500 Startups is already focused heavily on investing overseas, with partners looking at startups in markets like Mexico, Brazil, India, and Southeast Asia. Now you can add China to the list, as the firm just hired a venture partner to focus on that region. Rui Ma will be joining 500 Startups as its first venture partner in Beijing, where she will be investing and sourcing deal flow in China.
At today's 500 Startups Demo Day, founding partner and Sith Lord Dave McClure highlighted all the different locations in which the company operates. Launching with a headcount of just four or five three years ago, the firm has grown pretty substantially, and now with 21 employees. About half of those are focused on investments and deal flow, with the other half handling administrative, marketing, and events that the firm works on.
Nowadays, it's got its Silicon Valley headquarters, where it also runs the 500 Startups Accelerator Program. But with the addition of venture partners like Bedy Yang and George Kellerman to cover Brazil and Japan, Pankaj Jain focused on India, and the acquisition of Latin American incubator Mexican.VC, the investment firm is becoming increasingly international.
Adding Ma to that mix will extend 500 Startups into the China market, specifically Beijing. Ma has worked in the area over the last several years providing investing and advisory services through merchant bank The Raine Group, which was an advisor during the Renren IPO, and advising cross-border M&A for CITIC Securities International Partners.
Check out our interview with Ma above for more about what her role will be with 500!