The global accelerator program has invested in a number of successful startups to date, such as MakerBot, Twilio and our very own 9GAG. Startups that go through the four-month program not only have access to 500’s massive network of 1,000 founders, 200 startups and staff, but will also receive seed funding of US$100,000.
Having already swapped the Hong Kong heat for cooler weather in San Francisco, we had a chat with co-founder and CEO Raymond Yip, about the exciting news.
After impressing Rui Ma, venture partner of 500 Startups Beijing, with a great pitch, Shopline was selected to join the Bay Area accelerator’s tenth cohort. Despite having called NYC his home for many years, Raymond said that the Shopline team no plans to relocate to the US anytime soon.
Even though they will have facetime with 500’s founding partner and resident Sith Lord Dave McClure, lets hope that none of his horrible Powerpoint slide design rubs off on Shopline’s keen design sensibilities when they return.
“Shopline, at the end of the day, will be servicing our customers in Asia. If we talk about specific target markets, it’s Hong Kong, Taiwan and ultimately China,” he said. “500 brings a different spin to things because they’re a global accelerator, so this is more about getting the resources the Valley has and to see if we can apply it to the east.”
With over 3,000 active users on their platform to date, Shopline has rolled out several paid features in the past month and is looking to hit their target of 10,000 shops within a year’s time. On top of the $100,000 from 500 Startups, Raymond said that Shopline is currently working on closing a seed round and will be looking to bring on more investors come ‘Demo Day.’
Adding a bit of capital and the 500 Startups name to their arsenal, the one-year-old startup has big plans for the rest of 2014. “We’re going to expand our team by hiring developers and adding a sales team to really push the product in our target markets,” said Raymond. “We’re going to focus on refining our product with engineering help, and at the same time, develop resources for direct sales and marketing.”
The team of five will be based in San Francisco, with Raymond and co-founder Fiona (who handles biz dev / marketing) splitting their time between the US and Asia for fundraising and partnerships.
Shopline on Startbase.HK: Shopline
Raymond Yip on Startbase.HK: Raymond Yip