500 Startups Grows Southeast Asia Fund To $22m


500 Startups is heavily investing in growth in Southeast Asia, topping up its fund by a further $7m, according to recent reports.

The famous American VC fund and accelerator has reportedly taken its Southeast Asia fund, called 500 Durians, to $22m, based on an SEC filing noticed by TechCrunch.

The firm is apparently very interested in the area because of the massive potential of its rapidly emerging smartphone market.

This is something we’ve seen in the online dating industry, with mobile apps like Paktor and Lunch Actually seeing impressive growth in the region – something that has attracted the interest of investors.

When we spoke to Paktor CEO and founder Joseph Phua, we asked whether Southeast Asia would become one of the biggest markets in the next few years, and he said: “Yes it will. In terms of sheer numbers, Southeast Asia and China account for almost 2 billion people. Even a small percentage of the population is very significant.

“With the exploding smartphone growth in Southeast Asia, it is likely mobile dating apps will grow along with it. Smartphones are now more affordable than ever before, so there is great potential.

“With over 2bn swipes and 40m matches made through the Paktor in Southeast Asia, previous estimates about the industry may be undervaluing the region.”

Although the US firm did not confirm the increase in funding for 500 Durians, this reported $7m injection would come after another $5m was added to its initial $10m pot in July.

500 Startups have previously backed dating apps such as on-demand dating app Whim.

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