This Week’s Livestreamed Accelerator Talks

It’s another week in the Batch 6 accelerator! Add our talks to your calendar or watch the archived videos on our livestream channel.

Virality and You – with 500 Startups Mentor Blake Commagere

Learn the ins and outs of how viral marketing can take your startup to the next level.

Streaming Today at 12:15pm PST

User Acquisition Strategies – Facebook Ads

Hear from Matt Berman, 500’s resident distribution hacker, about how to build and optimize Facebook ad campaigns. Includes a Q&A session.

Streaming Thursday, May 30th at 12:00pm PST

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Startups Founders Podcast: Episode 7

In this week's episode, I speak with Vitaly Golomb (500 Startups mentor and CEO/founder of Keen Systems) about the importance of mentors, balancing family time with startup time, hiring the right people, and more. Keen Systems is going after an industry that many people in tech have ignored: print. At $640 billion per year, this industry is a big opportunity for startups, and Vitaly talks about what inspired him to take on this market.

Stitcher Radio

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This Week’s Livestreamed Accelerator Talks

Founders often forget one of the most important things about building a company: culture. Making your startup a fun, exciting and supportive place to work can have a massive impact on your company’s success.

Tune into our livestream this week to hear from Pasha Sadri, CTO and co-founder of Polyvore. Before co-founding Polyvore, Pasha was a principal software engineer at Yahoo, where he built several products from scratch, including Yahoo Pipes and Yahoo Trip Planner. Pasha has a degree in mechanical engineering from UC San Diego.

Today (Tuesday 5/21), Pasha will present, “Why Company Culture Matters from Day One.” You can watch it live here at 12pm PST, or visit our livestream page when the talk over to see a recording of the talk.

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Startup Founders Podcast: Episode 6

Happy Friday! In this week’s episode of the Startup Founders Podcast, I speak with Luca Prasso, CEO and co-founder of Curious Hat. Before he became a startup founder, Luca was an integral part of the team that created award-winning films such as “Shrek,” “Madagascar’,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” He recently spoke at our MamaBear tech conference – you can find his presentation and others on our livestream channel.

Stitcher Radio

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They’re Gonna Raise Some Funds, Batch 6 is F’n Awesome

We’re excited to announce the latest accelerator batch to venture into the 500 lair! If you thought 500 was diverse, you ain’t seen nothing yet – this batch boasts a whopping 8 female founders (2 of whom are CTO’s) and 22 international companies. And we’re getting even closer to #500Strong global domination with our first ever Middle-Eastern and African accelerator companies in this group.

To prove their scrappiness (and ghetto-fabulousness), Batch 6 put together their own version of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, “Thrifty Startup.” We have it on good authority that Batch 6 may have been kicked out of more than one Goodwill store during the making of this video. That’s straight-up gangsta, yo.

Check out all the companies below or on AngelList, and look at their 3-slide pitches on SlideShare. Welcome to the #500Strong family, Batch 6!


Make your app’s Viral Loop awesome with an API that lets you track activity and conversion – allowing you to take action using customer data.

Founders: Dr. Yusuke Takahashi
From: Tokyo, Japan
Fun Fact: Team members previously growth-hacked apps for Japan’s huge public companies.


We increase adoption of open-source in SMBs and Enterprises.

Founders: Adam Benayoun, Eran Galperin
From: Israel
Fun fact: Profitable *before* joining 500startups.

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We make buying directly from sellers in China as fast and safe as buying from Amazon.

Founders: David Kanel, Ravi Kotichintala, Nicholas Ni
From: Los Angeles and Shangh



We arm businesses with all the intelligence they need to make smart software and service choices.


Founders: Vamshi Mokshagundam, Ayan Barua
From: Bangalore, India



Effortless website translation technology.

Founders: Waheed Barghouthi
From: Amman, Jordan
Fun Fact: We have the most f’n awesome culture a startup could have. And our founder is unbeatable in arm wrestling.


An intelligent replacement for mail-tos and dumb contact forms. It makes customer support more effective, increases lead generation and generates valuable business insights.

Founders: David Osei, Effah Philips Mensah, Kamil Nabong
From: Accra, Ghana
Fun Fact: 5,000 users in over 29 countries in less than 6 months without any marketing.

Feast logo_500 px

The online cooking school for the common man. It offers simple cooking guides that teach impressive techniques and recipes with an online community where you can ask questions and get feedback as you cook.

Founders: David Spinks, Nadia Eghbal
From: San Francisco


Makes it easy for anyone anywhere to learn the skills they need.

Founders: Carlos González de Villaumbrosia, Álvaro Sanmartín, Álvaro Zamácola
From: Spain
Fun Fact: Team possesses a native know-how of the Spanish-speaking market, with offices in both Spain and Chile.


We empower commercial real estate agencies to create beautiful property flyers online.

Founders: Isaac Herrera
From: San Francisco


We offer local and onsite tech support at a great value. Customers receive competing bids on tech support needs from verified providers.

Founders: Kevin Davis, Christian Shelton
From: San Francisco
Fun Fact: Our 3,000 providers save customers up to 75% compared to Geek Squad.


Seamless real-time collaboration on mobile devices. We’re building a platform that enables apps to intuitively connect people together.

Founders: Elliot Lee, Thuy Truong
From: Ho Chi Minh City, Los Angeles
Fun Fact: Over 14 million downloads with all-star developers from Vietnam.


Geographic information system that allows retail stores to target their audiences.

Founders: Fernando Ovalle, Ignacio Canals, Julian Garcia
From: Chile


Publishing platform for publishers & authors to create, distribute, and market their children’s picture books for iBooks, Kindle, and Nook.

Founders: Chintu and Aarti Parikh
From: Santa Clara, CA
Fun Fact: KiteReaders platform has produced more chart toppers and received more design accolades than anyone else in the children’s picture e-book market.


Algorithmic transcription of videos for search and accessibility, helping education and large enterprises gain value from their video investments.

Founders: Temitope Ola, John Dines
From: Martigny, Switzerland, San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: Unique proprietary speech recognition algorithm for multi-party conversational transcription; spun out of Europe’s MIT (Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland); patent pending and strong domain expertise.


Empowers the 95% of African American salons that do not retail products. Our mobile commerce solution eliminates a salons inventory cost and opens a new revenue stream for their business.

Founders: Diishan Imira, Taylor Wang
From: Oakland, CA
Fun Fact: We are increasing stylists income per client by 42%.



NativeAD is a technology-driven distribution platform that allows branded content to adapt to publishers’ in-stream editorial content.  NativeAD launched in Spain as a test market, and  in just 3 Months, it reached 80% of its internet population with major publishers on board like Yahoo, Terra, La información, 20 Minutos and many others.

Founders: Gorka Muñecas, Javier Lasa
From: Bilbao, Spain


Social-based software for monitoring and improving the experience between pets and owners. It works with powerful, small and low-cost hardware for real-time health and location detection.

Founders: Marcos Buson, Bruno Kenj, Bruno Souza, Ednaldo Souza
From: Brasilia and Florianópolis, Brazil
Fun Fact: A complete multidisciplinary team with expertise in programming, product design, biz dev, and mobile app development.


App to fast sketch app prototypes.

Founders: Ben Lin, Shao Lee, Leo Lin
From: Taipei, Taiwan
Fun Fact: Reached 65k user generated prototypes in 5 months.


PriceBaba is a product (re)search engine that lets you shop in your vicinity

Founders: Annkur P Agarwal, Tirthesh Ganatra
From: Mumbai, India
Fun Fact: Started company with selling tea during a long distance train journey –


Turns the real estate transaction process into one beautiful flow for agents, clients, and third parties.

Founders: Mark Thomas, Uyen Tran, Jonathan Mui
From: San Francisco, CA
Fun Fact: The team boasts a combined 20 years of real estate experience plus 2 rockstar engineers: a CS Berkeley grad who is our CTO, and an engineer from OpenTable who is our VP of Engineering/UI Designer.


School Admissions
Making school admissions and education tension-free. Disrupting the process of choosing the right school for your child and parents.

Founders: Puja and Rajan Arora
From: Delhi, India
Fun Fact: Founded by a couple with 2 children.


Seat 14A
A complete and affordable ensemble for the discerning man every week.

Founders: Jas Banwait, Adi Sahay, Nav Chatterji, Tarun Arora
From: Delhi, India
Fun Fact: Global team with experience from Delhi, Toronto, and Dallas.


We empower restaurants to accept orders online.

Founders: Tavo Zambrano, Harish Malik, Olga Zambrano, Armando Gonzalez
From: Monterrey, Mexico
Fun Fact: We are not an extra distribution channel for restaurants. We are their distribution channel and have processed $400,000 in food orders.


Sverve is a self-service influencer marketing platform for small businesses. We connect small businesses with female social media influencers to promote their products and services on the social web.

Founders: Rohit Vashisht, Vikas Gupta
From: New York
Fun Fact: There are more than 3500 female bloggers and 125 small businesses on Sverve, and both of these numbers are growing rapidly.


Tamatem is a mobile gaming development studio and publisher focused on creating culturally relevant games for the huge unaddressed Arabic gaming market.

Founders: Hussam Hammo, Sohaib Thiab
From: Amman, Jordan
Fun Fact: Founding team has 5+ years of experience in the gaming field.


We are the Bloomberg for Emerging Markets. We collect accurate real-time market information from remote places from scattered and illiquid markets.

Founders: Anton Pasechnikov
From: Ukraine


Self-service online platform to monetize free time by offering interesting activities.

Founders: Talvinder Singh, Kranti Agarwal
From: Mumbai, India
Fun Fact: $100k+ revenue in 9 months with 70 sellers in Mumbai only. Now gearing to target 300 million middle-class Indians and 6 million inbound international tourists.



Fast, fun and free video messaging app for mobile devices. Unda is a whole new way to video message with your friends.

Founders: Oscar Noriega, NaoTokui
From: Mexico, Japan


Next generation of personal mobility for wheelchair users and the elderly.

Founders: Satoshi Sugie, Junpei Naito, Muneaki Fukuoka, Naoto Sakakibara, Atsushi Mizushima
From: Tokyo
Fun Fact: Team comprised of ex-Sony, Nissan, and Olympus engineers and designers.

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This Week’s Livestreamed Accelerator Talks

We have some great speakers lined up this week for Batch 6! Don’t miss out on getting great tips for your startup – check out the livestream schedule below:

Storytelling Class with Marie Perruchet

Stories have a unique power to persuade and motivate, because they appeal to our emotions and have the ability to shape beliefs and change minds. No decisions are made, no products sold, and no partnerships forged, are launched based on a slide show with dry numbers. In this hour talk, Marie teach you which narrative communication techniques work best for effective speaking, and how to incorporate these techniques into your upcoming Demo Day pitch.

We will go through interactive exercises to:

– know how to use your personal story to inspire other people
– develop a comfortable and effective style for pitching
– know how to incorporate body language that commands attention and respect

Watch it Tuesday, 5/14 at 12:00pm PST

Behavior By Design with Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal founded and sold two tech companies since 2003 teaches the “Behavior by Design” class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Nir’s last company, AdNectar, received venture funding from Kleiner Perkins and was sold in 2011. He is also an advisor, consultant, and investor in several Bay Area companies and is a contributing writer for TechCrunch and Forbes. Nir blogs about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business at

Watch it Tuesday, 5/15 at 3:00pm PST

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Don’t Be Awkward: Making the Most of a Networking Event

A few weeks ago, I did something that truly scared me.


I went to a tech networking event.


While there are many people out there – especially in Silicon Valley – who live for building their network, it’s not something I spend a lot of time doing or particularly enjoy. I know a lot of people feel the same way I do, especially since it can get pretty awkward if you don’t do it right.


But even if you despise the word “networking,” it’s an extremely important skill to have – especially if you’re working at a startup. If you’re a founder, your startup will die – or have a very, very tough time – if you don’t develop this skill early on. It’s critical to build relationships with potential investors, partners, customers, employees, and so on. Everyone in the startup community is connected to everyone else, so you’d be surprised what opportunities will pop up simply by knowing someone. It’s an oft-repeated platitude, but many times it all comes down to who you know.


Now, I’m by no means an expert at this, but thought I’d share some common-sense tips based on my recent experience.


Be Humble


This one’s obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget that simply being a nice person will open up many doors. Don’t go into an event acting like you’re the shit because you work for a well-known company, or because your small startup just raised  ton of money from a well known VC. Be confident about what you do, but don’t be annoying about it.


Heck, maybe you’re awesome or infamous enough that people already know who you are – congrats. You should still introduce yourself like a normal person. It’s fairly obvious, but bears repeating: people will be way more likely to help you out later – be it with an intro, job offer, referral or something else – if they remember that you were a nice person. Most people don’t want to help someone who turns any get-together into a 2-hour #humblebrag.


Don’t Make it all about You


When you see an investor you want to meet, don’t corner them and give them a 15-minute pitch about your company. If you talk  for 5 minutes straight without coming up for breath, that’s NOT effective networking.


#Protip: if the person you’re talking to whips out their phone and starts refreshing their Twitter feed or awkwardly checking for new texts, you’ve lost them. At that point, it’s best to just give them your business card and move on to the next person you want to meet. Remember that other people are there to network too, so don’t suck up all their time.


Don’t Be Creepy


It’s great to go up to someone and say you know each other through a mutual friend. It’s also great to tell them how great their app/startup/Twitter feed is. What isn’t great is reciting your 10 favorite tweets from their feed, or recalling creepily specific details about their Facebook photos.


Do your research, but don’t make it sound like you’ve been studying their online presence for hours on end. At the event I attended, I made this mistake after meeting someone whose work I’ve admired for a long time; seeing his facial expression change from “that’s neat” to “you’re f’in creepy” was pretty much the worst thing ever. If he remembers me, it’ll probably be because I was the “weird guy who stalks people online.”




Be Ready


Have enough business cards. Duh. Besides the obvious, scan the list of attendees (if it’s public) and make a note of who you want to meet and why. It’s much better going into a networking event with a plan of attack than walking around idly while trying to make eye contact.


Also, be ready to talk about yourself and what your startup does –  in detail. Don’t just say that you’re  doing “awesome stuff” at your company when someone asks; have interesting details to talk about and share your accomplishments (ESPECIALLY metrics) – without bragging too much, of course.


Don’t be afraid of telling people about some of the interesting challenges you’re dealing with. Running or working at a startup isn’t easy, so don’t pretend you have everything figured out. Sharing the stuff you’re grappling with will make for good conversation, and you may find someone who’s willing offer advice or even meet later to help.


Don’t Go Alone


Going to networking events alone – especially if you’re not an extrovert –  is pretty much like trying to do expert mode. Don’t do it unless you’re confident you won’t end up wandering around being awkward. It’s way easier to approach someone if a friend is already chatting them up, and if you take someone else with you, you’ll probably end up making 2x as many friends/contacts.


If you’re not technical, it’s good to bring someone from your team who is – they’ll be able to explain to the coding geeks why what you’re doing is cool. This is a must if one of your networking goals is to recruit developers. Someone who does marketing usually isn’t great at explaining the interesting technical challenges of your startup.


Above all, remember to have fun. Most of these events have free alcohol (and snacks if you’re lucky), so make use of that and loosen up a bit. Even for hermits, meeting new people  – especially people who might help your startup – can be surprisingly refreshing and invigorating.


Though many of these tips seem like “common sense,” you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow them. Just remember: be nice, be interesting, and don’t be awkward.

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Announcing the Startup Founders Podcast

While we pride ourselves in being a very diverse bunch at 500 Startups, there’s one thing all our founders have in common: they all have a story. And not just any story, either –  founders in the 500 family come from all over the world and many different backgrounds to chase their startup dreams. I’m very excited to announce our weekly podcast that will give them a place to share their biggest challenges, interesting anecdotes and advice for fellow entrepreneurs.

You can find the first 5 episodes below, featuring the kickass founders from PayByGroup, Markerly, Vidcaster, KeenIO and Chewse. Give them a listen, and stay tuned for a new episode every Friday! You can get automatic updates of our podcast by subscribing on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Don’t forget to leave us a good review, too. 😉

Episode 1 (Camilo Acosta, CEO and co-founder of PayByGroup)

Episode 2 (Tracy Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of Chewse)

Episode 3 (Kierar Farr, CEO and co-founder of Vidcaster)

Episode 4 (Sarah Ware, CEO and co-founder of Markerly)

Episode 5 (Kyle Wild, CEO and founder of KeenIO)

If you have feedback about the show, have questions you’d like to ask our founders, or would like to suggest a guest, send me a Twitter reply @markjsaldana. Here’s to many more episodes!

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Making Lots of Little Bets: Dave McClure Talks 500’s Strategy

During our recent trip Geeks on a Plane trip to India, Dave McClure, 500’s founding partner and resident Sith Lord, sat down to chat with a local journalist. In the interview, Dave discusses the 500 Startups investment strategy: make lots of little bets across a diverse set of companies.

Dave states that “with the exception of a handful of other investors, nobody makes more than 50 investments in a year. We are applying a different philosophy and model from most other funds.”

The interview also covers 500’s interest in international companies, and why Dave thinks there’s more interesting growth happening in India and Asia than Europe. He states, “India is one of the biggest markets for us primarily because of the advantages: it is English-speaking, has a lot of connections with the US, and is backed by strong talent and cooperation between the two countries.”

Dave also covers why 500’s so interested in food tech, and why food-focused startups “aren’t going away anytime soon.” Check out the full interview here.

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