There’s something bubbling in Kobe… and it’s not just the waters of the Arima hot springs. 500 Startups in partnership with the government of Kobe, Japan is launching a new pre-accelerator that will be coming to the city this summer. The pre-accelerator is a 6 week course which will focus on bringing growth hacking techniques and Silicon Valley expertise to emerging companies in Kobe, while also boosting Japanese and domestic entrepreneurship in the city.

Space is limited to 15-20 startups and you can apply here. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2016.

After recently launching the $30M 500 Japan Fund in 2015, with the goal of engaging and investing in local startups, it naturally made sense to deepen our relationship with the city of Kobe by creating another resource for founders in the form of a pre-accelerator program*.

Most importantly, the program is open to startups from around the world. The international scope of the program aims not only to work with Japanese companies, but to help bring startups from around the world to work in one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan cities. Companies accepted into the program will also be given the opportunity to meet with some of Japan’s leading corporations.

The Kobe pre-accelerator is targeting companies with traction, a working product and a desire to become international growth NINJAS!

The 6 week intensive program will feature:

  • Sessions led by 500 Startups Partners
  • Sessions led by guest Japanese and international entrepreneurs
  • 4 weeks of curriculum, office hours, and pitch prep
  • A presentation day for the startups to put their learning into practice

Why Kobe Japan?

As a bustling port city, Kobe has always been a gateway to international cultures and commerce. Most recently, the city has served as a hot spot for Japanese startups and entrepreneurial activity and has funded several programs that provide seed investment to early stage companies. Alongside its work with companies in its own region, Kobe is ramping up its efforts by bringing international startups to its ecosystem to encourage entrepreneurial collaboration.

What’s 500 Startups role?

500 Startups will bring experts from our global team of partners, mentors and entrepreneurs to work closely with the startups to accelerate their development through best operational practices, growth hacking, marketing, data driven sales techniques, and tailored advice from successful Silicon Valley and global entrepreneurs. Our main goal is equipping the startup teams with the tools they need to become growth ninjas to help get their startups to the next milestone.

We are now accepting applications to the Kobe pre-accelerator. If you are a startup interested in participating, apply here. To contact the team, reach out here.

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*Participants in the program in Kobe, Japan will receive mentoring, growth hacking learnings, and access to 500 Startups’ extensive ecosystem without financial investment from the firm. 500 Startups may decide to invest in these companies during future rounds of financing.