A Special Report By 500 Startups Southeast Asia:

What Really Separates The 10% Of Startups That Succeed in Raising Money, From The 90% That Fail?

Discover How Today’s Leading Startups Get Outstanding Growth, Monetization & Fundraising (And Why Most Other Startups Struggle and Complain)

Why Do Most Startups Struggle To Survive?

Are you banking on your next round of funding to keep your head above water? If so you’re in the same boat as most startups in this region.

And frankly, it’s a risky boat to be in. Because most startups are woefully underprepared to ride the rough waves of costly pivots and competitors standing between them and financial salvation.

We should know – we’ve funded over 160 startups in this region over the past 4 years, and directly coached over 30 through our Series A Growth Hacking Program. In this time we’ve mapped out the patterns and trends. Forged winning strategies and alliances with customer acquisition gatekeepers like Google and Facebook. And pinpointed the devastating pitfalls that cause so many well-meaning companies to capsize.

Which is why we can confidently say: we know where to find the leaks in your business…

So if your startup is:

  • In search of high-level strategies and frameworks…
  • Gunning for higher profits, market share and conversions…
  • In a make-or-break or transitionary state…
  • Running out of cash…
  • Focused on customer retention…
  • Not growing fast enough…
  • Growing almost too fast for comfort…
  • Struggling to pivot…
  • Stuck at its current valuation…
  • Or even if you just want to optimize an already well-oiled machine…

– then the case studies and perspectives you discover in this report may be what you need to not only survive, but thrive.

Enjoy the journey.

The 500 Startups Team

In This Report:

  • 500 Managing Partner Khailee Ng on the 5 unsexy (but insanely effective) tactics to raise funds and stay cash flow positive
  • Case studies with 500’s 8 most successful Series A Growth Hacking Program startups
  • A private invitation to grow and optimize your startup with us in Singapore, February 20th.

5 Unsexy (But Insanely Effective) Tactics To Raise Funds & Stay Cash Flow Positive

A message from Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Startups:

Ideas can manifest in an instant. Yet Implementation and its close cousin Optimization are both slow burns that many entrepreneurs would rather skip or delegate to others.

Seriously – how many of us are genuinely and sustainably excited by the thought of taking hours of implementing, measuring and iterating on ideas? Isn’t more fun to just create ideas and hand them to someone else?

Seeing things through can be an unsexy, time consuming job. But those who lead by example can vouch for the difference it’ll make.

So here are 5 unsexy yet insanely effective ways to raise funds and stay cash flow positive in the long run (and I’m sure we can all agree not running out of cash is a sexy thing):

Tactic 1: Stop Focusing Only On Customer Acquisition

The Problem:

Startups overly focused on customer acquisition have a tendency to adopt the “market share at all costs” mentality; while often overlooking both acquisition costs and profit optimization.

The Solution:

A study by Bain & Company shows that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% – 95%. Meanwhile, a separate study showed that customer retention is up to seven times more cost effective than customer acquisition. Take advantage of these statistics by mastering the science of Retention Marketing. Jerry Jao of 500 Startups has an excellent presentation on this here.

Tactic 2:Don’t Just Listen To Your Gut

The Problem:

A side effect of the championing of intuition by luminaries like Steve Jobs and Malcolm Gladwell is that many startup founders find virtue in making uninformed decisions – while forgetting that an accurate and reliable sixth sense takes years of non-intuitive practice to develop.

The Solution:

More so than any other industry, digital startup founders have unbeatable access to one game-changing asset: in-depth and real-time tracking. From Kissmetrics to CrazyEgg to good ol’ Google Analytics; if you’re not tracking your numbers, you’re leaving money on the table. If you can’t measure if you can’t grow it.

Tactic 3:Cut Off Loss Inducing Channels

The Problem:

A trickle-down effect of not tracking your numbers properly (or not tracking them at all) is you often have no idea where your most valuable leads are coming from. This can be dangerous if you’re spending advertising dollars on multiple channels, especially if you’ve mistakenly decided to focus on quantity over quality. Spending more money on channels that bring you customers that are too expensive / don’t convert is a sure fire way to burn through your hard raised money with no avail.

The Solution:

Identify the numbers you should be tracking, and track them. Religiously. Then, take your precious data and use it to run an audit of your marketing channels. In this audit you’ll analyze the reach, content strategy and expenditure of each of your marketing channels, and ruthlessly cut back on the ones that deliver the poorest ROI.

Tactic 4: Plug The Leaks In Your Marketing Funnel

The Problem:

Many digital startups have an incomplete – or sometimes nonexistent – handle on the performance of their marketing funnel (a.k.a one of their most important assets for revenue and growth). Typical mistakes include focusing too much on the front end, refusing to segment customers, and overhauling entire funnels when what’s really needed are incremental improvements.

The Solution:

Again, diligent tracking can help you save the day here. By understanding the exact problem spots in your funnels, studying customer behavior and buying patterns, and pinpointing opportunities for optimization, you can start testing new funnel elements and boosting conversions before your skyrocketing CAC strangles you. Kissmetrics has a good blog post to help you get started.

Tactic 5:Customer Listening 101

The Problem:

Customer surveys or focus groups are normally seen as ‘old school’ or ‘not startup-y’. Hence, entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of marketing what they want, instead of what their customers actually want. These inaccurate assumptions often carry on undiagnosed for years, all the while crippling conversions, customer retention, and of course your ability to grow. Remember: even if you fall into your target market, your preferences don’t necessarily reflect the most profitable segment of that market.

The Solution:

Surveys and focus groups are an effective and affordable way to get closer to your market (I recommend Survey Monkey and remember to check their guide for writing effective survey questions). You can also run testimonial contests, and reach out to your most loyal customers and interview them, offering a reward if necessary. Also remember to study your traffic sources for clues on your market’s interests and preferences.

Now, Let’s See What Really Happens When You Start Implementing Shifts Like These In Your Startup…

How would things change for your startup if you could multiply your revenue by 200, 300, even 500%?

Or if you could double your marketing funnel conversion rates?

Or how about slashing your overheads and CACs by 50% or even more?

These are all real-world results enjoyed by startups who join our Series A Growth Hacking Program, and begin using the kinds of tactics, strategies and frameworks I just showed you.

Just so you know what’s possible, allow me to introduce you to 8 startups who experienced breakthroughs just like these.

All by focusing on the “unsexy” act of Implementation and Optimization…

Case Studies


Optimized Their Way To 500% Revenue Growth

  • CR improved by 98% at 6x increase of traffic volume.
  • Revenues have improved by almost 5X since Dojo.
  • CPO has gradually decreased by 57%.

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8x Donation Growth Through Tight OKR Focus

  • 8x donation growth from September 2015 to September 2016.
  • Sustainable organization-wide focus on OKR for growth.
  • Achieved up to 80% open rate on campaigner activation drip emails.

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Supercharged A Low-Converting Funnel By 45%

  • Weekly Gross Merchandise Value increased by 32%.
  • 45% higher conversion rate from main funnel.

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3x Monthly Revenue Within 6 Months

  • 300% higher monthly revenue within 6 months.
  • Dropped CAC on retail customers to ⅓.
  • Enjoyed free 21% organic traffic and 24.2% social and referral traffic through new content strategy.
  • Site visitor conversion nearly doubled through new email blasts.

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11 x Revenue Increase & Expansion to 2 Cities

  • Brand site platform conversions improved by 50% upon local payment methods adoption.
  • Expanded from two cities to four, including a new country which is in progress.
  • A deeper understanding of demographics and online habits, which assisted in follow-up tech-centric changes.

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Slashed Lead Acquisition Costs By ⅔, 5x Higher Inbound Lead Flow

  • 5x inbound lead flow in 6 months while cutting cost per lead by ⅔.
  • Improved cash flow through lowered cost per acquisition.
  • More organized and scalable construction and naming convention for lead gen campaigns.
  • Discovery of new and most effective channels and platform for lead generation that allowed them to focus marketing efforts and budget on what worked best.
  • Improved & more streamlined processes to improve funnel conversion through analyzing reports, data and processes.

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Multiple Breakthroughs Across The Board, Including 279% Higher Revenue & 356% Higher Customer Retention

  • 279% higher revenue.
  • Increased sales conversion by 300%.
  • Increased number of orders by 284%.
  • Mobile CAC decreased by 73%.
  • Unique visitors increased by 39%.
  • Customer retention increased by 356%.
  • Mobile transactions increased by 91%.
  • CPA decreased by 300%.

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go get

Multiple Breakthroughs Across The Board, Including 279% Higher Revenue & 356% Higher Customer Retention

  • The conversion in website more than doubled.
  • Transaction value increased by 65%.
  • Number of job posted increased by 43%..

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Now It’s Time For Your Breakthrough…

500’s Series A Growth Hacking Program is a fast track to the accelerated revenue, conversions and valuations you need to take your startup to the next level.

Over an intensive 8-week period, you’ll receive intimate coaching from our panel of expert business strategists, marketers and digital analysts who are themselves passionate entrepreneurs just like you:


Justyna Piotrowska, Program Lead


Emilian Vasi, Co-Host, Advertising Expert

derek ooi

Derek Ooi, Digital Analytics expert

Everything from your conversion funnels and traffic campaigns, to your KPIs and even your company culture, will be carefully deconstructed and analyzed.

And together we’ll map out tailor-made strategies and frameworks that solve your startup’s unique challenges and infuse data-driven sustainable growth into its DNA.

Plus we’ll even connect you with key players from major advertising platforms and policymakers like Facebook and Google, who can play an instrumental role in optimizing your customer acquisition campaigns.

Series A deals in results, not theory – meaning everything you learn can be immediately applied in your business, and the results observed instantly.

In 2016 alone over 20 companies from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and even from Berlin graduated from Series A.

  • This is your invitation to join them by securing your spot in our next intake.
  • The Series A Program is a selective 8 week program
  • February 10th last day to apply
  • The series is led by actual practitioners Justyna Piotrowska and co-hosted by Emilian Vasi.
  • Starts from February 20th until April 14th