No one can accuse 500 Startups of being lazy. The venture firm and accelerator program is currently raising half a dozen funds, including a $200 million global fund; a $10 million fund focused on Southeast Asia; a $10 million Thailand-focused fund; a $10 million Korea fund; a Japan-focused fund that’s looking to raise $30 million; and a $10 million fund that it’s calling its Mobile Collective vehicle.
The outfit has just added another geo-focused vehicle to the list, too: 500 Istanbul, which is looking to raise $15 million that it can spread across 100 Turkish startups over the next several years.
The fund — which has “just started raising but has several commitments,” says 500 Startups co-founder Dave McClure — will be run by two people primarily. The fund’s full-time manager will be 500 Startups venture partner Erhan Erdogan, who is based in Istanbul and most recently served as a product manager for the Moscow-based search engine company Yandex. Erbil Karaman, who’s a product management lead for Facebook in London, will serve as an advisor, says McClure.
500 Startups is no stranger to Turkey, having helped fund numerous companies founded by Turkish entrepreneurs, including the online learning marketplace Udemy, which is today based in San Francisco but whose cofounders, Eren Bali and Oktay Caglar, grew up in the country.
Others of 500 Startups’ related investments include the ad platform Socialwire (now based in San Francisco); the recruiting platform Parlakbirgelecek (still in Turkey), the anonymous chat startup Connected2.me (still in Turkey); Boostable, a San Francisco-based company that gives individual sellers access to some of the same targeted advertising techniques that larger companies use (and whose founder grew up in Istanbul); the ad optimization startup Adphorus (still in Turkey), the app store optimization startup Mobile Action (now in San Francisco), and the cloud-based development platform Koding (now in San Francisco).
Either way, the news is presumably being welcomed locally. Only a small if growing gaggle of investors focus on the country currently, as well as to help Turkish companies expand into their neighboring markets. They include Doğa Ventures, Hummingbird Ventures, and 212 Capital Partners.