Before You Acquire, Reactivate — How to Reactivate Your Dormant Email List (Includes Scripts)

I recently released The Ultimate Email Playbook — 43 Scripts for Startups, my 78-page tome based on my work helping hundreds of startups step up their email marketing game.

Today I wanted to share some templates and further thoughts on one of the biggest problems in email marketing — how to reactivate dormant subscribers.

We’ll start out with a crash course on dormancy in email marketing, and then get into some templates below.

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While it’s sexy to acquire new users (just google image search “new user acquisition sexy” and you’ll see what I mean), it’s smarter and cheaper to do as much as you can to reactivate the users and subscribers you already have.

Duh!

And yet, if it’s so obvious… why is it that most businesses don’t do reactivation, at all?

In looking through my vault of top emails — including many from my email marketing heros — this came as a shocking observation.

I was receiving email after painstaking email, not opening them, and then getting more of the same. For most of these lists, I had become a fully dormant subscriber (more on that definition later), and yet, I was being treated exactly the same as someone who was opening and engaging with every single message. It’s disappointing.

Between 60% – 75% of subscribers on email lists around the world are dormant, meaning those people haven’t opened an email from that list in 6 months to a year.

It seems obvious, but the reality is that very few businesses are proactively re-engaging dormant subscribers, buying into the distracting sex appeal of new user acquisition.

But, healthy growth is about a lot more than top of funnel activities.

If you’re even thinking about reactivation, you’re already ahead of most businesses — and your competition.

Email can be a very effective (but not the only) way to reactivate users for a few reasons:

1. It’s your OWNED channel, not a rented one.

Retargeting works, but it’s pay-to-play. By contrast, it’s basically FREE to send through reactivation efforts via email.

If users have already given you their email addresses (or you’ve acquired them otherwise), wouldn’t you rather work what you already have?

2. It’s one of the most direct channels in your multichannel mix.

Really good reactivation happens on multiple channels at once; you need to create a crescendo effect to overcome the powerful inertia of dormancy.

While email isn’t the only channel to reactivate…

…you should also pull in paid retargeting, SMS and phone where available, and content marketing as a layer on top of it all…

Email is your bread and butter reactivation channel because your message has the potential to go straight to the user (theoretically).

Later on in this post, I’ll set you up with a few actual email templates you can paste in right now to start working on that dormant list.

What’s a “Dormant” subscriber?

You want to send reactivation messages to a dormant segment of your list to move them up the food chain.

Josh Egan’s User States model maps over to email marketing well, even though the exact intervals are longer when it comes to email subscribers.

New ==> Core ==> Casual ==> Marginal ==> New ==> Dormant ==> Resurrected

userstates

What counts as “dormant” on an email list?

When it comes to email marketing, keep in mind that not everyone is going to interact with your emails every time you send.

Most people may not even interact within a 28 day window, depending on how frequently you send those messages.

For example, if you only sent 1 this month, and they didn’t open that one message, that doesn’t mean you’ve got a dormant user on your hands.

Instead, subscriber engagement — and dormancy — need to be measured against the actual volume of emails that you send.

Not:

“Did they open an email within the last 6 months?”

But instead:

“Did they open one of the last 10 emails we sent them?”

Or whatever number fits for you. It may be fewer than 10, or more, if you’re sending at a higher frequency.

The emails in this next section are designed to wake up users that have fallen dormant.

(Btw, The Ultimate Email Playbook — 43 Scripts for Startups has 43 of these that you can steal immediately.)

TEMPLATE 1: $10 on Amazon

10on-amazon

What all’s going on in this template:

1. A paid survey is a great way to do 2 important things at once:

  • It’s an engagement device
  • It collects customer insights

At the end of your survey is a great time to offer people the chance to stay subscribed, or to unsubscribe, like in the earlier two templates in this section.

2. The subject line is full of psychological triggers. It leverages aspiration, authority and psychological anchoring to a big brand (Amazon), and it uses some great hot words: “You/your,” a number, and a dollar sign.

3. Cheaper than acquisition. This is where things become satisfying — you can set the dollar amount based on an estimate of your subscriber acquisition costs. For many businesses, paying $10 for a reasonably engaged subscriber is not a bad deal.

TEMPLATE 2: Are you still doing that?

are you still doing that

What all’s going on in this template:

1. The subject line uses company name personalization (one of my favorite types). When we see our own first name in a subject line, we think… oh, it’s marketing. I don’t know about you, but no friend of mine has ever written me an email with a subject line starting with “Susan…”

2. It’s also really hard to say no to verifying something. “We’re going through our files to organize for the new quarter and wanted to verify…”  If it’s wrong, we get an itchy urge to correct it. If it’s right, we want to reaffirm it. It also doesn’t seem like it’s a sell.

3. It includes a benefits-focused topic. “Are you still interested in email marketing for startups?” gages whether or not the client is still a potential lead.

4. The “>>” draws extras extra attention to the verification landing page that then opts the subscriber into a reengagement funnel.

4 Golden Rules of Email Reactivation

1. You have nothing to lose. These subscribers are dormant already, so you really can’t “alienate” them further by sending them reactivation messages.

2. Choose ONE of these emails to send for reactivation; don’t send all of them because obviously they each reference a one-time question or opportunity.

3. Seek to understand why and when subscribers became dormant so that you can address your dropoff cliffs through remarketing via email and other channels.

4. NEVER DELETE SUBSCRIBERS because you can always use the emails for retargeting.

Prevent Future Dormancy

Now that you’ve done all this great work to reactivate your subscribers, don’t let it happen again.

Understand WHY your subscribers fell dormant, or unsubscribe, in the first place, then fix it.

Here are the 4 ONLY reasons for email list dormancy and/or churn:

1. Poor lead quality.

You didn’t get high quality leads. For example, if you purchased or otherwise acquired a list that’s actually not a good audience match for your product or service.

2. Email frequency too high.

You emailed too much and annoyed them, but instead of unsubscribing, they just went numb and started categorically ignoring all your messages.

3. Email frequency TOO LOW.

Most businesses — but ESPECIALLY startups for some sad reason — harbor a senseless fear of being “spammy.”

This is totally inane because what makes something “SPAM” is not its send frequency but its relevance and authenticity — both things you can easily control while still maintaining an aggressive campaign frequency.

The sad truth is that infrequent emails trigger unsubscribes or “numb out” dormancy just as frequently. They simply can’t remember who you are or why your stuff is relevant to them.

4. Poor email relevancy.

You sent content that was just plain BAD or not targeted. For example, you have been sending campaigns about women’s fashion to a bunch of young male subscribers.

This sounds silly and obvious to avoid, but it’s not always that easy depending on your subscriber acquisition and tracking efforts.

Retargeting

Have you tried data scraping tools?

A friend of mine has recently built http://rocketreach.co (but there are others as well) which scrapes multiple (up to 50+) sources of data based on parameters that you give it, such as someone’s email address or their name. I have had a lot of success finding personal email addresses that way.

Our identities are all tied together in the interconnected Google world… case in point:

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 8.20.06 AM

Using email addresses to create audiences for ad-based retargeting is the final tool in my reactivation toolbox.

You can do retargeting that’s campaign-specific, offer-specific, or just focused around your brand and building awareness.

If you’re a b2b business, or you otherwise only have people’s work email addresses, you can use a service like RocketReach to match those work addresses to personal, or directly to Facebook UIDs, to set up the foundation for your retargeting efforts.

Conclusion

A dormant list is an unfortunate email marketing reality when you’ve worked hard (or paid lots) to acquire and nurture those subscribers.

But, as with all growth, there’s always something you can do.

Examine and understand your drop-off points — where and why your subscribers are falling asleep on you — and then test out targeted reactivation campaigns like the one above to bring them back.

Remember, you have nothing to lose.

To get more copyable templates (43 to be exact), and learn my other secrets for startup email marketing, and to check out The Ultimate Email Playbook — 43 Scripts for Startups.

 

Announcing Batch 16 — 500’s Largest Cohort EVARRRRR!

500 Startups is proud to bring you Batch 16, the largest accelerator cohort in 500 Startups history with 53 companies in total.

Batch 16 has five major industry themes:

  • FinTech
  • Digital Health
  • ViceTech
  • HR/workforce development
  • SportsTech

A majority of the Batch 16 companies are later-stage seed companies making between $10,000 and $100,000 per month in revenue. As has been the case with recent batches in the 500 Startups accelerator, they will focus on distribution and fundraising.

Diversity of the accelerator company founders remains strong: 26% of Batch 16 have at least one female founder and 32% are from outside Silicon Valley or the U.S.

States represented include:

  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Iowa
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • North Dakota
  • Maryland

Countries represented include:

  • Brazil
  • India
  • Sweden
  • China
  • Estonia
  • Russia
  • Indonesia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • United Kingdom
  • Serbia
  • Argentina
  • Spain
  • Poland
  • Australia
  • Ecuador
  • Indonesia
  • S.A.
  • and our first accelerator company from Nigeria

To learn more about the companies see the TechCrunch article here.

More details on the latest additions to the 500 Family below.

Finally, applications for Batch 17 are now open. Apply here.

Ader

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Ader helps brands reach their audience via Twitch streamers and gaming blogs. It’s a platform that connects brands to Twitch influencers looking for sponsorship opportunities. Influencers benefit as the majority of their viewers use AdBlock, meaning that they can’t be reached through traditional advertising, resulting in a loss of revenue for the influencer. Sponsors benefit for a few reasons: First, they gain access to the trust between an influencer and his/her audience. Second, they are able to get live feedback during an endorsement to better understand how their product/service is received by the targeted audience. Third, they are able to work with multiple smaller influencers, rather than being forced to work with the largest, most expensive influencers. This enables sponsors to reach a similar audience size at a fraction of the cost.

 

Albert

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Albert provides financial advice for free. Albert connects to all of your accounts, provides real life recommendations—like repaying credit card debt with a low-interest loan, getting renter’s insurance, or setting up the right retirement plan—and lets you take action directly from the app. Albert is always humming along quietly in the background, making sure that you’re making the best financial decisions.

Albert partners with handpicked financial institutions—like banks, lenders, and insurers—to offer their services within Albert’s app. They’ve already done the research, developed the relationships, and integrated the technology to make the process as seamless as possible for you.

 

Ample

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Ample is an optimized meal designed for convenience while maximizing energy and health. Made of completely natural ingredients, Ample is free of soy, GMOs, and gluten. It provides every vitamin and mineral we need on a daily basis from primarily plant-based sources, and also maximizes and digestive health by supporting your gut microbiome.

Ample comes in an efficient powder within a bottle, so that your “meal prep” will take all of one minute: add water, shake, and drink. Powder also allows us to safely ship Ample without refrigeration to your door, minimize the cost and environmental damage of shipping water across the country, and maximize nutrition content over a long-shelf life.

 

Angel Sensor

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Angel Sensor is the only wearable designed as an open platform for mobile health. It tracks heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, steps, sleep quality, calories, acceleration, and orientation. It offers unrestricted, real time API to its sensors and full ownership of the data for both developers and consumers.

 

Arka

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Arka sources the finest packaging within your budget and uses the fulfillment locations that fit your needs. Any type of packaging, for any type of product. They’ve created a platform that handles all the proofing and production paperwork, with a quick turnaround, without the hassle that’s involved in the traditional packaging and fulfillment processes.

 

ArrowPass

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ArrowPass is an NFC-based secure gate control and cashless closed-loop payment solution for events. It works in the most challenging environments, not requiring any connectivity. The patent pending platform has been flawlessly field tested at three events this Summer. PayPass-enabled MasterCard can serve as an ArrowPass ticket/cashless device. This dual card function dramatically increases customer retention between events and conversion of event goers into bank product holders.

 

Bglamor

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Bglamor is an international trading platform that specializes in buying popular items for women such as clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, underwear, and others. They recommend the best products in accordance with your preferences.

Bglamor attracts top fashionistas and fashion industry experts providing you with the latest fashion trends.

 

Bigfinite

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Bigfinite provides simple solutions to the analysis and control of complex needs of industrial processes in Biotech and Pharma, covering all the supply chain, from R+D to patient dispensing. They offer a SAAS application for industrial use, under the philosophy of “Internet of Things”, that can be quickly implemented, without having to adapt or change the currently existing systems and with a customer ROI.

 

BottlesTonight

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BottlesTonight is a simplified bottle service booking and concierge reservation app. You can save up to 70% off each bottle when you book with BottlesTonight. You don’t have to wait in any more lines or experience cover charges. BottlesTonight allows you to enjoy your own private area, bring back new friends, and never miss your favorite DJs!

 

BrewPublik

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BrewPublik is a beer discovery and beer delivery platform. You tell them what you like, and then based on your personal preferences, they pick out beers that you are sure to love. Then those beers arrive at your door every month. It’s like a monthly beer Christmas. You never know what you are going to get, but each crate is delivered with your personal preferences in mind.

 

Buildcon

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Buildcon is construction management web and mobile app which revolutionizes the way project managers and engineers organize themselves, by making their communication and collaboration instant with all data in one place. It’s a hassle-free, easy to use construction management tool that helps cut the costs and meet the deadlines, with full control over one or more construction projects.

 

Cognuse

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Cognuse offers software solutions for neurological disease management and rehabilitation. Surrounded by like-minded innovators at the Johnson and Johnson Innovation in San Diego, they strive to design highly integrative digital tools to help guide clients through the recovery process from start to finish.

 

EasyTen

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EasyTen is a mobile app that helps you learn any language with ten words a day. 20 minutes a day is all it takes to succeed with EasyTen. You can start at any level and can learn up to eleven languages so far.

 

Faception

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Faception can predict online behavior from face images and is able to analyze a crowd and find your best paying users. They encode facial appearances in proprietary image descriptors and train state of the art machine learning algorithms to predict personal traits, capabilities, and online behaviors.

 

Finova Financial

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Finova Financial is a socially responsible technology based lender that is transforming the traditional $5.3 Billion U.S. Title Lending market by applying modern technology, advanced analytics, and a transparent fee structure. Finova clients benefit from instant financing decisions, loan costs that are 50% lower than the national average, immediate access to capital and a pathway to financial health all optimized for the internet and mobile devices. Key to this process is the Finova Score, their proprietary constantly learning credit scoring system designed to assess consumers with bad or no credit which allows us to make a funding decision immediately and provide the consumer with access to funds in as little as 15 minutes. Finova’s Vehicle Equity Line of Credit (VELOC) breaks the traditional 30 day title loan debt trap and provides consumers with a 12 month runway back to financial health.

 

FoxType

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FoxType offers a free Gmail plugin that helps you write in a more polite, friendly tone. They rate the politeness of your sentences. They also help re-write your sentences to sound more polite.

 

HandStack

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Handstack is a web & mobile platform that helps community organizations coordinate volunteers and promote events locally. They provide a real-time task list so you don’t have to deal with any more crazy-long email threads. All volunteers can easily collaborate with their team and community partners. Anyone can offer to help with a task and mark it off when they’re done. Handstack also provides a location-based event publicity tool. This allows you to reach out to your neighbors, not just your Facebook and Twitter friends. Their geolocation publicity tool helps people nearby to find your event.

Handstack helps build real movement and impact. Everyone has different talents and resources, and they want to help organizations mobilize all talents and resources from people involved.

 

Float

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Float is a mobile app and an online tool providing easy access to high quality credit. Easy as in, 180 seconds from now you could be online shopping with your Float card, for your own pair of Puma x Rihanna Creepers. With typical banking institutions, this issuance period of a credit card is between 3 to 10 business days (not Float’s 180 seconds).

Float looks at your income and spending habits, rather than credit history and FICO score, and quickly onboards members with personalized terms based on financial capacity. This creates an opportunity for young consumers to build a new type of credit.

 

iBillionaire

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iBillionaire tracks what Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman and other financial titans are buying and selling. Using SEC filings, the data is fed automatically into the app, though the iBillionaire team has a data analyst on staff who spot checks. The app also comes with a Google news feed that automatically updates news about the billionaires and the stocks they own. iBillionaire was created to give individual investors easy access to strategies used by the most well-known billionaires in the world. Users will be among the first to know when these billionaires make changes to their portfolios.

There are bar charts that show quarterly changes to holdings and pie charts showing how each portfolio is allocated. And investors can enter in their own portfolios to see how they fare against the big guys. iBillionaire also sends out individual alerts that show how a user’s portfolio stacks up against those of the billionaires.

 

iGrow

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iGrow is a platform for green infrastructure that can be used by anyone who is engaged in this field. iGrow provides a system for the supervision and administration activities to plant crops, so that whatever you plant can be monitored to track its progress over time as easily as you open your Facebook or Twitter account.

iGrow integrates all resources necessary for the growth of a productive tree – from seed to harvest in the future. In iGrow system you can plant a tree even if you do not own the land and resources of any kind. Through a system of Certificates of Ownership Trees (SKP), you can have productive trees on your own without having to buy land.

A supervision and administration system in iGrow allows your garden to be managed by professionals in the field – and from time to time there are independent experts to verify the work of these professionals.

iGrow provides a dashboard that can be followed by anyone. Dashboard provides information in real-time of all the other trees that have been planted together, wherever located.

 

Indemand

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Indemand is a plug and play platform for building your own on-demand store or service. It allows anyone to set up their own on-demand store in a matter of minutes, without the need for any technical expertise. Think Shopify for the on-demand economy.

 

Ingu Solutions

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Ingu Solutions specializes in monitoring inaccessible or hazardous environments, offering measurement and marketing solutions to challenges that cannot be solved by traditional methods. Experienced in working with leading multinational firms and various national governments, Ingu Solutions offers the necessary intercontinental experience and collaborative networks to integrate operations across national borders.

 

MaestroConference

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MaestroConference is the leader in Social Conferencing, a technology that allows people to participate in large-scale, truly interactive virtual events featuring real conversations. Using social conferencing, thousands of people can convene around a topic or cause, engage in small group conversation to learn and share, and inspire one another to action and change.

Their social conferencing platform and its unique patent-pending features are dramatically more engaging than passive video or audio streaming, typing-based social media, or 1-to-many conference calls or webinars – allowing their clients to teach, inspire and sell more effectively.

Their customers include BarackObama.com/Organizing for America, the Democratic National Committee, numerous best-selling authors such as Jack Canfield, Jean Houston, and Barbara Marx Hubbard, MoveOn.org, the Sierra Club, Greenopolis/Waste Management, and over 700 others in more than 15 countries.

 

Manybot

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Manybot allows you to create a telegram bot without coding. Manybot is the most feature rich platform for bot creation. They combine that power with the simplicity of use. That is why over 17,000 bots are managed through their platform sending more than 10 million messages a day. Text, pictures, videos, files – you can send anything to your users. With Manybot, there is no limit on the length of the post, so you can send multiple messages in a single update. Custom commands let your bot reply with a predefined message or a random message from a list. You can use custom commands to add interactive features to your bot, for example, display best posts of the week, random photo, contact information or even a downloadable list of tracks of your band.

 

Mentimeter

mentimeter-logo

Mentimeter is an online tool where presenters can convert audience opinion into knowledge in real-time by letting them vote using their mobile phone, tablet or computers. Mentimeter was founded by graduates from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and are deeply involved in the Stockholm technology community. They’re all living, breathing and learning from other successful Swedish startups. Mentimeter has acquired paying customers from over 20 countries and among those are McKinsey, Accenture, H&M, Microsoft, Ericsson, Telefonica, Imperial College, KLM and EF Education.

 

M-vendr

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M-vendr is a UK based technology company that through its mobile POS apps, prepaid value distribution and payment aggregation solutions is revolutionizing the way pre-paid voucher products, payments and financial services, are delivered to customers across the globe. Their mission is to take the complexity of multi-channel pre-paid product distribution, cash payment processing and translating it into a convenient, simple and accessible all in one solution. By leveraging the power of cloud and mobile technologies, they are building the fastest growing service point network comprising of small retailers, market traders and informal traders offering a wide range of products and services to customers in their local communities from our mobile POS app.

 

Neutun

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Neutun is novel tracking software for epileptics through smartwatches and wearables. Their technology is device agnostic, non-invasive and utilizes accessible wearables. They provide a seizure tracking tool for people living with epilepsy.

 

nurseVersity

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nurseVersity offers a personalized learning path with targeted recommendations for all nursing students preparing for exams, certifications, and licensing including the NCLEX. nurseVersity specializes in offering supplemental practice exams, flashcards, and video to help all nursing students increase their scores. All of their products and content were designed by students who know what’s tested, and then reviewed and validated by nurse educators. Overall, each of the practice tests are designed to help prepare students for the nursing boards and help raise class exam scores.

 

OpenSponsorship

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OpenSponsorship is the first online platform solely focused on allowing companies to search, connect, and sponsor opportunities within professional sports. Properties are listed and managed directly by the people in the sports industry who own or represent the rights, so companies are confident they are communicating directly with the correct contact to find the best deal available.

Their team is global, innovative, sporty and excited about Opening up the world of Sponsorship. They combine tech experience from Fortune 500 firms and sports agency experience in America, Europe and Asia representing top companies, leading athletes, premier teams and international federations.

Their goal is to create an efficient and effective forum for sponsorship by bringing all types of rights holders together so companies, regardless of size and scope, can plan and implement their sponsorship strategies using OpenSponsorship. It’s as easy as Search, Connect, and Sponsor.

 

Phenom

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Phenom is a mobile app for athletes to show off their style and hustle. Most brands and training providers claim to be the best, but without the ability to test-drive every option, how do athletes really know? They look to their peers. Phenom will establish the first peer-driven product exploration tool fueled by real athletes, in real-time. From buying a new product to vetting a trainer, camp or combine, Phenom will become the easiest way for athletes to get the inspiration, advice, product information, and professional reviews they need to win.

 

Pilotly

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Pilotly allows you to watch exclusive pilot TV shows and have the opportunity to be the first to tell Hollywood what you think. Their vision is to enable content creators to have meaningful engagements with audiences around the world, such that they can gather detailed feedback to better business outcomes, both near term and long-range.

 

Podozi

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Podozi is a beauty lifestyle eCommerce company that offers an engaging and personalized shopping experience to members (Premium and non-premium) through a portfolio of beauty and personal care brands. Podozi continues to change the way women shop for beauty and personal care brands, giving members great offers from every transaction.

 

Qualio

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Qualio is transforming compliance for small and mid sized organizations. Qualio is a quality management system, but not as you know it – think powerful reporting, increased transparency, and incredible ease of use. Based in the heart of Dublin city, they work with customers and industry partners to craft the best solutions to reduce the burden of managing quality & compliance.

Qualio is your all-in-one SOP, document control and training solution. Automate the creation, review, approval and management of Policies, Procedures, Work Instructions, Forms and related content. Version control all your important quality documents. Effortlessly capture training and track progress in real-time.

 

Qwil

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Qwil is empowering the 1099 workforce. They provide on-demand pay for the on-demand worker. By leveraging support for 1099ers across accounting, tax and legal, 1099ers using Qwil can get paid instantly for work performed and avoid waiting for payment and invoicing cycles.

 

RapidAPI

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RapidAPI allows you to instantly make your apps more awesome, with no extra effort. You can create a rich back end for your app, with real-time data and notifications and 3rd party APIs integration to give your users the best experience possible.

 

Resource

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Resource uses proprietary software combined with expert human sourcing to find and engage the highest potential candidates, sending interested responses directly to your inbox. We bring together the best practices in data science, advanced Boolean logic, human sourcing, lead generation and automation to identify and attract top performers on your behalf, saving you hours of time.

Resource is for: Founders and Execs who don’t have time to scour the web and personally engage top candidates; Recruiters who wish they had sourcing support and can focus their time on interviewing and closing; Heads of Talent looking to make their team 10x more productive without hiring sourcers in-house.

Resource is a team of recruiters and sourcers with experience at some of the world’s fastest growing companies. They’ve seen first-hand the advantage a dedicated sourcing operation gives scaling companies, and they’re on a mission to bring that sourcing firepower to everyone.

 

Riide

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Riide has created an urban style single speed electric bike that’s extremely light weight, nearly silent to operate and very well balanced. It offers quality components that don’t rattle, matching all-black frame and motor design, regenerative braking. Additionally, it includes a throttle mode only (no pedal assist), battery is well positioned and hidden but

not removable.

 

Rize

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Rize automates the saving process for Millennials through technology and behavioral science. Rize helps you: Figure out how much you can/should save each month; Pick smart financial goals to put that money towards; Automate saving by moving the right amount of money from your checking account to your Rize account after each paycheck and allocating it to your goals; and Continuously engage with data on your savings, personalized nudges on how to save more, and education on relevant money topics.

 

Romit

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Romit is like PayPal for underserved customers and industries. Romit gives underserved industries high tech payment processing tools that mitigate chargeback risk and fraud. Today, over 25,000 customers securely store payment methods, view transactions, manage merchants and access a fast channel to dispute resolution. There are over $560bn worth of payments / year across Romit’s targeted industries.

 

Simplifund

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Simplifund is a San Francisco based financial enterprise software company, which provides access to and facilitates the distribution of alternative investments.

 

Tackl

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Tackl is reinventing university career centers by connecting university talents and companies directly and proactively. They provide students unique and dynamic career development opportunities with real-world projects while offering companies direct access to talent information with keyword search.

 

TagMonkey

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TagMonkey is a platform to make RFID and IoT simple to use and develop for. Users can deploy hardware, connect it to the cloud, and start to plug into applications.

 

The Mars Reel

The Mars Reel is a basketball-focused international news & multimedia outlet delivering hoops coverage from high school to the pros, via original video and sports reporting.

 

Ticktate

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Ticktate is the place where fans get to dictate the ticket process. Ticktate removes the barriers between you, your favorite artists and the venues you love. Ticktate was started by fans, for fans. They live for live music, not tickets.

 

Transtutors.com

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Transtutors.com provides assignment and homework help to university and school students 24*7 across the globe. A community of experts helps students in understanding and doing their assignments in a timely fashion avoiding last minute stress. They have a team of 20000+ Qualified Academicians, Experts and Tutors who come together to help students with their problems to provide with Better Education Services and Learning Opportunities Through its focused modules on Homework Help and preparation for examinations, their team has helped thousands of students across globe to achieve stupendous success in their school and college assignments course curriculum and exams.

 

UpCraft Club

upcraft

UpCraft Club is the first modern sewing association for people who especially love using digital patterns. Members receive great benefits and their membership is more than paid for every month. They’re also a new type of curated pattern shop. What makes their concept new is that they have created a set of standards that their customers have told them are important to them when choosing to purchase a digital pattern.

 

Voyajoy

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Voyajoy offers full service vacation rental property management. They provide assistance with advertising and marketing management, account management, timely house keeping, contractors to maintain the quality of your home, assistance with administrative work, and interior design recommendations.

 

WorkAmerica

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WorkAmerica provides online recruiting services for employers in the Skilled Trades, Allied Health and IT. They develop talent pipelines for employers that draw from the wealth of credentialed, experienced talent graduating from our nation’s accredited community colleges and vocational schools. They service employers across multiple industries, including primarily healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and construction. Their mission is to close the skills gap for employers and facilitate access to middle-skill, living wage jobs for job seekers by streamlining the path from vocational education to employment.

 

Workgeni.us

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Workgeni.us is an early stage company focused on helping precariously employed people in the US through technology, starting with people working in the on-demand economy. For workers, they provide full employment and make it easy to find enough work by seamlessly working for multiple on-demand services with their app. For companies, they provide real-time access to vetted workers giving companies the flexibility of 1099 with the control of W2. They alleviate the operational hassle of finding, acquiring and retaining staff as well as removing legal risk and liability.

 

Worthix

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Worthix is a scientifically designed customer survey which gives you the power to drive customers to positive decisions by pinpointing top influencers.

 

YoDerm

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YoDerm is a mobile-optimized digital platform that allows patients suffering from acne to connect directly with board-certified dermatologists from any computer or mobile device. In the U.S., the average wait to see a dermatologist is five weeks and combined with the commute to the office and sitting in the waiting room, time really adds up. YoDerm allows patients to complete the registration and start a consult in just minutes from the comfort and convenience of their home. Within hours, your YoDerm dermatologist will create a personalized treatment plan and send in any necessary prescriptions to the patient’s local pharmacy of choice.

As it is a very visual condition, doctors have been diagnosing acne through images for years. By utilizing the latest in telemedicine, which capitalizes on mobile and web technology to remotely deliver high-quality healthcare services, YoDerm patients are just a few clicks, taps or swipes away from clear, acne-free skin.

 

YouStake

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YouStake is the first fully integrated sports staking and sponsorship platform that allows the masses to invest in skilled sports players for entry in live events. YouStake provides the technology platform needed for backers to invest in player entry fees, creates a real fantasy sports experience between fans and players through direct social interaction, and establishes a simple, secure, and transparent marketplace where players and backers both share in the winnings and excitement.

More coverage: Techcrunch

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Inside the 500 Accelerator, Week 0: Growing Fast & Getting (Highly) Uncomfortable

This is the first post in a weekly series from founder Troy Sultan and his team at Resource, currently a part of 500 Accelerator Batch 16. 

Troy will be documenting Resource’s trials and wins throughout Batch 16, so you’ll get an (only mildly censored 🙂 look behind the scenes at the 500 Accelerator. 

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[continued]

It’s crucial we’re on the same page before starting our journey through 500— really, truly on the same page. All elephants out of the room, pain points alleviated, and with a solid plan for how we’ll succeed.

This starts with me and my ability to lead and communicate. I’m vowing now to do a better job keeping us aligned as a team. This as a large piece of my job and responsibility. I’ll put in the work and I need you to do the same. We should keep an open mind and understand this will be a period of growth — not just for the company but for each of us personally. With growth comes discomfort, so let’s embrace it.

This is rough but covers what’s on my mind. It will evolve. Add to it what you feel strongly about, and let’s refine down to a list that guides our behavior/growth through the program. Guiding principles? We’ll only go through an accelerator once, so let’s make the most of it.

We’re here to accelerate our growth, so let’s plan to be uncomfortable as hell.

1. Think long-term

Constantly thinking for the long-term will turn seemingly tough calls into easy ones. It’s not about where we are in the next few months — it’s about where we are in 10, 20, 30 years. We’re playing the long game.

Let’s celebrate small wins but not forget we still have years of work to do.

2. We’re gonna fuck up

We’re new to this and we’ll make mistakes — lots of them. Let’s make them, learn from them and move on. Help each other: if you weren’t the one to get us into the bad situation, be the one who gets us out.

3. TOE: Team Over Everything

It’s us against the world. We should spend our cycles fighting the forces trying to kill us, not fighting each other. The habits we form now will be picked up by everyone who joins us as we grow.

Let’s constantly ask, “are things uncomfortable between us?” If the answer is yes, that’s our trigger to have a discussion. Brushing issues under the rug jeopardizes what we’re creating in the long-term. Let’s “hug the elephant in the room.”

4. First rule of improv: make others look good

Wade — this is my favorite business lesson you’ve taught me. Always make the others look good. Always have each other’s back. This is especially important during 500 where we’ll meet a lot of people and won’t all be present for every conversation.

5. Play to our strengths

Do what we do best; hire for the rest.

We’ll continue to provide value wherever needed, but it’s important we recognize our strengths and develop our roles towards them as we grow, hiring great people where we’re weak.

6. Invest in ourselves

A company is no more than an aggregate of people. So to grow our company, we have to grow ourselves. That means keeping our minds and bodies healthy. If you need a day to clear your head, take it — we’ll cover for you.

We’ll be doing a lot of chair-sitting, caffeine-drinking and screen-staring. If you feel shitty physically, you’ll feel shitty mentally.

Go for runs, do walking meetings, whatever feels right. Get comfortable. Let your quirks develop.

7. Don’t get caught up in the SV circle jerk

Lots of shiny things will beg for our attention. Let’s not forget why we’re here: to build an impactful company. Let’s be uber-supportive of our batchmates but avoid getting caught up in doing what’s trendy. We’ll raise when we’re ready; we’ll hire when we’re ready — regardless of what everyone else is doing or saying.

Let’s have fun but let’s stay focused.

8. Listen to everything, but act selectively 

We’ll be surrounded by smart people with great ideas. If we listen to them all, we’ll drown. We each have to choose what to use and what to ignore.

Let’s be exceptional listeners but pride ourselves on doing only what’s important.

9. Always be recruiting

The three of us are just the seed. The most impactful way we can ever spend our time is convincing the smartest, most well-aligned people we know to join our journey. Let’s never let recruiting be “outsourced” to a team in the corner.

If we successfully build this into the DNA of the company, it’ll be a competitive advantage in the long-run.

10. Trust our instincts

Data is important and we’ll rely on it plenty. Equally important though, is vision. But game-changing ideas don’t come from micro-experiments.

Trust the future we see. Testing and user feedback will only help optimize the route we take to get there. We know our business will change so let’s build for the mission, not just today’s iteration.

11. Stay proactive

If we let them, the daily firefights will steal our cycles. Let’s allocate time to get ahead — and protect it.

Let’s dedicate time for talking about the future. Pulling our heads out of the weeds regularly and letting ourselves dream will prove tremendously important.

12. Do it for the story

 TroySultan2Whether we succeed or fail, the time we’re spending now, together, will be a chapter in our life story. Let’s fill it with things we’ll be proud of later.

It’ll be hard. We’ll mess up. Let’s keep our heads up and our grind on and we’ll accomplish exactly what we’re after. It’s just a matter of time.

-Troy

Is your company hiring? Check out Resource’s modern candidate sourcing and outreach.

If you liked this article, please share it through one of the channels here:

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Or, let Troy know your thoughts on twitter or by email at [ troy at idklabs.com ].

BATCH 17 ALREADY?? YUP, APPLY HERE

Countdown to Venture Capital Unlocked – 4 spots left

Its T minus 2 weeks until our next session of Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing.

We are currently in the final stages of selecting participants for our joint program with the Stanford Center for Professional Development that runs Feb 8th – 19th. As of now, there are only four spots left (apply here.)

Speaker List

 

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Our visiting instructor and speaker list so far includes:

  • Mark Suster (Upfront Ventures)
  • David Hornik (August Capital)
  • Judith Elsea (Weathergage Capital)
  • Tim Draper (Draper Fisher Jurvetson)
  • Jason Calacanis (Launch, Inside.com)
  • Aydin Senkut (Felicis Ventures)
  • Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC)
  • and many others

Speakers will be opening up to program participants about the challenges they’ve faced in early stage tech investing, including how to access to deal flow, which companies to say “no” to, how they built out star portfolios, and how they’ve helped the world’s top companies grow and scale.

The group of participants is once again shaping up to be a diverse representation of the future of venture capital.

Agenda

Week 1 

  • An overview of the venture capital industry and recent trends
  • Individual investment theses
  • A look at how to assess opportunities and select companies
  • Hear from experts from various verticals, who will be sharing their investment theses and portfolios.

Week 2 

  • Deep dive into the details of how to build an accelerator or set up a fund
  • Visits to top accelerators and VC funds in the Valley in order to see a range of approaches.

Throughout the program, participants will be working with real companies that are currently fundraising and will have a chance to interact with founders at Preview Day and Demo Day.

They will be undertaking a deeper analysis of the pitches with the guidance of Stanford professors and 500 partners, and may even decide to write a few checks.

The week culminates with participants presenting the projects they worked on throughout the program as well as a certificate ceremony.

Check out the preliminary agenda here.

Program Leadership

The program will be led by faculty from Stanford Center for Professional Development (Mike Lyons, Michael Lepech and Pedram Mokrian) and 500 Startups’ managing partners Dave McClure and Bedy Yang.

There are 4 spots remaining. Apply at 500.vc/apply.

Finally, while the most of the material will not be recorded or available to the public, here’s one sample from last year’s program with guest speaker Jason Calacanis.

In this video, Jason reveals what a new investor needs to do to become someone who gets chased by deals, and not the other way around.

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Announcing Distro Dojo Malaysia 2016

Growth marketing is about to blow up Southeast Asia — again.

IMG_4046 (1)500 Distro’s 10 week Distro Dojo growth program for post-seed companies is now accepting applications for the Spring 2016 cohort in Kuala Lumpur, from March 1 through May 15.

Startup life in Southeast Asia isn’t all just coconuts and laksa.

Technology adoption is exploding in Southeast Asia — at a rate that eclipses the (seemingly rapid) changes mature Western markets are logging.

Customer needs — and the channels to reach them — adapt fast, which makes rapid and innovative growth marketing experimentation extra critical for Southeast Asia’s startups.

Our fall cohort brought in 7 companies from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to work hard on growth optimization and scale, under the guidance of the 500 Distro team and local mentors, including pros from Facebook, Google and Freelancer.com.

Real growth is a process that can’t — and shouldn’t — be confined to a 10-week bootcamp.

But, intensive sprints, with access to master practitioners, DO set companies up with the virtuous cycle of growth experimentation and optimization that they’ll need as they grow (even) more.

Below a few wins from our inaugural Distro Dojo in Southeast Asia, in partnership with MaGIC who generously provide space and facilities at their Cyberjaya campus, and help support operations.

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At the end of this post, you’ll find more details on how to apply. 

GrabTaxi is Southeast Asia’s fastest growing taxi and private car booking app, and is the region’s unicorn with their $250M Series D round.

Though already a high-growth, later-stage company, GrabTaxi used their time in the Distro Dojo to improve paid-acquisition and optimizing unit economics, and ended the program with 36% MoM new user growth in Malaysia alone.

bukalapak

Bukalapak is an Indonesia-based online consumer-to-consumer marketplace with over $80M in transactions during 2014, mainly in fashion, gadgets and hobbies

35% of Indonesia (with it total population of 250 million people) does its purchasing via smartphones. Bukalapak has created a multi-platform, multi-vertical e-commerce experience specifically designed to win in this market.

As part of the Dojo, Bukalapak received hands-on product and new user acquisition help and logged a 33% increase in on-site conversions, 66% increase in new app installs while simultaneously reducing CPA by 58%.

Kitabisa

Kitabisa is a fundraising platform for social causes, and is Indonesia’s first platform connecting causes with transacting donors online.

The company grew their campaigner user base grew by 10X by the end of the program.

kfit

KFit is a mobile app that provides access to fitness studios in 6 cities across Asia Pacific: Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, with plans of expanding to 20 cities in the next 18 months.

During the Dojo, KFit focused on their customer acquisition and reduced their cost-per-install by 70%.

monkimun

Monkimun is a language learning platform for kids, with good traction at over 1M users.

Monkimum worked on increasing engagement and retention of their user base and ended the program with a 68.5% increase in retention and 100% increase in in-app engagement metrics as a results of a relentless pace of product and UX optimizations, other later-funnel growth optimizations, and off-app support through email.

Next academy

Next Academy is a coding school focused on freelancers and entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.

By focusing on operationalizing their customer acquisition, including experiments with offline growth techniques, Next Academy were able to 2X revenue in 10 weeks.

shoppr

Shoppr is a personalized fashion discovery and purchase app with strong tie-ins to regional fashion bloggers and influencers, and one-click from browse to purchase.

The company focused on  retention and engagement techniques during the Distro Dojo, and were able to grow their weekly active users by 50% week-over-week consistently while also growing in-app engagement at a steady rate of 15%.

Here more about the Dojo experience.

APPLY

If you’re a post-seed, pre-A startup with proven product-market fit, ability and desire to strongly prioritize growth during the full 10 week program, and are focused on the ASEAN region, apply here:

http://accelerator.mymagic.my/en/distrodojo/

 

Kuala Lumpur Skyline photo: CFI

Where Are They Now?

We’re excited to announce the return of our flagship VC training program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing (formerly called IGSVI). 500 Startups, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development, will be once again running this popular two-week program. In this program, individuals will learn 500s investment playbook and gain firsthand access to world-famous Silicon Valley VCs, Angels, SV startups and entrepreneurs (including 500’s portfolio). This session will run from February 8-19, 2016. For more information and to apply, please visit: 500.vc/apply

500 Diversity Scholarship

We’re pleased to announce that we will be offering several 12K scholarships to selected investors from backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in venture capital, including women and candidates from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and geographies. Candidates must have an investment budget of less than 1M to qualify for the Diversity Scholarship.

In the spirit of recognizing some of our diverse participants (and hopefully encouraging more to apply), we’ve highlighted three women that have taken their careers to new heights with the applied knowledge of this program. In the third part of this series, we sat down with Katherine Hague, Creator of Female Funders and Co-Founder of ShopLocket.

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Katherine Hague (@Katherinehague) Creator of Female Funders and Co-Founder of ShopLocket. Read more about her community of female angel investors here.

Can you please tell us a little bit about your background?

I grew up in Toronto, Canada and now split my time between Toronto and San Francisco.

I started my first venture-backed company 4 years ago at the age of 21. It was made possible by my first angel investor who put $10,000 into the company. That investment was the money we needed to launch. We went on to join an accelerator and raise a venture capital round from investors like Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, and ultimately sold the company just two years later, when I was 23.

After selling my company I started doing a little bit of angel investing. I heard about VC Unlocked and the scholarship program for women and applied right away. I saw the program as a great way to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of the VC world, to build my network, and to build my confidence as an investor.

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What are you working on now?

Coming into the VC Unlocked program I knew my passions centered around supporting female entrepreneurs and investors. While 18% of startups today are led by women, only 2.7% of venture capital funding goes to female CEOs. The same similarity biases that hurts women today when they are pitching to male VCs could help change the numbers if we get more women on the other side of the table as investors.

Coming out of VC Unlocked, I decided to take my passion to the next level and launched Female Funders as a community for female angels. Since launching in August, the project has been featured by Techcrunch, MarketWatch, Levo League, and Forbes to name a few. Today the community has over 750 members and we’re on a mission to get 1000 women to make their first investment by Fall 2016. We have interviewed some of the biggest names in angel investment, are running an 8 city breakfast series in the new year, launched the first online Angel School for female investors, and even started writing a book for O’Reilly Media — “Funded: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Your First Round “— which will be coming out early 2016.

It has been a whirlwind and I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the VC Unlocked community!

Are you using any of the concepts taught at the program in your work today?

Yes! The program really helped me understand the inner workings of syndicates and venture funds, which has help enormously as we look to scale the Female Funders network. Everything we learnt around sourcing deals, typical valuations, different global markets, and portfolio building has also been very helpful in directing my personal investments and has helped guide the development of the Female Funders resources offered to our community.

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If you had to name one key outcome of the program, what would that be?

I am a more confident investor. I’m less worried that there is some secret to venture capital investing that I am missing. I also feel like I am really part of the 500 Startups community. The VC Unlocked class and the 500 Startups partners have been very supportive every step of the way. I feel honored to be part of such an incredible group.

What advice do you have for a women who are interested in becoming investors?

Writing your first check can seem scary, but it’s also one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have. Investing in early stage companies is about so much more than just financial return. It’s a way to build your network, to learn about new industries, and to change the world. Start small, but the most important thing is to get started. Programs like VC Unlocked will give you the network and confidence you need to get started.

Missed the first and second part of this series? Learn more about Paula Schwarz and Pocket Sun’s journeys after completing VC Unlocked.