Tag Archives: Dave McClure

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Startups are not like real estate. So why invest in them at all?

Another thing that’s a challenge is that sometimes a very simple bet on real estate has a much higher return than startups with a lower failure profile. In fact in many emerging markets investing in a real estate plays probably just an index better on the overall country’s growth and a simpler way to get access to that growth than startups. Continue reading

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Silicon Valley’s Secret Revealed

Dave McClure founder of the famed Silicon Valley venture fund 500 Startups has played a key role in investing in startups around the world. 500 Startups has been instrumental in amplifying the startups ecosystem especially in emerging markets making small bets on startups that the world would probably have never heard of.

But according to Dave, entrepreneurs and investors in these emerging markets have got it wrong in their quest to be like Silicon Valley. While on stage at Startup Istanbul 2015 he broke down reasons why we are getting it all wrong.

What’s Silicon Valley’s secret is a question almost everybody is asking nowdays. Speaking on what it really is he said “The dirty little secret is that Silicon Valley isn’t really a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s a  belief in the face of insanity. It’s a belief that you will be successful in the reality of the story that 80% of sort of startups will fail.Probably more than 80% of startups”

Dave gave a classic example on what belief in taking risk is like in the Valley ”We are surrounded by crazy people who know the odds and still jump off the cliff. You look to the guy on the left that girl on the right, You know you guys gonna fail ! I’m gonna succeed!  You jump up off the cliff.”

He underlines that the key factor in these acts of insanity is that they are not just individual, they are collective. And so doing individual acts of insanity might not be seen but doing collective acts of insanity is seen in fact it’s smart.

“We have to convince other people to jump with us we have to jump off that cliff together hopefully with different types of planes and hopefully one of those planes start to fly” Dave says.

However entrepreneurs in Turkey,Pakistan,Kenya and in any other emerging market are mostly heard complaining about the lack of capital for their startups. Dave had this cracking answer to them “The biggest problem is not usually a lack of ability a lack of capital or a lack of opportunity the biggest challenge is a lack of confidence in your head. You think you’re not as good as Silicon Valley entrepreneurs”

Key takeaways from his speech are that Silicon Valley is comprised of people who have come to the Valley from other places. They are no better or worse than us. They are us. The only difference is that they have the insanity and the confidence that they might actually win and we need to capture that mindset as well.

Meanwhile he also states that it’s easy to build a business anywhere than it was to build a business in Silicon Valley twenty years ago. Twenty years ago people also weren’t excited to build businesses at Silicon Valley.

To sum it up “It’s cheaper it’s easier there’s more customers there’s more opportunity get up your ass and get started.

You can watch the whole talk here

Writer: Paul Njoroge

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Startup Istanbul 2015: Special Interview with Dave McClure

In a special interview for Etohum, the world-known angel investor and co-founder of the business incubator 500 Startups Dave McClure announced the launch of 500 Istanbul, $15M investment fund in Turkey. The micro-fund is focused on the Turkish entrepreneurs and the Turkish ecosystem and has the ambition to do 100 or more investments in the next few years. Continue reading

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Dave McClure at Startup Istanbul: Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets

Dave McClure was one of the speakers at Startup Istanbul 2015 Conference. He spoke about the challenges, which the entrepreneurship ecosystems in emerging markets are facing and pinpointed some of the most problematic aspects as follows: the lack of investors; the lack of entrepreneurs; the lack of many paying customers; startups have no traction and have no idea how to get it; there aren’t many exits and most of the existing ones are small; in emerging markets sometimes investing in real estate is better bet than investing in startups; most accelerators are not that great; employees don’t understand equity; most of the startups never go global; and most founders and investors in the emerging markets don’t think that they are as good as the founders and the investors in Silicon Valley. Continue reading

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Dave McClure Will Be at Startup Istanbul on 03-05 October

It is very exciting to announce that Dave McClure, who is entrepreneur, world-known angel investor and co-founder of the business incubator 500 Startups, will be on stage at Startup Istanbul 2015 event and, along with Steve Blank, will be member of the jury of Startup Istanbul Challenge.

The success of connected2.me, the winner of Startup Istanbul Challenge 2014, proved the unlimited opportunities, which Startup Istanbul event brings to the talented entrepreneurs. The winning of the 1st Award previous year was a great success for Connected2.me and didn’t only secure investment fromDave McClure and 500 Startups, but also led to the relocation of the company’s headquarter to the Silicon Valley. Later in 2014, the company received 515.000 USD  fund from several investors. If you want to be part of the challenge, register now by filling the Startup Application.

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Dave McClure (500 Startups) Interview-Startup Istanbul 2014

Dave McClure is a venture capitalist and founding partner at 500 Startups, an internet startup seed fund & incubator program headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Dave has been geeking out in Silicon Valley for over twenty years as a software developer, entrepreneur, startup advisor & investor, blogger, and internet marketing nerd.

In our talk, Dave gave some tips about what local startups really should focus on and also talked about 500 startups and his successful investments. You can watch the full interview on here:

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Startup Istanbul: Entrepreneurship is a matter of mentality


Eurasia’s biggest entrepreneurship, investment and networking event, Startup Istanbul, brought together startups, VCs, business angels, top executives and decision makers of the global internet ecosystem at Istanbul Lütfi Kırdar Convention & Exhibition Center. With the main sponsorship of SAP Innovation Turkey, the event hosted 100 selected entrepreneurs and 200 investors from 40 different countries in its second year where the event speakers’ predominantly put an emphasis on the holistic view of entrepreneurship, punctuating that it is has to be embraced as a matter of both personal and societal mindset.


Aiming to increase the number of digital-minded companies and create an international networking environment for the technology and internet ecosystem, Etohum, leading accelerator and seed investor organization in Turkey, hosted distinctive startups and investors from all the world in Startup Istanbul. More than 1000 attendees from Egypt to France and USA to Pakistan had a chance to meet up and network for new business opportunities while listening to the most influential speakers of the ecosystem at the event.

“Entrepreneurs don’t grow up in cages”

IMG_0724kThe conference started with a warm welcome speech by Burak Büyükdemir, founder of Etohum, who shortly yielded the floor for the opening speech of Prof. Erhan Erkut, Vice Chancellor of MEF University, who first displayed a video on Jack Ma, founder of the biggest e-commerce sites Alibaba.com, and explained how Ma turned 60,000 dollars of investment capital into 230,000 dollars in a short period of time.

“If you only think locally and work from 8 am to 5 pm or underrate your own brain, you cannot be successful in this new economy, especially with the old tools of the old one” Erkut said. “Despite Turkey’s high entrepreneurial potency, our cultural values avoiding risk, national history focusing more on military victories instead of business achievements, and education system based on grooming public servants greatly prevent us to fulfill our potential. In an environment of corporate slavery, we cannot and should not discipline entrepreneurs in cages and let them live a life of confinement.”

“We should encourage our daughters on entrepreneurship”

_IFA7814kEtohum’s new business partner, Microsoft Ventures, was one of the highlights of the event, with Rahul Sood, General Manager of Microsoft Ventures, evaluating Turkish and the global startup ecosystem as the keynote speaker.

Having founded his first company at the age of 18, Sood talked about not only his experiences in the industry but also the best startup ecosystems in the world like Israel, USA and China, the latter being famous for its wide-ranging accelerator support and potential for business opportunities. As an advocate for women’s participation in the entrepreneurship environment, he said: “Today, in this age of technology, we need women’s professional expertise and vision more. That’s why we should do better to encourage our daughters on entrepreneurship and support them to see more of an effective contribution and larger perspective. Just think about the market potential of 70 million people in Turkey… It’s high time that you left your comfort zones and took a daring step towards building up your own focus, product, team, brand community, business culture and work ethics. You can make real an ethics-oriented local startup which can later be scaled globally and enhanced with a diversity of ideas. When you succeed, as one of your responsibilities, the next step will be to connect with and leverage your local ecosystem by mentoring the newcomers.”

“Hasan Aslanoba changed the country as a whole”

IMG_0864kAs the Founding Partner of 500 Startups, an internet startup seed fund & incubator program active in 40 countries and headquartered in Mountain View, CA, Dave McClure referred to the changing conditions within the ecosystem in the last 20 years. McClure said that before the 2000’s, it was harder for entrepreneurs to succeed because of the limited opportunities. According to McClure, things started to change after 2008 and startups had become the advantageous side: “We don’t spend loads of money on softwares and servers anymore, thanks to cloud technologies. Now our product tests don’t last for months but just a couple of days, extending over the Internet and reaching billions of users. Our sources of capital are countless compared to the old days. 15 years ago, it was a really painful to survive and become successful in the Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur. That’s why startups should stop whining and just launch! Because Silicon Valley, a model for most startups, is not a place but a crazy state of mind. It’s a state of mind full of belief in success and optimism in the face of failure.”

Calling upon investors and business angels around the world, McClure referred to Hasan Aslanoba, leading angel investors in Turkey who already made 42 angel/VC investments to internet based startups, and concluded his speech with a final message: “Hasan Aslanoba has changed the whole country. But usually investors are the real bottleneck of entrepreneurship in a given country. There’s actually no lack of talent outside of Silicon Valley. In fact, there are many bright startups here in Turkey. All you need to do is to go fund them.”

SAP’s Startup Focus support for Turkish entrepreneurs

_IFA8112kCafer Tosun, General Manager of SAP Innovation Center Turkey and Senior Vice President for Strategic Innovations at SAP, on the other hand, talked about the Startup Focus Program in detail which was initiated in Turkey in April 2014. Tosun’s speech focused on the current outlook of the business world and its demands for new solutions, especially in an environment where all stages of operations, from production to transportation, are digitalized on a full scale: “Now that people, machines and industries have become connected to one another, companies have reached to a point where they immensely need diverse solutions for increasingly big and real-time data. With this perspective in mind, we initialized the Startup Focus Program in 2012 as an investment towards future, and made it available to 57 different countries, 22 industries and 1500 startups since its inception. Those who would like to develop their own product over the SAP HANA Platform, we are ready to include them in our Program for free. The local startups taking part in our SAP Startup Focus Program also have an opportunity to go global.”

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Dave McClure’s 4 Tips for the Perfect Startup Pitch

Dave McClure, co-founder of 500 Startups will be at Startup Istanbul Conference on the 30th of September. You can buy your tickets on here.


davidOn 27 – 28th of September selected 100 startups will gather in Istanbul and meet best mentors from US and Europe. On 29th of September all startups will pitch to the jury and 20 of them will have a place on stage at the Startup Istanbul event on 30th of September to all Venture Capitals and angel investors. So, before the startup pitches let’s get some advises from David McClure:

Think problems first

“The app store is 90% full of solution-based apps, but do they solve a problem?” asks Kevin Sytrom from Instagram. It’s an important reminder about why you should focus on problems, not solutions. David Mclure also mentions the same point: “A lot of the time people begin by saying what their solution is”, says McClure. “But I recommend that you talk more about what the problem is. This helps you establish emotional context with the person listening”.

McClur also point out that you should consider problems and scenarios that will help you connect with the investors you’re facing. You can do a little research into their background.

Know your market size

David McClure says market size matters because all the investors will want to know about your market. ”Bigger is better” says McClure. And he prefers the market details such as a number of users, a size of transaction, and frequency. So before your pitch learn all the details about your target market. It is also important to report the growing rates of the market. People want to know if you have big business one day.

Show why you’re better

Investors want to know what you’re doing is better. First of all it is important to list your competitors says McClure. Please do not try to  ignore your competitors, because the investors probably have information about them. so that will not a great way to start a relationship with investors and VC firms. Also you can highlight the way how you plan to differentiate from others. David Says ”“Your job isn’t to hide your competition, it is to figure out how you can be better and different to them.”

Decide how you spend the money

If you’re pitching for the money, it is important to know how much you want and how you’ll spend it. Investors do not wish to give money any startups don’t know what they’ll do with the capital. “When you’re thinking about raising money, an optimum way of doing that is you want just enough capital to get you comfortably to a milestone that raises the value of the company”, says McClure. David also notes that you can spend your money to hire people for your product development, marketing campaigns and getting customers. When you’re talking to investors, you need to say how much and where you’ll spend the money.

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Dave McClure will be on stage at Startup Istanbul

Do you want to listen Dave McClure at Startup Istanbul? Join us in the biggest networking event in the region.


davemcclure-1Dave McClure is a venture capitalist and founding partner at 500 Startups, an internet startup seed fund & incubator program headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Dave has been geeking out in Silicon Valley for over twenty years as a software developer, entrepreneur, startup advisor & investor, blogger, and internet marketing nerd.

Dave’s passion is helping startups with product & marketing strategy, and he is regular speaker on technology & entrpreneurship topics such as startup
metrics. He has invested in over 250 startup companies including: Mint.com (acquired by Intuit), CreditKarma, MakerBot, Mashery, Sendgrid, Simply Hired, SlideShare, TeachStreet (acquired by Amazon), Twilio, TaskRabbit, andWildfire Interactive, among others. He also runs conferences and events ontechnology, marketing, design, & entrepreneurship such
as SMASHsummit &WarmGun.

Dave is the co-founder of Startup2Startup, a regular get-together for Silicon Valley startup entrepreneurs & investors. He leads a travel group calledGeeksOnaPlane to promote cultural exchange & education for tech entrepreneurs around the world. Dave helped co-found the StartupVisaprogram to reform & improve US immigration policy for entrepreneurs. He has been a boardmember for microfinance accelerator Unitus and advisor to microfinance lender Kiva, education lender Vittana, remote work platformSamaSource, & co-founder of the Silicon Valley Microfinance Network.

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What is this 500 Startups?

Marvin Liao, Venture Partner at 500 Startups, will be on Startup Istanbul stage. Join us to meet with the top investors on 30th of September


500 Startups is an early stage investment company and seed accelerator, founded by Dave McClure in 2010. They are based in Silicon Valley, but invest all over the world as they say ”Diversity is not just a strategy or tactic. It’s who we are.”

They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups in the area of financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.

500 Startups had invested in over 500 companies such as Promolta, Udemy, Trustcloud, Uguru.me, Studysoup, Visual.ly, Canva, RidePal, Flyer,POP..etc.

Startup Istanbul starts with Speed Networking Event. Do not forget to bring your business cards!

You can watch the video of Marvin Liao’s speech at Startup Turkey  2014 below: