500 Startups – Week 1 Wrap (aka time to get $hit done)

Personal log, earth date 10-12-5774,

Sitting at home on a Saturday morning looking out at the Bay Bridge and reflecting on week 1 @500Startups. This is the view from the home office in SF.

Bay Bridge from home office

I guess I have to start with: My name is Gadi Bashvitz, the co-founder of OLSET, that is http://www.olset.com (you had to be there…).

Week started off with the welcome session on Monday. First opportunity to meet the extended 500 S team and our new  007 batch-mates. I think Christine Tsai gets the prize for most interesting personal story shared at kickoff.

Kickoff After a few hours of getting settled, meeting the neighbors (The Populr kids in class) the joy of welcome evening started. We got to hear a lot of great stories from previous founders and learn form their best practices. Then the real fun started and a rep from each company gave a 60 second pitch about their company. Amyn was uber brave, got out of his comfort zone and pitched OLSET. Dave McClure was very gentle with his comments of feedback. I think the image below best represents the feeling most presenters had…

Rubber gloveSome alcohol followed so the pain was soon forgotten 🙂

Tuesday was our day to get the real work started. We kicked off the morning with a session with Parker Thompson (our designated venture partner = DVP). First step getting oriented, getting our sea legs and seeing what help we can get to make OLSET go BOOM (in a good way…). I am sure a lot of interesting stuff happened after that but I had to go back to SF for some partner meetings so I missed it.

Wednesday kicked off with Breakfast of champions and a view…

Breakfast with a viewYep, that’s the view from the office. Not sure who selected the office location but, GOOD JOB!  More pictures below. Breakfast was followed by our first mentor session. Already getting some great insights from very experienced mentors including Thomas Knoll, Johnathan Chizick and Dave Nemetz.

Caught up with Shai Goldman, the 500 S NY partner in the afternoon and hopefully hooked him up with some fun meetings on his Israel trip.

Mark Suster @msuster dropped by in the afternoon and shared a TON of knowledge on fundraising, structuring rounds and what to do and not to do.

I got to hang out with a bunch of the other founders Wednesday evening, As expected a lot can be achieved over drinks! Not only did we start a scotch club (still need to work on that) but I got to learn a lot more about some of the people and companies in the batch including:

Celso from BTCjam (Bitcoin from Brazil)

Flavio from Carreira Beauty (Beauty salons in Brazil)

Emily from CityBlis (Creating a clothing line)

Atish, Shri and Phil from Equity Zen (providing liquidity to employees in private companies)

Christina from PlateJoy (delivering healthy food to busy people)

Jay & Kate from ViralGains (tracking engagement on YouTube videos)

Oliver from WePlann (Travel experiences for emerging market travelers in their language)

Dinner was at Scott’s Seafood right by the office. They have a very cool fire pit outside:

Scott's seafood

I know I forgot a few people but this is roughly the point where the alcohol kicked in so let’s connect this week 🙂

Thursday continued with a discussion about how 500 S can help us fundraising and a few more mentor meetings. We also managed to get some work done on the product thanks to the focus by our team!

Thursday evening started with a fireside chat by Dave McClure. Many, many fun facts and some very colorful language. Great tips on dealing with the media, interesting facts on what brought Dave to Silicon valley and what you can and can’t call people you disagree with (WOW, it was very hard to keep this section clean…). Needless to say it looked something like this:


After this we headed to Steakout and learned how to play: 1,2, Pitch. I got to learn about some AMAZING companies including Firehat, Girljacket, Horseumbrella and their premium service Unicornumrella and many others. Steakout has a great German beer collection.


Friday started off with another great view from the office.


We then focused on our next drop and got a lot more actual work done. We did find time to play a doubles game of table tennis. Very proud that Raz from 3Desk and I did well against Erik & Dan from WishPlz.

Friday wrapped up with Brewski Friday and learning much more about some of our other friends from Grata, WishPlz and Sidelines. I headed back into the city (that is SF for anyone not from the area…).

Looking back at the week, not too shabby. Very little sleep but we only have 15 weeks left to make the most out of the program. I am sure I forgot a lot of stuff and I hope I didn’t offend anybody (too badly).

NOW it is time to freak out about all the stuff I wanted to get done this week and didn’t get to. I guess that’s the reason they invented weekends… No worries Parker & Matt, all the materials will be ready for our Tuesday meetings…

Time to get to work.




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