I’d like to announce that fishfishme.com joined 500Startups batch 13 in Mountain View, CA. The program kicked off last Monday 20th of April. If you don’t know what’s 500Startups, then you can watch the video here:
500Startups invests $100K in startups selected in addition to a 4 months program. During the program they help startups improve their product, marketing channels and raise money.
Some back story about our journey since we arrived here. Jose (my co-founder), Christian (our designer) and I arrived in San Francisco on the 18th of April. We are staying at Blackbox office/house in Palo Alto renting a couple of rooms. It’s perfect for us with a reasonable price compared to rest of the options. If you don’t remember what’s Blackbox, here is a post and video to refresh your memory:
You need to know that rent in this area (Palo Alto, Mountain View and surrounding areas) is crazy! An apartment for 3 people will cost more than 3,500USD and most probably not furnished.
500Startups office is in Mountain View. To get there we go by train (a 10min ride). The round trip cost something around 5USD by train. You’ll think a city like Palo Alto, were most tech companies started and has Stanford University, will have the most advanced public transportation. But, that’s not really the case. We take the train every morning, and you’ll need to check the schedule because it usually arrives twice or once every hour. So you need to plan when to go to the train station. Moreover, you need to buy a card to tag on and tag off every time you use the train, which is fine, but if you forget to do so you lose all of the money you had in the card (which of course happened to us!). To be fair it’s not completely bad, it’s just your expectation for such high tech city is much higher.
Once we arrive at Mountain View station we walk for 10min to 500 office which is located in the highest building in Mountain View called Mountain Bay Plaza building and 500 office is on the 12th floor. 500 office and here you feel that you are in a high tech office. First of all to open the main door we use an app called Lockitron. You press a unlock button and tada, the door is opened. The office is huge and divided into open working offices, open area for events and closed meeting rooms. I love it! You can see the full city form the top. The best part is that drinks (coffee and soft drinks) and snacks are free! For lunch meals we get two free meals per week, and we order them online from Eat Club. Each startup has it’s own desk, and some have bigger desk than others depending on team size.
The program kicked off on the 20th of April. And to be honest the amount of effort put into it and the things we will be getting is beyond my expectations. For us the best value is that we get assigned with two main offices one is called POC and the other person is called Distro-POC. I honestly forgot what POC stands for, but basically is a person that will help us during the whole period and his main job is to help us with our business, strategy, hiring and fund raising. The POC also help us with connecting us with the best person to help us with a specific subject. The Distro person is only focused to help us grow our company. For us our case grow number of bookings. Disro stands for Distribution and that includes marketing and sales. Our POC is Zafer, a fellow friend I previously met in Dubai, but didn’t know that he joined 500Startups. Very cool guy and I’m happy to working with for the next 4 months and beyond. Our Destiro POC is Mathew Johnson and the head of 500Distro team (yes, we are lucky to get the head working with us). So far these guys been amazing and already helped to open our eyes on new things and to focus on the things that will have bigger effect on us.
The team that help startups is huge, and if I counted correctly is more than 20 people focused to help startup batch. Most of 500 team is focused on growth and distribution. There are also some entrepreneur in residents and VC partners that work full time to help startups to raise money and to overcome business problems. I’ll do a future post about each department job and how they help startups.
Each week at 500 we have a theme such as legal week, hiring, product and Hell Marketing week. Talks and mentors are invited to give talks and lectures. Startups don’t need to attend all talks, unless they think they need it. That’s good, because startups in different stages will need different things.
So far the program is great and we feel lucky to be here. They say it only gets better with time, so will keep you posted. Next post will be about startups with us in the program, will interview some of them and post about their stories. Stay tuned.