In our 2018 highlights, we shared our excitement about 2019 and where we’ll be in twelve months time. One of the most critical ingredients to our growth over the last 9 years and our growth going forward is people. We have invested in and supported thousands of talented founders around the world. We are fortunate to work with many great partners who support our mission and help us amplify it. The 500 team strives to serve this mission and our founders, and embody our core values. As far as we have come in 9 years, the 500 of the future is just getting started.
On that note, I am excited to announce that Tim Chae has been promoted to General Partner at 500 HQ. In this new GP role, Tim will be leading our SF-based investment team, Seed Accelerator program, and work closely with all of our thematic fund partners around the globe.
Tim is living proof of 500’s mission at work.
He first joined the 500 family as a founder – his company, PostRocket, was part of Batch 3 in 2011. A few years later, we asked him to join 500 as an EIR for the accelerator program. He worked closely with companies in Batch 7 and Batch 8 (our first SF batch), including Famebit (acq. GOOG), AdEspresso (acq. Hootsuite), PredictionIO (acq. Salesforce), Spoon, Shippo, and EquityZen. As Tim began exploring and testing new ideas for another company, he happened to travel to Seoul to mentor startups at a conference. Floored by the immense talent brewing in a country he once called home, he came back to Silicon Valley with a completely new idea – launch a 500 thematic fund for Korea. It sounded crazy and nearly impossible. But in 2015, Tim launched 500 Kimchi, a $15M fund dedicated to investing in South Korean startups. In the last few years, 500 Korea has made a veritable dent in the Korean startup/VC ecosystem and backed companies like Spoon, PeopleFund, OP.GG, and Dano.
As mentioned in our 2018 highlights, 500’s portfolio count is now 2,210 companies and over 5,000 founders. Half of our 10 unicorn companies, and 49% of the overall 500 portfolio, hail from outside of the U.S. We’ve been investing globally since 2010, but the world is a big place. As of January 2019, the number of countries we’ve invested is now 74, which means we’ve invested in almost 40% of the world. 500 was also recently ranked #1 by PitchBook as 2018’s most active global investor by VC deal count.
Our early global bets helped build 500’s strong global infrastructure of founders and investment partners around the world.
A few words from Tim:
“The future of 500 is incredibly bright and I’m honored to take part in getting us there. A lot of the work that we’ve done in the past 9 years is now coming into fruition. There are two macro market trends I believe 500 is extremely well positioned to build on. Firstly, we’re seeing more and more founders in Silicon Valley who are interested in not just learning about trends globally, but also to expand beyond the US. Secondly, the US went from producing 100% of the world’s unicorns in 2013 to now less than half as of 2018. The rise of the rest and trend towards global parity is in full effect, and I believe 500 has demonstrated incredible success in many of these markets that are now coming into the view of the public. I am excited to work with all of our 500 partners to make 500 the best early stage VC for global minded entrepreneurs everywhere.”
With a strong team back in Seoul to run 500 Korea day-to-day (a team that’s > 50% women, by the way), Tim will now call SF his homebase. Given his experience as a founder in our accelerator program, then mentoring and coaching our accelerator companies, and finally launching a thematic fund in an international market, I’m proud to have witnessed firsthand Tim’s perseverance and passion for 500’s mission. I look forward to him bringing that same level of perseverance and passion to his new role as a GP at 500 HQ.
Please join me in congratulating Tim!
Note: This blog post is intended solely to provide information regarding 500 Startups. The information provided above, including information regarding current and historical portfolio investments by funds advised by 500 Startups is based on internal estimates as at the date hereof and has not been independently verified. The information provided herein is not intended as a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any security or that you pursue any investment style or strategy. Under no circumstances is any content or information contained in this post intended as, nor should you construe it as as legal, tax, accounting, investment or other advice from 500 Startups. The past performance on any investment, investment style or strategy is not a guarantee of future results, and it should not be assumed that results for any portfolio companies listed above will be achieved for other investments. The portfolio companies identified and discussed in this post may not represent all of the portfolio investments of funds advised by 500 Startups. Further, no content or information contained in this post is or is intended as an offer to provide any investment advisory service or financial advice by 500 Startups. Under no circumstances should anything herein be construed as fund marketing materials by prospective investors considering an investment into any 500 Startups investment fund.