500 Startups launch new entrepreneurship fund in South Korea

Kimchi, the latest microfund, has been announced by 500 Startups and is set to launch in Seoul, South Korea.

500 Startups, the well-known US accelerator for startups, has just revealed details of its latest venture, 500 Kimchi, which will take $15 million to fund early stage startups in South Korea’s mobile space. The newest microfund from 500 Startups will deepen the firm’s reach into South Korea, which has already several investments from the company, according to the online tech magazine, TechCrunch.


Taking control of 500 Kimchi will be investing partner, Tim Chae, a former entrepreneur and K-Pop instructor, who said the fund has been set up to bring promising startups to the attention of other investors from Silicon Valley, as well as provide them with the much needed funding that is required to support early stage new businesses.

“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,” said 500 Startups.

It certainly seems expansion into South East Asia is a top priority of 500 Startups, as this latest move from the US seed accelerator comes while the dust is still settling from its announcement to start 500 TukTuks, a $10 million microfund in Thailand.


South Korea seems to have the perfect mix of conditions to promote the growth of new businesses, especially in the mobile sector. The nation’s incredibly high smartphone penetration rate (80 per cent) and the fastest broadband speeds in the world combine to make it one the most perfect markets for mobile app downloads and revenue.

Not to mention, startups in South Korea are blessed with an extraordinarily large amount of government backing. In fact, according to 500 Startups, no other country in the world has more backing per capita from the government - over the next three years it plans to invest $3.7 billion.

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