6 lessons any business should learn from 500 Startup Demo Day

6 lessons any business should learn from 500 Startup Demo Day


When you want to launch a product, app, web service or a company you need all the advantages you can get. Having all the right connections at the right level with the right people can be the difference between a great business and one that limps along. If you want the crème de la crème of connections, there is no better than being one of the lucky few companies that are involved with 500 Startups.

6 lessons any business should learn from 500 Startup Demo Day

Who is 500 Startup ?

Founded in 2010 and spearheaded by former PayPal and Google alumni Dave McClure and Christine Tsai,  along with their team, 500 Startups is a true global VC (venture capital) seed fund and start-up accelerator based in Silicon Valley with  around $200 million in assets under management. 500 Startups and their investors and partners have mentored and invested in over 1,500 companies who have survived the intense bootcamp training this accelerator puts its members through. Some of the big names are Credit Karma, GrabTaxi, Twilio, Udemy, Ipsy, TalkDesk, Intercom, MakerBot, Wildfire, and Viki .

What makes the 500 Startup team truly unique and global is the diversity of its  100 strong team, from more than 20 countries,  who manage investments in 50 countries and speak over 25 languages.

“We run accelerator programs in San Francisco & Silicon Valley 4x per year emphasizing internet marketing and customer acquisition, design and user experience, and lean startup practices and metrics. Our Distro team and programs deliver growth marketing and investment for seed-stage companies. Our investment team and mentor network has operational experience at companies such as PayPal, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and Apple.”

The 500 Startup Events

The team offers several events and today was Batch 15 Demo Day which is a “A one-day event for active & accredited investors to check out our hottest accelerator & post-seed portfolio companies.” A showcase if you will, of some of the hottest companies allowing investors to see if they find any business that want to invest in.

Having watched the event unfold live via the live streaming service, I noticed 6 common denominators which are good lessons for any business (regardless if presenting to investors or not):

1. Presentation is key:

The person presenting should be articulate, relatable and might not necessarily be the CEO of the company. The presenter is the face of the business to the investors and should offer confidence and knowledge that he or she knows exactly WHAT  the company does, HOW it does it, WHO the clients are.

2. Short and Sweet:

The format of the presentation was perfect. Each presenter had a short amount of time to present with the aid of several slides before the next presenter came onto the stage. This meant presenters needed to pitch and position their company in a short amount of time. Only those who are crystal clear about their business are able to do that – a sign that investors look for.

3. The Future:

The companies not only presented their current status but also presented where their company will be in the short term and the long term. Investors don’t invest now for now but look for a company with clear vision and growth.

4. The numbers:

The financials are the unemotional yard stick of the business. The numbers portray the true standing of the business without the marketing hype. Those presented showed current investment (if applicable), current burn rate, profitability and growth.

5. Scale:

The businesses presented were scalable. They were built from their inception with growth in mind. This is critical for an investor who wants the opportunity to be part of a very large pie.

6. The Team:

The people behind the businesses are as important as the business itself. A strong team with strong backgrounds especially in brand-name companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn  assure the investors that their time and money are in good hands.

The Varied Talent:

As one can see from the list of companies presented (list from the official Demo Day site), what is clear is that there is no one-silver-magic bullet that cuts across all industries. From business processes, to jewellery, to supply chains, to marketing and news – its all here:

Accelerator Companies:

Post Seed Companies:

For more info check out http://500.co/

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter

One thought on “6 lessons any business should learn from 500 Startup Demo Day

  1. This is so great event! Have yo ever hosted any startup from Poland? Maybe you have heard about Brand24.net which is one of the greatest startups here. It provides social listening and analyses solution. Check this out 🙂

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