2016.10.04

Global venture capital seed fund and accelerator 500 Startups today announced that it has launched a US$50 million second fund to invest in Southeast Asian tech startups–nicknamed the ‘500 Durians II’.

Just like its predecessor 500 Durians I, the new fund is anchored by MAVCAP.

“Their early and continued conviction was a critical component for us to operate at speed,” according to 500 Startups in an official statement. “While we will continue to fundraise the rest of Durians II, we’re grateful for all the interest we’ve had in seeding us.”

Also Read: Korean startup media platform beSUCCESS sees investments from global investors, including 500 Startups

The venture capital firm plans to invest from US$50,000 to US$150,000 in around 200 more seed stage companies. It will also continue to remain sector-agnostic, investing in a wide variety of industries.

“Historically, we’ve primarily invested alongside other seed stage and angel investors that we’ve grown to trust and respect and will continue to do that. The US$50 million fund will also allow us to follow-on with up to US$500,000 of additional capital in the companies that show exceptional progres,” it explained.

“This follows the classic 500 Startups strategy of making many little bets and doubling down on winners that have taken flight across our family of funds, including 500 Durians I.”

Also Read: Agritech startup iGrow reaps seed funding from East Ventures, 500 Startups

Sowing the (durian) seeds

500 Startups’ first Southeast Asia-focussed fund 500 Durians I made its first investment in June 2014. The firm claimed that it was underestimating how rapidly the Southeast Asian startup scene would mature when they made the first move; later it doubled the original US$10 million 500 Durians I fund to US$25 million to keep up with increasing opportunities in the local ecosystem.

Within two years, the venture capital firm invested in a total of 119 startups and claimed to be the most active early stage investor in the region, having participated in over 26 per cent of all seed deals in the region recorded by CB Insights.

It had also invested in the likes of Grab, Carousell, and Bukalapak, and launched a Vietnam-focussed micro-fund.

“At time of writing this, one-fourth of our portfolio companies have raised more than US$2 billion for further growth, and none have shut down. Our thesis is some of these companies will grow to be Southeast Asia’s next generation of startup success stories,” the company stated.

In an email to e27, 500 Startups Venture Partner Vishal Harnal explained that Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore will be a core focus for the fund, though it will continue to invest throughout the region.

“We see that as a Golden Triangle of opportunity in the region,” he wrote.

Image Credit: 500 Startups