500 Startups Launches its First Distro Bootcamp in Israel

500 Startups has launched its first “distro bootcamp” in Israel in partnership with Google, Amazon AWS, Poalim Hi-Tech, Meitar and WeWork and has selected 9 B2B companies for its first cohort.

Distro Bootcamp is a selective 4 week education program specifically designed from the ground up to help pre-seed and seed stage companies develop a systematic approach to reach product market fit, and assist founders with sales, marketing and distribution.

The program is uncompromisingly focused on actionable training and taught by the 500 Startups in-house distribution team from San Francisco and London with 1-on-1 sessions with International and local entrepreneurs.

The program stems from and is a shorter, compact version of our Series A program that runs globally with 12 different locations since 2015.

Adam Benayoun, 500 Startups Israeli Venture Partner says:

“Israel is often praised for being home to the most startups and venture capital per capita, however while Israel has produced a great number of startups – many are still struggling to reach product market fit. Marketing and distribution expertise is exactly what we are hoping to bring to Israel through the Distro Bootcamp to solve that problem.”

Startups in the bootcamp will have access to the distribution team and 500 Startups’ large network of mentors and partners to monitor their progress. Additionally, each company is given $25k in funding earmarked for marketing experiment in exchange for 1% of the company.

Maya Gura – CEO and co-founder at MissBeez (a 500 Startups portfolio company) says:

“My experience with Adam and the team at 500 Startups was very unusual as it’s rare to meet investors who are so hands on and proactively work to help entrepreneurs. Their expertise in growth, primarily for consumer oriented products like Missbeez, is essential for any startup to grow rapidly while constantly measuring and testing KPIs. As we expand from one major city to another and new verticals, we are capable to utilize these best practices to increase virality, liquidity, and gain traction.”

Since 500 Startups officially announced it was launching in Israel a year and a half ago, it has made 11 seed investments including Panoply (Raised $7M from Intel Capital) and RapidAPI (Raised $3.5M from Andreessen Horowitz)

The 9 companies selected for the first cohort are:

Wizer –

Wizer accelerates teaching to meet the needs of the 21-century students. Create, analyze, collaborate and personalize the learning experience is as easy as making a worksheet. Wizer quickly reached 300K users with 30% monthly organic growth rate, through word-of-mouth.

Distrybite –

Distribyte provides a simplified cloud environment for companies seeking to expand their digital presence. Our novel runtime powers the most complex workloads addressing the entire software lifecycle. Distribyte ensures the release of high quality software products, with predictable results, in a fraction of the budget.

CybeReady –

CybeReady reduces the risks of phishing through automated end-user training. The CybeReady automated simulation engine allows companies worldwide to instantly deploy a fully customizable and operational solution, covering their weakest link with proven KPIs. The company has paying customers from six different countries, on an annual subscription basis

Ubeya –

Ubeya is Uber for temporary workforce in the events industry. Ubeya provides a SAAS platform for businesses from the events industry to manage their workforce. Connecting between staffing agencies and event companies for staff on a daily basis.

Ondigo –

ONDiGO is an AI & automation platform that boosts the bottom-line performance of sales/accounts teams. ONDiGO is leveraging quantitative indicators such as: trends, sentiment and engagement velocity to increase win-rate, shorten sales cycles and capture repeatable-success-patterns. ONDiGO provides VP Sales with powerful visibility into their team’s performance, activity, and major KPIs. Sales-ops will see what works and what doesn’t in the company’s pipeline, account management, and customer success. Some of ONDiGO’s notable customers: Payoneer, Rakuten, Matomy, Clicktale, Groupon, Natural Intelligence, Keywee, Quad Analytics, Silicon Valley Education Foundation.”

Udobu –

Udobu helps better monetize live sports events. Sports clubs and media rights holders struggle with inventory and capacity utilization as well as revenue generation issues. Already working with top clubs from Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A, udobu addresses these challenges using its proprietary fan behavior prediction technology.

MuvingAPP –

Moving is stressful – so we’re changing. With MuvingApp, you can create a digital, Visual Inventory in less than 10 minutes. It facilitates a transparent, easier moving experience as well as a myriad of related services: packing, insurance and even connect utilities in your new house – All through one App.

GeenQ –

GreenQ, a young, innovative and growing company aiming to bring the best technology to the waste pickup space. Moving fast with strategic partners, we are working to fulfill our vision to improve the urban living habitat. Our smart waste management services were designed to meet the needs of collection vendors, system integrators, and municipalities.

Market Beyond –

Market Beyond provides Fortune 500 companies with actionable, real-time, product level insight to increase market share. Our platform uncovers our customers’ blind spots in a fragmented e-commerce space by deriving insight from billions of e-shoppers’ decisions across the global e-commerce universe

For further information please contact: Adam Benayoun at adamb@500startups.com and read more here via TechCrunch

#500FAMILY

Recently, a 500 colleague posted this on social media:

“Diversity and equality is NOT about women who succeed because they sacrifice everything else so they “have nothing else to do but work”. It’s about EVERYONE stepping up to the plate and pitching in. So we as a society don’t ever have to choose life OR work, but rather being able to do both well.”

This colleague isn’t a parent, nor is he planning to have kids anytime soon. Yet he still felt adamantly about the importance of gender parity and acknowledging that it’s everyone’s responsibility.

Breaking down barriers is tough. Many companies make the mistake of dismissing diversity early on, only to realize later how foundational it is to their success or failure. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that makes a company diverse. In order to have a meaningful impact, companies should value diversity and inclusion from Day One. This applies to how they design their parental leave policy.

At 500, our policy is 12 weeks of fully paid leave for all parents in the U.S. Parents can choose to take this leave consecutively, or spread it out through the first 12 months after birth. Despite the fact that only 21% of the 500 team are parents, we know that may change. In fact, in 2017 alone, there will be 8 babies born on the 500 team. We feel strongly about supporting our team and making sure they have time to recover, bond with their families, and find their bearings as they get used to a new normal. Given how crazy this period can be, we also feel that making that time fully paid is important. The last thing new parents need to worry about is whether money is coming in the door. The sad reality is that in the U.S., only 13% of workers have access to paid parental leave, and the U.S. trails 41 other nations in not mandating paid leave.

Admittedly, we’re aware that our parental leave policy may pale in comparison to other companies or even national leave policies worldwide. As 500 grows, we aim to keep improving upon our parental leave policy as well as all of our company offerings. Also, given that we’re a global team spanning 23 countries, we’re working hard to be mindful of different standards in each market and balancing that with 500’s core values.

We also feel that it’s important to acknowledge the fact that many men and women share in childcare responsibilities. Especially in this day and age, where nearly 50% of women are the breadwinners​, and there exist many different kinds of parents and parental relationships — two moms, two dads, single parents, co-parents, and so on. At the end of the day, regardless of one’s orientation or identification or relationship status, parents are parents. And that was the motivation for making it 12 weeks across the board, rather than separating maternity vs. paternity.

There’s a good amount of research out there that shows generous parental leave policies have a significant positive impact on employee retention and morale. While some companies (particularly startups) worry that the added costs are detrimental, the reality is that such costs pale in comparison to losing talent outright. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to attract great talent. People want to join teams where they’ll feel supported. For parents, that means not having to “hide” the fact that they are parents or worry about being judged for doing what they need to do for their kids.

The boys enjoying La Jolla Beach

Truth? When I was pregnant (both times), I experienced a lot of anxiety about how it would impact me professionally. I worried about being hit with the Motherhood Penalty, how my colleagues would perceive me, how others in VC would perceive me, how I’d juggle running 500 with raising kids. I remember cringing when people would ask me whether I’d be returning to 500 after I gave birth. The first few months postpartum were incredibly challenging, and it took awhile before I felt like myself again. While everyone’s experience is different, my own experience certainly was instrumental in shaping 500’s parental leave policy. I didn’t want others to feel as anxious as I did, nor did I ever want them to worry that they’d be treated differently at 500. That isn’t the kind of culture we want to build.

Restroom signage at the 500 offices in SF and Mountain View

It was important to us to create a parental leave policy that echoed our core values. Diversity and inclusion is not just an attractive tagline for marketing purposes. It is evident in everything we do — our team, our portfolio investments, our parental leave policy, our office restroom signage (see above photo). We work hard and attempt to do the impossible, yet we respect the fact that we’re all human and are constantly juggling our professional and personal lives. We’re committed to creating an inclusive environment where talented people are empowered to do amazing things, yet don’t feel torn about having to choose between work and life.

Like one of our EIRs delivering a fireside chat while feeding his 5 week-old son.

500 EIR Chris Neumann’s baby bottle of choice is Lifefactory

Thanks to my 500 colleagues for their feedback on this post, particularly Elizabeth Yin, Dave McClure, Clayton Bryan, Kelsey Cullen, Monica Matison, & Chris Neumann. Special nod to Tim Chae for being that “500 colleague” I quoted.

VC Unlocked with Stanford CPD is Back!

Applications are now open for our highly sought-after Venture Capital Unlocked investor education program.

It will be held July 24th – August 4th in Silicon Valley.

An early admission rate of 21K is available through May 1st for a limited number of spots.

Apply Here

Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing is a two week executive level education program in which participants get an inside look into 500 Startups’ investment playbook and gain firsthand access to top Silicon Valley VCs, angels, startups and entrepreneurs.

Hear from past participants on why they decided to take the program and on their favorite VC Unlocked session.

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The program is taught by our highly experienced 500 Startups partners and Stanford faculty who specialize in venture capital and innovation. 

Our guest speakers have included VCs like Jason Calacanis (Inside.com, Launch),  Mark Suster (Upfront Ventures), David Hornik (August Capital), Judith Elsea (Weathergage Capital), Tim Draper (DFJ), Jason Calacanis (Launch, Inside.com), Aydin Senkut (Felicis Ventures), Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC) and Mari Baker (Clayman Institute, Stanford).

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Tim Draper addresses the class

For a limited time, accepted applicants who confirm and secure their spot by May 1st will have a 3K reduction in tuition. We are accepting applications here: education.500.co/stanford

Over the two weeks, program participants refine their investment theses and frameworks with insightful feedback from 500 Startups partners, Stanford faculty, and their peers.

Investment Thesis Feedback session
Investment Thesis Feedback session

They screen real startup pitches at our investor-only Demo Day and assess startup deals together. They dive into the dynamics of fundraising as well as the legal and financial aspects of deal-making.

Surprisingly for many, the relationships formed with the other participants often end up being the most valuable element of the program long after it finishes.

Our 100+ alumni have started funds together, shared and co-invested in deals, and serve as LPs in each other’s funds.   

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You can see more details in some of our past blog posts:

https://500.co/the-career-changing-impact-of-vc-unlocked/

https://500.co/venture-capital-is-more-art-than-science-5-secrets-of-vc-revealed/

If you are interested in joining, apply now. Spaces are limited.

Apply here.

500 Startups is Coming Down Under with LaunchVic Partnership

Applications for the 500 Melbourne accelerator program are now open. Apply here.

This year, 500 Startups will launch our 500 Melbourne office to deliver a comprehensive series of startup and investor education programs and events to help support top Aussie startups, angel investors, VCs, and the larger Australia startup community. We are doing this in partnership with LaunchVic, Victoria’s innovation support agency. 500 Melbourne will work alongside local accelerators, corporates and other startup investors to develop and grow the Australian startup ecosystem and help connect Australia with investors and mentors in the Silicon Valley tech community and around the world.

The 500 Melbourne core acceleration program will accept 20-25 startups annually from Australia and the APAC region, and provide the same caliber of mentorship and expertise our Silicon Valley startups receive. In addition to the core program, the 500 Melbourne team aims to invest in startups alongside angel and VC investors from the local market, host pitch coaching sessions, do customer acquisition and growth marketing, and deliver local tech investor education programs such as our VC Unlocked investor training in Silicon Valley.

Why Australia

The Australian ecosystem is at an inflection point, with more venture funding available than ever before and government championing an innovation agenda to legitimize and support startups.  The time has never been better for 500 to bring its expertise, network, and early-stage know-how to Australia’s startup and investment community.  

500 has invested in thousands of startups in over 60 countries around the world. We have also made investments in 20 Australian companies to date, including Canva, HappyCo, and UpGuard, among others. 500 aims to bring the best of Silicon Valley mentorship and investment as well as global market experience to Melbourne. The programs we have planned for the local market will help identify and promote top Australian investment opportunities to Silicon Valley, and to our global network of angels and VCs.

500 is more excited than a kangaroo on a trampoline to expand our global reach to Australia, and we expect 2017 to be a fantastic year both for 500 and for Australia.

To get in touch with us about 500 Melbourne, send us a message at melbourne@500.co  

About Ecosystem Development at 500

500 partners with governments, corporates, and startup organizations around the world to invest in the critical elements of emerging ecosystems. We run startup programs in Asia-Pacific such as the 500 Kobe acceleration program in Japan, and our Series A programs in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. We run investor education programs with Stanford and Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we are now taking these programs abroad in the coming year. We’re also expanding our work with corporate innovators, to help larger companies discover, partner, and invest in new breakthrough startups.  To get in touch with us about our ecosystem development programs, you can reach us at http://500.co/contact-us/.

 

500 Startups Launches Second Latin American Fund with IFC as Anchor

Great news for Latin-American Startups! 500 Startups is launching its second Latin American Regional fund, Luchadores II, which is targeting $10M in commitments to invest in Spanish-speaking and LatAm founders.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group) will be the first anchor investor in the 500 Startups’ Luchadores II Fund. Having one of the most important international groups and their network backing up Luchadores II makes this fund a very promising and interesting investment opportunity for potential LPs in the region. 500 Startups is the most active early stage investor in the LatAm & Spanish-speaking market with over 100 companies and over $8M USD invested in the region since 2013.

“The support of the IFC, their experience and influence across multiple industries and sectors is clearly an inflection point that will contribute to the startups in the #500Strong family,” said Santiago Zavala, Partner at 500 Startups and Managing Partner of Luchadores I & II.  “Partnering with one of the largest global development institutions focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries will give our portfolio even more access than before.”

Luchadores I’s portfolio companies have generated over 650 jobs in the region and have gone on to raise over $95M USD to date. Luchadores II will allow us to continue the pace and invest in more companies generating even more jobs in the region alongside continued ecosystem development.

Luchadores II plans to invest in over 120 companies through the LatAm 500 Seed Program over the next 2 years.

Portfolio companies including Konfio, Conekta, Nubity, Rocket, Clip, Boletia and 99 Minutos have already raised series A rounds and are proving their capability to offer real solutions to the LatAm market.

Luchadores II will be looking to invest in Education, Health, Financial Technologies, Software as a Service, E-commerce, Health Technologies, Tourism and other industries.

The 500 LatAM Seed Program, which is based in Mexico City,  will be a key component to Luchadores II. The 500 startups team has run 6 Seed Programs in Mexico City providing growth hacking, fundraising help, and more for the chosen companies.

“It’s no question that there are seriously talented people around the world, and the LatAm market is no exception,” said Dave McClure, Founding Partner 500 Startups. “That’s why we’ve been investing in the region for over 4 years. IFC shares our vision of actively supporting developing countries.”

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The Luchadores team includes: Santiago Zavala as Partner, René Lomelí as Operations Director for LatAm, Daphne Salinas and Didier Quiroz as Associates.

Welcome Aman Verjee to 500 Startups as COO

As 500 Startups enters its seventh year, I’d like to welcome an old friend and ex-PayPal colleague to the team, Aman Verjee, who is joining us as COO and will also be joining the 500 Startups management team. I’ve known Aman for over a decade and aside from some really bad puns and questionable sartorial decisions, he’s a pretty awesome person.

Aman has over fifteen years of operating experience in both public and private technology companies including PayPal, eBay, Sonos, Collective, and CAN Capital. Over the years he’s helped raise nearly a billion dollars from top VC and PE firms such as Accel, Greycroft, and KKR, and banks such as Morgan Stanley, SunTrust, Wells Fargo, UBS, JPMorgan and Barclays. For the past two years Aman was CFO at CAN Capital, an alternative finance platform that has provided billions of dollars in lending for small business. Before that, he was the CFO of Collective, Inc., an ad tech platform in New York; while there, he guided them from $100 million in revenue to over $175 million in revenue, while generating double digit profit margins. Aman led all of their public company readiness efforts and led Collective through an S-1 filing.

Before that, Aman spent nine years at PayPal and eBay doing financial planning and analysis, customer analytics and strategy, and helped build PayPal into a leader in payment processing and financial services. Earlier in his career he also held positions at Lehman and McKinsey. Aman graduated from Stanford with an undergraduate degree in economics, and a JD in law from Harvard. Aman was born in Nairobi, Kenya; grew up in Toronto, Canada, and is married with two wonderful little girls.

The role of COO will be an important one at 500 as we prepare the company for future growth and scale, continue to raise capital for our global funds and regional & vertical microfunds, and also monitor our top-performing companies as they grow. We look forward to Aman helping take 500 to the next stage of growth… to Infinity and Beyond!

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