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500 Strategy: Lots of Little
Bets* 1) make lots (>100) of investments in early- stage startups 3) wait 3-10 years for returns: -10-20% small exits @1-5X (<25M+) -5-10% larger exits @5-20X ($25-250M+) -1-2% unicorns @20-50X+ (>$250M-1B+) *See Peter Sims book: “Little Bets” 2) over next 2 years, double- down on top 20%
Building Tech Startups Make lots
of little bets: • Start with many small “experiments” • Filter out failures + small wins • Double-down on stuff that looks like it’s working • Incubation: $0-100K (“Build & Validate Product”) • Seed: $100K-$1M (“Test & Grow Marketing Channels””) • Venture: $1M-$10M (“Maximize Growth & Revenue”)
Startup Risk Reduction Concept Early
Customer Usage Scalable Customer Acquisition [about to be] Profitable Unit Economics Scalable Profitable Business Functional Prototype PRODUCT MARKET REVENUE Exit? When 500 Likes to Invest
Investment Stage #1: Product
Validation + Customer Usage • Structure – 1-3 founders – $25-$100K investment – Incubator environment: multiple peers, mentors/advisors • Test Functional Prototype / “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP): – Prototype->Alpha, ~3-6 months – Develop Minimal Critical Feature Set => Get to “It Works! Someone Uses It.” – Improve Design & Usability, Setup Conversion Metrics – Test Small-Scale Customer Adoption (10-1000 users) • Demonstrate Concept, Reduce Product Risk, Test Functional Use • Develop Metrics & Filter for Possible Future Investment
Investment Stage #2: Market
Validation + Revenue Testing • Structure – 2-10 person team – $100K-$1M investment – Syndicate of Angel Investors / Small VC Funds • Improve Product, Expand Customers, Test Revenue: – Alpha->Beta, ~6-12 months – Scale Customer Adoption => “Many People Use It, & They Pay.” – Test Marketing Campaigns, Customer Acquisition Channels + Cost – Test Revenue / Unit Economics, Find Profitable Customer Segments • Prove Solution/Benefit, Assess Market Size • Test Channel Cost, Unit Economics, Revenue Opportunity • Determine Org Structure, Key Hires
Investment Stage #3: Revenue
Validation + Growth • Structure – 5-25 person team – $1M-$10M investment – Seed & Venture Investors • Make Money (or Go Big), Get to Sustainability: – Beta->Production, 12-24 months – Revenue / Growth => “We Can Make (a lot of) Money!” – Mktg Plan => Predictable Channels / Campaigns + Budget – Scalability & Infrastructure, Customer Service & Operations – Connect with Distribution Partners, Expand Growth • Prove/Expand Market, Operationalize Business • Future Milestones: Profitable/Sustainable, Exit Options
Legal review Partner approval Angel
Pre-Seed Seed Post-Seed Series A/B Growth Accelerator Seed “Distro" Follow-On Selection Criteria – Data-Driven Process Based on Pre-defined Metrics • Product or service solves a problem for a specific target customer • Capital-efficient business; operational at less than $1M in external financing • Scalable internet-based distribution (search, social, mobile) or proven ability to scale sales • Functional prototype required before investing (or previous product success) • Measurable traction: engaged users, some revenue, and attractive unit economics • Cross-functional team with design, engineering and marketing expertise How 500 Invests: Accelerator, Seed, Distro
We live in a World
of ABUNDANCE • There are LOTS of talented people in the world • There are LOTS of entrepreneurs everywhere • There is a LOT of capital sitting around, BUT…. • Not much is available for un-tested entrepreneurs :( • 500 Startups plans to change that.
Who/What is an Entrepreneur? •
someone who WANTS to start a business • someone who can RUN a business • someone who can run a SUSTAINABLE business • someone who can run a PROFITABLE business that creates VALUE & employs LARGE # people • someone who can run a $10M/yr business that employs 100+people
How Big Is The Market?
Q: How Many Entrepreneurs? • How Many People = 7,000,000,000 on earth • 1% of Humanity is Entrepreneurial = 70,000,000 founders • Live 70 years, try at least once = 1,000,000 founders / year • How Much Do They Need? Zero? $100K? $1M? $10M? • How Big is the Market = 1M founders x $10M = $10 TRILLION / year • Come on, REALLY? (ok Divide by 100) • 100,000 founders / year * $1M each = $100 BILLION / year
How Many VCs? • How
Many Founders? 1,000,000 founders / year • (ok, divide by 100, let’s say 10,000 founders / year) • 1 VC can make 20 investments / year • 10,000 founders / 20 deals per VC = 500 VCs
How to Become a VC
• Option 1: Go to Harvard/Stanford/Wharton, Get MBA, Become VC Associate, Work at McKinsey / Google / Facebook, Re-Join VC as Junior Partner or Partner • Option 2: Start a Startup, Grow Really Big, Sell for $1B+, Join VC as Partner • Option 3: Wander around lost in the forest, Work Your Ass Off for 25 yrs, do some angel investing, Start your own Firm
500 Startups + Stanford University
Investor Education Program #Venture Capital Unlocked: Learn best practices of Silicon Valley Investing #Startup Accelerator: Build your own accelerator with 500 Startups #VC/Angel 101: How to build an early-stage investment thesis #500VCs
How to build investment thesis
Meet REAL startup founders and conduct selection Connection with Silicon Valley investors and mentors Legal docs: cap table and standard terms How to generate deal flow Trends and relevant area of investments 500 Startups + Stanford University Investor Education Program #500VCs