Learning the Hustle at 500 Startups

Today we met with Marvin (Partner) and Mojan (EIR, entrepreneur in residence) part of the 500 Startups team, who gave our startups candid feedback.

Among the lessons, the top 5 words of wisdom:
– Passion and energy are king: ask yourself whether this is a big problem and it is one that you are willing to fix.
– Don’t spread the effort: exhaust your target (e.g. focus first in one channel or segment), it is the best way to iterate and learn fast.
– Back your idea with data: understand customer insights, talk to as many as customers as possible.
– Keep it simple: explain it as if you were explaining your idea to your grandmother.
– State your value proposition: especially for crowded markets, explain what makes you better than your competitors.

In summary, Marvin Liao said: “If you have traction, show it. If you don’t have it yet, tell us what is the problem to be addressed, why that is a big market, why your solution makes it better, and why is your team the best to solve it.”

500 Startups is famous for early stage investments. Most are in the order of $50,000 to $100,000. Although the invested startups are in early stage, they usually already have clients, and 500’s efforts are focused in helping them raise investments. Additionally, they believe that good startups can be developed anywhere, and have 25% of their portfolio of investment outside the USA.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 9.34.04 PM
It was a great experience! Thank you very much Marvin Liao and Mojan Movassate for having us today! We look forward to seeing the man himself, the founder of 500 Startups, Mr. David McClure at the MIT Venture Capital & Innovation Conference in December, where he will be speaking about why venture capital is broken. Should be good!

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