Dave McClure’s 500 Startups is no stranger to investing in international startups, with about 20 percent of its portfolio of companies hailing from outside the U.S. But it’s now looking to make a bigger bet, specifically in Southeast Asia, with a $10 million micro fund devoted to the region, as well as the hiring of Malaysia-based entrepreneur Khailee Ng as its newest venture partner.
The $10 million micro fund, which was filed with the SEC under the name “500 Durians,” will help the firm to start making investments in the region. The fund follows previous region-specific funds that the firm has raised — such as “500 Luchadores” for Mexico or “500 StartupWallah” for India.
Along with the new fund for Southeast Asia, 500 Startups has hired Ng as venture partner to oversee investments in the region. Ng co-founded group-buying site GroupsMore.com, which he grew into the largest company in its segment in Malaysia, before selling to Groupon. He also co-founded Southeast Asian social news company SAYS.com, which recently merged with Catcha Media Berhad.
He’s no stranger to the 500 Startups family, having been on its Geeks On A Plane trip through Japan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in 2011. He also served as an entrepreneur-in-residence and mentor with the fifth batch of the 500 Startups Accelerator.
With the addition of Ng, 500 Startups is looking to corner one of the few parts of the world where it doesn’t already have a presence. In addition to Southeast Asia, the firm now has folks making investments in the U.S., Japan, China, India, Mexico and Latin America.
That international expansion began with the hiring of George Kellerman and Bedy Yang last spring to head up Japan and Latin America, respectively. Later, it acquired LatAm startup accelerator Mexican.VC and brought on Pankaj Jain to help with investments in India. And earlier this year, Beijing-based venture partner Rui Ma joined to oversee its investments in China.
The news of the new fund and venture partner comes just before 500 Startups founding partner and Sith Lord Dave McClure begins touring Southeast Asia with Ng, partner Christen O’Brien, and a motley crew of entrepreneurs and investors as part of its latest Geeks On A Plane trip. That trip will have the group traveling through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Bangkok over the next few weeks.