Seed-stage investment firm 500 Startups is announcing today the promotion of two members of its investment team from partner to managing partner. By promoting Bedy Yang and Khailee Ng, the firm is also showing its commitment to investing in startups in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
500 Startups has always talked about the diversity of its portfolio companies, and how it has invested in an outsized number of female and international founders. The firm has backed more than 200 companies from outside the U.S. since launching four years ago, and claims about 30 percent of startups it’s invested in have at least one female founder.
The firm extends that same commitment to diversity in its hiring, and that’s shown in the makeup of its investment team. Its staff touts more than 35 team members in 10 countries around the world who speak 20-some languages. By promoting Yang and Ng, 500 is bringing even more of an international focus to the managing team.
Yang has been with 500 for about two-and-a-half years, having joined while the firm was in the midst of raising its second fund. Since then, she’s cemented herself as 500’s representative in Latin America and particularly Brazil, where’s she’s made about half of her 50 investments to date. 500 Startups founding partner Christine Tsai says Yang has become the leading seed investor in Brazil by bringing companies into the firm’s portfolio and accelerator program.
Ng joined 500 about 18 months ago to lead the firm’s investments in the Southeast Asia region through the firm’s 500 Durians microfund. Since joining, he’s made more than 30 investments across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. More importantly, Tsai says Ng has helped raise capital both for the 500 Durians fund as well as the firm’s main fund.
For 500, the promotions come as the firm ramps up its accelerator program — which now runs year-round, with four classes of about 30 companies each. It’s also raising its third fund, seeking $100 million to invest in evermore early-stage startups, both here and abroad..