500 Startups brings its ‘Distro Dojo’ program to LA for post-seed startups looking for big growth

500 Startups has been aiming to globalize its brand and work toward attracting the attention of young, cool companies outside the Bay Area echo chamber. This has taken 500’s investments into distant corners of the world, with dedicated funds and accelerators scoping out what has amounted to a prolific number of investments.

Today, TechCrunch has learned that 500 Startups is launching its Distro Dojo program in Los Angeles, aiming to give founders of post-seed, pre-Series A companies a shot at building out growth for their startups. It’s looking for 10 startups to take part in the program. 500’s Dave McClure tells me that Dollar Beard Club has already signed on to step into the dojo.

LA’s startup community has been increasingly gathering the attention of prominent venture capitalists, especially those peering into digital media and entertainment-focused companies. In the past few months a decent number of startups in LA have seen sizable early- and late-stage funding rounds, though there have also been warning signs of an investment “crunch,” with total investments dipping in 2015’s last quarter.

500 Startups has always held a significant presence in SoCal, with a number of notable investments in the past few years in companies like TradesyMeUndies, Lettuce (acquired by Intuit in 2014) , FabFitFun and Club W.

The three-month Distro Dojo program consists of one month in-residence in downtown LA, where founders will be given access to resources aimed at heightening growth marketing for their companies. Unlike 500’s other accelerators, Distro Dojo is focused on companies that already kind of have their shit together, but are looking to expand even faster. 500 wants companies running at least $100,000 in revenue per month.

The program is being headed up by 500 Startups Partners Andrei Marinescu and Matt Ellsworth and Program Director Jess Erickson.


500’s LA Team: [left to right] Andrei Marinescu, Matt Ellsworth and Jess Erickson

“The Dojo curriculum is structured around the scientific process that 500 Startups considers critical for scalable, sustainable growth in companies,” said Marinescu. “We focus on instilling the habits and discipline necessary for teams to adopt and internalize this process. We also address key principles and tactics for growth channels that companies have not yet adopted or optimized.”

If you think your LA-based company might be a great fit for Distro Dojo, hit up the online application.