Using Silicon Valley’s Playbook to Achieve Exponential Growth
The Series A Program is a selective 8 week program (Monday to Friday, 8h a day) to help you accelerate your company growth by developing a systematic approach to think, solve, and act on growth initiatives.
The series is led by actual practitioners Justyna Piotrowska and co-hosted by Emilian Vasi.
In 2016 & 2017, 26 companies from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and even from Berlin went through the program showing amazing results.
September 25th – November 11th.
September 1st last day to apply
In partnership with :
We work with amazing teams of all sizes.
RedDoorz increased number of rooms filled in by 69.82% and number of booking through the main acquisition channel – mobile increased by 117%. Just after the program ended RedDoorz raised $5,000,000. and expanded to 4 cities
Fabelio, Indonesian furniture brand improved CR by 98% at 6 times the traffic and grew revenue by almost 5X. The main takeaway is that only constant testing and changing things can grow a company.
Applecrumby & Fish, leading Malaysian e commerce selling natural and organic baby essentials increased their revenue by 221% and CR by 300%. CAC on mobile decreased by 73% and mobile transactions increased by 71%.
Who Is It For?
When sharp startups need to master growth, they knock on Series A Program’s doors.
Upon initiation, our intensive 10-week program gives you superlative access to 500’s top growth hackers, investors, successful startups and specialists (or as we like to call them, senseis). You’ll even rub shoulders with policymakers from Google, Facebook and more.
Experience rapid, profitable and sustainable growth through the Dojo’s Growth Hacking Formula – designed to solve your unique challenges, and give you mastery over every pillar of growth; from business development and sales funnels, to analytics and conversion optimization.
Learn Actionable, Strategic, and Practical Frameworks
If you want a laundry list of tactics like “make your buttons orange” this program isn’t for you. We will enable you with a set of actionable frameworks that you can apply to your own business and product to build a winning strategy. By the end of the program you will have a comprehensive foundation that you can apply to almost any B2C or B2B software company in your current and future roles.
Our programs aren’t for everyone. We select applicants based on professional experience, initiative, and program fit. You should apply if you fulfill the following criteria:
- You are searching for high-level and actionable strategies and frameworks
- Your post seed stage startup is transitioning, or has recently transitioned into the growth stage
- Your goals include higher profits, market share, conversions and customer retention
- You already have a product-market fit
- You have a committed core team
What do startups get out of the program?
Here are a few reasons why founders choose 500:
Starting a company is solitary and challenging. Working with other people going through the same challenges makes a huge difference.
Founders who’ve gone through our program tell us that the 500 community is extremely valuable.
You’ll get access to a network of 1000+ founders, 200+ mentors, and our staff, who will give you guidance when you need it the most. We’ve built startups before.
We’ll make sure you don’t make the same mistakes we did.
500 brings in a wide variety of experts focused on marketing, culture, startup accounting, product design, mobile, user testing, sales, and more.
It’s like a Startup MBA on steroids.
Our mentors will become a valuable extension of your growth team for 8 weeks.
We’ll work together on your business and product strategy, growth and metrics, and investor pitches.
Thanks to our massive network, startups build relationships and partnerships that wouldn’t be possible at their size without 500.
Need an intro to a customer? Early access to a new platform feature? API access blocked? Stuck at the border? We have connections.
Being a 500 Startups company will validate your business, and our network will help you connect with investors when the time is right.
Our events is also a great opportunity to meet and pitch people who might give you $$$.
Meet Your Senseis
Justyna Piotrowska, Program Lead, Digital Marketing Expert
Growth Hacker in Residence at 500. 10 years experience in sales conversion optimisation, email marketing, content marketing and SEO. For 6 years was one of Mindvalley’s entrepreneurial marketing experts in the area of psychological and content marketing, responsible for launching 3 successful businesses in less than a year with more than $3M in revenue. In her last few years in Mindvalley responsible for more than 70% revenue of Mindvalley that came from business automation. Certified in landing page optimization, email marketing and in the fundamentals of online testing by Marketing Sherpa, and Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula. Currently Founder and CMO of Rascals Depot – a growth consultancy working with startups.
Emilian Vasi, Co-Host, Customer Acquisition & Digital Advertising Expert
Growth Hacker in Residence at 500 Startups. Over the past 8 years he grew 50+ companies, across 20+ markets, with over 50 mil dollars spent in digital – Google, Youtube, Bing, Facebook, Instagram. Sparking ideas, leading teams, organizing events, mentoring startups, driving digital advertising initiatives from scratch to profit – some of the things he crossed off his “checklist” over the years. Key areas of expertise: marketing strategy, customer acquisition and retention, lead generation, app growth, web optimization, data crunching at its best.
Derek Ooi, Lead Mentor, Tech Integrations & Digital Analytics Expert
Lead Analytics Mentor at 500 with 4 years of experience in data analytics under his belt. Derek has managed the analytics for more than 40 websites and backend platforms with an annual revenue of more than $13 million. Specializing in analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Stressing the importance of Data Driven marketing, he excels in helping businesses to identify essential areas for data collection. This data helps businesses leverage on their existing assets on website or mobile app to supercharge their marketing efforts.
- Pinky Tham, Facebook Account Manager
- Ai Ting Eeo, Facebook SMB Business Development Lead
- TBD, Google
Why Growth Hacking?
- Startups that seek growth mentorship raise 700% more money, and enjoy 350% better user growth.
- Poor growth management is the primary reason 90% of startups self-destruct.
- 72% of startups are forced to pivot upon realizing their initial intellectual property is not a competitive advantage.
- The average startup underestimates it’s market validation phase by 200 – 300% – and as a result are pressured to grow prematurely.
WEEK 1-3 PART 1
Remote (online) September 25th – October 13th.
Data is not something abstract, and web design is not about creativity (in fact, the more constraints the designer adheres to, the more room there is for possible creativity). Web design exists for a purpose, right? Eventually we want people to buy our stuff, fill out our forms, sign up, and so on.
How can we drive an increase in those numbers? Numbers increase by measuring and observing what’s happening and drawing conclusions from the data collected.
You can measure what people do on your website. You can measure what they click, where they click (and if what they click on is actually something clickable), how long they stay for, if they scroll, which eCommerce category pages perform and which don’t, and where in the funnel people are dropping off.
Of course, you have to know which data to use and how to use it. The same study showed that sites are often measured on metrics that don’t show business value.
Analytics & Advertising audits
If it can be measured, it can be improved ~ a data-driven approach drives growth (fullstop)
For the above to be 100% accurate, you need data you can fully trust.
9 out of 10 companies we comes across (yes you heard it right 9 out of 10) have incomplete or corrupted data.
What data do you take decisions on? Incomplete? Corrupted? Or both?
To ensure data accuracy, your backend integration of all the tools you rely on needs to be bulletproof. All the properties & parameters need to be correctly set up and in full, not just your average copy-paste of the basic code.
So how will we make sure you are gathering the correct data?
- 1st, we will send you a questionnaire where you will walk us through everything you are currently doing (and mostly not doing) by answering each point;
- 2nd, you will have to give us access to your accounts so we can take a closer look and pinpoint leaks;
- 3rd, we will prepare a customized diagnosis with all the findings and tweaks needed;
- 4th, we will schedule a call and plan the development road-map together with your tech team (we’ll need their full and undivided attention at this point).
Advanced setups of all online marketing tools
Once the audits are finalized, this is where the fun begins ~ and this is the most critical part of the growth process: the setups.
We ensure everything that needs to be tracked is being tracked correctly and that all of your tools are set up to their full capabilities, capturing advanced data points (such as Product IDs, Product Prices, Product Descriptions, etc).
Together with your tech team, we guide you in implementing:
- A tag manager with advanced data layers (Google Tag Manager or Segment),
- Traffic monitoring platform with advanced eComm features (Google Analytics)
- Funnel & user tracking with advanced segmentation and revenue tracking (MixPanel or Amplitude)
- Advertising platforms with full remarketing & conversion tracking, including advanced dynamic parameters + product catalogs (Google Adwords, Facebook)
- Optimization solution with A/B testing, Split testing and heat maps (Zarget)
- Email marketing solution with full dynamic parameters (Klaviyo)
Upon setups being fully implemented and live – we offer guidance in doing an extensive QA to ensure data accuracy.
You will no longer have the question “Can I trust my numbers?”.
This 1st part in itself already justifies the costs of the program, if you were to compare with any Analytics agency that supports in doing so.
Audits, Setups and QA of all tools your business should be on – fully configured and trustworthy.
WEEK 4-6 PART 2
Hands On Experience (on-site). October 16th – November 3rd
Mapping out your growth model
We look at on-site web optimisation as an on-going, do-or-die process for business growth.
There are 2 approaches to improving a website.
1. You go in and change what you think might be a good idea to change – mainly on the home page – and hope the sales will go up.
2. You start by figuring out which pages cause the biggest drop-offs – where the flow is stuck.
Once you understand WHERE the problem is, you proceed to identifying WHAT the problem is. You seek to understand your customers better – their needs, sources of hesitation, conversations going on inside their minds.
You gather whatever quantifiable data you can to understand what people are doing on the site, and the impact each individual widget or form field has on the revenue. Yeah – that really is a no-brainer choice.
You can do way better marketing if your messaging and offers actually correspond to what the market wants, and if you focus on pages where you have the biggest leaks.
BUT – most of the world still operates using the first approach. We talk to a lot of executives in my line of work. You’d be surprised how many well-known companies are still completely in the dark. They do some things well in general – or they wouldn’t be well-known – but the wasted opportunity is huge. Some of it is due to ignorance, some of it due to resistance to change (even testing opposition). Companies run by leaders with optimization opposition will eventually be eaten by the competition.
Research & Insights gathering
8 out of 10 startups we have talked to last year (and we talked to more than 100) did not understand who their customers are and what they are really after. You see, they thought they have it all figured out. The problem was that their knowledge was based on who did they want their customer to be not on who was actually coming to their website and why.
This is where proper research comes in place. Research goals:
- Understand your audience: learn who they are, what they want, why and how they consume through demographic, emotional trigger, habit, and user research.
- Heuristic analysis of your website to identify “areas of interest”
- Full data analysis to fully understand what’s going on with your website
- Online/ cold-calling customer survey set up with recent first-time buyers to understand who they are, why they buy, how they buy, their pain points
- Competitive analysis to see how you stack up against the competition to understand your prospects’ choices
- Sales funnel analysis to analyze all of the functions you use to drive sales (lead magnets, email content, drip email campaigns, advertisement messages, one-time offers) and making suggestions for improvements
- Extensive landing pages research (local, regional & international);
In one sentence. Assess current situation. Collect and evaluate data. Identify problems and opportunities.
Ok, once we have all of the above figure out, it’s time to start testing.
But what to test? How to prioritize? How to run tests? When to stop tests? How to analyze results? In this part we will touch on:
- Testing statistics
- Common testing mistakes and how to avoid them
- How to run tests: from hypotheses to stopping rules
- Prioritizing tests: how to decide what to test next
- Validity threats: what can skew your test results
- Creating Testing Backlog
Optimization is more than just testing. You need to know all the aspects of the full customer journey before you can influence it.
- Customer Value Optimization
- Landing Page / Home Page & Checkout Optimization
- How to Design, Roll Out, & Scale an Optimization Program
Retaining & Engaging Your Customers
Customer acquisition is sexy, but customer retention is vital to kindling the long-term relationship with your most valuable assets. Here you’ll discover why retention is so important, how to analyze retention metrics, and how to improve retention.
This is where you will have to challenge your inner scientist (a bit).
We start with: zero guesses. What that actually means – you make your plan based on research! You want to understand your core audience and find out where can you reach them. For that you will be doing:
- Extensive keyword research (local, regional & international);
- Extensive competitor research (local, regional & international);
- Extensive targeting options research (local, regional & international);
- Extensive ads research (local, regional & international).
- Extensive landing pages research (local, regional & international);
By doing so we will have identified all of the competitors, along with their best practices (local, regional & international) forming a complete understanding of where opportunities lie.
We do not want to re-invent the wheel. We want to leverage on the learnings of other and build upon them!
The results: an advertising plan!
Engaging Asset Creation
Each user engagement initiative requires specific creatives being developed (ads, pages, etc.) where copywriting, design, and web implementation resources will be required.
Using 500’s easy to navigate frameworks, you will plan all your creatives accordingly from copywriting to image creation to implementation.
Existing User Monetization Through Remarketing
This is where the bulk of the performance will come from (up to 75% at points).
Based on the advanced audience segmentation and creatives being finalized we deploy tactical re-engagement campaigns.
Our underlying objectives will be:
- Education: educating your audience about the quality, benefits and guarantees of your business,
- Loyalty: incentivizing specific user groups to perform a first action or re-engage and perform a repeat action,
- branding:getting your users to love your brand by telling them who you are, what your brand story is, what your intentions are, and how you do the things you do, etc.
A/B testing for each user segment, mostly focused on content will be performed consistently. We will identify the best performing strategies and build performance around them.
New User Acquisition
After an extensive research process, we structure all traffic campaigns across all channels, extensively focusing on Facebook and Google Adwords strategies.
Following 500’s frameworks you will define an advertising testing strategy by: location, demographics, targeting, ad creatives.
Upon completing the planning you move straight into implementing the advertising campaigns under the direct guidance of our mentors.
Last and a key piece of the success – the optimization and scaling process of the campaigns. Actions need to be taken on a consistent basis to lower the cost per acquisition while boosting value per each user.
Mastering Content, Email & SMS Marketing
Many startups flock to paid marketing’s less expensive cousin – but few are able to cut through the noise and use content marketing to acquire traffic and visibility. Here you’ll discover how to build an effective content marketing machine that helps you quickly and affordably produce content that stands out from the crowd and grabs your market’s attention.
Email has died, come back, evolved, died and come back again and still till today it’s one of the most ROI positive channels. As an e-Commerce site, you likely send emails regularly. Black Friday emails, Valentine’s Day emails, BOGO emails, confirmation emails, thank you emails, reminder emails… the list is endless.
Are you getting real results or simply opens / clicks? Are you promoting the right products to the right people at the right time? Generating revenue via email marketing as anything else requires strategy. In this part you will learn:
- How to create targeted segments around individual experiences
- Direct marketing vs. transactional emails, which one should you use
- Email segmentation & personalisation
- Email optimisation
Assembling Your Growth team
Your growth team is responsible for executing every step of your Growth Hacking initiative. Learn how to find the right people for the job, train them, and track and optimize their performance as you lead them towards the next stage of your startup’s journey.
WEEK 7-8 PART 3
Remote (online) November 6th – November 17th.
The last 2 weeks are designed to make sure you don’t go back to your old habits, such as intuition based decisions, lack of processes or growth meetings. We will be there to support you in any needed way and most of all to kick your ass and keep the execution of the strategy going.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the next intake start ?
The intakes for the 2nd batch of this year starts July 6th and it ends on September 1st. This batch will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it will be the last batch for this year.
I’m the founder of my startup. Can I join the program by myself?
No, this program requires at least one founder and another team member who is responsible for customer acquisition/marketing to commit time in Singapore (Monday to Friday) throughout the 3 weeks of ‘live’ program duration.
How much program is focused on SaaS/B2B VS B2C?
We receive a nearly even split of B2B and B2C startups, and our curriculum reflects that. Many of Series A Program frameworks and strategies apply to both categories, while some are focused on one or the other. You’ll connect with both B2B and B2C senseis throughout the curriculum.
Is Series A Program suitable for early-stage startups seeking initial traction
No, a pre-existing product/market fit is essential before joining a 500 Startups Growth Hacking program. If you haven’t found your product/market fit, we recommend you do so first before applying.
How actionable will the curriculum be?
Series A Program is uncompromisingly focused on actionable training. Our senseis aren’t academic lecturers, they’re entrepreneurs just like you. So expect to be guided through every step of every framework and process, as together we create customized game plans that your startup simply need to execute on.
How many spots are available
Series A Program is an intimate coaching curriculum for just 10 startups per intake. This assures you get the personalized attention you need to maximize your results.The startup can be incorporated anywhere in the world with focus on the ASEAN region.
Will I get access to the training materials after Series A Program is over
You’ll receive checklists, templates and other required multimedia content throughout your 8-week training experience. We’ll also train you to groom your own growth team and expand on the frameworks and strategies you’ll begin during the curriculum.
How do I know if my company is a fit for Series A Program
Our participation criteria is explained in full at the top of this page. In a nutshell, we’re looking for growth-focused startups who already have a team, a product-market fit and a goal to maximize profits, market share, conversions and customer retention. It the event we receive more qualified applications than we can accept, we’ll make an internal decision based on the startups that will contribute most to the group dynamic of that particular intake. Qualified applications that are not accepted into the upcoming intake will be placed on a waiting list for future intakes.
How much is the fee of the Series A Program?
The program fee is 25,000 USD and it will be deducted from 500 Startups investment into your company.