500 Startups Raises $15M “500Kimchi” Microfund

Jess Erickson

February 26, 2015

We’re happy to announce the launch of “500 Kimchi”, a $15M USD micro-fund focused on promising startups, especially in mobile, managed by new 500 investing partner and K-Pop instructor Tim Chae. Inspired by the booming mobile opportunity and growing government support, 500 will continue to invest in kickass Korean startups and will soon set up a home office in Seoul.

Why 500 Kimchi?

South Korea is one of the world’s top markets when it comes to existing mobile infrastructure, usage, and engagement. With over 80% smartphone penetration rate, it also boasts the world’s fastest internet speeds (increasing 57% YoY) that is accessible even in subways. Though South Korea’s population is 50M, its collective mobile users make South Korea the world’s Top 3 market when it comes to mobile app downloads and revenue.

500 sees an opportunity to invest early and often into the next generation of South Korea’s most promising startups and empower them with best of Silicon Valley’s education, thinking, talent, and money to provide unfair advantage in the local market. 500 will be the first major SV accelerator and seed stage investor in the local South Korean market and founders will gain access to our global network of high-value mentors and 2,000+ founders. 500 will look to invest in not just companies that can succeed in the local Asian market, but through its accelerator, find and work with Korean companies that can succeed in the US and global market.

Currently, no country in the world has more backing per capita from the government than Korea. In the next 3 years alone, they’ll put in $3.7 Billion into startups in the form of grants and other initiatives.

500 Kimchi Management & Investment Team include:

  • Tim Chae (채종인) – Venture Partner (Korea)
  • Dave McClure – Founding Partner (Investing & International)
  • Christine Tsai – Managing Partner (Accelerator & Mentor Programs)

Who is Tim Chae?

Previous to starting 500Kimchi, Tim Chae was an EIR at 500 Startups. Having experience in founding startups both bootstrapped and venture backed, Tim had been part of 500 helping with accelerator companies as an EIR since September 2013. Founding his first startup in his early teenage years, Tim was named one of the top Youth Entrepreneurs of 2009. Tim was born in Seoul, South Korea, immigrating to the States at the age of 10.

“Seoul’s tech scene has been booming for the past several years; recently, a few companies have reached $1B valuations and are now being recognized by top VC’s in Silicon Valley. Inspired by these successes, more South Korean talent is looking to break into the burgeoning tech scene, and many of these companies are aiming for the global market. Sunshine, formerly ShareON, also aspires to become a global leader – we’re disrupting the way files are being accessed and shared across devices. Joining the 500 Startups accelerator is instrumental to achieving this vision and maximizing our potential as a global company; not only are we able to leverage the mentors’ expertise in product development and distribution, we are also able to learn and grow alongside some of the best minds in the industry.” Nicole Hosun Kim (김호선), CEO and Founder of Sunshine 

Recent Press Coverage: TechCrunch, TechInAsia, beSUCCESS, Platum, Ajunews,AnTimes, e27

500 Startups Accelerator Batch 13 applications are open, apply now here: https://angel.co/500startups-batch-13/apply


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