Announcing Diversity Scholarship for VC Unlocked with Stanford CPD

Diversity is in our DNA 

Anyone familiar with 500 Startups knows diversity is one of our core values. 

We are concerned with the current “mostly male, mostly white” panorama in the VC world. According to TechCrunch, only 7% of senior partners at the top 100 venture firms are women and less than 1% are black or hispanic.*

At 500 Startups, our team comes from more than 20 countries, and we have invested in startups in over 50 countries. About half our team is female, and more than half are people of color. About half of us like peanut butter and jelly; the other half thinks disco dancing is still cool.

We look and act different from most other venture capitalists, and we kinda like it that way. Our founders are also diverse; we work hard to discover and invest in people who come from many different walks of life.

The most diverse (and the craziest) team of unicorn hunters in Silicon Valley

Diversity Multiplier Effect

In the past, we have offered scholarships to VC Unlocked to people traditionally overlooked in the VC world. Their participation in the program helped them catapult their careers in venture to success. Here are just a few examples:

Arlan Hamilton – Arlan became the first black woman to launch a syndicate on AngelList after participating in our program in 2014,  Her fund focuses on  black, latino, gay or female entrepreneurs.

Katherine HagueKatherine launched Female Funders after taking our program. Its an online community where female angel investors can get inspired, learn, network, and invest. The organization’s mission to empower 1000 women to make their first angel investment.

Pocket Sun and Elizabeth GalbutAfter meeting each other in our inaugural 2014 class, Pocket and Elizabeth co-founded SoGal Ventures, the first female-led millennial venture capital firm.

Pocket and Elizabeth, co-founders of SoGal Ventures

We are proud of all of our past scholarship recipients, who have used the knowledge and network they acquired in the program to really start tipping the scales in the venture ecosystem. 

We want to continue to be part of the solution.

Scholarship Details

This year, we will once again be offering ten 12K scholarships for VC Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing.

We run this two-week executive education program for investors in partnership with Stanford Center for Professional Development. It will take place July 24 – Aug. 4th, 2017 in Palo Alto, CA.

The scholarships are earmarked for accredited investors who have been traditionally under-represented in the VC industry, especially women and/or ethnic minorities.

We are looking to identify individuals who will use the knowledge learned in the program in order to build diverse innovation ecosystems in and around their community.

To qualify, applicants should fill out the main application form as well as the additional scholarship application on the program website: education.500.co/stanford. The scholarship application requires a short essay and a video about participation in the program will benefit the applicant’s community. 

*https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/06/s23p-racial-gender-diversity-venture/

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.

Here’s What Happened at #DealCamp at Berkeley

Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney.

I returned to U.C. Berkeley almost two years ago to help establish the university (and Berkeley Law in particular) as the world’s leading institution for the study and practice of law and entrepreneurship.

After completing our second Venture Capital Deal Camp with 500 Startups last week, I’m confident that Berkeley is the place to be for investors, entrepreneurs, practitioners, and students interested in innovation.

Below is a recap of Deal Camp – if you weren’t able to join this week, we’ll be back with another session in October! 

Deal Camp is a collaboration between Startup@BerkeleyLaw, our institute for venture capital and entrepreneurship, and 500 Startups, a leading global venture capital fund and startup accelerator. The program is an intensive four-day course focused on the nuts and bolts of deal making for investors who want to improve their ability to define, negotiate, and execute early-stage investments.

At Deal Camp last week, we welcomed over 30 investor participants (our “Deal Campers“) from 14 different countries (Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

Our Deal Campers represented various sources of capital (including corporate funds, family funds, and venture capital funds) looking to increase and improve their early stage investments. While our dynamic faculty curated a robust curriculum, our Deal Campers were the stars of the show!

Here’s what happened at Deal Camp:

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Day One – After arriving at Berkeley Law, the Deal Campers spent the morning sharpening their own investment theses (with the support of the 500 Startups investment team) and then headed off to the 500 Startups Mountain View headquarters for the world-famous Preview Day. At Preview Day, the Deal Campers took front row seats to observe pitches from the latest and greatest startups in Batch 19 of the 500 Startups accelerator. After the pitches, the Deal Campers met with the Batch 19 founders to practice applying their investment theses.

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Day Two – Deal Camp returned to Berkeley Law and kicked off with a lecture from Berkeley-Haas professor Gregory LaBlanc on the business case for venture capital. This was followed by a lecture from Neil Dugal of 500 Startups on early stage financing terms and processes. At lunch, the Deal Campers enjoyed a fireside chat between Ben Ling of Khosla Ventures and Bedy Yang of 500 Startups. After lunch, I started a two-part interactive workshop on modeling the economics of early stage finance with my good friend, Scott James of Accel. We then finished off the day with a lecture from leading venture capital expert, and Berkeley Law professor, Robert Bartlett, on the art of the valuation.

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Day Three – We kicked off with a review of the various term sheets and definitive agreements used in early-stage venture capital and was followed up by a case study workshop with Christine Tsai of 500 Startups. Christine explored a few of her more successful investments and interviewed a couple of her favorite founders. At lunch, Berkeley’s very own Peter Minor (founder of the CITRIS Foundry incubator), interviewed Michael Berolzheimer of Bee Partners. Peter and Michael discussed strategies for finding value in new and developing startup markets. After lunch, we kicked off our Term Sheet Olympics and the Deal Campers spent the afternoon preparing and negotiating venture capital deals.

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Day Four – The final day started with a lecture from the New York Times Deal Professor, and Berkeley Law faculty member, Steven Davidoff Solomon. Professor Solomon discussed venture capital exit strategies and the state of M&A in 2017 (along with some very insightful predictions on the future of venture capital). Following the Deal Professor, I completed our cap table training with Quinn Rotchford of AngelList and enjoyed an interview with Ellen Pao of Kapor Capital on the relevance of human capital in the venture capital world. Ellen was fantastic, insightful, and a highlight of the program! After Ellen’s talk, we were treated to a two-hour, no-holds-barred, AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) with Dave McClure of 500 Startups (led by Christine Winnett, executive director of the Berkeley incubator SkyDeck).

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Unfortunately, Deal Camp had to come to an end on Friday, but not without some fireworks! Our Deal Campers each received a certificate from Berkeley (set to music and many, many high fives) and spent the night making future plans with one another over cocktails at Berkeley’s famous Freehouse bar and restaurant.

I’m proud to call Berkeley my home away from home and to declare that #BerkeleyMeansBusiness! Go Bears!

Thank you to Adam Sterling for contributing to the 500 blog. For more insights from Adam, follow him on Linkedin or Twitter.

BAM!: 500 Startups Reveals Accelerator Secrets…Again

#500BAM

We are excited to announce the next session of our newly rebranded Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers (BAM!). 

#500BAM will be held in San Francisco April 24-28th. Apply here: education.500.co/accelerator/

In this one week deep dive, 500 partners share all the juicy secrets they’ve learned after running 40+ accelerator programs for different stages in the startup lifecycle.

Participants will learn how 500 Startups rocketed to the top of the accelerator food-chain and became one of the best accelerators in the country and the world.

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Building on the success of our first Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers

We ran our inaugural bootcamp, called VC Unlocked: Accelerator edition, in May 2016.

It was both fun and eye-opening for the 18 participants (40% women) from 14 geographies, who spent one week learning about 500 Startups’ many successes and failures.

The managers came from a mix of private, government, university and corporate accelerators.

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Their favorite sessions were “Metrics for Success” by Founding Partner Dave McClure, “Making $$$, i.e. Why Most Accelerators Fail” by our CFO Paul Yoo and “Evaluating Accelerator Applicants and Due Diligence” by the Head of our Mountain View Accelerator, Elizabeth Yin.

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A “one-size-fits-all approach” certainly does not apply in the accelerator world. Its important for up-and-coming accelerator managers to understand different models.

Participants heard from the leaders of Moderne Ventures (a real estate accelerator), UpWest Labs (an accelerator that links Israeli entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley) and Village Capital (a social entrepreneurship accelerator).

They also got to meet the team and chat with founders during their visit to the Highway 1 Hardware Accelerator.

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The group got a taste of 500 Startups’ energy while they screened startup pitches at our exclusive 500 family-only “Preview Day.” They said loved our culture, enthusiasm and above all, our transparency and willingness to reveal our “secrets.”

Apply now for the April 24th-28th Bootcamp

The 2017 edition will build on the success of our first program and will bring together accelerator managers from around the world to learn and share their experiences.

To learn more see: education.500.co/accelerator

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Photo credits: Paulina Szyrmer and Yiying Lu

Batch 20 triples down on FinTech and Digital Health, Takes on Uncle Sam with GovTech

500 Startups’ 20th program (B20) in Silicon Valley starts at time that will be remembered across the world. Only three days after a new (and highly controversial) United States government administration has taken power and Silicon Valley is preparing for a Trumpocalypse.

Seeing this regulatory disruption as an opportunity for private sector tech companies, B20 includes GovTech (13.6% of B20), FinTech (27%) and Digital Health (15.9%).

In total, there are 44 companies in the four-month program that will run from January to May. Popular technology trends — including SaaS, marketplaces, AI/bots, big data, analytics, devops and hardware — also remain prevalent in the seed program formally known as an accelerator but continually geared towards scaling companies with early traction.

In total, 36% of the B20 are international representing 10 countries. Canada comes in first in terms of founder representation. Israel is a close second. Founders in B20 also hail from Thailand, Hong Kong, Latvia, Estonia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and France.

B20 is also a diverse set and has 20.5% of companies with at least one woman founder, 11.4% of companies in with at least one black founder, and 13.6% of companies with at least one latinX founder.

Programming continues to be focused on growth, fundraising and storytelling in B20 with a few specialty events, including the notorious Marketing Hell Week, the second B2B sales summit, and a new two-day, intensive fundraising boot camp.

For specific companies in the batch, General Motors is also getting involved and offering exclusive mentorship and access to the automotive industry.

Here’s the full list of companies published in TechCrunch.

Applications for the next program (B21 in Mountain View) are being accepted here.

picture1Pictured above: our SF Seed Program Team

Announcing: 500’s Women Invest Initiative

500 Startups has always been in the business of challenging conventional wisdom in the venture capital industry. Since our inception, we’ve focused on taking our expertise wherever there is talent. That’s taken us to some flung corners of the earth and compelled us to look in oft-overlooked places in our own communities. We’ve baked this diversity into our DNA, trying our hardest to be champions of the world, not as it is, but as we’d like to see it.  

Don’t be mistaken. We don’t do this for charity, or to boost our social profile, or even to make ourselves sleep better at night (although those are obvious benefits.) We do it because it just makes sense. We do it because it makes money. Diversity is the lifeblood of innovation in the 21st century.

Peter Thiel asks “what valuable business is nobody building?” in his book Zero to One. He posits that many of the world’s largest tech companies are built on unconventional ideas about how the world works. To tackle today’s problems and create tomorrow’s biggest companies, we’ll need complex solutions; solutions incubated by people who look at problems from unconventional angles. We’ll need investors willing to invest in those solutions and products.

In 2016, we ran a number of investor education programs with the goal of reaching the next generation of angels, fund managers, and lawyers in the venture capital industry. While we experienced wide–ranging diversity in our last Deal Camp program, we were disappointed that our class consisted of just 15% women. In 2017, we’re pushing towards more gender equity by announcing our Women Invest Initiative for the upcoming Venture Capital Unlocked: Deal Camp program. Deal Camp is a four-day course focused on the legal mechanics of deal making for investors who want to improve their ability to define, negotiate, and execute early-stage investments. We’re offering a 25% discount on the Deal Camp program fee for any woman who recruits another woman to attend the program (Application Deadline: Monday, January 23rd). Both women must identify each other in their applications and attend the program for the discount to apply.

We don’t want the conversation about diversity and inclusion to be relegated to small bubbles on the internet. We want to see change. So, if you’re in the LA area this weekend. Please join us for our Unity & Inclusion Summit. It’s a one-day event bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and the tech community to talk about the current state and future of diversity & inclusion. Details on the summit can be found here: http://bit.ly/500diversity.

Header image courtesy of wocintechchat.com.

Are there ghosts in your convertible notes?

Guest blogger – Adam Sterling is the executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy, co-founder of Startup@BerkeleyLaw, and a former venture capital and startup attorney.

Are you investing in convertible notes or securities? Do you know what a phantom liquidation preference is? Did you know it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars? Let’s illustrate how with a simple example…

Sally purchases a convertible note with a valuation cap of $5 million in Tuber Corporation for $100,000. Six months later, Tuber closes its Series A with a pre-money valuation of $10 million, selling new shares at $1/share. Thanks to its valuation cap, Sally’s convertible note converts at $0.50/share and she receives 200,000 shares of Series A stock. Sally’s very happy about this outcome.

Source www.billionbackrecords.com

A year later, Tuber is acquired. Unfortunately, the acquisition price is not enough to trigger a conversion of the preferred stock. Series A holders will just receive their liquidation preference. Assuming the Series A investors negotiated a standard liquidation preference, each Series A holder should receive the “original issue price” of their Series A stock. The question for Sally then becomes, is the “original issue price” of her Series A stock $0.50 share or $1.00 share?

Assuming Sally’s convertible notes were silent on this issue, Sally would most likely be entitled to receive a liquidation preference of $1.00/share in the above example or $200,000 (an outcome that greatly benefits Sally). This benefit to Sally, getting $1.00/share as opposed to $0.50/share (which ends up being worth $100,000), is known as a phantom liquidation preference.

While most investors would prefer to keep this phantom liquidation preference, many companies are drafting convertible notes to avoid it. Their argument is that investors are double-dipping — benefiting from the discount/valuation cap when their security converts and again with the liquidation preference. This argument may be valid, but as an investor you should at least be aware of it. As some investors successfully retain the preference, it could be worthwhile to fight to keep it. 

Understanding nuanced concepts like this can provide investors with a critical edge in the crowded venture capital space. To this end, UC Berkeley will be partnering with 500 Startups at Venture Capital Deal Camp in February to breakdown concepts like this and explore other mechanics of early-stage deal making. Deal Camp also features VIP access to 500’s famous Preview Day and simulated negotiations with real companies. Check it out and consider applying!

Thank you to Adam Sterling for contributing to the 500 blog. For more insights from Adam, follow him on Linkedin or Twitter.

Venture Capital Unlocked: Deal Camp Yields 100% Satisfaction

Our inaugural class of Venture Capital Unlocked: Deal Camp ran from October 17- 21, 2016. With a NPS score of 100, we’re happy to tout our success. For those who missed it, don’t worry, we’ll be running the course again February 7-10, 2017.

Created in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Business and the Economy, Deal Camp was laser-focused on investment practices related to the most important element of venture capital investing: closing the deal. Deal Camp focused on industry best practices for deal term negotiation, term sheet creation, and capitalization table modeling in early stage investing. Between Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, 500 Startups’ San Francisco office, and Commerce Venture’s office, participants perfected their knowledge of debt and equity venture capital investing.

Marvin Liao of 500 Startups leads the class in question to startup frounders from 500's Batch 19.
Marvin Liao, 500 Startups leads the class in questioning two startup founders from 500’s Batch 18.

Who participated?

The class, composed of 14 investors, hailed from Azerbaijan, Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Lebanon, Nigeria, UK and the USA. With 70% of the class coming from from geographies outside of the United States, it was one of the most diverse classes we’ve had in our education programs to date. Although our participants came from a number of different countries and backgrounds, they shared an astounding number of similarities in terms of investment experience. 

  • Average number of deals done by participants: 5 deals
  • Amount of capital the class plans to deploy over the next 2 years: $75M USD
  • Investor Type: Angel Investors: 42%, Venture Capitalists: 21%, Lawyers: 15%, Representing Corporations: 15%, Representing Governments: 7%

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What did they learn?

Deal Camp brought investors to the San Francisco Bay Area to learn from experienced lawyers, venture capitalists, and Berkeley professors. The international group of investors picked the brains of Dave McClure, Ben Ling, Scott Kupor, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Adam Sterling and Neil Dugal (among many others) to learn how to structure deals to both protect the investor and play fairly with entrepreneurs.

Through a combination of theoretical and hands-on, interactive coursework, our investors learned how to quickly identify founder/investor friendly terms, model capitalization tables, and structure early stage investment deals through priced and convertible equity notes. While most participants had some investing experience under their belt, 90% of the participants walked away from Deal Camp with a better knowledge of how to complete early stage investments.

Professor Adam Sterling moderates a group conversation wtih Dave McClure.
Adam Sterling, UC Berkeley moderates a group conversation with Dave McClure, 500 Startups.

What do participants say?

We could talk about the program all day, but check out what some of our participants had to say about Deal Camp.

Ben Brasher

“Whether you’re considering starting a fund or have already done so, VC Unlocked is a tremendous help. From fine-tuning an investment thesis to validating cap tables and negotiating term sheets, there really is something for everyone. The team put together a powerhouse lineup of speakers including the 500 executives themselves, some of the other most prominent VC firms in the valley, and great faculty representation from UC Berkeley. I’d recommend VC Unlocked to anyone remotely serious about venture capital.”

 

Sabya Das

“VC Unlocked is a truly great program combining both an academic and practical approach to venture investing. It provides insight into the decision-making processes of some of Silicon Valley’s top VCs and also introduces newer investors to the foundations and basics of evaluating, structuring, and executing investments. Having a chance to learn with classmates from around the world provided a unique global experience. I’d highly recommend the course for new fund managers or investment professionals looking to accelerate their VC knowledge.”

 

Tatiana Nehme
Tatiana Nehme

“The VC Unlocked was essential for me as a tech lawyer. I gained insider tips on the dynamics of the top VC and industry leaders in Silicon Valley. The program provides a comprehensive overview of the venture capital investment cycle, talks on the latest practices and trends in the startup world, and workshops on structuring legal documents such as term sheets and convertible notes.”

 

Rick Wingfield
Rick Wingfield

“VC Deal Camp brought together an international cohort of early stage investors all curious to learn the secrets of Silicon Valley and share their local challenges. The course combined the academic power of Berkeley Law faculty and the real world experience of 500 startups and a number of notable VCs. I would highly recommend this course to anyone working with early stage startups.”

The Next VCU: Deal Camp

Our next program is scheduled to take place February 7-10, 2017 in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you’re interested in attending, please head to berkeley.500.vc for more details and the program application.

The Smart Investors’ Toolkit: 12 Resources to Invest Better

The third session of our flagship venture capital investor program, Venture Capital Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing run in conjunction with Stanford’s Center for Professional Development wrapped up almost a month ago.

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With investors hailing from 6 continents and 40% of the class composed of female investors, it’s our most diverse class yet. Whether novices or seasoned professionals, our class learned the importance of keeping it simple and staying informed when doing venture deals. 

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Participants sharing knowledge at an after-class recpetion.

Tools to Help Investors Keep Up with the Market  

Regardless of your profession or geography, education is critical. Investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders know the importance of staying informed and keeping up with the latest business developments. Our VC Unlocked participants were no different. Over the course of the two weeks, they shared resources to help each other expand their investing knowledge. Here are some recommended sources our Stanford professors, program participants, and of course, our 500 staff thought would be useful:

Tools to Help You Close the Deal  

Any effective angel investor or venture capitalist knows that closing the deal quickly and efficiently is ideal. Our investors learned that it’s always good to keep it simple when it comes to paperwork. In addition to staying in current, our investors learned that they should use standard legal documents to cut down on both the time and cost of doing venture deals. Here’s some of the resources they’re now using:

500’s Keep It Simple Security (KISS) Documents 
YCombinator’s Safe Docuements
National Venture Capital Association’s Model Legal Documents

 

How to Invest “Smart Money” — 4 Lessons Learned

I recently attended VC Unlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing, an investor training program run in partnership with 500 Startups and Stanford Center for Professional Development. The two-week program took place July 25th – August 5th, 2016, and a class of 28 participants dove deeply into the world of tech, understanding fund dynamics and hearing from seasoned experts.

My big takeaway was that along with all the attention and hype startups are garnering around the world, there is still a large gap in the knowledge available to investors entering the space.

We hear a lot about “dumb money” and to avoid it like the plague, but is that it? As a former educator I believe not – and so here are a handful of tips for new investors from VC Unlocked to make your money smarter:

1. Understand the market/ecosystem you are investing in

Copying and pasting a playbook from Silicon Valley directly into a different region will not get you the startup ecosystem you hope for. It’s taken a while for this message to make its rounds, but it’s important to know that building up the key components are what matters; Do smart founders, early and later stage capital, legal and other services, and exit opportunities exist in your market? If not, how will you as an investor traverse those voids?

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Bedy Yang and Mary Grove speak about building ecosystems around the world.

2. Educate yourself and peers on good etiquette and best practices

Unless you imagine yourself solely generating your own deal flow and funding your companies throughout their lifetimes, you will find yourself working alongside and benefiting from the participation of the rest of the startup community. It is in your best interest to play well with others, and this applies to how you manage the interests of and your relationships with LPs, fellow investors, and entrepreneurs.

Good behavior could be saying “No” quickly and kindly to founders that do not fall within your investment thesis, having a discussion with your LPs about recycling management fees, or understanding which terms are investor vs. founder friendly.

Your responsibilities as an investor will include:

  • knowing what you are buying
  • how to navigate and properly negotiate terms
  • what part you play in being a constructive board member beyond just writing a check

The good news is, there are many thought leaders and content around these topics that you can find online, and even better news is my colleague will be sharing a post devoted to the best ones!

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Jeff Clavier shares his fund’s journey.

3. Know your value proposition as an investor

“Why you?” is a question investors are often heard asking founders, but it is just as important for investors to ask themselves both for fundraising as well as deal flow. During one of the sessions, David Hornik of August Capital said, “If you don’t have dealflow, you don’t have anything.”  Echoed by Constance Freedman of Moderne Ventures, she pushed for differentiating yourself from other investors.

Whether it is your industry expertise, personal network, or unparalleled access, investors should be able to articulate how their assets power their investment criteria. Jeff Clavier of SoftTech VC encouraged everyone to have “a clear schtick” because at the end of the day smart founders will optimize for investor-market fit.

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Capturing a great session with Jason Calacanis

4. Be transparent with others, honest with yourself

This tip will go a long way, allowing you to attract the best relationships, utilize your time efficiently, and build your brand.

“Be clear about your investment filters and make sure they are known by founders, investors, everyone.”

Dave McClure tells us, “Be clear about your investment filters and make sure they are known by founders, investors, everyone.”

This will help you avoid pitfalls of herd mentality or just falling in love with the problem the company is solving, as well as not wasting meetings with founders you would never back.

Another area of transparency that requires some introspection was brought up by Mary Grove of Google for Entrepreneurs, who said that while it’s widely known that diversity fosters innovation, she pushes investors with the question of “What are you doing to brand yourself or understanding of your own biases?”

Lastly, Jason Calacanis of Inside.com and LAUNCH spoke to always giving back to founders with something constructive, regardless of his investment decision. For each meeting, Jason shared that he takes time to thoughtfully respond to the founder(s) with feedback on what was positive and candid concerns around potential challenges.

While this is not an exhaustive list of how to be a more valuable investor, it’s a start to what is a long journey journey ahead should you choose to become one.

As far as 500 Startups is concerned, this is the way we have guided ourselves in our various ecosystems and how I’ve tried to reestablish our presence in New York. It was never about blindly setting up an office, but rather working alongside all the other great organizations that are building up the meaningful pieces of the tech scene. The response has been wonderful so far, and I’m looking forward to bringing some of 500’s larger programs and resources to New York.

Keep your eyes out in the coming months for more announcements!

Our 2016 VC Unlocked class
Our 2016 VC Unlocked class