500 Startups week 17 wrap – 500 S takes over NY (or The weather was angry this week)

Personal Log earth date 15-2-5,774,

I am VERY happy to be back home in San Francisco where the weather is AWESOME!

Looking back, I have no idea how I spent 5+ years in NY before moving to SF 6 years ago. Awesome place, crappy weather.

OK, enough of that. Let’s get down to business.

Our 4 months at 500 Startups are OVER! The week in NY was our last week and we went out with a bang. For all of you who are feeling a pinch reading this line, no worries, this weekly blog will continue with posts from all our batch companies so you will be able to continue sharing in the joy (and pain) which is the life of batch 007 – the best batch ever!!!

I missed a couple of the events at 500 S on Monday as I flew out to NY for a bunch of meetings ahead of demo day but rumor has it that there was a very lightly attended batch meeting.

The week was supposed to be all about our demo day on Thursday but the weather gods had a something else in mind.

When I arrived in NY on Monday evening times square looked like this:



Very clod but blue skies. This is what it looked like the next morning after the storm hit:



Yes, this was taken around 8AM. And this is what things looked like a couple hours later when everything started turning to slush…



At least it warmed up a bit when it was snowing…

As always with snow you also get some beautiful shots like this one of Columbus circle where I had a meeting:


The week was filled with meetings and festivities leading up to the big day on Thursday. Unfortunately Thursday was the biggest storm so many people did not make it into the city. The demo day format was a good format. A bunch of 1:1 meetings which worked out well. Unfortunately not all the attendees showed up due to the weather.

The venue at Goodwin Procter was great and the view from their 40th floor was very cool:



The layout where we each had a table and huge screens worked very well:

20140213_191330 20140213_191308 20140213_154555


And this was a great opportunity to not only meet with partners and investors but also catch up with our batch-mates (Nav from Reality share & Amyn from OLSET enjoying some wine):



Even the 500 S lady founders came out in force (Maddie from Popbasic, Hana from Bounty Huntr, Christina from PlateJoy & Anjali from Partender) and showed some #500strong girl power:


Maya, Tim, Max, Christen and the rest of the 500 team did a great job setting this up.

OK, this posting felt strange until now and I just realized why. I can’t publicly post anything about most of what happened this week as we need to make sure we follow all the regulations that we have to follow. Trust me this week was waaaaaay more fascinating than what this post makes it sound…

After the demo day the festivities started. Us “Old Guys” only went to the first couple bars. I had an excuse as I had an 8:30AM meeting with a potential partner on Friday morning and I did want to get some sleep before that.

The Center Bar was pretty cool:

photo 1 And a couple min later this happened (aparently Phil fromEquityZen &Christina from Platejoy are now engaged….):

photo 2


I can’t wait to see those kids. Tons of secondary equity & healthy food, who needs genetic engineering???

It was great to catch up with Allen Liu one of the awesome 500 S mentors who has been helping us out right before I flew back to San Francisco. Allen even managed to find a little coffee shop called Little Collins which is named after little Collins street in Melbourne and has the same ambiance and coffee. Great memories from a past life:



Many of our batch-mates stayed in NY for the weekend and reports are coming in via all social media channels about their festivities including some good pictures:

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Well, I guess that’s it for this posting, but as I said above, not to worry the story of batch 007 is just starting and the next chapters will be written here and posted in all the major publications soon!

Off to the next chapter.



500 Startups Week 6 Wrap. 1.5 Months in!

Personal Log earth date 11-16-5774

Unfortunately I missed some of the activities this week due to intensive preparations for the Phocuswright Travel Innovation Summit #TIS13. OLSET is one of a few startups selected to present at this prestigious event. You can see more details here: http://phocuswrightconference.com/ . This means we are spending next week in Florida so the week 7 wrap will be written by guest contributors.

OK, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about week 6.

As always the weeks kicked off with the batch meeting. This one had a somber note as it was decided that we will not be partnering with Angellist on a fund for the batch. Luckily most of the companies in the batch are OK with this.


Here’s Christine Tsai delivering the news…

The great mentor sessions continued after that. Marvin Liao shared insights on partnering with large organizations like Yahoo based on his vast experience.

On Monday afternoon we were visited by an group of entrepreneurs from Korea who pitched their companies at 500 Startups. Very interesting!


On Tuesday we had a few meetings in the city in the morning and made it into 500 just in time for a noon presentation by Reddit. The provided a lot of information about the Reddit platform, how we can get started with it and the benefits of marketing with them.


20131112_123222_resizedOn Wednesday we met with Softlayer to learn more about what they can offer us both in terms of hosting and other sales & marketing support.

SoftlayerI have not shared information about Rewardli yet but it is a great program. Whether you are a 500 Startups company or not you can get a lot of value from this platform. One example is that we get free hosting for a couple of years with AWS, MS Bizspark, Softlayer etc. There are many other benefits for startups. You can learn more here: http://www.rewardli.com

We’ll see if we can work with Softlayer as we have PCI compliance at OLSET and AWS offers a platform that supports the compliance.

We had a hump day happy hour at 500 S on Wed afternoon but I missed it as I went to the opening night events for the MEF global forum. 500’s very own Parker Thompson was on a panel at the conference & he invited both OLSET and Partender to present at the event.

The Wed evening reception was held at the Mozilla offices in San Francisco. Great view of the Bay Bridge (from the other side of the view from my house) and the Ferry building:




Quick break from the week’s events at 500. Quite a few people apparently care what Dave McClure is up to as he hasn’t appeared in my posts in the last few weeks. Well, turns out Dave is hopping around the world with Geeks On A Plane #GOAP. This week he shared great views from Dubai & Abu Dabi. Here are some awesome pictures that he shared.

Grande mosque

BurjKhalifa - Dubai


We hope he actually makes it back from there… 🙂

We now continue with our regular programming.

Thursday morning we presented at the MEF forum. You can find my slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/bashvitz/olset-presentation-at-mef-nov-2013

This was followed by the investor panel talking about their focus & interest.

20131114_111052_resizedRyan Domico from Crocodoc came to visit and have lunch with us on Thursday.

He shared some of his knowledge and experience starting a company, growing it and being acquired.

ryan-crocodocAfter that we met with Aaron Batalion from Living Social. Aaron had some GREAT insights on testing marketing ideas and validating distribution options without development.

Our mentor meeting with Aaron was followed by him sharing insights & knowledge in a fireside chat.

aaronbatalionWe worked from the city on Friday and I know we missed a few things but we had to prepare for the conference next week and the launch with our partner Any.Do next week.

The week actually wrapped up with a mentor session with Omer Perchik the CEO of Any.Do. Very timely 🙂

That’s it for this week. Amyn (My Co-Founder and OLSET’s CTO) and I are off to Florida tomorrow morning.

Wish us luck.

Have a great week.