More to Growth Than FB Ads? Solidarium Talks Strategic Partnerships & Accelerator Aha Moments

Solidarium is a Brazilian marketplace connecting artisans and their crafty goods to online shoppers all over the country.

Having had a number of conversations with founders from the 500 Accelerator, I thought I knew what Tiago Dalvi, Solidarium’s founder, was going to talk about.

500 is known for being really kickass at distribution and performance marketing. Every single founder I’ve talked sounds like a newlywed that just married Facebook ads, metrics, and drip campaigns.

But Tiago had a different story to tell, and it wasn’t about Custom Audiences (though at one point he did admit that learning to do Custom Audiences the right way during Batch 9’s Marketing Hell Week was awesome).

Instead, Tiago recounted a tale of big strategic partnerships, aha! moments, and the adaptability of an 8-year old vision that started life offline in a shopping mall.

You were part of Batch 9. Where was the company pre-Accelerator?

Solidarium is not a new startup.

We started the company 8 years ago completely offline in a shopping mall. I was still in college with the mission of changing the arts scene here in Curtiba.

But, the problem we were facing here in Curtiba was actually everywhere in Brazil. There are 8.5 million artisans in the country with great products and no idea how to get those products in front of people.

We opened and closed the store in that mall in one year. It was the wrong model for Solidarium, but fortunately it wasn’t set in stone.

After that year, we had the idea to work with companies who know scale — the major retailers Walmart, Ikea and JCPenney are all big in Brazil.

We focused on Walmart because they’re the largest retailer in the world, and after 6 months we started selling in one Walmart store here in Curtiba. After some months we eventually expanded to 56 stores.

Keep in mind, everything was still offline for us at this point. The company was growing 2x per year, which is not that good for startups but we were actually a bit satisfied with that.

Over time, it became clear that this too was not a good business model for us. It was just too expensive to sell through these retailers offline. The logistics were costly, the taxes were high.

We started thinking about bringing our 5 years of experience in the offline world online, by connecting all those artisans to customers through the Internet.

So in 2011 we decided to develop our own marketplace technology and in June 2012 we launched the Solidarium marketplace.

Since then, we’ve been growing fast… but the past 5 months — the 500 era — have been crazy compared to the earlier time.

Uh oh, 500 stirring up trouble. What was so crazy about the Accelerator time? What was your “aha” moment?

For us, everything changed after 500.

First of all, Solidarium is not the Etsy for Brazil.

When we started at 500, our goal was to be the Etsy for Brazil. We wanted to be the largest marketplace with the greatest products.

But then we realized we have another talent. All that experience in the offline world has put us in a very unique position.

We started thinking, hey if we can integrate with Walmart’s ecommerce (and Ikea’s, and Mercado Libre’s, etc) then maybe Solidarium can help artisans not be limited to Solidarium.

Instead of being the largest marketplace in Brazil, we want to be the largest distribution network for artisans in the world.

Solidarium will always be a destination site. But we’ve been working on another brand that we intend to become the main seller enablement tool. It’s already live at

On OList, sellers can manage your sales and inventory all in one place. Olist is already integrated with our major offline retailers.

So for us the Accelerator ended up having a big influence on strategy and vision, not just growth (but growth, too).

How did you come up with such a big picture shift?

We came up with this idea after a survey with our sellers. Those conversations showed us that more than 70% of them used to sell through other marketplaces, but they had no system to manage their inventory.

For example, if they sell an item on one platform, they’d have to manually update in their inventory across all the platforms that they list things on.

We thought, if we can solve our seller’s biggest problems offline as well as online — if our sellers can use our software for both offline and online distribution and sales management — then we can really help them.

The major retailers know how to acquire a customer. They’re experts at this, and they already have a good distribution strategy.

On the other hand, it’s actually very expensive for us to acquire customers. We know how to acquire sellers. We’re good at that. The major retailers can continue to focus on acquiring customers, and we can have the best of both worlds.

Every marketplace needs supply as much as it needs demand. What has been your approach to acquiring sellers?

We’ve done partnerships and affiliate partnerships with all the blogs that talk about handmade products.

The artisan community is interconnected, so word of mouth has been effective for us. We’re now developing an ambassadors’ program for the best sellers to bring in new top sellers. Every seller gets a unique link to bring in new sellers to the program.

We’re building a seller acquisition team over the next few months to work more on partnerships, including with handicraft magazines and tv shows.

We want to be more present in the artisans’ life and you have to remember these people are not necessarily spending all their time online.

How are you growing your active sellers day to day?

We’re not on the other side of the table from our sellers. We are with our sellers trying to develop their business. We’re not trying to make money “on” them, we are trying to make money with them.

I think this comes across to our sellers in the way we organize our business, and especially what we devote to support, so we have a very low churn rate, less than .3% / month. That means we may have just 1 or 2 stores that quit because it’s not working for them.

We have really good support. It’s a major priority for our team.

What does your support look like?

We provide live chat and a toll-free number. They can talk to our team, or they talk to me directly.

Maybe that’s not the most scalable, but in the early days it’s really important. It enabled us to evolve our acquisition — and our entire business — a lot faster that we could without that input.

Every new staff member has to be on support for the first 2 weeks of their job. They have to understand the artisans and know the pulse of the company.

What was your biggest surprise from 500?

Before coming for the Accelerator, I had my doubts. I don’t have kids but I’m married and we have a dog and I thought I would miss them very much.

But we became so focused on launching our new site and building the business that it actually passed too fast! I thought I would miss home more.

The time passed by so quickly mainly because of the environment we were in. There were great mentors all around us, and everyone was eager to help. This is the kind of community that you don’t find in Brazil.

We found this very interesting — the valley being so full of people eager to help you!

In the end, I’m pretty grateful to 500.

It gave us a new perspective on the business. We were trying to compete with our competitors here in Brazil by doing the same things they were doing. We would fight for the same customer and the same seller by doing the same things.

That’s not good for the artisan — they’re getting confused with all the platforms — and this was really against our way of doing things because our goal was to solve their distribution problem for them, not create more.

Now, instead of forcing sellers to choose us or a competitor, they can use our solution on other platforms, even our competitors.’ Eventually, we might see some these “competitors” become partners.

We came up with all of this while we were still part of the Accelerator, and then were surrounded by the tools and environment to make it happen.

Solidarium team at 500 Startups Mountain View

Tiago Dalvi is founder and CEO of Solidarium. Follow Tiago on Twitter, and check outSolidarium on AngelList.

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How 500 Worked with Product Hunt to Find Awesome Accelerator Companies

Like most accelerators, we’re always looking for new ways to find great founders. While we get a fair amount of incoming applications, our best companies tend to come through founder referrals or less conventional channels. And we’re always up for trying new methods to find talent.

Enter Product Hunt.

Unless you’ve been living under an Uber, you have no doubt heard about Product Hunt. It’s become one of the best places to source new products as they launch, and it’s a perfect match for the quick launch and iterate approach that many startups are taking these days. Instead of trying orchestrate a convoluted press push, simply submit your product and let the people decide if they love it.

Many of these companies are also looking to join an accelerator program like 500, so I approached Product Hunt to see if we could demystify some of the accelerator application process using their platform. Thankfully, they’re not big enough yet to stop returning my calls :). We set out to conduct our first public interview process live, in real time, and on Product Hunt. If you missed it, head here to see the companies and read the comment threads.

In the end, we interviewed 16 startups, and I asked them the same questions we ask as part of our standard application process. The goal was both to find a company to join our next batch, while also providing a transparent lens into how and why we select startups. The companies and product hunters provided some excellent feedback that we’ll incorporate into our interview process.

A big thanks everyone who joined! I’m happy to announce we have selected our winner, SocialLight, who will get the chance to join our next accelerator in Mountain View. You can view their interview here.

Special thanks to Erik and Ryan at Product Hunt for making this happen.

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5 Reasons Why 500 Startups is Backing Wanderable

“Syndicate funding is a new, innovative way for startups with traction to gain funding.  Just as Wanderable is a first mover in bringing a curated merchant network to the honeymoon registry space, we see our partnership with 500 Startups as a great opportunity to bring more investors to innovative, women-led companies.” –Jenny Chen, Co-Founder, Wanderable

Call to action: We only have 3 days left, so we’re calling on everyone to help back Wanderable – our first company selected for the 500 Women Syndicate fund.

To join the Wanderable round, please go here:

To join our Women Syndicate, visit here:

*If you have any questions, feel free to contact

Wanderable modernizes the honeymoon planning process by allowing couples to easily discover and fund their dream honeymoon trip online, and through an awesome mobile app. To date, they have 21,000 couples creating registries and 800 merchants in the marketplace. They’re currently focused on building strategic partnerships and creating exclusive activities, like private yacht cruises with a personal chef, and private viewings of the Crown Jewels in London.

Why 500 Startups Chose Wanderable to Launch this Syndicate:

The Team

Wanderable was founded by two female techies who met at Stanford, saw a hole in the market, and decided they would be the best people to fill it. Wanderable has since loaded their team with analytical and design-oriented individuals to round out their stellar team of 10 in the Bay Area.

They decided to disrupt a traditional market

Weddings and registries might as well come with a set of rules, but Wanderable decided to toss those out the window, allowing like-minded couples to register for experiences over things. Wanderable’s smart design, technology and seamless experience is disrupting the registry market.

First movers in building a platform for curated travel

Anyone can look up destinations or scour review boards for the best experiences at home and abroad, but Wanderable takes the guessing out of this process and diligently curates each experience listed on their site. They even offer “Wanderable exclusive” itineraries that others would be hard-pressed to copy.

They are capitalizing on the millennial generation

Wanderable capitalizes on the millennial demographic by engaging and empowering them. They understand that this generation is driving a consumer shift: they would rather spend money on experiences over material goods. What’s especially impressive is just 2 years into a 20-year surge of the millennial generation getting married, Wanderable brings this desired technology and inspiration to this unmet market need.

They have a vision

What we love most about Wanderable is that they have a great vision of where their company is going. This is the new frontier: Curated travel is becoming the norm, and Wanderable is determined to solidify their role in this space.


We already have 33 backers who have demonstrated their support for women-led companies. “I was impressed with the team, metrics and disruption in this space. When I heard about the 500 Women Syndicate, I thought it was a great way to support female entrepreneurs in tech. We need a better mix of women and men in this industry to create a better culture.”  – Alan Braverman (Early Backer of 500 Women Syndicate, Serial Entrepreneur (Yammer/Eventbrite/Geni).

In the spirit of promoting change, join us and let’s make this happen – your support will serve to inspire and ignite new, wonderful ideas, and surely you’d like to see more of them, wouldn’t you?

Official Hashtag: #WanderOn

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Growth in Asia: How Shopline Acquired 6X Users in 9 weeks

When you travel a lot and end up somewhere jetlagged and hungry at random hours of the night, sometimes you have to make compromises.

On a recent trip to Taipei, I found myself sober and eating a tea egg out of a plastic bag from the corner 7-Eleven at 1 in the morning. It wasn’t a Facebook moment, but my snack turned out to be surprisingly good (I severely regretted not buying more), and it was then that I began to understand the deep bond between the Taiwanese and their unglamorous yet satisfyingly functional everything-store.

When I spoke to Fiona Lau at Shopline — Batch 10 — I was surprised to learn that she and her team weren’t Taiwanese because I’d heard so much about the “great Taiwanese company” in our current batch. (It’s hard to fault my non-Asian colleagues for their childlike confusion, but really, there are enough of us now that everyone should be an expert.)

Shopline is a DIY ecommerce platform that helps offline merchants in Asia go online, with self-branded online shops that take a few minutes to set up.

The company went from 1000 registered shops and 10 paying customers at the start of Batch 10 back in August, to 6,500 shops and 140 paying customers this past week.

They grew their paying customer base by 14x in 9 weeks, and they more than doubled their conversion rate while continuing to grow their overall user base.

By the time Fiona, Ray, and Tony flew in to SFO, they had already established a presence in their home market of Hong Kong, but were also looking at growing in Taiwan.

I talked to Fiona about how a bootstrapped startup acquires users in the Asian Tigers, the one tool most companies are underutilizing for both growth and product, and why 7-Eleven might be the key to unlocking ecommerce in Taiwan.

What acquisition techniques did you rely on when you were bootstrapped, pre-Accelerator?

I actually spent a lot of time offline in smaller shopping malls, bazaars and other offline shopping districts. In Hong Kong, there are a ton of these.

We were running small experiments with Facebook, capped at $30 a day. Facebook was perfect for us because it’s so dominant in Hong Kong.

We had almost zero prior experience with marketing and paid acquisition. We were trying to place our first ad just reading the instructions off the package, in the help center.

We didn’t have a network of other startups at all, so we spent a lot of time Googling how-tos, reading blogs, using common sense and winging it.

There was no benchmark for anything we did, but somehow we managed to get those 1,000 signups before we joined 500, so it wasn’t an entirely bad start. But, we had a lot of learning to do.

Your team is from Hong Kong, which gives you home court advantage. How did you get into Taiwan?

It wasn’t our original intention to to target Taiwan. We started in Hong Kong because it made the most sense to us, but we knew it was too small.

8 million people live in Hong Kong, but penetration is still really low in terms of the number of businesses doing ecommerce, or just with a website at all.  People have been doing everything through web agencies. It’s small, but we still see lots of opportunity.

At the time, we were using Facebook to find users in HK, and we asked ourselves, where else is Facebook really dominant?

We ran some ad experiments in Taiwan, and those turned out to be really successful. Facebook is even more entrenched there, the quality of offline SMBs is very high throughout the country — many selling great products with almost no online distribution — and we can support the language too.

Now the name is out there, and we have people reaching out to us asking, Can you accept Thai Baht, Can you open this in Thailand?

What are the biggest growth takeaways from the past 9 weeks?

I know every 500 company says this, but MixPanel. Mat helped us set up funnels the right way, whereas before we were trying to track everything because we weren’t sure where to focus.

We thought it would be safer to track more stuff, but then we never knew what to do with it. Either that, or we were busy trying to look at funnels that were way too detailed.

We also did a lot of work with custom audiences on FB, a/b testing for pricing, using for customer relationship management, really thorough UTM tracking, and SEM because our product is so intent-driven.

But one surprising winner was live chat.

Most people think of live chat as a customer support tool. In this way, it’s being overlooked. For us, it’s also been hugely useful for feature development and user retention.

Customers will say, “I want this!” but they usually don’t know how to do product design — they’re not product managers — so we just listen, ask a lot of questions, and then translate. We’ve built our feature roadmap from live chat transcripts.

Every week, I pick and choose good customer transcripts and use cases and send them around to the team, aiming for at least 1-2 a week. Our whole team reads our live chat transcripts to understand what’s going on.

We used to think it would be annoying to show live chat to our users all the time in the admin panel that displays to our merchants, but our customers really love it!

They like to talk to us all the time. Before they never tried to talk to us because sending an email can be so painful. You never know if you’ll get a reply and when. Live chat helps us with user retention in moments when people are interacting with key parts of our product, and then we end up learning from them in those key moments.

TAKEAWAY: “Talking to your customers” once or at random feels nice, but it’s not game-changing. Instead, be persistent in collecting insights, and systematic in translating and sharing them.

It’s just good to talk to customers as much as possible. It can NEVER BE BAD. How has it shaped your roadmap directly?

Talking to our customers has been a huge time saver for a company like us trying to figure out what we’re doing, and it also taught us about 7-Eleven.

People in Taiwan like to pay for things at 7-Eleven, which PayPal doesn’t accept. It’s a specific to that locale, but it’s very important to our merchants because it’s how their customers want to do transactions.

Now, I’m not from Taiwan, but an early customer told us about Allpay.

PayPal kept rejecting people’s payments to our merchants, and we were stumped. One day a customer saw ad somewhere and reached out to us, “Have you heard of this? Allpay.”

Allpay is a payment service that’s tied to a bigger number of Taiwan’s 18 banks than PayPal is, and it lets people pay into their account from their local 7-Eleven. PayPal’s only connected to one bank in Taiwan, so Allpay has much wider adoption and is a better option for our users right now.

We looked into it after talking to that customer, and decided to integrate. Our merchants’ customers can print out the barcode and take it to their favorite 7-Eleven for payment for whatever thing they’re buying from a Shopline-powered store.

That really differentiates you from the international or less local competition.

TAKEAWAY: Early stage companies taking on established competitors need to addressvery specific pain points that bigger companies have missed. Ask customers & make friends — live chat, Qualaroo, phone interviews, 1:1 personal email.  

Batch 10 is almost over! What’s coming after Demo Day?

We love the environment and ecosystem here but you have to be where your customers are so we’re headed back to Hong Kong. We’re stretching ourselves thin with the time difference, especially for live chat!

There are so many resources here. You have people who failed, ones who succeeded, ones who are in the middle of it. You have all these other startups in similar stages. This is one of the things that’s so great about doing the Accelerator.

In the middle of program, I went back to Hong Kong to do fundraising. Even though our team is from there, all of my meetings were set up through the 500 network. I talk to people from Batch 3 and Batch 4 and it’s all the same family. They’ve introduced me to people I would never have been able to reach myself.

When we joined the accelerator, we had an intern who was so excited about it he paid his own way to SF. By the end of the program, we should have 7 people on board, and we’re paying his way back this time.

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Episode 50 – Samir Patel, Founder of DoRevolution

I talked to 500 mentor and founder Samir Patel about growth, marketing, and other tricks that will help startups grow their business. Check out other resources from Samir here:
Learn more about his company at

Love the show? Don’t forget to rate us and subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher!

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7 Ways to Use Facebook Custom Audiences to Grow Your Startup

This growth guest post comes from Massimo Chieruzzi, CEO of AdEspresso, a SaaS company that helps advertisers and media agencies create, analyze, and optimize their Facebook ads. AdEspresso was an Accelerator Batch 7 startup, is now part of the 500 Startups portfolio of companies. 

Startup growth is both tough and exciting with so many options available to marketers nowadays: inbound, social marketing, content marketing, SEM, SEO, social advertising, retargeting and more.

But let’s say you’re on a tight budget and you’ve got a lonely marketing team of one — yourself.

Experimenting with all of these channels with limited resources can be tricky. Mastering them to achieve a great ROI can be even harder.

In this short guide, we’ll go through all the best practices we’ve learned while promoting AdEspresso and helping our users succeed in Facebook Advertising.

More specifically we’ll talk about Facebook Custom Audiences, one of the most effective way to create advertising campaigns with a laser-focused targeting.

A quick introduction to Facebook Custom Audiences

Before we start let’s review all the types of Facebook Audiences and what they’re meant for:

Data File Custom Audience: The original and most used. You simply upload to Facebook a CSV file containing emails, Facebook User IDs, phone number or mobile IDs of your users. Facebook will try to match the data in your file with profiles in its user base and you’ll get back a “Custom Audience” that you can use for targeting your ads.

Lookalike Audience: Once you’ve created your first Custom Audience you can create a Lookalike Audience from it. Facebook will analyze the users you provide, look for common patterns and similarities, and then return you a new Audience with people similar to your users, in the country market that you specify.

Custom Audience from your Website: This is basically retargeting. To use this feature, you’ll first have to insert a tracking pixel on your website. You’ll then be able to create targeted audiences based on the pages a user has viewed on your site. By the way, this option is very effective and doesn’t require knowing users’ emails.

Custom Audience from your Mobile App: This is similar to building a Custom Audience from your site, but is specifically designed for mobile app developers. You’ll be able to target users based on their behaviors within your App.

(By the way, if you haven’t tried these yet, you can download this free eBook on Custom Audiences that we made at AdEspresso that covers all the basics of getting set up.)

Why is Interest targeting not enough ?

Marketers are always looking for shortcuts to growth. Along the way, they often do more harm than good. Growing the number of Likes of a Facebook Pages is one of those areas where this has happened.

Obsessed by the number of Likes on their Facebook Pages, many marketers haven’t been able to resist the temptation to get huge numbers of Likes for pennies from shady companies. These marketers have purchased hundreds of thousands of fans for few dollars, filling their Pages with crappy users (or bots) that had no real engagement or intention to become customers.

This is not only their problem, it’s ours too. Targeting those Pages as interests on Facebook Ads means you’re spending money to advertise to crappy users / bots.

Of course precise interest targeting is not dead yet and can actually deliver very good performances. However, it’s less effective than it used to be.

These factors combine to make Interest targeting a less appealing option, which is why we’re here talking about Custom Audiences!

Ok let’s see what Facebook Ads + Custom Audiences can do for your startup!

1) Sometimes it’s about NOT targeting

Most people think of Custom Audiences as a way to target people with ads, but it’s so much more. Custom Audiences can also be used to exclude someone from targeting… and it can be just as powerful as the other way around.

For example if you’re a SaaS business there’s likely little ad ROI you can get from people who are already subscribed to your service.

A good strategy can be to target a broad range of people with precise interests and then use Custom Audiences to exclude users who are already active subscribers, helping you save money and be less annoying to your converted customers.



2) Target your LinkedIn network to easily find early adopters

As a startup founder, you have a large, pre-targeted, LinkedIn network (I hope!). Chances are they’re in your same market and could potentially benefit from your product.

When you are in the early stages of building your company, targeting your Linkedin contacts through Facebook Ads can be extremely effective. After all, they already know and trust you, and likely have a high interest in what you’re doing.

On certain experiments we ran, we managed to achieve a 6x ROI improvement by targeting LinkedIn contacts.

It’s extremely simple — here’s how to do it. Just export your Linkedin contacts’ emailsand create a Custom Audience.

Remember, they know you! Make the ad’s creative personal, try to insert your name in it or even use your picture. Don’t consider it as advertising but rather a quick, personal update to your network on what you’re up to (and trust me, people want to know — that’s why there’s LinkedIn-stalking).



3) Grow your user base by targeting similarities

Ok, by now you know that Custom Audiences are great but there’s one caveat that should be obvious: they only allow you to target users you already know. In that sense, they’re not good for expanding your reach. That’s where Lookalike Audiences comes in.

Once you have a decent amount of users (some thousands), create a Custom Audience with them and then generate a Lookalike Audience out of it for each the top countries you support.

When creating the Lookalike Audience, optimize for similarity; you want to be sure you’re targeting users as similar as possible to your customers.

This can be a very effective and simple alternative to targeting with precise interests.

4) Re-activate old users

At AdEspresso we started our list building effort very early: Private beta access, Beta Signup, tons of business cards at events and so on.

Honestly we lost most of those users along the way. They simply joined too early — our product wasn’t good enough yet and was still missing most of the cool features we have now.

But, if those users were interested in AdEspresso back in our early days, then chances are they might still be (even more) interested today. They’ve just forgotten about us.

If you’re in a similar situation, use Custom Audiences to get those users back for another try.

Just remember, they already know you. So when it comes to the Ads’ creative, you can be more personal and emphasize your brand, which they may recognize. Use this as a chance to tell them how much better you’ve become since they last checked in.

The same tactic can be used in many other ways. For example you could target users that installed your mobile app but never used it. You could promote training articles for your products to newly registered users to have them reach the “Aha moment,” and so on.

5) Retargeting potential customers

A lot of potential customers visit your website every day. Yet for most of them you don’t have an email address or Facebook User Id to use in a Custom Audience.

This is where “Audiences from your website” comes in. Audiences from your website is basically a retargeting tool, and one that can bring you some very impressive conversion rates.

You want to retarget just the most relevant users. To do this, you should target everyone that visited a key page of your website — like the pricing page for a SaaS business or the cart page if you’re an eCommerce business — but did not complete the subscription or purchase.

If you have many product categories, it would also be wise to create multiple Audiences from your website to differentiate which kind of products they were interested in and target them with more focused ads.

6) Super-charge your email marketing!

According to Mailchimp’s data  if you’re really good and in the right industry your email marketing activities could have a 30% open rate. This means that on average 70% of your users won’t even open your emails. Pretty frustrating isn’t it?

Sometimes this can be ok, but other times you’re sending out a really important news or promotion and you want to reach all of your users, not just 30% of them. Facebook Ads can help.

Most of today’s email marketing products allow you to export a CSV list of users that didn’t open your emails. Do this and use the list to create a new Custom Audience that you can target on Facebook.

If you want to be even more aggressive, you might also consider targeting users who opened your emails but didn’t click.

7) Mix everything up to create a long term growth machine

This last step is probably the most complex but also the most exciting. Using Facebook Ads you can create a long term growth machine to continually bring in new people to your funnel and move them through it.

This approach is even more important for b2b startups or b2c ones with expensive products that are tough to sell.

Here’s a sample workflow of a 5-campaign setup for a SaaS Startup:



Visitor:  A broad campaign based on precise interests targeted to attract visitors to your blog or website to let them know about you.

Lead: A campaign targeted to users that have already visited the blog (tracked with an Audiences from your website) to have them subscribe to your newsletter to stay updated on your awesome future content. In our targeting options, we’ll exclude a Custom Audience with the emails of everyone who has already subscribed.

Hot Lead: A campaign offering a free eBook (or other freebies) to position yourself as an expert in the market. When downloading the eBook users should fill out a longer form that gives you a detailed profile. This campaign will be targeted to a Custom Audience of all newsletter subscribers and will exclude a Custom Audience with everyone who has already completed a profile.

Customer: It’s time to see the money. Now they know you and respect you as an industry leader. Target a Custom Audience with your hot leads using a campaign pointing to a landing page where users will be able to subscribe to your service. You’ll want to exclude existing customers from this targeting.

Evangelist: Whenever possible, target existing customers to promote new features, special deals and referral programs where they can get discounts by referring new customers.

Finally, once you have enough customers, create a Lookalike Audience based on them and start targeting them instead in Step 1 instead of using precise interests (or you can use both).

Bonus Tips


Everyone should read Facebook’s Terms of Services for Custom Audiences very carefully and comply fully if you don’t want to see your account banned.

Forget about creating Custom Audiences with scraped emails or Facebook Users IDs (Facebook just killed this tactic) for which you have no explicit consent from the users… and, just in case you were wondering, NO, having their email published on a website does not means they’re explicitly authorizing you to use it for advertising 🙂

2. UID for better match rates

Facebook won’t be able to match all the emails with a Facebook Users. You’ll likely be able to target around 70% of the emails you add in a Custom Audiences. If you want to improve this, Facebook User IDs will bring you near to 100%.

If you’re using Facebook login on your site, use the UID instead of the email to create your Custom Audiences.

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500 Startups Achieves Target Quota of Less Than 25% White Males From Stanford

500 Startups announced today the promotion of two new managing partners*, Bedy Yang and Khailee Ng. The company is now even more AWESOME than ever before and currently has over 35 team members across 10 countries who speak 20+ languages. 500 also has $115M in assets under management and has invested in 850+ companies in the past 4 years. And we ate like, 17 green M&Ms last week too.

Over the past three years, Bedy Yang has made over 25 investments in Brazil and 50 investments around the world. She’s truly multicultural (she’s lived in Brazil, China, Germany, Paraguay and the US) and founded Brazil Innovators to bring together Brazil and Silicon Valley. She’s also been intrumental in launching our 500Women Syndicate to support female entrepreneurs, and recently completeted The Kauffman Fellows Program. In short, she’s a badass.

Khailee Ng (who tragically lost a vowel at the tender age of three) manages the 500 Durians fund in Southeast Asia, has been a successful entrepreneur with 2 exits ( acquired by Catcha Group, Groupsmore acquired by Groupon), and has made over 30 investments across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Not to brag, but he started buildling web products at 15 and his first companies at 24. Khailee will focus on 500’s onglobal expansion and building more connections between emerging markets and Silicon Valley.

In addition to promoting talented people on our team, we also recognize the importance of a diverse and global team and portfolio. 500 has invested in over 200 companies that come from outside the US, from across 40+ different countries. The 500 team itself now is over 40% female, about one third of our team was born outside the US, and we speak over 20 languages including: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Indonesian, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bulgarian, Russian, Farsi, Hebrew, and Hillbilly. We’re actively seeking to expand the team to include folks fluent in pig latin & Klingon (neeeeerdz!).

Learn more about our crazy team and global network of founders, investors, and mentors at

*“The title “Partner” is used in accordance with customary business practice in the VC industry and does not indicate legal status in a partnership.” Our grumpy lawyer who wears dad jeans made us say this.