Japanese Yen Final

Hot off its launch of a US$85 million global fund — the third so far — just days ago, five-year old US-based venture firm 500 Startups has announced the launch of yet another fund; this one aimed at the land of the rising sun, Japan.

The US$30 million initiative, dubbed the ‘500 Startups Japan’ fund, will be led by James Riney, who is a former venture capitalist at Japanese mobile Internet platform DeNA. A second unnamed partner will be joining the team as well.

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The ‘500 Startup Japan’ fund is the latest in the string of 500 Startups’ love affairs with Asia. It has a US$15 million ‘500 Durians’ fund for Southeast Asia, a US$10 million ‘TukTuks’ fund for Thailand, and a US$20 million fund for India. It also plans to launch a fund for Vietnam.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Riney said that the fund “will be split 50-50 between early-stage investments and follow-on funding opportunities up to Series A”.

500 Startups will mainly be issuing cheques ranging from US$100,000 to US$500,000, although it won’t rule out cutting million-dollar size cheques for exceptional cases.

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In addition, the funds will be vertical-agnostic, though Riney says he is interested in biotech, SaaS, SMB, virtual and healthcare industries.