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May 15, 2023
Olivier Roth

How 500 Emerging Europe is activating and expanding their network on The Swarm

500 Emerging Europe is a venture capital firm helping more than 60 companies scale globally. They’ve raised over $1.1 billion in capital since 2016 and are highly involved in their portfolio companies’ success. As they scale, 500 Emerging Europe is using The Swarm to help them hire for key roles and introducing them to potential customers.

The problem

As is the case with most VC firms, 500 Emerging Europe’s ability to help its portfolio companies hire and find new customers is based on the strength of their general partners’ (GPs’) and founders’ networks.

Like many GPs today, most of 500’s GPs are connected to thousands of individuals on LinkedIn. While these connections are essential to their portfolio companies’ growth, it was hard for the 500 team to see all of their connections in one place when helping their startups with hiring or customer discovery.

Previously, the 500 team had come up with a manual workaround for this: an analyst was in charge of manually collecting GPs’ various connections from LinkedIn and other websites onto a single Google Sheet. That Sheet was then mined for potential candidates, customers, and attendees for different portfolio companies and events.

While their Google Sheet solution worked, it created a lot more work for the firm and it was difficult to sift through effectively, since it didn’t track who was connected to who or allow them to build effective pipelines.

The solution

Moving to The Swarm has made it far easier for 500 to visualize and track their collective network.

First of all, their analyst no longer needs to manually collect — and update — their Google Form. Instead, GPs and founders can simply import their connections into The Swarm using a single click, and any new connections they add on LinkedIn are automatically imported into The Swarm.

It’s also far easier for the 500 team to explore their network for suitable candidates, customers, and event attendees thanks to The Swarm’s filtering options. They can now filter connections by:

  • Job title
  • Company
  • Location
  • Seniority
  • Industry
  • Who they’re connected to
“With The Swarm, we can very quickly see and manage our connections,” says Selin Ataman, Talent Manager at 500 Emerging Europe. “On LinkedIn, you can’t see everyone’s connections easily, so it’s been very interesting and fun to be able to see all of those connections in one place.”

Currently, 500 Emerging Europe is using The Swarm to introduce their portfolio companies’ founders to potential candidates. In the near future, they also plan to expand their use of The Swarm to include customer discovery and event marketing uses. Let’s dive in!


As 500 Emerging Europe’s Talent Manager, Selin spends a lot of her time connecting founders to potential co-founders, engineers, and other talent. Being able to visualize and search through the firm’s connections in The Swarm has made this job far easier.

So far, 500 Emerging Europe has added its GPs, staff members, and three founders to their Network Graph on The Swarm, all of whom have imported their thousands of connections into the graph. Selin can now search through these connections when she’s looking to add candidates to a pipeline.

“The Swarm works well for founders who are interested in creating talent pipelines for their teams,” says Selin. “We use it to find new contacts to add to our pipeline, and we’re planning to invite more founders to The Swarm soon.”

Customer discovery

One critical way that 500 helps their portfolio companies scale is by helping them find potential sales points in new countries. Selin is looking forward to using The Swarm to help in this area.

“We do a lot of introducing founders to people who could be potential sales points for them,” Selin says. “We have founders based in the US who have other connections in the US, so being able to see those connections is really helpful for customer discovery.”

Using The Swarm, 500 Emerging Europe will be able to search their GPs’ and founders’ collective network by company size, industry, and location. They can then also see all of the connections that they have into the company. This makes it easier for them to build warm pipelines of potential customers for their portfolio companies. 


One of the many ways that 500 Emerging Europe supports its portfolio companies is by hosting networking events in cities like New York, San Francisco, Ankara, Istanbul, and Tallinn. At these events — which include Founder Dinners, Office Hours, and Founder Shuffles — invitees get to mingle with other founders, share advice, and form new connections.

Previously, curating guest lists for these events was a rather tedious experience.

“Our analysts would go to our GPs, for instance, and get a list of people from New York, San Francisco, Ankara — wherever we needed — from them, so that we could have a network of people to reach out to,” says Selin.

With The Swarm, analysts will be able to simply filter through the Company Graph by location and role type to find potential attendees. And as 500 Emerging Europe scales its number and type of events, that ease will make it far easier to coordinate events.

Expert intros

Last, but certainly not least, Selin plans to use The Swarm to facilitate introducing founders to relevant experts.

“I do a lot of introducing founders to people who are experts in their field,” says Selin. “So, for instance, who can give Turkish founders advice about launching a product in the US? Who can provide mentorship? Who can give them customer advice?”

Selin plans to use The Swarm to facilitate these introductions and find new experts to connect founders to — accelerating their success, and by extension, 500 Emerging Europe’s.

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