500 Startups today announced today the launch of a $10 million micro fund that will invest solely in Vietnamese startups. It’s the latest in a series of investment vehicles the Silicon Valley-based accelerator program has created in the past year. The organization plans to fund 100 to 150 companies that have some connection to the Southeast Asia country, with checks ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.
The latest fund is being run by venture partners Binh Tran, formerly cofounder of Klout, and Eddie Thai, a former director of CJ CGV Vietnam, both of whom joined 500 Startups last year.
Reports that 500 Startups was raising a fund for the country surfaced in November, and its official launch now makes Vietnam the third fund in the region. The accelerator is no stranger to investing in Vietnam, having previously funded companies like the beauty startup Ipsy, social photography app creator Lightbox, social intelligence platform DataRank, language pronunciation training mobile app ELSA, ticketing platform TicketBox, and hyperlocal social networking app Tappy.
Through this micro fund, the firm will continue its effort to educate founders and business people in order to grow a supportive tech ecosystem in the country. Additionally, it will “raise awareness of interesting opportunities to later-stage investors and acquirers,” while also working to “improve the legal ease of launching and investing in technology companies.”
“Vietnam is a vibrant and growing country, with many talented entrepreneurs and engineers,” wrote 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure. “Eddie and Binh are experienced operators who combine Silicon Valley know-how with Vietnamese hustle, and they are going to invest aggressively in the best and brightest founders all over the country.”
500 Startups Vietnam is the latest regional investment tool the startup accelerator has set up. Beyond Southeast Asia, it also has funds to support startups in Korea, Japan, Turkey, the Nordic region, and also the Middle East and North Africa.
“500 Startups has been investing globally since we started, but now with a local presence in 18 countries, we won’t stop until we discover every unicorn on the planet,” McClure once told VentureBeat.
By establishing this particular fund, the firm is looking to pay closer attention to relevant markets in order to properly identify potential startups that could eventually strike it big.
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