20 VC 083: 500 Startups Week: New Funds, Startup Mentoring and Dave’s Masterplan with Marvin Liao, Partner @ 500 Startups

Posted on 28th October 2015 by Harry


Marvin is a Partner at 500 Startups, running the SF based accelerator program as well as investing in Seed stage start ups. Prior to 500 Marvin is a 10.5 year veteran of Yahoo! Inc., having held roles in various departments from Sales, Business Development, Ad Operations and Marketing and presently serves on the boards/advisory boards of several internet advertising and ad technology companies across the globe.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Marvin make his move into technology and the investing game?

2.) How was Marvin’s time at Yahoo? How did Marvin see the company change over the 10 years he was there? How do you feel your position at Yahoo equipped you for 500 Startups?

3.) So coming from 10 years at Yahoo you could have had your pick of VCs to join. What was it about 500 that attracted you and why do you believe this very early stage is the biggest opportunity to exploit?

4.) 500 has now ironically invested in 1000+ startups, leading me to ask, what is the admissions process like and what Marvin’s criteria at 500 for investment decisions? What are the key metrics you look at?

5.) How does Marvin respond to the notion that investing with 500 Startups removes the talent of investing through the spray and pray method?

6.) Now 500 Startups has recently raises an new $85m fund, alongside a new fund of $30m for Japan, $10m for South East Asia and a $10m fund for Thailand. So firstly, does this prove that the 500 model is successfully scaling? What does the future hold for 500? Where do you see the most innovation and progress?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Marvin’s Fave Book:The Art of Worldly Wisdom, The 4 Hour Work Week

Marvin’s Fave Productivity Tool: Evernote, Calendly.com

Marvin’s Fave Blog: James Clear, James Altucher, Tim Ferriss, Fred Wilson, Mark Suster

Marvin’s Most Interesting Investments: Neighborly, Agfunder

As always you can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC, Marvin and 500 on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

We would like to say a special thank you to our partner for this very special 500 Startups Feature Week, LawTrades, the go to place for startups and VCs to get their legal work done. For all 20VC listeners LawTrades are offering a special $150 off your first piece of legal work when you mention ‘The Twenty Minute VC’. You can follow them on Twitter here!





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