500 Startups sets up $15M fund to invest in Nordic countries

Steven Loeb · November 10, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4152

500 Startups has been setting up region-specific funds in countries like Israel, Turkey and Japan

I recently booked myself a trip to Iceland in January (I'm pretty excited since I haven't left the country since 2007!) and while there are a few things that come to mind when I think of the Nordic region (the Northern Lights, fresh seafood, extreme cold, Bjork) a strong tech scene is not one of them.

There are many opportuniies there, though. It is expected to see more venture capital invested than London pretty soon, and the Nordics have represented more than half of the billion dollar USD exits across Europe over the last decade.

Given all of that, it's no surprise that early stage venture capital firm/accelerator 500 Startups wants in. That's why it announced a new $15 million fund aimed at Nordic countries on Tuesday. The fund will be led by Investing Partner Sean Percival, and will include local venture partners in each of the key ecosystems.

"We’re excited to announce our latest regional fund focused on the Nordic region (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland)," Percival wrote.

"This excitement is not just because the area is constantly ranked as one of the happiest and most economically prosperous parts of the world. Or because everyone in the area is incredibly good looking. No, it’s because the viking spirit is alive again in the form of tech entrepreneurship as the next generation of great founders sharpens their axes for battle."

500 Startups plans to make roughly 100 investments over the next few years, with a focus on SaaS, Mobile, Marketplaces, E-commerce, Fintech and Music/Video.

In addition to the new fund, it also announced a new pre-accelerator program, which will start in January 2016, and which will be based in Oslo, as well as another program that will be taking place in Stockholm in April of next year.

"500 will bring Silicon Valley’s best practices to the region through our accelerator and growth marketing programs. Our main focus will be helping these companies internationalize faster and get access to venture capital and mentorship from Silicon Valley," said Percival.

500 Startups around the globe

Setting up a region specific fund is 500 Startups' m.o. these days.

In September it revealed that it was expanding its operations around the globe, hiring six new partners to focus on specific regions, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel and Japan.

The firm also hired Matt Lerner, formerly of PayPal, who will be investing in the United Kingdom, as well as leading the Distro Dojo; and  Philipp Moehring, AngelList’s European liaison, will be leading investments in Germany.

500 Startups also hired Diana Moldavsky, formerly the chief revenue officer for ZeptoLab, who  will be focusing on Eastern Europe and Tel Aviv. She will be helped by Adam Benayoun, founder and former CEO of Binpress.

Finally, 500 Startups has tapped former DeNA venture capitalist James Riney to invest in Japan and also set up a $30 million microfund, aimed squarely at that market, called 500 Startups Japan.

The $15 million Nordic Fund, with its 100 investment goal, is extremely similar to the fund that 500 Startps announced last month to focus on Turkey.

(Image source: interdependence.org)

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500 Startups is an early-stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View, CA. They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups, and related web infrastructure services. Their initial investment size is typically $25K-$250K.

Selected areas of interest include financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.