#AnotherOne: 500 Startups Announces Batch 19 🔑

It’s that time again! Announcing our latest Mountain View cohort, Batch 19, with 44 companies.  

Earlier this year, we experimented with vertical tracks to be able to provide greater value to companies, in particular, categories of interest.  These tracks have allowed companies to receive additional categorical mentoring and networking opportunities.  This year at 500 Startups, we’ve held specialized tracks in Health, Fintech, B2B, and Fashion & Beauty.  In Batch 19, we are, again, running tracks in B2B led by Robert Neivert and Fashion & Beauty led by Tanya Soman.  #MajorKey

500 Startups has always invested in a lot of B2B companies — in fact, many of our top performing companies in our portfolio, such as Intercom and Talkdesk are B2B companies. One of the biggest challenges for B2B companies — especially enterprise B2B — is sales.  How to hire salespeople?  How to close deals?  How to negotiate proposals?  This is what our B2B track focuses on so that we can help founders with a great B2B product take their traction to the next level.  

500 Startups has also invested in a lot of fashion & beauty companies including Ipsy, Le Tote, TheRealReal, and Tradesy.  We see a real opportunity in this space because few investors have historically understood or invested in it.  But, with the rise in some of our high flying fashion & beauty companies, investors and corporates are beginning to take notice. #BlessUp In this track, we provide both growth guidance to help our companies increase their users and revenues and also help connect them with relevant larger industry players.  

At 500 Startups, it’s important to us to continue to push the startup ecosystem to be more inclusive and diverse, so we actively scout great companies from everywhere.  This batch was no different, and we are proud that the diversity of our founders remains strong:

  • 29% of companies have at least one female founder
  • 49% of companies are international
  • 13% of companies have a black founder
  • 9% of companies have a LatinX founder

International countries represented:

  • Nigeria
  • India
  • Jordan
  • UK
  • Hong Kong
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Palestine
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden

Learn more about Batch 19 below. #WeTheBest 

For investors interested in attending Demo Day B19 you can register here. See ya there! And applications for Batch 20 are now open. Apply here.

Aella Credit

Aella Credit provides instant credit solutions to Africans by eliminating standard loan applications and enabling employees to borrow at competitive rates through their employers.

aella-credit

Almabase

Almabase makes fundraising easier for schools by helping them engage their alumni effectively.

almabase

Ambience Data

Ambience Data provides live, accurate environmental insights worldwide to manage pollution health risks.

ambiencedata

Aumet

The first marketplace using intelligent technology to assist medical suppliers to validate and to assign reliable distributors with the least amount of time and at half of the cost, plus providing access to all medical tenders and news online.

aumet

Baloonr

Baloonr removes bias from group work and decision-making.

baloonr

Bstow

Donate spare change automatically from everyday purchases to your charity of choice.

bstow

Cardlife

Cardlife helps businesses to take control of their subscriptions with the vision to be the one stop shop for everything SaaS subscriptions.

cardlife

ChangeJar

ChangeJar is a mobile cash payment platform for retailers who want more transactions with higher margins.

changejar

ClaimCompass

ClaimCompass will get the airlines to pay you up to $680 for your delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight.

claimcompass

CloudCoffer

CloudCoffer is a plug-and-play network security device that shields businesses of any size from external and internal hacking with the most scalable and affordable network protection in minutes.

cloudcoffer

Crema Co

A marketplace that gives coffee drinkers access to rare coffees from small-batch roasters.

cremaco

EventXtra

One-stop Event Management Platform for Corporate Events.

eventxtra

Fingertips Lab

IoT device allows you to engage your phone while driving, eyes free.

fingertipslab

FLYE

Flye allows real-time engagement with customers in geo-fenced areas & provides social media analytics to brands – no hashtag needed.

flye

Fuel

Fuel delivers nutrient-customized meals tailored to your unique body, fitness and biomarker data.

fuel

Fuel For Clover

B2B payments platform for retail petroleum merchants that decrease interchange cost and increase card security.

fuel4clover

Gestoos

Gestoos is a computer vision software platform that enables camera (sensor) equipped devices to see and understand human gestures and movements with a level of accuracy never before available.

gestoos

Gluwa

Gluwa is a blockchain-powered banking platform to send and receive money automatically and privately for businesses.

gluwa

GymHit

GymHit is a proactive business management platform for fitness businesses that is introducing a virtual manager for workflow automation for everything from automated booking to billing.

gymhit

Homigo

A text-based home manager and dashboard for homeowners designed to increase the quality and simplicity of home services.

homigo

Hykso

Motion sensors for Boxing and MMA that recognize which punch is being thrown and at which speed it’s thrown.

hykso

iControl

iControl replaces paper with an app at construction sites, saving each construction manager time by generating all their daily reports.

unnamed

Idwall

IDwall is a B2B solution that builds trust by verifying documents, identity and doing background checks in a reliable and scalable way.

idwall

InnerSpace

Like GPS does outdoors, InnerSpace’s instant mapping and location platform transforms the human experience indoors and captures the data on how people interact indoors. We’re driving a fundamental shift in the way that people experience, understand, and create their indoor spaces.

innerspace

Kompyte

Kompyte is competitor tracking software that alerts you in real time when your competitors make changes to their websites, products and digital marketing campaigns.

kompyte

KiLife

Never lose your child again with Kiband, a line of child wearables that sync with your smartphone.

kilife

LawTova

An online legal marketplace connecting attorneys with curated freelancers for legal jobs and project-based legal services.

lawtova

Mashvisor

Mashvisor helps real estate investors quickly find traditional and Airbnb investment properties.

mashvisor

MojiLaLa

Emoji Marketplace for independent designers and studios from around the world.

mojilala

MyFavorito

MyFavorito is a CRM platform for the B2C world, used by brands and retailers to increase loyalty, sales and growth.

myfavorito

OpenDoor

Solving the urban housing problem through affordable communal living.

opendoor

OWLR

OWLR is a mobile-first platform that transforms your off-the-shelf home security cameras into a smarter, simpler and safer home monitoring system.

owlr

Park Evergreen

Park Evergreen is a B2B platform that allows companies to offer unlimited monthly parking to employees across a network of parking lots in their city.

parkevergreen

Pawprint

Pawprint is an app that helps pet owners find and book quality veterinarians.

pawprint

Pluto AI

Pluto is an AI-powered analytics platform that water companies use to prevent water wastage, predict asset failures, and avoid expensive operations/maintenance costs.

pluto

RocketBolt

RocketBolt provides easy email & website tracking to help you discover your next big sales opportunity.

rocketbolt

Scopio

An innovative platform for companies to seamlessly search, publish, and pull insights from curated social media images to increase audience engagement, while fairly compensating the original content contributors.

scopio

ShearShare

ShearShare connects salon owners to stylists to fill empty salon chairs.

shearshare

Sickweather

Sickweather is the Doppler radar of sickness — allowing parents, patients, and providers to check for the chance of sickness as easily as they can check for the chance of rain.

sickweather

Tagove

Tagove connects sales and support teams to online customers through live video chat and co-browsing with plug and play installation.

tagove

TalentBase

TalentBase is a Payroll and HR software targeting growing businesses across Africa.

talentbase

Teleport

The first platform for truly interactive video, driving 10x more engagement by providing freely navigable video, enriched with contextual contents.

teleport

UNICORN

UNICORN is a stylish skincare brand for men.

unicorn

WeAreOnyx

Beauty Subscription Service & Digital Playground for Multicultural Millennials.

weareonyx

Announcing Batch 17 in Mountain View – Doubling Down on Fashion, Beauty and B2B

Roll call! Today we’re announcing Batch 17 in Mountain View – our  most eclectic batch to date.  With 42 companies, this accelerator cohort runs the gamut from affordable housing made from shipping containers to digital SIM cards to free birth control and alternative burial products.  

Along with our 4-month curriculum of customer acquisition coaching, fundraising training, and access to 500’s massive ecosystem, we will be taking the program even further. As you may have noticed from our last batch, 500 Startups has started including vertical tracks within the accelerator program.

Batch 17 will continue this trend with TWO vertical tracks – B2B and Fashion/Beauty. B2B companies will receive additional guidance around sales, negotiating and closing deals for enterprise, and lead generation for SMB companies. The Fashion & Beauty companies will have access to special partners in the fashion world.

Diversity of the founders remains strong:

  • 35% of companies have at least one female founder
  • 33% of companies are international

International countries represented:

  • UK
  • Hong Kong
  • Czech Republic
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Russia
  • Australia
  • Norway

Learn more about Batch 17 below. (Note that 2 are not listed here, as they’re off the record).

Finally, applications for Batch 18 are now open. Apply here. Vertical tracks to be announced.

Avocode

logo-light-transparent-300dpi

 

With Avocode designers and developers can easily share and collaborate on PSD/Sketch designs in real time.

Baby2Body

baby2body-hi-res-logo

Helping nearly and new moms live happier and healthier and have healthier babies.

BeautyDate

beautydate-logo-transparent-bg

OpenTable for beauty salons, beauty clinics & SPA in Brazil

Blavity

blavityfoodieblack

Blavity is a tech media company and platform for black millennials.

Blurbiz

Blurbiz_logo_white_bg

A Cloud Based Platform to Create, Distribute and Monetize Vertical Videos.

BurstIQ

burstIQ logo transparent bg

Cybersecurity for the digital health revolution, making data access simple and secure

Chefs for Seniors

CFS_4c

Chefs for Seniors – a marketplace for seniors who need help with food to connect with professional chefs who cook custom meals in the home

Cladwell

hi-res-logo

Cladwell simplifies your wardrobe. We build a personalized and interchangeable closet with less than 35 items.

Coeio

Alternative burial products embedded with biological materials, including mushrooms.

Coeio-logo-black-600-sq

ConceptDrop

CD-insanelylarge-white

The easiest way to design marketing material—matching businesses with top freelancers in a few clicks.

COSY

COSYLogo4cut

COSY enables powerful location based indoor applications for mobile phones, robots and drones, where GPS cannot work, without the use of any infrastructure.

Department of Better Technology

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.19.23 AM

Digital data collection and workflows for government

Efflux Systems

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.21.29 AM

Automated Security Operations Platform

FuelPanda

logo_with_name

We refuel your car at your house or office every week while it sits in the parking lot!

Hamptons Lane

logo-on-white

With our “culinary experience kits,” Hamptons Lane helps home chefs discover global cuisines and new ways to cook and entertain through our selection of the best shelf stable, artisan ingredients and specialty kitchen tools, along with recipes, delivered in a highly curated monthly themed box to the home.

Linkett

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.24.58 AM

Analytics platform for the Digital-Out-of-Home Advertising industry.

LiveCanary

livecanary_whitebg

Democratizing the Mobile Playbook.

Montainer

Transparent Montainer Logo

Making home ownership attainable for anyone.

MORI

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.29.20 AM

World’s softest baby essentials

Nice

nice-app-icon-7d8a95e75838a888679baf370b27d197

Crowdsourced Video Shopping Network

Oddup

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.30.57 AM

The Startup Rating System. Make an informed investment decision with data, ratings and a view point.

Pair

Pair Logo White Background

Pair lets you try furnishings in your home, like they are real using only your iPhone or iPad.

Parkbench

Symbol_Blue

The Online Neighborhood News Source: Find Local Events, Deals, News, and Real Estate in One Click.

Qwikwire

ce38dcc237f2f59b554f9f002e48cf5e

Qwikwire empowers enterprises to collect payments from their customers abroad. We go beyond basic remittance and provide recurring billing, invoicing, customer dashboards, and direct client website payments via API.

Rank Science

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.34.35 AM

A/B testing software for SEO

SidelineSwap

Making it easy for athletes to buy, sell, and trade their gear.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.35.27 AM

Simless

simless_logo_black_whitebackground

Digitizing SIM Cards.

Slang

slang_full-mark

Mobile P2P marketplace for sneakers

Stylect

logo-high-res-white-background

A mobile app dedicated to women’s shoes.

Supergleu

Supergleu_Logo_White

An opinion sharing app for college students

T + J Designs

tj_black_logo

On-trend, quality and affordable clothing and jewelry brand by two social media influencer sisters.

Tallyfy

Print

We make routine business processes enjoyable and efficient by transforming them into easy-to-follow checklists

The Pill Club

thepillclub_logo_big

Free and Simple Birth Control Delivery

TraceAir

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.43.26 AM

We use UAVs to collect accurate almost real-time data about your construction site and make it actionable with our guiding web-platform.

Travel Flan

flan_logo_eng_white_bg

An intelligent travel concierge service for travelers

Villoid

VILLOID_logo_white_2x

Global style and shopping community co-founded by style icon Alexa Chung.

Visiblee

visiblee-logo-01

Visiblee is the ultimate lead gen automation solution to boost your B2B website conversion

Wivity

wivity-logo-final-tm-white

Hardware/SaaS platform that connects your IoT device to any wireless network in the world

Worklete

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 9.47.31 AM

“Using the best human movement and mechanics to fight injuries in the workplace”

Workplace Arcade

fd699947-d148-4644-aab0-3c751822924a

A gamified solution for retailers to measure, increase and retain employee engagement.

Rethinking The Accelerator: What You’ll Achieve At 500 Startups

Before Avanoo arrived at 500, they were making about $2,000 a month selling self-help videos. But after a spell of stardom on Reddit, their social marketing channels had pretty much dried up. As cofounder Daniel Jacobs put it, “you can only do so many #1 posts before the Reddit people want to throw pitchforks at you.”

They had a plan to move from consumer to B2B and pivot from self-help into ongoing employee education for large corporations, but they were having trouble starting conversations with the execs they needed to reach. That’s when Jacobs and his cofounder got accepted to Batch 12. Less than six months later, Avanoo was an enterprise company worth $15M.

Avanoo’s success wasn’t about changing anything about their product or their plan. It was about taking the success they had already achieved and compounding it through rapid iteration, pushing forward through every failure:

  • They tried paying databases for leads: they turned out cold (virtually no opens)
  • They cold emailed decision makers at big companies: 3% open rate
  • They went to LinkedIn to source leads, wrote better subject headers, and implemented domain keys: 60% open rate!

Within months, Avanoo went from hearing silence to hearing excited responses from HR leaders at Fortune 500 companies, and they did it by experimenting—they turned their growth into a 320240_10151056687829601_721557914_n (1)process they could continue long after Demo Day. Avanoo followed a pattern of success that we’ve seen happen time and time again at 500: they came in with a product, a market, and a team that was ready to grow. All we did was pour some fuel on the fire.

We want to help more companies in that same way, and that’s why we’ve recently re-oriented the accelerator around growth. We’re working with companies ready to scale rather than focusing on companies in the pre-product or idea stage. And we’re modifying our accelerator schedule to cultivate more intense, productive relationships between companies and their growth coaches.

How You Spend Your Time At 500

When you only have four months to work with, time is of the essence. We’ve made changes to the way we run our accelerator as we’ve narrowed our focus and identified ways to pack more value into less time.

Our four-month program at 500 is split into two parts:

  1. Growth and distribution: For two and a half months, you learn the ins and outs of acquisition and retention from the industry’s best growth marketers.
  2. Fundraising: For the last month and a half, you practice fundraising, meet with VCs during office hours and nail down your pitch for Demo Day.

Every batch kicks off with Marketing Hell Week, an intensive week intended to teach you everything you need to know about building a systematic process for growth.

After Marketing Hell Week, we put that knowledge to work by pairing you with a growth coach tailored for your business. You work with them on a weekly basis to develop, run, and refine experiments aimed at tackling your company’s big problems.

Then, with a month and a half remaining, you shift into fundraising mode. We have mock investor meetings, go over how to tell a compelling story about your company in two minutes, and after Demo Day, we bring 100 investors in for office hours to help you start your raise.

Each section of the program is carefully designed to build on the last. Growth, from top to bottom, is the ultimate goal: and it starts on Day 1.

Marketing Hell Week

Every company we accept into 500 Startups is there because we believe they have the potential to build something amazing. But because a lot of our founders come from engineering or design backgrounds, they often don’t have the sales and marketing experience they need to get their amazing product into the hands of customers.

During 500’s first week, we fly some of the best founders and growth marketers in the world to the accelerator. Through classes and workshops, our batch companies learn about everything from the basics of marketing to more advanced topics (examples from Batch 16):

  • Building a Growth Machine with Brian Balfour
  • Validation Through “Smoke Tests” with Dominic Coryell
  • Sales Hacking with Matt Ellsworth
  • A/B Testing with Hiten Shah

In the past, we had speakers come in throughout the program and talk on every topic you could imagine, from design to engineering, hiring, legal, product, operations and more, but we realized that those talks took up way too much time and actually distracted founders from running their businesses.

When you’re trying to take your revenue or user base and 10x it, hiring isn’t going to be your main concern. Patenting your software won’t make or break your business. Marketing and sales are the problem, and Hell Week is the beginning of the solution. Eventually, if we’re successful, hiring will be a problem—but growth has to come first.

That’s why we’ve taken all the speakers and workshops we used to have throughout the program and—mostly—put them into a single week full of growth and distribution.

Use Your Breaks Wisely
Use Your Breaks Wisely

Marketing Hell Week is the foundation of everything that follows at 500, and it’s accordingly intense. 500 founder Troy Sultan documented his own Marketing Hell Week this winter in an article that was tellingly short on personal commentary: “leaving the office at or past midnight were common themes for most of us… so memorable (and exhausting)… did indeed live up to its name.”

Calls will be taken during lunch. Meetings will be held while walking. But at the end of it, everything that companies need to know about distribution will have been covered. It’s then that the “real work,” that Sultan mentions having no time for, can really begin.

1:1s with Coaches

With Hell Week over, each batch company has a little over two months left before fundraising. When we look back at which companies accomplish the most in that span of time, we find that the best founders do two things:

  • They experiment relentlessly, and
  • They never get distracted

That’s why we’ve removed distractions by condensing our speakers and workshops into Hell Week. It allows us to optimize for experimentation throughout the rest of the program by giving each founder a customer acquisition coach.

Our coaches come from the marketing and sales departments of companies like Lyft and Hulu, and they’re oriented towards speed: try stuff, measure it, learn. Growth is never one-size-fits-all, but that method and the mindset behind it can be learned.

The Growth Scientist At Work
The Growth Scientist At Work

Your coach will start by helping you take what you learned during Marketing Hell Week and put it into practice. Many companies, for instance, come in without having tools like Google Analytics and Mixpanel set up properly, and the most basic foundation for starting a growth process is being able to take measurements of what’s happening in your app.

From then on, you’ll meet one-on-one with your coach every week to run experiments:

  • When the week starts, founders will meet with their coach, decide on their #1 metric that matters, and plan for upcoming experiments. Agreeing on the #1 metric brings focus to the founders and gets you aligned with your coach on what’s important.
  • During the week, your company runs the experiment. Knowing that you’ll meet with your coach at the end of the week adds a bit more discipline to tracking and making sure you’re growing your #1 metric.
  • At week’s end, you’ll get together with your coach to discuss what happened, what you learned, and how to design an experiment for the upcoming week. It’s a lot easier to craft new experiments when you’re working with a growth coach. You probably know about Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, for instance, but your coach will know about channels that many new entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with, like YouTube or Instagram influencer ads. They’ll be able to suggest the appropriate channels based on intimate knowledge of your business.

You’ll learn how to drive growth by doing it. Growth as a process isn’t about lectures or lists of prescribed actions that are supposed to grow startups—it’s about methodology, a state of mind that lasts long after 500. It’s one of the most valuable things you’ll have when you leave 500.

Grow To Raise

Ultimately, one of the best ways to set yourself up for fundraising success in the last month and a half of the program is to grow your business. When you turn growth into a process that you can control, your investor story becomes irresistible.

Richard Werbe, founder of Studypool, came into 500 with thousands of users and a business that was already generating a profit. He would have been able to grow his company without the accelerator, but working with 500 coach Andrei Marinescu helped him turn Studypool’s growth into a rigorous, sustainable process.

Richard Werbe

What Werbe and Zhong realized was that running experiments off intuition and gut inclinations had won them a few wins here and there, but it wouldn’t set them up for long-term sustainable growth. Marinescu helped Werbe be ruthless about systematizing the work and pursuing those really hard wins, and very soon Studypool was seeing consistent 25% MoM revenue growth.

At the end of Batch 11, Studypool raised $1.2M.

It wasn’t necessarily the 25% figure that set alarms off in the heads of investors: it was the consistency. Systematic growth as opposed to the “one-off lift” tells investors “this founder and team know what they’re doing.” It shows them that you’re in control.

When you have control over your growth and your revenue, your company’s trajectory is in your hands, and you’re on track to build a company that lasts.

Apply to Batch 17 here.

Introducing Specialty Tracks at 500 Startups: Beauty and the B2Beast

Over the past 5 years, we’ve watched 16 batches of startups come through 500 Startups. We’ve seen first-hand how founders benefit from mentorship and advice that’s tailored to the key problems they face in their specific businesses. That’s why this year, we’re launching specialty tracks at 500 Startups.

You can think of joining a specialty track as declaring a major in college. You go deeper into your area of interest, and that gets you to where you want to go faster.

graduates

For Batch 17, which starts on May 2 in Mountain View, CA, we’re launching 2 specialty tracks within the batch:

  • B2B: Led by Robert Neivert, this track will focus on the specifics of selling to the enterprise and SMBs and growing revenue. Robert has 2 decades of experience running B2B companies. He’s founded or worked as an executive at 8 companies with 4 exits and 4 still in operation.
  • Beauty and Fashion: Led by Tanya Soman, this track will facilitate the connections to media outlets, brands and retailers necessary to grow distribution and build a big business. Over the last 2 years, Tanya has advised 3 batches of companies at 500, coaching founders on fundraising and pitching in our Mountain View program.

Practically speaking, joining a specialty track means that you’ll get paired with experienced partner-mentors in your market, you’ll sit and collaborate closely with peers in your specialty track, and you’ll attend accelerator events tailored to the specific problems that your category of company has.

At the same time, you’ll benefit from cross-pollination with all the other companies that will be part of Batch 17, which is often one of the biggest sources of creative inspiration. And even though you’re majoring in your specialty track, you won’t miss out on the accelerator’s core curriculum, which includes all of the foundational learnings on how to start a startup.

Why Specialization is a Major Key

If you’re a B2B founder trying to close a multimillion dollar deal with British Petroleum, you’ll want to talk with a partner-mentor who has done it before—not an expert on viral consumer apps.

"There will be roadblocks but we will overcome them.” - DJ Khaled
There will be roadblocks but we will overcome them. —DJ Khaled

Partners have areas of expertise and focus, and that means that we’ve had informal vertical tracks for years, based on which companies work with which partners.

We’ve noticed that making the right matches improves the quality of feedback that companies receive, and that’s inspired us to expand on the idea of accelerator verticals and formalize them.

So with the current batch, Batch 16, we decided to test-drive the idea of specialization by splitting it up into 5 themes:

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

For each theme, we admitted enough startups to ensure that we had a critical mass. In a previous batch, we might have had a single FinTech company. By defining it as a theme for Batch 16, we explicitly set our focus on admitting more FinTech companies, and we ended up with 6 great ones.

Achieving critical mass for each theme meant that every startup in the batch was surrounded by startups grappling with the same issues and searching for solutions to the same problems.

In the past, a solitary FinTech founder might pull her hair out about a particularly thorny regulatory issue and not have anyone to ask for help. A FinTech founder in the current batch could turn to any one of the 5 other companies who’ve fought through the same thing.

During an accelerator, the most important resource that a startup has is time, and splitting the batch into specialties has helped companies do more, make fewer mistakes, and solve larger problems—in less time.

The B2B Track

The best B2B founders are deeply specialized, capable of tackling really difficult problems. They’re the ones most qualified to bring a truly differentiated and original product to market.

To build a great company, however, that specialization has to be combined with expertise everywhere else, from marketing to sales, hiring, and more.

We’ve designed this track with these founders in mind—the ones who, with a little extra help rounding out their skills, have the potential to seriously accelerate their growth.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn from top B2B experts about different aspects of building, marketing, or selling a product, with special focus on the areas where first-time founders often have the least experience:

  • Cold calling and emailing
  • How to manage the selling process and deal with gatekeepers
  • Building a predictable revenue engine
  • How to hire a growth team

In addition, each week we’ll hold a roundtable discussion where founders can ask questions and get input from 500’s community of mentors. These mentors will be brought in specifically for their expertise in facets of B2B:

  • We’ll go through issues companies are having with closing large deals, expanding their smaller deals, and ramping up marketing and lead generation.
  • We’ll talk about developing products for larger customers, dealing with customization requests, negotiating deals, and cutting churn.
  • We’ll have presentations on specific B2B strategies, like Matt Ellsworth speaking on how web scraping can give your sales and growth teams a competitive advantage.
Robert Neivert teaching a workshop on delivering memorable pitches
Robert Neivert on how to make your pitch memorable

And the whole time you’re at 500, you’ll be surrounded by fellow B2B founders with whom you’ll share learnings, opportunities, and connections, who will also challenge your notion of what’s possible. When the company across from you grows its revenue 40% in a single month, you’ll know you should be shooting to hit 50%.

Together, you and the founders on the same track will forge deep bonds that will last long after the program ends, while also pushing each other to greater heights.

What We’re Looking for

  1. Metrics and Unit Economics: Customer acquisition cost, lifetime value, churn, retention—all of these metrics are moving targets early in the life of a B2B startup. We’re looking for founders who deeply understand how they work and can talk intelligently about how to improve them.
  2. Traction and Validation: Revenue is important—we like to see about $10k MRR in our B2B accelerator companies—but it’s not a hard-and-fast requirement. Walk in with a couple signed contracts or letters of intent from buyers, and a prototype of your product, and we’ll know you’re solving a real problem.
  3. Distribution: Engineering or product-oriented founders often have the least experience here, and that’s fine if they have the right attitude. We’re looking for those who’ve aggressively hustled to talk to customers and improved based on feedback.

The Beauty and Fashion Track

Worldwide, the combined market value of Beauty and Fashion is well over $1.5 trillion.

Contrary to popular belief, commerce is not dead, and the size of these markets actually proves the inverse: that we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. There’s a massive opportunity out there for companies that can innovate and build a better customer experience, and we’re going to facilitate that.

Where many investors fail to look, we see a bright opportunity—and we’ve already invested in many remarkable startups in the Beauty and Fashion space like Ipsy, Tradesy, Styleseat, Mayvenn, and TheRealReal.

Tanya Soman with Mejuri (Batch 15)
Tanya Soman with Mejuri (Batch 15)

But that’s just the beginning.

That’s why we’re developing a program specific to the challenges these companies face and providing them with the resources and connections they need to grow.

What You’ll Learn

With a critical mass of Beauty and Fashion companies, we’ll be able to create great opportunities for our partners and founders to share their valuable expertise and connections.

  • We’re bringing in successful Beauty and Fashion founders for Fireside Chats to share their experiences.
  • We’re giving each company an in-house growth coach who specializes in selling to these demographics.
  • We’re bringing corporate brands, retailers, and media outlets into the process to connect with our companies.

That last element is crucial when it comes to building a business you can scale.

Companies in Beauty and Fashion need to build relationships early with the traditional arbiters of style—the brands, the magazines, and the stores—but most tech accelerators don’t have these corporations on speed dial, which can make this difficult.

Meanwhile, most of these corporate giants would love to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing, but they don’t know how. There is a disconnect.

What we’re doing is bringing the corporate and startup worlds together, bridging the gap, and laying the foundation that the next wave of businesses within this track can build on.

What We’re Looking for

  1. Revenue. We’re looking for companies that have grown to over $1M annual revenue run rate, but what’s more important is evidence of even bigger revenue growth down the road—solid customer retention and high customer lifetime value.
  2. Product. User growth is great, but it is very possible to get up to millions of active users with a bad product that will ultimately fail. What we want to see is a great, sticky product with relatively low churn, because that traction is what really what proves there’s sustainable growth on the horizon.
  3. Founder-Market Fit. The best founders are often solving problems that they themselves have. We love to see companies grow out of an organic need that founders have, rather than as a formulated play on a market opportunity.

The Future of the Accelerator

In the accelerator landscape today, we see more vertically-specialized accelerators than ever. Even within broad-based accelerators, we see de-facto specialization based on the partner-mentor you get assigned to.

By designing explicit specialty tracks around these unspoken divisions, we’re betting that founders will be able to drive even higher returns out of the community, support and connections that 500 provides.

Apply to Batch 19 & its new specialty tracks here.