TEAM

MEET THE MENTORS

Aaron Blumenthal

Venture Partner, 500 Startups; Accelerator Manager

Aaron is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups. He has co-founded four different companies and has been a member of three founding teams, including one notable exit.

Matt Ellsworth

Partner, 500 Startups; EIR

Matt is a 500 Startups partner and part of the 500 Distro Dojo team, focusing on growth through sales & marketing automation. Previous to his time at 500 Startups, he was the VP of Growth at Storefront, focusing on building a marketplace for short-term retail space and was a Business Development Strategy Advisor.

Ajay Chainaniy

EIR

Ajay has participated as an EIR at the 500Kobe Accelerator Program for two consecutive years. As an EIR, he helped tens of international founders get off the ground with their first mobile products.

Bedy Yang

Managing Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

Bedy is a Managing Partner at 500 Startups. In her role, Bedy is responsible for Brazil and LATAM investments, micro-funds and accelerator. Prior to joining 500 Startups, Bedy founded Brazil Innovators, an organization that nurtures entrepreneurship through the connection to Silicon Valley.

Justyna Jastrzebska

Growth Hacker in Residence, 500 Startups; Mentor

Justyna specializes in helping businesses launch products, build and execute conversion optimization to generate more revenues, leads, engagements and sales. She is certified in Landing Page Optimisation, Email Marketing and in the Fundamentals of Online Testing by MarketingSherpa, as well as Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula.

Mat Johnson

Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

Mat leads 500 Startups’ Distro Dojo program, a growth marketing accelerator for post Seed companies. Mat helps 500 portfolio companies grow through customer acquisition, metrics and testing. Mat previously worked at General Assembly, Charles River Ventures, Grockit and Socrata.

Zafer Younis

Mentor

Zafer formerly led the Innovation team at 500 Startups. In this role, Zafer launched 500 Startups' Ecosystem Development Programs in Japan, which later scaled to LATAM. Previously,Zafer Co-Founded The Online Project, where his team developed and executed digital strategies for Fortune 500 companies and high profile organizations.

Rob Neivert

Venture Partner, 500Startups; Mentor

Rob specializes in B2B seed investments and leads the 500 Startups-General Motors Partnership. Previously, he was an executive for startups, having founded or worked at eight companies with four exits and four companies still operating. He was also the CEO for two venture funded startups.

James Riney

Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

James co-founded the “Medium.com of Japan” before covering venture investments for DeNA, based in Tokyo. He now heads the 500 Startups Japan fund. When he’s not chasing unicorns, he’s out hunting the best yakitori and ramen in the land of the rising sun.

Yohei Sawayama

Venture Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

Yohei has been serving as Venture Partner at 500 Startups Japan since 2015. He obtained a Masters in Nuclear Engineering in 2009 and a Bachelors in Computer simulation in 2007 from The University of Tokyo.

Nemo Chu

Distribution Hacker in Residence, 500 Startups; Mentor

Nemo is a distribution hacker and advisor to early-stage ventures in the Seed program and Series A program. Prior to joining 500 Startups, Nemo was the Director of Customer Acquisition at KISSmetrics, while building a 7-figure eCommerce business in 12 months by night.

Chandini Ammineni

Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

As a Growth Partner at 500 Startups, Chandini has worked hands-on with over 200 early stage startups all over the world with different business models and platforms. Her extensive experience helps her understand the unique challenges in different ecosystems and the common mistakes every early stage founder makes when trying to grow their startup.

Clayton Bryan

Venture Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

Clayton is an entrepreneur, product enthusiast and dealmaker, with over 10 years experience working in Tech. Clayton is currently a mentor at 500 Startups, was previously a partner at Dorm Room Fund, and worked on Growth and Corporate Development at Airtime.

Tanya Soman

Venture Partner, 500 Startups; Mentor

Tanya is a mentor at 500 Startups who leads the Beauty and Fashion specialty track in 500 Startups’ Accelerator. Tanya spends the rest of her time scouting companies all over the world. Previously, Tanya worked in AdTech before moving to Silicon Valley.

* We are still adding speakers from the 500 Team! Speaker list is subject to change.