Oct 25, 2019 On Our Blog

The Future of Corporate Venture Capital

The following is an excerpt from 500’s latest report, Unlocking Corporate Venture Capital. How has corporate venture capital changed? In the decade since the Great Recession, we have seen digital upstarts – taking advantage of disruptive technologies from AI to IoT – reshape the economy and the corporate pecking order.  Conventional wisdom dictated that incumbents should focus their innovation efforts on R&D and growing their cash cows while investing in a few startups. But the rate of change has accelerated and with it, the balance of internal versus external investment. We believe the new corporate landscape calls for new strategies. As one of the most active, early-stage investors in the world¹, 500 Startups has a unique perspective on the innovation …


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Oct 4, 2019 On Our Blog

500 Around the World: Takeaways from the Sberbank-500 Accelerator

If 500 has learned one thing from investing in over 75 countries, it’s the importance of placing bets in all the right founders and helping build ecosystems for them to thrive in. 500 is a firm believer of the idea that talent can be found everywhere, but you have to understand where that talent is and what unique challenges they are going to face in their region. One of these often-overlooked regions is Russia, which despite challenges, has a booming tech and startup ecosystem.  Last year, 500 partnered with Sberbank—Russia’s largest bank and a leading global financial institution—to launch an accelerator in Moscow, bridging the gap in knowledge and social capital between Silicon Valley and Russia. Thirty hand-selected startups took …


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Jul 30, 2019 On Our Blog

500Kobe Accelerator Program is back, now with a Focused Track on Health

500 Startups and Kobe City are thrilled to announce our 4th consecutive accelerator program, which will commence on November 4th, 2019.  This year’s program will continue to support startups across all industries and sectors, but will include a special focus on startups within the health space.  For the past three years, 500 Startups and Kobe City have together supported the growth of startups from around the world, including Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, United States, and more. This year, we will be accepting up to 20 startups.  The program will be led by the 500 Startups team and hand-selected mentors from our global network. They will work closely with each startup to accelerate their development through best operational practices, …


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Mar 11, 2019 On Our Blog

Women in the Startup Ecosystem: How Can We Accelerate Inclusion?

From Salaried Employee to Entrepreneur According to the IDB (Interamerican Development Bank), if we had equal participation of men and women in the Latin American labor market, the regional GDP would increase by 16%. On the other hand, according to the ILO (International Labor Organization), women are more likely to be unemployed than men. In Latin America, the rate of male unemployment is 6.8%, while female unemployment is a considerably higher 9.5%. According to academic research, some of the factors that lead to this figure include discrimination, barriers to work-life balance, and lack of perspective for career growth. However, many of those reportedly unemployed women are not doing so to stay at home, but rather to become entrepreneurs. The GEM …


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Feb 5, 2019 On Our Blog

Announcing the “MENA Dojo” Series A Program Batch 3 launch

It’s going to be quite busy this year in the MENA region! In line with our objective to help develop the regional ecosystem, we are pleased to announce that we’re opening the applications for the third batch of our annual 500 Startups MENA Dojo Series A Program, in partnership with Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). The MENA Dojo Series A Program is for startups that have reached a certain level of scale and are likely to raise a Series A in the next six to nine months. We will be bringing in a roster of mentors from our Silicon Valley and global team focused on instilling a growth mindset, growth hacking and marketing techniques. The program is one-to-one mentorship driven, which …


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Dec 21, 2018 Official Announcement

Announcing the Saola Accelerator in Vietnam

This is a “saola”, a long-horned ox so rare that it’s often called an “Asian unicorn.” (nevermind that it has two horns!). Saolas are found almost exclusively in Vietnam. I believe there are other Asian unicorns to be found in Vietnam, which is why 500 Startups Vietnam is pleased to announce the launch of the Saola Accelerator, our version of 500’s flagship program in San Francisco with local experts weighing in. It’s the right time to build a springboard for Vietnam’s next tech unicorns. Read on for more information about the current landscape, what Saola aims to do, and what kind of startups we’re looking for! (tl;dr — Apply here now: bit.ly/500saola)


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Nov 19, 2018 On Our Blog

500 Startups Vietnam Holds Oversubscribed Final Close (Pho Real!)

Given 500’s mission to back entrepreneurs globally, we strive to go where other investors rarely venture. Several years ago, Vietnam was not an obvious tech investment destination: the country was poor (GDP per capita was barely over US$2k, according to the World Bank), fraught with bureaucracy, and struggling to create an ecosystem for the few, disconnected founders and even fewer active angels and VCs. But entrepreneurial folks did see elements of something special: a fast-growing economy; a substantial supply of low-cost, high-tech talent; and a broad & experienced Vietnamese diaspora increasingly interested to reconnect with and contribute to the country. A new wave of tech founders decided to take the plunge. Despite — or because of — the lack of …


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Jul 3, 2018 On Our Blog

Meet OK Blockchain Capital – 500 Startups’ Newest Corporate Partner in the Blockchain World

In Borderless Blockchain, We Trust.  We are excited to partner with OK Blockchain Capital who shares 500 Startups’ vision in discovering and backing the world’s most talented blockchain entrepreneurs from all over the world. As the strategic partner of OKCoin and OKEX a top global digital asset exchange with over $1 billion in daily trading volume, OK Blockchain Capital is focused on helping blockchain innovators through both direct funding and ecosystem support.  Launched in 2017, OK Blockchain Capital’s current investments include Perlin, Ankr, Merculet, and Vite. Building on OK Group’s experience in blockchain research, vast network, and expertise in building successful blockchain companies, OK Blockchain Capital is devoted to fueling the next generation of innovators. We understand the challenges entrepreneurs …


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Jun 25, 2018 On Our Blog

Investor Spotlight:
Rina Onur

Rina co-founded and exited from Peak Games (a leading mobile social gaming company) and Hemenkiralik.com (first vacation rental network of Turkey). She is the General Partner of 500 Istanbul, 500’s thematic fund focused on backing exciting startups from Turkey/Turkic region and the diaspora. Starting out as a PE investor, then turned entrepreneur, she has made it full-circle back to the “dark side.” Why did you join 500? I started two companies in Turkey before I became an early stage investor and joined 500. I built my first company when I was 24 years old. Along the way, I met incredible people including a couple of investors who took a huge bet on a young, first-time female entrepreneur from an emerging …


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Jun 12, 2018 On Our Blog

Turkish Ecosystem: The Rise of Third Wave Entrepreneurs

Turkey, once the leading startup ecosystem in the region with its vibrant local market, now seems to lag behind newcomers like Slovenia, Greece, Romania and the UAE. Overlooked and buried under the macro trends, the Turkish ecosystem is in the midst of a transition and about to make a tremendous leap forward. Political challenges and a turbulent local market pushed a new generation of entrepreneurs to pursue their passions globally and create market-independent businesses following a model similar to Israel, Estonia or Sweden. These third wave entrepreneurs are now re-building the ecosystem from the ground up. Early signs of entrepreneurial success and market readiness The first wave of internet entrepreneurs in Turkey started at the end of the 1990s and …


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