Third Time’s a Charm:
500 Kobe Accelerator Program Returns

Caitlin Glazebrook

August 14, 2018

500 couldn’t stay away for too long! We are proud to officially announce that we are returning to one of our favorite cities – Kobe, Japan! Since last year’s program with our Kobe City partners was such a success, we are together launching the 2018 500 Kobe Accelerator program for a third consecutive year, which will kick off this fall for six weeks.

500 will bring our Silicon Valley expertise and mentors, who will focus on growth marketing for emerging companies in Kobe and beyond, while also boosting Japanese and international entrepreneurship in the region. The international scope of the program aims not only to work with Japanese companies but with startups from around the world, who are invited to one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan cities.

The 500 Kobe program will accept up to 25 startups to participate and will target those with traction and a functioning product. Startups accepted into this program will also be given the opportunity to meet with some of Japan’s leading corporations.

Apply here for the 500 Kobe Accelerator Program (October 29th – December 10th): The deadline for applications is August 31, 2018.

This year’s program will be led by 500’s very own rockstar Venture Partner, Aaron Blumenthal, who will be joined by a number of Silicon Valley team members coming to Kobe for the startups and staying for the beef! 500’s team members will also be available throughout the program to aid in mentorship and provide office-hours to the participating companies.

Quick Facts from Previous 500 Kobe Programs

  • Several previous participants have already raised follow-on investments from a diverse group of Asian investors, including individual investors and corporates, such as Mitsukoshi Isetan Innovations and Daiwa Corporate Investment.
  • 25 mentors, Entrepreneurs in Residence and 500 team members, in aggregate, participated in each 500 Kobe program.
  • 2 Demo Days (program graduation where startups pitch to potential investors) in Kobe and Tokyo: broadcasted live with a total of 450 in-person participants, and a ratio of approximately 51% investors and 49% corporates in attendance.

500 Kobe Accelerator Program Details

Duration: October 29 – December 10, 2018

  • Week 1 (Sales): October 29 – November 2
  • Week 2 (Marketing): November 5 – November 9
  • Break Week 3, 4: November 10 – November 25
  • Week 5 (Fundraising): November 26 – November 30
  • Week 6 (Pitch Prep): December 3 – December 7
  • Demo Day: December 10


The Design and Creative Center Kobe (KIITO)
1-4 Onohama-cho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

What We Are Looking For:

  • Startups in Seed stage
  • Startups with some traction and a working product
  • We accept startups of all sizes (however, two team members are preferable)

Number of Teams:

  • 20-25 teams


We are now accepting applications for the 500 Kobe Accelerator program! If you are a startup interested in participating, please APPLY HERE. To contact the team, please reach out to 500startups.kobe@gmail.com.

Accelerator Program Summary:

500 will bring experts from our global network, comprising of partners, mentors and serial entrepreneurs. These successful Silicon Valley and global team members will work closely with the startups to accelerate their development through best operational practices, growth hacking, data driven sales techniques and provide tailored advice. Our top priority for the 500 Kobe Accelerator is to equip founders with the necessary toolkit to become growth ninjas and help get their startups to the next milestone.

Mentoring: One-on-one mentoring by 500 team members

Lectures: Professional lectures on Sales, Marketing, and more

Community: 500 creates an ecosystem for global startups to excel in

Please Note:

  • The 500 Kobe Accelerator program is conducted in English and we will provide simultaneous translation service
  • Participants will receive mentoring, growth hacking learnings, and access to 500’s extensive ecosystem
  • Participation in the 500 Kobe Accelerator does not entail or result in participants receiving funding from 500, although 500 may keep in touch with promising participants after the program

Questions about the program? Please feel free to email us at 500startups.kobe@gmail.com.

We look forward to meeting you in October!
Visit the 500 Kobe Accelerator website (English/Japanese) or 500’s website (English/Japanese) to learn more.


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