In Mobile. We Trust.
500 Mobile Collective exists because there are still over 4 billion people on earth with no Internet access but with a desire to be connected and be informed. It is our belief that mobile technology will make that possible.
This fund will focus on seed and early stage startups -- aiming to fund founders with strong mobile domain expertise, engineering excellence and the conviction in the use of mobile technology to change how the world works.
500 Mobile Collective is an entrepreneurial venture itself. All key people (partners, LPs, advisors) involved in the fund are invited because they have operational mobile experience including Mobile OEMs & carriers, mobile user distribution, mobile commerce and payment, mobile PR & branding, mobile M&A, and so forth. Unlike most other VC funds, we often invite our LPs, partners and advisors to meet entrepreneurs with us. We want to know how we can exactly help you and set up ways we can do that.
Starting today, 500 Mobile Collective will be committed to seek out the best founders who are working on the following mobile topics:
Mobile payment – There is so much more room to grow. Square, Paypal, Apple Pay, and Google checkout are all trying hard with the focus placed on US Market. Who really nailed it? Even for Alibaba’s Alipay, mobile is an Achilles’-heel.
Mobile content – Video is HUGE on mobile, and YouTube needs a challenger. We are interested to see how sports, news, movies, TV shows and educational content play out on mobile. There is huge money to be made from advertisers to publishers and more.
Mobile commerce – We all spend a lot of time and money on housing, transportation, food, insurance, healthcare, non-profit donation, clothing, jobs, cars, and ticketing. Not everything is happening on mobile yet, but it should be.
Mobile healthcare – Regions like China, India, Africa with weak medical infrastructure will need mobile healthcare. There are apps like DaYiMa in China with over 60 million active users which we have never heard of in the US.
Mobile security – Lookout is doing amazing and deserves a challenger especially for emerging countries. MacAfee, AVG, Symantec are struggling and trying to figure out mobile.
Mobile ad network & monetization – Mobile advertising and search has grown to 11% of overall advertising spends in 2013. Developers will LOVE you if you can help them make more money. Not just the boring advertising unit, you can do better! Facebook ARPU is only $7 and Twitter at $3.5. If you can figure out a way to double or triple this, the world will reward you.
Mobile gaming – Being a great mobile operator is hard and being a great mobile gaming operator is even harder. You're not trying to solve one obvious painful problem for your players; rather you're trying to entertain them. I don’t think I would have invested in Flappy Bird the first time I played it. It’s probably more obvious if you see a Clash of Clan, but even with that franchise I find it hard to believe they will continue to generate cash ten years down the road. I'm not trying to say don’t talk to us, but we want to see a gaming operator who is not merely an artist but also who understands the business side.
Mobile developers tool – We need you, but find it hard to make it a HUGE business as many mobile developers are already using Optimizely, Mixpanel, Parse, Appelerator, Unity, PhoneGap, etc. If you beat them and steal developers from them, call me.
Mobile enterprise – CIOs have no choice but to embrace BYOD (Bring your own device) policy. Your employees are using iOS/Android whether you like it or not. There is a lot of room to grow with mobile enterprise. Perhaps you can even bypass CIOs and follow Saleforce strategies. Grow your mobile enterprise apps by going straight to the individual users. It’s free to use anyway, who needs approval from IT or your boss?
I love the world. I am a transplant from Hong Kong to America.
Having said that, here is my worldview of mobile:
US – I believe most of the pure mobile technology innovation will continue to come from Silicon Valley. New York, LA, Seattle and Austin. All are awesome places and I will pay you a visit in the next 12 months.
China – More and more mobile business innovation will continue to flourish and solve 1.3 billion worth of people's problem. Think Wechat/Didi (taxi app) integration and its user acquisition strategy. Brilliant! The mobile gaming world is exploding and I'm open to explore it if Joe Chan and Rui Ma are on the same page.
Japan & Korea – Two highest ARPU countries in the world. Very gaming, messaging and eCommerce heavy. #500Kimchi
Europe – Berlin, London and Paris – please stand up! Can’t let Rocket Internet have all the fun.
India, SE Asia, Middle East and Africa - Have HUGE mobile growth and potential, but very tough in generating $, relative low ARPU and complicated to operate across so many different languages. I would love to see more mobile commerce that generates micro transactions happening there. I also think that entrepreneurs in these countries can probably learn a lot more from China than America. Remember - China was a very low ARPU country a couple years ago and its no longer the case right now. Thank God we have Khailee to hold down the fort.
Brazil and Latin America – Massive growth in mobile population and likely to follow US in terms of apps. I am excited to partner with Bedy Yang in finding the best entrepreneurs in these regions.
Despite all of the theories above, it’s the people that make the great businesses and ultimate a successful fund. For those who know me well, I am very pragmatic and practically hate all the bullshit and clique gibberish. I really mean it, if you don’t fit any of the theories above and you still believe and want to change the world, find me. I believe you could be working on the most boring and uninspiring things on earth, but because it’s you; you will make the business inspiring and ultimately change the world for the better.
It’s the people that count, and in fact it’s the people that truly matter.
A big HUG and THANK YOU to Dave McClure, Khailee Ng, Yongzhi Yang, Tim Schumacher, Richard Yang, Greg Kidd, Rob Chandhok, Greg Raiten, Foster Chiang, George Hou, Joe Chan, Jay Sullivan, Tiefeng Liu – thank you for believing in me and making 500 Mobile Collective a reality.
Together, we will make this world a better place. In mobile, we trust.
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