-duo

This Co-founding Love story is by Adam Bonnifield on how he met and co-founded Spinnakr with Michael Mayernick . Spinnakr is a new kind of analytics. They target website visitors automatically, helping triple signups and sales for your business. Spinnakr was in our 3rd accelerator batch. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook

A tech blog once called Michael and me the Bert and Ernie of the DC tech scene ( ), which was even more true about 10 years ago when we met. Back then we weren’t just the chaos and order muppet-duo of a tech startup, but two teenagers hell-bent on destroying each other.

In fact, we started as college debate rivals from different universities. Michael was famous for wearing expensively tailored Brooks Brothers suits and making these nuanced arguments about value ethics. I wore dirty layers of moth-eaten t-shirts and was more emotional, sloppy, and broadly philosophical. Whereas Michael loved to build ideas up like little Lego blocks, I loved to break them with brute force. Ever since we clashed in the National Championship our sophomore year, we were enemies.

Things got worse when Michael created an Equal Opportunity forum designed to make it friendlier for women to participate in debate. I hated this, since I felt like it was an excuse for censoring an open-community of ideas, so I started to hack the system to allege tons of fake, anonymous harassments complaints against him. To his credit, he scrupulously logged and investigated each complaint against himself, even though I still suspect he must have known it was me trying to annoy him.

Anyway, as we grew up a bit, we inevitably became friends who shared a passion for big ideas and thinking boldly, fluidly and creatively about the future. I was off raising money for political campaigns by building the earliest forms of digital targeting, while he was working on building big analytics systems for Deloitte, and we would often philosophize about the future of how people will interact online. This conversion grew into Spinnakr, a project in making it dead simple for anyone to target their website’s visitors in real-time. So we moved out from Washington DC to 500 Startups together, and have continued growing ever since.


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An Indian And An Israeli Walk Into A Bar… And Join 500 Startups

500 Startups Announces 2 New Venture Partners: Pankaj Jain in India + Shai Goldman in NYC.


Although we’re only a few years old, 500 Startups is already a global community of startups and investors. We’ve invested in almost 400 companies, nearly 100 of them outside the US. We’ve added people to our team with roots in Brazil, Japan, and Mexico, and now we’re adding India and New York City as well. Yes, we know Manhattan isn’t quite another country, but it’s certainly a different State of Mind. And we’ve had a torrid love affair with Hindustan since visiting the country on our GeeksOnaPlane India trip last fall, hiring Paul Singh last summer, and making investments in several Indian startups.

On that note, we’re ecstatic to announce 500 is bringing on two amazing geeks to help us — Shai Goldman in New York City, and Pankaj Jain in India!


Shai Goldman has been working with early stage startups and venture capital firms for over 10 years.  Shai was most recently with Silicon Valley Bank, running their early stage startup outreach group in NYC, which included managing relationships with accelerators, coworking facilities, angels and seed funds.  Shai will continue to be based in NYC, expanding the reach of 500 Startups.  Shai’s role will be combination of investing in NYC/Boston startups, cultivating L.P. relationships, improving operations, assisting portfolio companies and community building in NYC.


Pankaj Jain has been involved in the Indian startup scene for the last five years as an entrepreneur, community builder at Startup Weekend, mentor and investor. Most recently, Pankaj was consulting for the TLabs accelerator in the New Delhi area where he was focused on deal sourcing and running the accelerator. Prior to moving to India in 2007, Pankaj spent over ten years running technology and operations in NYC for multiple hedge funds, including LTCM. Pankaj will be focusing on investing in Indian startups, investor relations and building community across India.

Why India and New York? They’re both teeming with vibrant growth and change, not just in technology and business, but also in culture, fashion, sports, music, and media. This growth has been matched recently by a tremendous burst of innovation in tech startups, and people using this technology to solve real everyday problems. In New York, 500 has already been actively investing, with ~50-75 investments in companies like MediaLets,MakerBot, DailyWorth, Chalkable, Snapette, Bombfell, and 72Lux. We also have a number of mentors in the area. In India, we’ve already made have 10+ investments in Indian companies, including, MyGola, and CucumberTown. We also recently collaborated with Rajesh Sawhney’s GSF India Accelerator.

We’ll end here with a musical homage to each amazing community. Also, please give Shai and Pankaj a #500STRONG welcome on the Twittersphere! (@shaig and @pjain)

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5 Must Read Posts by the 500 Family!

Looking for some good startup-related things to read? Consider these 5 posts from the 500 family. There are some very good tips and solid wisdom in these posts. Happy reading!

The 80/20 Rule – By Paul Singh, Partner at 500. This post is on time management and focusing on the most important stuff.

Niche to Win, Baby – Dave McClure, Founding 500 Partner. This post is on how having a niche can help you beat out the competition.

8 Tips on Nuturing a Happier Work Environment – Christine Tsai, 500 Partner.  8 Things to keep in mind when building your company culture.

Startup Marketing: 2nd Class Citizen, 2nd Class Rate Results – Danielle Morrill, 500 Mentor. This is a must read on startup marketing. Danielle advises on how having a cohesive relationship between marketing and engineering is crucial for a tech startup.

3 Things I Learned at LinkedIn, 2 Things I Didn’t –  Mike Greenfield, 500’s Growth Hacker in Residence. Mike reflects on valuable lessons he gained from working at LinkedIn and its application to running a startup.

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