• Leveraging the partners’ respective expertise and experience, 500 Spaces is designed to capitalize on the growing demand for coworking spaces worldwide

Abu Dhabi, UAE: ADFG, a leading global investment group, GS SHOP, South Korea's leading online and multi-media retailer and part of the GS Group, one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea, and 500 Startups, a global venture capital seed fund headquartered in Silicon Valley, today announced that they have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU will bring together the partners to collaborate on developing a platform for innovation hubs and coworking spaces known as “500 Spaces”.

Once functional, 500 Spaces will provide a complete and sustainable ecosystem for innovation and start-ups, including accelerator and mentorship programs. By leveraging the experience and expertise of the partners involved, the 500 Spaces platform will capitalize on the exponentially growing global coworking space industry. Krypto Labs has successfully operated coworking spaces in the Middle East is a party to the agreement and will be lending its operational expertise.

500 Spaces would launch a $100 million fund to develop and scale the 500 Spaces coworking business model across different regions including the Middle East, the United States, Asia, Europe and North Africa.

Commenting on the opportunity, Mustafa Kheriba, COO of ADFG, said: “We are entering a new era that is influenced by innovation and new collaboration models, and stirred by companies and individuals experimenting with new ways of working. For start-ups, the coworking solution ticks all the boxes of flexible, affordable space and provides a creative hub to foster new ideas and new business, which are all essential components of innovation. With coworking spaces rapidly emerging as the future of work, we see them at the heart of innovation and growth for small businesses and startups.

Through the partnership with GS SHOP, 500 Startups and Krypto Labs, we are looking to foster an incubator culture and spur innovation by ensuring startups and innovation hubs across the globe have complete access to a full-fledged ecosystem, where they can work, grow, collaborate, network and be able to showcase their business to a wider audience.”

Commenting on the initiative, Christine Tsai, CEO of 500 Startups, said:

“In 2010, we set out on an audacious mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. The 500 Spaces partnership with ADFG, GS SHOP, and Krypto Labs will help us further leverage the expansive global startup network we’ve developed over the years and cement ourselves as the world’s most active global investor. 500 Spaces will provide a physical presence for more startups from around the world to gain access to funding, a strong talent pool, an amazing mentor community and access to a lifelong network. Best of all, corporations and government agencies are also part of this vision, creating a network of local innovation ecosystems as part of a global vision. I’m honored to deepen the partnerships with ADFG, GS SHOP, and Krypto Labs in a collaborative effort to help even more founders around the world."

Commenting on the MoU signing, Younghoon Park, EVP of GS SHOP, said:

" At the height of the Italian Renaissance, sculptors, artists, scientists worked together in common working spaces to create the masterpieces that have endured until today.

Over the years, GS SHOP has invested in startups through funds, accelerators and through direct investments globally. We are excited to see how further ecosystem building will bridge opportunities for startups, corporates as well as investors, not only on a local but on a global scale through a network of associated spaces, created through the collaborative works of ADFG, Krypto Labs, 500 Startups and GS SHOP.

From the 'bottega' of 15th-century Florence to the modern data-driven era, collaboration has remained a key to growth. It is with this spirit that we look forward to the exciting potential of 500 Spaces."


About Abu Dhabi Financial Group (“ADFG” or “the Group”)

ADFG is a leading global investment group that provides, through its regulated subsidiaries and organically, a wide range of investment opportunities and financial services. The Group’s substantial and diversified investor base includes corporations, financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds and family offices. The company pursues a strategy of opportunistic investments across a variety of sectors and geographies. While the Group’s investment strategy is sector-agnostic, its investments are currently focused on private and public markets, debt and real estate.

ADFG was established in 2011 and has since evolved to become a major player in the region, delivering attractive returns to its clients. The Group has received widespread acclaim for its strong track record and pioneering approach to investing.

For more information about ADFG, please visit www.adfg.ae 

About GS Shop

GS Home Shopping (“GS Shop”, KOSDAQ:028150) is Korea’s foremost multimedia retailer as well as a global leader in TV home shopping. “Powered by data and human insights, GS SHOP inspires you to design every moment of life” has been the corporate vision that GS Shop strives to fulfill by working tirelessly to deliver the highest value to customers and to create a new quality of life. This vision is the guiding light that has fueled our growth to the very apex of Korea’s multimedia retail industry.

For more information about GS Shop, please visit www.gsshop.com  

About 500 Startups

500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. It is one of the most active seed stage venture capital firms in the world.

Since its inception in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups has invested in over 2,000 companies via its 4 global funds and 14 thematic funds dedicated to either specific geographic markets or verticals. Its 100+ team members are located in multiple locations worldwide, with 500 Startups’ global portfolio of investments spanning over 60 countries.

Notable portfolio companies include: Twilio (NYSE: TWLO), SendGrid (NASDAQ: SEND), Credit Karma, Grab, Carousell, Udemy, Kudo (acquired by Grab), Talkdesk, Makerbot (acquired by SSYS), Wildfire (acquired by GOOG), and Viki (acquired by Rakuten).

Beyond providing seed capital, 500 further supports startups via its Seed Programs in San Francisco and Mexico City and the Series A Program in multiple locations globally. The Seed Program emphasizes digital marketing, customer acquisition, lean startup practices, and fundraising for pre-Seed companies. The 500 Series A Program delivers growth marketing and investment for post-seed and pre-Series A companies. 500 Startups is also aiming to contribute to the development of thriving innovation ecosystems around the world to better equip startups with tools to succeed by running educational programs, events and conferences, and partnerships with corporations and governments around the world.

For more information about 500 Startups, please visit www.500.co 

About Krypto Labs

Krypto Labs is a fully integrated innovation hub providing custom business incubation and acceleration programs, corporate innovation, seed funding for start-ups, and a state-of-the-art co-working space. Krypto Labs is a strategic partner with Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups and is also affiliated with ADFG. Krypto Labs is headquartered in the sustainable eco-development Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Krypto Labs has evolved into a leading global player in terms of attracting leading-edge ideas, startups and innovative solutions. Through its broad entrepreneurial network, Krypto Labs has successfully executed several sector-specific cohorts that have culminated in top startups receiving strategic investments and various business development support, including mentorship, networking, and access to markets. Krypto Labs is also involved in various Research and Development initiatives whereby it leverages on startups and entrepreneurs for developing cutting-edge innovation solutions. Krypto Labs also provides world-class innovation programs through strategic partnerships in corporate innovation and ecosystem development.

For more information about Krypto Labs, please visit www.kryptolabs.com 

For further information, please contact:
Hani El Abid
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel: +971 2 610 8205
Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG)
Email: helabid@adfg.ae 

Sophie McNulty / Dhanya Issac
Dubai, UAE
Tel: +971 4 450 7600
Email: sophie.mcnulty@bcw-global.com   / dhanya.issac@bcw-global.com 

© Press Release 2019

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