Moving your company from the pre-seed to seed stage

I previously alluded to some of my goals for 2017 with an overarching goal of focusing time on pre-seed companies.  To be clear, 500 Startups is not making a shift in its priorities — these are merely my own personal views and activities (500 invests in all areas of the “seed spectrum” but with a big focus on post-seed).  I’ll talk more later about why I’m spending more time at pre-seed, but for the time being, I wanted to start sharing some more details about my plans.


The big activity that I’m working on this year is my side project Rejectionathon, which I experimented with last year.  It stems from the issues I had when I was first starting my company LaunchBit.  Namely, I was afraid of rejection, which meant that I was timid when it came to anything that could possibly end with a rejection — sales, fundraising, partnerships, etc.

Last year, Rejectionathon took the form of an event where teams would run around undertaking challenges that would set themselves up for rejection.  This helped people build a thicker skin for that one day, but it wasn’t directly applicable to people’s businesses.

This year, we’re iterating on this concept and expanding it worldwide.  The next Rejectionathon on January 29, 2017 in Mountain View will be different.  You’ll still be challenged and will set yourself up for rejection, but there’ll be some major differences:

1. It will be directly applicable to your pre-seed startup and will help you advance your startup.

The challenges will no longer be all about borrowing money from strangers or serenading people on the street.  Most of the challenges will be focused on helping you move the needle on your business.  Challenges will involve pre-selling, doing fundraising pitches for your company, and getting feedback on your product.

2. It will be more focused.  The January event will be focused on hardware companies.

If you have a hardware company, the next event will be catered to you.  We’ll have challenges around customer development for hardware companies, pre-sales for physical products, and fundraising.

Even if you don’t have a hardware company or any company yet, you are still welcome to participate. Just know that the angle will be about hardware companies.

3. We are capping the event at 30 people.

Our past Rejectionathons have been larger events, but in order for attendees to receive personal attention, we’re capping this at just 30 people.

Rejectionathon is like a mini-hackathon for business people.  Bring your idea or existing company, and you’ll use the time to advance the business side of your startup while building a thicker skin.

I’d encourage you to sign up today with my special code of 50% off EYFRIENDS.  Early bird tickets end today.

Cover photo by Godwin Angeline Benjo on Unsplash


Leave a Reply