Pre-seed investor Hustle Fund hits first close of $50m second fund

Photo from Hustle Fund's Facebook page.

Hustle Fund, a pre-seed investor based in San Francisco and Singapore, has secured 20 per cent of capital commitments to reach the first close of its $50-million second fund.

According to one source close to the development, Chinese online gaming giant Shanda is also returning as a limited partner (LP) for its second vehicle.

Hustle Fund declined to comment on this story.

DEALSTREETASIA last reported in May that the pre-seed VC firm was targeting to raise up to $50 million for Hustle Fund II, based on its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fund launch came just eight months after the pre-seed VC closed its first vehicle at $11.5 million. Hustle’s first fund was anchored by China’s online gaming giant Shanda, Japan’s Line, and South Korea’s largest search engine Naver.

Hustle Fund invests $25,000 in pre-seed startups, before working alongside the team to determine follow-on rounds. Hustle Fund I has invested in more than 80 startups including Setter, Doorr, Reap and reDock.

Last year, Hustle appointed Shiyan Koh as a new managing partner to drive the firm’s focus on Southeast Asia. Its Southeast Asian investments include BlockPunk, a blockchain-based entertainment startup, and Moovaz, a smart logistics company based in Singapore.

Hustle Fund was co-founded by Elizabeth Yin and Eric Bahn, former 500 Startups partners who left the accelerator to start their own fund. Yin was also founder of LaunchBit, an advertising platform that was acquired in 2014 by BuySellAds.com. Bahn, on the other hand, was the founder of Beat The GMAT, a site that helps people prepare for the GMAT.

Apart from Hustle, a number of seed venture builders and VCs have also gone global, such as UK-based Entrepreneur First and Singapore-based venture builder Antler.

Entrepreneur First (EF) was last reported in February to be raising a $255-million global fund to support its growing pool of startups which now cover six cities: Hong Kong, Bangalore, Singapore, Paris, Berlin and London. Until last year, EF was only operating from London and Singapore.

Singapore-based Antler, on the other hand, is setting its sights on $30-million funds in four new geographies – Australia, the UK, Central and East Africa by Q2, as well as a Nordic fund by Q3 this year. Today it runs seven offices across five continents: Singapore, Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, Oslo, Sydney and New York.

Seed investors are also raising larger rounds, driven by rising optimism in the space.

STRIVE, formerly known as GREE Ventures, is raising a $130-million cross border seed fund which will target startups across Japan, Southeast Asia and India. Large institutional players are also entering the fray, with Sequoia Capital India writing $1.5 million cheques to successful participants in its Surge programme.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.