500 Startups Batch 5: Behind The Scenes
The 5th installment of the 500 Startups Accelerator program kicked off a couple weeks ago. Since then, a lot has already happened - kickoff festivities, 1:1 metrics reviews with each company, and a field trip to visit Google’s HQ.
Blogging is like exercise. It’s critical to focus on building a strong brand that customers connect with, and a strong culture, even when it’s just the founders, and generating content (e.g. a blog) is key. Going through the 500 Accelerator is such a huge investment for these companies, especially for those who traveled halfway across the world to be here. Several companies have vowed to document their experience @ 500 on their company or personal blogs (some have already done so).
In the same spirit, I will do the same - publish weekly posts on what goes into running the 500 Accelerator program. Lessons learned, observations, my own humble advice on making an accelerator program successful and having a significant (positive) impact on the ‘bottom line’ for each company - more customers, revenue, growth, capital.
Each company coming into the accelerator program has a set of goals and milestones they plan to achieve by the end of the program. They often revolve around growth, revenue, hiring, and fundraising. In the same vein, I’d like to share a few high level goals for ourselves:
- Enable companies to hit or exceed their milestones by giving strong mentorship, resources, 1:1 time, etc.
- Improve our own intelligence of each company to make more data-driven, informed decisions for follow-on investments.
- Deepen engagement w/ 500 Mentors - actively communicate ways to participate, invite them to accelerator events and more.
- Improve Demo Days to have maximum (positive) impact for the companies.
One last thing to note - this was the first accelerator batch where we utilized an open application process. While the majority of the companies came through referrals, we decided to experiment with an open application process using AngelList’s platform to fill the remaining spots in the program. We were blown away by the number of applications - and strong ones, at that. It was definitely an experiment, and we learned a lot from it. We brought in a few strong companies that I am certain we would never have found otherwise.
We’ll be announcing this batch in a couple weeks. Stay tuned to meet them all.