“Always be raising” is the motto of 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, and 500 Durians — the U.S. firm’s fund for Southeast Asia — is taking that phrase very literally after it doubled its size to over $20 million courtesy of an injection of capital, its second within recent months.
500 Durians started out as a $10 million fund in 2013 led by Malaysia-based Khailee Ng, an entrepreneur with two exits under his belt. The fund quietly made deals over its first two years, but in 2015 it has been busily expanded. Back in July we reported that the fund got topped up with an additional $5 million, and now it has closed out an increase that takes it to $22 million, according to a U.S. filing.
The VC firm declined to comment on the new raise when we got in touch for more details, but Bloomberg previously reported that Malaysia’s Genting and GS Home Shopping from Korea are among the new LPs. McClure certainly has strong relationships with investors in Asia — 500 Startups’ newest $85 million global fund is backed by Tokyo-based Dentsu, Yahoo Japan and Malaysia Venture Capital Management Berhad among others, while it has funds in China, Japan and Korea.
The U.S. firm is particularly keen on Southeast Asia, where opportunity is driven by the potential of smartphones, sales of which are poised to grow rapidly among the region’s cumulative population of 500 million plus.
Beyond 500 Durians, 500 Startups has a $10 million micro-fund for Thailand, a post-money accelerator program in Malaysia, and it is moving towards a fund in Vietnam after hiring two partners there. TechCrunch understands that the firm intends to open more country-specific funds in other Southeast Asian markets next year — those vehicles are aimed at stimulating ecosystems with early stage deals, while the 500 Durians fund operates regionally at complementary seed, post-seed and Series A stages.Featured Image: Svetlana Lukienko/Shutterstock