What We Learned at 500 Startups

Tyler Tate
Feb 22, 2017 · 4 min read

Over the past 4 months, we at Crema.co have been participating in the 500 Startups accelerator program in Mountain View, California. Here’s what it taught us.

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But first… what is 500 Startups?

(If you’re part of a startup that’s launched your product or service, have customer traction, and are looking to grow fast, apply here.)

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Pitching Crema.co on demo day.

Distribution, distribution, distribution

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Everyone gathering for a Marketing Hell Week session.

We got thrown into the deep end at the very beginning of the program, affectionately termed “Marketing Hell Week.” It was an entire week of back-to-back sessions from marketing pros and 500 partners covering everything from high-level growth frameworks, to various marketing channels, to growth-hacking tactics (aka “hactics”). I took fastidious notes during the week and have just started posting them here on Medium.

With the foundation of Marketing Hell Week under our belts, we were then paired with a distribution mentor (in our case, the ace David Quiec) who we met with weekly throughout the remainder of the program. This helped us get into a growth mindset of reviewing metrics, generating ideas, running experiments, and repeating week after week.

And it worked: we doubled the size of our customer base during 500.

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I may have been a bit overexcited about posing with 500 founder Dave McClure.

Hone your message

A short version of the pitch deck we show to investors.

Get in front of the right people

500 also hosted investors and mentors for office hours during the second half of the batch, and we had the opportunity to sit down with some very smart people that it would have been tough to get in front of otherwise.

Video of my pitch at demo day.


A cheesy video we put together as a batch.

Onwards and upwards

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Manning the demo day expo table from left to right: Ruth (operations), Me, Michael George (customer support), Leslie (content). Emily and Michael McIntyre missed out on the photo op.

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