Announcing the 500 Tribe

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Halloween isn’t the only cause for celebration and zombie-hunting — it’s time to officially unveil the companies of 500 Startups Batch 5! You can see legit coverage in TechCrunch and our amazing video on the 500 blog. This post and the whole crew has been under a press embargo since we got here. With the embargo lifted, bragging rights about this incredible group of people are now mine.

Kick-ass tea with the folks from Tealet

I want to begin focusing on the group of founders that I’ve already met in my first three weeks — and start meeting 3 new teams a week. Should take me 10 weeks to get through them all!

3 Bomb-diggity teams

  • Tealet
    Marketplace that connects tea drinkers with tea growers.”
    Elyse Petersen is a fellow female co-founder, and she’s serious about tea. She’s got a tea station set-up at the Tealet desk, and we spent some time with the team sampling their new Taiwanese shipment. The team’s from Hawaii, and it’s no wonder I constantly have the urge to stroll over and sip some delicious warm tea — these guys really embody ohana.
  • LaunchGram
    Revolutionizing Pre-Release Product News”
    Andy Sparks (who writes one hell of a blog) and I have initiated what I hope becomes a tradition: CEO Coffee Therapy. Okay, so I may not drink coffee, and it may not be licensed therapy, but it’s certainly dialogue between CEOs — and somewhat cathartic at that. The idea came from a Fireside Chat organized at 500 HQ with Yishan Wong, the new CEO of Reddit. 
  • Privy
    Local Advertising Made Simple.”
    This team just gets me all warm and fuzzy. Ben, Jake, and Farrell are the ones I’ve met, and they actually are tackling a market of small medium businesses in a way similar to Chewse. I literally had parked myself in a random sunny spot at the office one day, we chatted in passing, and it turned into an hour-long conversation as we laid down tips, tricks, and intros. Boom, this is the beauty of being in an accelerator with brilliant people.
  • Amazeballs Moment of the Week

    Ben from Privy walking across the vast chasm of the 500 common area, kitchen, and conference rooms to give me some insight in person after I sent him an email requesting advice. Who does that anymore?!

Your batchmates define your experience
We were told from Day 1 that it isn’t the partners, mentors, or speakers that make the program valuable — it’s the other masochistic founders that you choose to hole up with that define your time here.

In such a short time, I’ve learned about Vegemite from Chris, Ed, and Diesel @ Kickfolio, gotten tips for finding cheap labor from Kevin @ WalletKit, and shared sales hustle experiences with Sean @ Dealflicks. The experience looks more like a mosaic than anything else — flecked with tons of tiny conversations and hallway chats that haven’t quite morphed into a cohesive story.

But maybe that’s the story of startups. We grind away and hustle forward; and sometimes, we emerge victorious without any cohesive logic for succes, but with a big grin in spite of it all.


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