500 Startups Dives Deeper Into Fintech with Financial Tech-Exclusive Batchby Fintech News Singapore January 8, 2016
500 Startups, a renowned venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator based in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, is diving deeper into fintech announcing a batch exclusively dedicated to financial technology startups set to start on January 19, 2016, according to reports from Let’s Talk Payments.
The fintech batch, which will be composed of eight companies, is in accordance with its interest in the sector. In April 2014, 500 Startups announced that its third investor syndicate would be dedicated to financial services and bitcoin startups, an initiative that aimed at opening up additional funding avenues for these startups within the incubator. So far, 500 Startups has invested in six bitcoin startups: HelloBit, Melotic, Coinalytics, BTCJam, Bonafide and CoinPip.
In fintech, 500 Startups has been actively investing in sub-sectors that include payments with investments into startups that include Accepton, Coinekta, Instamojo and Hellobit, but also lending (Wefinance, Lenda, Konfio), crowdfunding (Lendsquare) and private investment (Artivest, EquityZen), totalling a current portfolio of 34 companies.
Bullish on the Vietnamese market
Alongside the fintech sector, 500 Startups is also very bullish on Vietnam, a country that the company views as an important market, given its fast-growing economy, young population and under-served – especially in the seed stage venture capital stage.
In August 2015, 500 Startups brought in Binh Tran, formerly the co-founder and CTO of Klout and Eddie Thai, a renowned startup advisor in the country, as venture partners for the local market. Khailee Ng, managing partner of 500 Startups, told DealStreetAsia that 500 Startups was looking to make about 20 investments in the country in the next 12 months.
So far, 500 Startups has invested into four Vietnamese startups: Tappy, a social media app acquired by Weeby.co; Babyme, a healthcare app for mothers and babies; Ticketbox, an online ticket platform; and Pose.com.vn, a lifestyle and event media.
Tran told Tech in Asia:
“Vietnam has been the second-fastest growing economy in the world since 1990, behind only China – excluding small economies at less than US$10 billion. Yet for Vietnam’s young, large population – it’s the 14th largest in the world – there’s still a long way to go in terms of wealth creation. The tech scene is a great driver for that.”
For Thai, the opportunity lies in Vietnam’s strong local tech talent pool as well as the large Vietnamese diaspora populations spread all over the world.
“The combination of talent and energy in Vietnam is really exciting,” Thai said. “Students and graduates along with the large Vietnamese diaspora populations in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs represent an opportunity to combine the best of both worlds and build great products.”
Tran indicated that the 500 Startups team is interested in startups from idea to seed stages with founders that “are smart and aggressive, but humble.”
“We want to focus on the big, long-term value of this ecosystem rather than small, quick wins,” Tran said.
Founded in 2010, 500 Startups has invested into over 1,400 companies around the world and has around US$200 million in assets under management. 500 Startups’ investment and mentor network comprises of executives from PayPal, Google, Facebook YouTube, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and Apple.
Image credit: 500 Startups.