Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund 500 Startups is raising its second South Korea-focused fund four years after it first collected $15 million for its first South Korea vehicle, called Kimchi microfund.
Its predecessor fund focuses on promising Korean startups, especially in the field of mobile. 500 Startups Korea currently has more than 30 companies in its portfolio.
During the launch of Kimchi microfund in 2015, which was started by Tim Chae, 500 Startups said it saw an opportunity to invest early and often into the next generation of South Korea’s most promising startups and empower them with best of Silicon Valley’s education, thinking, talent, and money to provide unfair advantage in the local market.
“500 will be the first major SV accelerator and seed stage investor in the local South Korean market and founders will gain access to our global network of high-value mentors and 2,000+ founders,” it had said.
500 Startups will look to invest in not just companies that can succeed in the local Asian market, but through its accelerator, find and work with Korean companies that can succeed in the US and global market.
Globally, 500 Startups manages over $400 million in committed capital and has invested in more than 2,000 companies including Twilio, SendGrid, Credit Karma, Canva, Udemy, Intercom, and Talkdesk, as of September 2018.
In March, the fund announced that its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) focused fund – 500 Falcons – made a final close at $33 million.
The final close came nearly two years after the fund made its first close at $15 million and exceeds the firm’s initial target of $30 million. LPs in the fund include Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and the Oman Investment Fund.
Last year, the VC firm raised $14.1 million for its Vietnam-focused venture fund. The fund invests in promising Vietnam-connected startups in addition to providing mentorship and connections to both global and regional startups.
500 Startups is doubling down in Southeast Asia as the region’s internet economy is poised to cross $200 billion by 2025, according to a December 2017 report by Google and Singapore fund Temasek Holdings.
The region’s internet economy, which spans ride-hailing apps to online travel, is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent, outpacing last year’s projection of a 20 per cent 10-year CAGR, the report said.
The region also has 330 million monthly active internet users, making it the third largest online base of consumers globally.