500 Startups Incubator Japan Kobe

500 Kobe: a 500 Startups pre-accelerator in Japan

In what has become just about a daily occurrence, 500 Startups just released some interesting news. The accelerator and fund has partnered with the city of Kobe, Japan to launch a new program. The program is a bit different than the normal 500 program, however. Rather than a full on accelerator, or one of their Distro Dojo growth programs, 500 Kobe is a pre-accelerator program.

Kobe2-1024x341 500 Kobe: a 500 Startups pre-accelerator in Japan

The 6-week program will, “focus on bringing growth hacking techniques and Silicon Valley expertise to emerging companies in Kobe, while also boosting Japanese and domestic entrepreneurship in the city.”1 It is important to note, however, that the program does not come with any funding, nor do they require any equity:

The Kobe preaccelerator is not an investment program. While we aim to prepare all of the batch companies to be credible and appealing to investors, we neither provide investment nor promise it as an outcome of the program.2

It is also important to note, the program is not restricted to Japanese startups. Rather, there is but one requirement, traction, “The Kobe pre-accelerator is targeting companies with traction, a working product and a desire to become international growth NINJAS!”3

500Kobe-1024x234 500 Kobe: a 500 Startups pre-accelerator in Japan

The 500 Kobe program will include lectures and session from 500 Startups partners, sessions and lectures from Japanese and international entrepreneurs, 4 weeks of curriculum, office hours, and pitch prep, and pitch day at the very end. Again, while there is no investment included in acceptance into the program, there is an interesting footnote on the announcement:

Participants in the program in Kobe, Japan will receive mentoring, growth hacking learnings, and access to 500 Startups’ extensive ecosystem without financial investment from the firm. 500 Startups may decide to invest in these companies during future rounds of financing.4

To apply to the program, and for more info, head over to 500Kobe.com.

  1. Zafer Younis, 500 Startups Blog, “Announcing the 500 Startups Kobe Pre-Accelerator,” 13 April 2016  
  2. 500Kobe.com  
  3. Announcing the 500 Startups Kobe Pre-Accelerator”  
  4. Announcing the 500 Startups Kobe Pre-Accelerator”