Week 1 Post 500 Startups – AKA welcome to our new office

Personal Log Earth Date 22-2-5774

I am going to keep this post short and sweet.

To anyone who was wondering, the blog lives on!

Starting next week we are going to have a new format in which every week a different founder from our batch will give an account of what their company is up to.

On he OLSET front a lot of stuff I can’t talk about happened this week…

The one big thing that I can’t talk about is the move to our new OLSET / BTCJam office is SOMA.

Monday saw much activity moving in and putting furniture together and learning about a lot of hidden skills!

Here is an assortment of pictures of the team showing off their skills ūüôā

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It took a good part of the day on Monday but by the end of it we were OLSET!

We have a great view from the meeting room including a sunset:

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But while the rest of the office is set up and the teams are cranking along:

Bottom floor:

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And top floor (before anyone came in, in the morning):

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The meeting room still needs some work…

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A bunch of our batchmates were featured on Wall Street Cheat Sheet: http://wallstcheatsheet.com/business/8-new-startups-coming-up-from-dave-mcclures-stable.html/?a=viewall

Go: Shortcut, EquityZen, LaunchTrack, AdEspresso, uBiome, RealtyShares, Populr, OLSET and of course Dave McClure from whose stable we apparently come…

Oh, last but not least. Wednesday was a VERY BUSY day and all I had a chance to eat was Taco Bell on the way between meetings. I am sure Christine will be proud!

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Look for a post from one of our batch founders next week.

Gadi

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500 Startups week 16 wrap – Demo Day Goes BOOM!!!!

Personal Log earth date 8-2-5,774,

OK, let’s start by saying that there is absolutely NO WAY to capture the experiences of this week in a blog posting (well, at least not for me…).

Let’s do this in order…

Sunday was a very disappointing Superbowl (not that I care too much who won, it was just not a good game!). But before the game, 500 S’s Mark Seldana hosted a fantastic champagne breakfast.

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This was followed by a superbowl viewing at 500 S. Dave brought the kids who were fascinated by the game!!!

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Monday kicked off with the LAST batch meeting.

The whole 500 S crew was there. We had a very interesting discussion regarding what we can and can’t say at demo day and it got very personal between Dave and Greg…

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After the batch meeting we met with Jennifer McCormick, one of the UX mentors for our last mentor meeting and some great feedback on our UX.

On Tuesday we had a bunch of meetings and some good time to prepare for the big day on Wednesday!

Apparently the morning was cold. When I showed up in the office Daniel from Populr & Gina from WePlann seemed a bit chilly.

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And then it was Demo Day in Mountain View. Great production by the entire 500 S team and awesome presentations by all our batchmates – Go 007!!!

We showed up at Microsoft in MV in the morning to get set up

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Each presenter had their own way to present.

Some like D2 from Anyadir Education stood on stage and recited their presentation

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While others like Maddie from Popbasic just used some uppers ūüôā

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We had good division of labor in the OLSET team. While I was preparing to pitch the team was hard at working getting $hit done!

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And then we were off to the races. Dave got us started but then Christine Tsai took over and put on a show the entire day

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We were in the 2nd group to present and this is what it looks like standing in line waiting to present after Tom from 3Sourcing & Aakash from Shopseen:

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I can’t really talk about all the pitches because there is way to much to say but I can at least share some pictures of all the great presentations at the end of this blog posting. See below.

I will call out the fact that for some reason we didn’t get a picture of Hitesh from SilverPush presenting (I can confirm that he was there) but then I did see him post the following picture so I can only assume he pitched somewhere else at the same time. Now, that is impressive technology!!!

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We got the opportunity to get some great pictures and meet awesome investors, reporters and partners after the pitches.

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We got some amazing press coverage after the event and had a lot of follow up meetings scheduled. Here are a few links to some press where OLSET and many of our batchmates were featured

1. TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/05/its-almost-like-im-writing-checks/

2. The Next Web: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2014/02/06/10-favorite-companies-500-startups-seventh-accelerator-class-demo-day/

3. Silicon Valley Business Journal:  http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2014/02/06/heres-whos-trending-from-500.html?page=all

There was quite a bit of celebration at 500 after the presentations and we had a Looooong night following up on all the meeting requests. Some of had time toplay FlipCup:

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Thursday was whirlwind of meetings and on Friday we had the batch 007 Goodbye Party (no worries, we are all hanging out in NY next week).

The festivities started with a viewing of the Movie Crocodiles on the Yang-Tse – the Story of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. This was set up by Patai from Builk:

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The future tenants of 1 Bluxome apt 418 can be seen here. We hung out with our office-mates to be – BTCJam.

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And many other festivities including Dave showing off his love for More Cowbell:

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Here are pictures of all the presenters at demo day, I’ll let others in the batch add more comments and thoughts!

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One week to go!

Have a great weekend

Gadi

500 Startups week 15 wrap – Irish Twins

Personal Log earth date 1-2-5,774,

Our batch 007 hasn’t even wrapped up and this week batch 008 kicked off up in San Francisco. This is the new 500 Startups strategy. 4 batches a year, 2 in Mountain View and 2 in SF.

So, what did we have this week?

Most of the focus was on prep for next week’s demo day – woo hoo, but as usual at 500 there were a lot more afoot…

But, before the week actually kicked off, many of our batch-mates got together at the BTCJam complex to celebrate a beautiful weekend in the Bay Area with food and much drink.

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Due to the batch 8 kickoff, batch 7 got no love on Monday and this was the first time we did not have a Monday batch meeting. Well, we will really be in trouble if we can’t do without them as we only have 1 left before we leave the nest.

Apparently the 500 S office in the city is not quite ready yet so their kickoff was a bit improvised…

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We were compensated by having Stephanie Palmeri @stephpalmeri from SoftTech VC ran pitch prep on Monday and provided some great feedback to many of the teams.

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On Tuesday we had a bunch of meetings in SF so did not make it down to Mountain View but there were many things going on. We did manage to remotely join the fireside chat with Pierre-Olivier Latour from EverPix:

EverpixPierre shared a lot of valuable information regarding what to do, what not to do and what could be done better based on his experience!

Our team huddled in our shared office @WSGRSoma to view the live stream:

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On Wednesday afternoon there was more pitch prep followed by the formal batch 8 kickoff. Great opportunity to share our knowledge and catch up with founders from past batches and the newbies from batch 8. We heard their initial pitches and while they have a LOT of work ahead of them (wow, did we ever sound that green?), there seem to be some awesome companies in this batch.

20140129_183635 Parker Thompson did a great job corralling a horde of founders and keeping us on track.

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The kickoff was at the very pimped out Pivotal labs office…

Thursday was the Chinese New Year. Goodbye year of the Snake, Hello year of the Horse! The BoutyHunter team celebrated the year with some the customary ping pong game (well, I am quite sure this had nothing to do with the New Years but notice how quickly Hana moves) and great Chinese food.

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1560690_10202849265329644_1221342324_nAnd those of us who couldn’t make it to the dinner went to a Mongolian BBQ to prepare for the nightly pitch prep.

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Great catching up with the EquityZen, PopBasic, Populr, OLSET and WePlann teams over dinner and surprisingly fantastic ice cream.

And then we had the traditional Thursday night pitch prep with Maneesh Arora and James Cham.

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Maneesh and James provided extremely valuable feedback, focused on why our products are better and how we can better convey our messages.

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Massimo from AdEspresso won the prize for best visual deck.

The last pitch prep session was on Friday and we also got the new OLSET shirts:

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The other exciting news for the week is that we found an office in San Francisco that we will be moving into on Feb 17.

2 More weeks to go!

Wish us luck with demo day on Wed!

Have a great weekend.

G

 

 

 

 

 

500 Startups week 14 wrap – Preview day goes Boom!

Personal Log earth date 25-1-5,774,

Now worries, that was a GOOD BOOM!

Wow, things are really heating up as our demo day draws near.

We had a local peek this week with preview day. Preview day is a small demo day where many 500 Startups LPs and mentors come to see our pitches in preparation for demo day. More about that later.

Monday kicked off with an international prep session. Angelika Blendstrup came in to help international founders perfect their accent. Considering the quality of the pitches on Wednesday I would say РGREAT JOB. Rui from Careira Beauty pitching:

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And Hana from BountyHuntr:

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The prep session was followed by the weekly batch meeting. The 500 S team was there in full force:

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Most of the discussion was around the upcoming demo days.

On Tuesday we had a dry run for the Wed preview day. This was a full dress rehearsal (sans the partying later). Celso from BTCJam put on a show:

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And Brian from MailLift shared the importance of sending hand written letters and how customers like Adroll are seeing a great lift in conversion rates using their service.

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This is a good panoramic view of prep day:

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And then it was preview day! Wednesday started with a bang. This is how the office looked at 10AM…

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I was a bit concerned that I am in the wrong place but turned out the teams were just getting in a bit later. Within a few hours we were in full force:

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And then the pitches commenced. MC Christine Tsai did a great job getting us on and off stage with awesome support by Tim Chae and Max F-S.

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Dave McClure helped kick things off and then headed to the back to hang out with Parker and enjoy the fruits of their hard work:

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James Levine sat beside them and enjoyed his hard work as well:

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There were a lot of great pitches and things flowed well. I’ll share more about the actual pitches on the real demo day. We don’t want to ruin anything.

And then there was much drink and celebration.

Tom from 3Sourcing showed up his socks:

 

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and we had great food:

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The teams needed to relax after the pitches by playing cards:

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Then we headed to a bar to chill and Daniel from Populr who worked all night to create an app for accredited investors to show interest in companies showed that he can crash anywhere if needed:

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Apparently there was a loooong night of Kareoke that followed but I missed it.

Teams recuperated on Thursday and on Friday we were right back to pitch prep with VCs from Grelock.

All in all very good week. 1 more full week to go before demo day.

500 Startups week 10 Wrap – Let the pitches begin!

Personal log, earth date 12-14-5,774

Rumor has it this past week was the coldest we have had in the Bay Area in over a decade. It has now warmed back up but this is definitely reflected in the pictures from the batch meeting on Monday (notice the beautiful hats Max & Dave are wearing and Christine’s freezing stance…):

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Most interesting news in the batch meeting is that the demo day in NY is on! So we have a preview day on Jan 22 in Mountain View, Pitch day in MV on Feb 5 and then we are off to NY on Feb 13. We are going to book all the hotels for the batch using OLSET!

After the batch meeting we had a “pitch view party”. We looked at a bunch of pitches from previous batches and learned the good and the bad, Very interesting and insightful.

On Tuesday, Christine Herron from Intel Capital dropped by and told us all about how VCs operate. We missed this presentation as we had the first OLSET investor / advisor / team meeting at that time.

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You can find a recording of the presentation here: http://new.livestream.com/500SAcc/events/2611496

Stephanie Hay came to 500 startups on Wed and Thu and raised a storm! Definitely a couple of the best presentations we had throughout the program and a very informative mentor session. Stephanie has a knack for cutting through any BS and getting right to the point. What is the value you provide, to whom and why the hell are you doing what you are doing?

On Wednesday Stephanie gave a pitch on content for startups and what we should, or shouldn’t have on your website.

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On Thursday Stephanie focused on our pitch on pitch day, what is important, what is not important (mainly what is not important…). Great insights!

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You can find Stephanie’s presentation here:¬†http://new.livestream.com/500SAcc/kickasspitch

Rewind a bit to Wednesday evening. 500 S hosted the Blue Hawaiian accelerator pitch day in MV. We saw pitches from a few very interesting companies. There are some great ideas coming out of Hawaii. They also shared pictures of having board meetings on surfboards and catching waves. If anyone is interested in joining an accelerator in paradise, this is not a bad option (not much money but who cares?).

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They were kind enough to not only pitch but also share some Hawaiian Mai-Thais and Hawaiian food.

Here’s the CityBliss team after a few cocktails ūüôā

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And me enjoying a drink:

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The drinks looked good (a bit froofy in my taste):

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On Thursday evening our very own Celso Pita, the CEO of BTCJam gave us a presentation on Bitcoin 101. Amazing how much we don’t know about Bitcoin.¬†

You can find Celso’s presentation here:¬†http://new.livestream.com/500SAcc/Bitcoin

And then it was Friday and we had pitch practice! 

A few of us volunteered to pitch on this first day, get feedback (some positive, some negative, most very helpful and surprisingly nobody was hurt).

Nick Holland from Populr was the first to go (apparently he pulled an all nighter before this):

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Dave McClure was as gentle as a feather with his feedback (or not)…

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I went second. Fun times. I definitely recommend pitching early as you get the most feedback that way and can improve the most.

We wrapped up the week with a meeting with our POC Parker Thompson and planning the next couple weeks. The OLSET team is working hard this weekend making some final adjustments to our Any.Do partnership in preparation for the GA launch with them this week.

Rumor has it that a bunch of our batch-mates went skydiving this afternoon. I wonder if we should be concerned as we haven’t heard anything from them yet and no pictures were posted on Facebook.

Well, that wraps week 10. The next couple weeks will be quiet as many of the teams are heading home for the holidays.

Have a great weekend

Gadi