ADFG, GS SHOP, 500 Startups to launch Global Coworking and Innovation Platform

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ABU DHABI — 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, on Tuesday 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 co-working space industry. Krypto Labs has successfully operated co-working 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 co-working business model across different regions including the Middle East, the United States, Asia, Europe and North Africa.

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 co-working 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 co-working 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." — SG


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