Incredibly informative talk by Sean Percival, Partner 500Startups hosted by AT&T Foundry (fabulous venue & incredible food) & Ericsson.  Thanks so much to our sponsors!

Marketing 101 for Startups: How to grow your Business and Talk to Investors about Marketing.   See below:
Here is Sean’s presentation

Sean Percival, Partner 500Startups spoke to me briefly before his talk about stalkers & Bitcoin. They invest really early stage, so things are barely working so its a lot of formation. Startups want to get some traction, they want to get some users, they want to make the first $100 & they’ve been struggling. 500Startups are very tactical so they show them exactly what to do. So there have been many instances when they have helped a company go from nothing to something which has allowed them to go on & build more & get more money. He is always excited when he sees that they have something great but the gears are just not turning right. When they do a slight tweak, then they’re off into the races! The other piece is the emotional support – part psychiatrist/part psychologist. Many times when entrepreneurs come to him & they are in a tight spot. 500Startups are very transparent & they can come to them with those challenges. So just them venting helps. Often he doesn’t even need to say anything, just be there & listen & then they’re back on the horse again! So the most rewarding things for Sean are helping something work & being there for entrepreneurs in tough spots.

Because 500Startups are very visible & everybody knows who they are, they get a lot of weird stalkers behavior going on. They’ve had people sleep outside their office. Sean’s been mailed every weird thing you can imagine from sex toys to food. Somebody even mailed him a tree that had money all over it – the money tree! Their analogy was that if he invested in that company the money would grow. He’s never surprised at what comes in the mail or that founder sleeping outside the door desperate to talk to us. Btw that’s not the right way to do it – get to know them, send him an email, get a referral – that’s what they prefer!
He also spoke about Bitcoin. He spoke about the market & how he sees Bitcoin going. There is a bit of a cooling off right now – there was a saturation & too many ideas! The challenge is that consumer adoption has been very slow so there still is 1 to 3million people using BitCoin. That’s incredible but small on a worldwide scale. What has been interesting is that they had to build the first infrastructure layer – apis & developer tools etc. That’s mostly what Sean has invested in over the last year. Now its about adoption & if adoption doesn’t speed up Bitcoin may be in trouble. It may take something to kickstart this. It needs to get to the 10 & 50 & 100 million users. That’s another challenge too! Maybe people need to use Bitcoin & not know that they are using it. The analogy he uses is a credit card, when you swipe your credit card, all these things are happening in the background. As a consumer you don’t need to know that & you probably don’t want to know. It’s very technical & confusing & probably scarey? Bitcoin’s complexity needs to be abstracted a little & people need to be able to use it & benefit from the efficiency of it without understanding everything under the hood.
In terms of market cap, Bitcoin is about 15 times bigger than the next one so Sean doesn’t think there will be an Alt Coin. The big debate that is happening right now is that maybe there will be blotching technologies that don’t have currency associated with it. Another digital currency wont surpass Bitcoin because the network is so strong & hundreds of times bigger than the other currencies too. This is a network based on trust. He thinks that people are going to break off some of the parts of the technology & move it onto their applications.

 

 

About the author

Pemo is a Media Publisher & Event Producer. She is CoFounder of Silicon Valley TV & Executive Producer of Smart Money Silicon Valley: Network with & Learn from Silicon Valley Investors! & NoPanels: Engage Directly with Investors & Industry Leaders & PitchPerfect Silicon Valley: Craft your Pitch & Slide Deck for Funding! She video interviews venture capitalists & angel investors EZebis: Winning the Venture Game! She is based in Silicon Valley & has been involved in online business for 10 years. She has been in small business for 39 years in Ireland, London, Canada & Australia. She also published a free ebook (the findings of 1 year research with vcs, angels & women founders) “Why are Women Funded Less than Men? a crowdsourced conversation” available on Scribd.