500 Startups Turns Sights On Southeast Asia, Japan And Korea

Durian1 500 StartupsSoutheast Asia is increasingly drawing interest from venture investors looking for deals in less-saturated spots where valuations might not be so high and importantly, where a population of 500 million and a market of savvy smart phone users add to the lure.

One of the more active investors in young startups throughout the region, Silicon Valley-anchored 500 Startups has topped off its Southeast Asia-focused fund 500 Durians with an additional $7 million, bringing the fund size to $22 million.

Starting with $10 million in 2013 and led by Khailee Ng, 500 Durians has quickly invested in 45 deals, accounting for about one-third of 500 Startups’ investments in Asia. Notable investments include Malaysia’s GrabTaxi, Singapore’s mobile marketplace Carousell, Indonesia’s e-commerce marketplace Bukalapak and inventory management software Tradegecko. Two successful exits from the portfolio include Vietnam’s Tappy, which was acquired by Weebly.co, and Singapore’s Viki, acquired by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten.

Not stopping anytime soon, the startup investment firm formed by PayPal alum Dave McClure has raised a $10 million micro-fund for Thai startups, started an accelerator program in Malaysia and hired two partners in Vietnam, with plans for a local fund. More country-specific funds in Asia are in the works too including a $30 million Japan fund and a $10 Korea fund.

Since its start in 2013, 500 Startups has seeded some 1,200 just-launched companies internationally and now counts about $200 million of assets under management. It helps to have strong backers such as Tokyo-based Dentsu, Yahoo Japan and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhand.

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