Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund investing in Southeast Asia and North America, announced today the close of Hustle Fund 1, a US$11.5 million fund led by Shanda, the China’s online gaming company; LINE, and Naver, Korea’s largest search engine. Participating in the round are founders and executives of Zappos, Optimizely, and NerdWallet.
The announcement is also followed by the appointment of Shiyan Koh, a Singapore-born who was the Vice-President of Business Operations and Corporate Development at NerdWallet, as Managing Partner.Shiyan has spent the last 18 years in Silicon Valley and has helped to grow a business from less than $1 million to $150 million in revenue.
Shanda, one of the companies investing in Hustle Fund, shared its decision to invest in Hustle Fund through Tianqiao Chen, founder and Chairman of Shanda Group. “Due to Shanda’s mission to support young entrepreneurial talents who are, innovative and solid in execution, we backed up Hustle Fund because they checked these criteria,” said Chen.
Hustle Fund was co-founded by Elizabeth Yin and Eric Bahn with a focus on pre-seed investments for software-enabled businesses. Their investment approach included writing an initial US$25,000 check, followed by a four- to six-week growth project with each portfolio company.
The approach allows Hustle partners to work side by side with the portfolio teams to learn more about their capability to execute their goals together. Once the project is completed, Hustle Fund will then decide whether to follow through with a more substantive investment.
Prior to Hustle Fund, Elizabeth Yin was previously an investment partner at 500 Startups and led their Mountain View accelerator for nearly three years, and Eric Bahn was previously a product manager for Facebook and Instagram’s ad products.
“The Southeast Asia tech ecosystem market, Singapore in particular, has shown growth over the last few years and played a key role in nurturing startups. Our goal is to partner with founders who can execute with high velocity, and having Shiyan as part of the team will be of great value to our LPs and our portfolio companies,” said Elizabeth Yin, Co-Founder of Hustle Fund.
Since September 2017, Hustle Fund has invested in 40 companies across the US and Canada.