500 Startups week 13 wrap – Things are warming up

Personal Log earth date 18-1-5,774

Things are getting very exciting at 500 S. Next week is our pitch preview day for 500 Startups LPs and mentors.

Pitch prep continued this week and many of the teams are making huge strides and starting to deliver great presentations.

I promised 3 of our mentors who came in a number of times this week and provided a ton of value that I would give them a shout-out. So, James Levine, Rob Neivert and Marvin Liao. Thank you for heckling us and proving that in 2014 the 2 old guys from The Muppet Show (Statler and Waldorf, I looked it up) have turned into the 3 mentors :).

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In all honesty, a huge thank you to Rob, James, Marvin and all the other mentors who provided great feedback and direction. Last shout out to Tim Chae for organizing the pitch prep events.

Now back to the week’s activities.

We missed the weekly batch meeting as we had meetings in SF on Monday. Great view of the Bay Bridge from where we had the meetings.

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Mark Seldana from 500 S posted the travel founder interview he held with Oliver Comargo from WePlann and me about founders focused on travel at 500. You can find the recording here: http://buff.ly/1dOjz28

On Tuesday Patrick Collison from Stripe dropped by and shared much wisdom on starting stripe and all his learnings about hiring, culture, growing the team and focusing on accelerating development. Very insightful and helpful.

This session was followed by a pitch prep session. Antonio from Careira Beauty kicked us off:

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As our time at 500 Startups draws to an end it is time to find a new office for OLSET back in San Francisco. I went office hunting on Wednesday and saw some interesting offices:

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This process continued on Friday and Saturday and we are pretty much down to deciding between the back room of a dental spa and a room above a car wash. Yep, that’s how we roll…

We launched a new version of the OLSET site on Wednesday. You can check it out at http://www.olset.com. We also had a couple great articles posted about our progress in tnooz and skift. You can read more here:

tnooz article: http://www.tnooz.com/article/olset-funding-hotels-anydo-personal-assistant-android-white-label-B2B-travel-startup/

Skift article: http://skift.com/2014/01/16/startup-raises-500000-to-add-smart-hotel-bookings-to-productivity-apps/ 

Thursday kicked off early and this is what 500 S looks like at 8:15AM:

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At noon we had a great founder presentation by Sean Percival. One of the growth mentors at 500 and a former founder himself. Sean talked about the ups and downs of starting and closing a company. Great presentation from the heart! Max Fram-Schwartz did a great job interviewing Sean.

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On Thursday afternoon the Startup2startup group held a networking event at the office. Great opportunity to meet other founders and learn from their experience.

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Imagine my surprise when I showed up in the office at 8AM on Friday and Maddie from Pop Basic and Nick from Populr were already there. Great opportunity to have a quick breakfast with a couple good friends and founders.

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Turns out that Nick pulled an all nighter on Thursday. Well, I guess that if your choice is going back to a studio apartment and snuggle with Daniel and Jared, or stay in the office I know what I would choose 🙂

Friday afternoon we had both pitch prep and a visit from the TechCrunch team. They were filming a series about accelerators and hopefully caught some of my pitch and will share it):

20140117_140926Arka from Sidelines App was preparing for his pitch and showing off his colors. A little fight broke out with a few 49er fast but no-one was seriously hurt.

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I guess I’ll wrap this week up with GO 9ers!

Wish us luck with the preview pitch day next week!

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