How we hustled our way into 500 Startups: Kickfolio
AngelCube alumni Kickfolio has highlighted the “hustle” it went through in order to be accepted into US accelerator 500 Startups, which recently announced its newest batch of companies.
Kickfolio, based in Melbourne, helps brands promote their iPhone apps. Instead of screenshots or movies, brands can embed interactive iPhone app demos on any web page.
The company was founded by Chris Nolet, Edward Dowling and Diesel Laws. In April, it was one of eight start-ups accepted into the 2012 program of Melbourne-based incubator AngelCube.
Now, Kickfolio has been accepted into the fifth accelerator class of 500 Startups, a US accelerator led by serial entrepreneur Dave McClure.
Kickfolio is the only Australian start-up in the batch, which also includes start-ups from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Estonia, Spain and Taiwan.
In a brief blog post, 500 Startups described its new batch as “international” and diverse”.
The diversity among this batch of start-ups is no coincidence. In September, 500 Startups said it would be taking applications for its next program through AngelList, a matching program for angel investors and start-up founders.
Previously, 500 Startups only accepted new start-ups through referral, so this move opened up the application process considerably. McClure also flagged his desire to invest in new areas.
Laws has documented the Kickfolio story in a blog titled “The Hustle – A 500 Startups Story”, outlining the process the start-up went through before it was accepted.
“We had a very large vision for where we wanted Kickfolio to be in the future,” Laws wrote.
“With that vision, we knew we had to secure serious US investment or get into one of the various incubators – our first pick being the powerful 500 Startups.”
As part of its involvement in AngelCube, Kickfolio ventured to the United States in September.
“We were in the 500 Startups building pitching to a mix of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from the community, and the previous 500 Startups batches,” Laws said.
“On that same night, Dave McClure had dropped in to see some of the pitches, missing the first few, including hours.”
“We knew we had to get Kickfolio in front of him… We waited for three-plus hours in the 500 Startups building and managed to secure five minutes with Dave.”
McClure said he would put the team in touch with someone in his network and, if Kickfolio found its way back to him through that network, only then would there be further discussions.
“After that, we knew the best way for us to get into 500 Startups would be to hustle our way into that network and have recommendations flying in from every contact along that line. So that’s what we did,” Laws said.
“We focused on soft intros (and some cold) to anyone who had a connection to 500 – past or present mentors, entrepreneurs and investors.”
“We managed to connect to about five or so relevant people who also provided great advice… A few days later, applications for 500 Startups opened via AngelList.”
“We knew that adding another point of contact would only benefit our position of being noticed.”
“From what we understand, our AngelList application was the icing on the cake for Dave McClure.”