SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures to set up base in Singapore as it scouts for startups in region

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Visual from the company website
Visual from the company website

Japanese venture capital firm SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures, which had recently partnered Singapore’s Incuvest to invest in US and Spain-based mobile startup Monkimun, is now looking at deals across South East Asia. As the first step towards targeting this region, SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures will set up a base in Singapore, a top executive with the firm said.

The Singapore hub will be its second outside Japan, as the venture capital firm that is focused on education related startups, had recently unveiled a new office in Redwood City, in the heart of Silicon Valley in the US.

Led by Yoshi A Okamoto, SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures does both seed and Series A investments.

It is looking at ticket sizes ranging from a couple of tens of thousands of dollars up to $1 million. The upcoming Singapore hub, read office, is aimed at connecting its planned investments in education-related startups in North America, Europe and its existing facilities in Japan.

SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures’ first fund is expected to be around $10 million, which it plans to spend over the next three to four years.

It is be incorporating a Singapore-registered firm for routing its investments in the region. SHO-Zemi’s plans for the city-state also include collaborating with an accelerator here.

“We do have over 30 years of experience and expertise in running schools in Japan and we know what it takes to really empower children. We are different and distinct from other VCs – We actually own 200 schools. We do have 26,000 students that makes us different. It is not just as an investor, but we want to support education and technology ecosystem, and that is what we can offer. We are also able to offer the school and students to test the product or idea at an early stage, and that increases the success rate of startups,” said Okamoto said in a telephonic interaction.

SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures’ may also be the only Corporate Venture Capital firm in Asia funded by an education institution. Other VCs in this space are either publishers or arms of media and technology companies.

Its challenge though will be find education technology players. So far, it is made only a single investment – the $1 million joint investment with Incuvest in US and Spain-based mobile startup Monkimun, which DEALSTREETASIA had reported earlier this month.

The collaboration with SHO-zemi Innovation Ventures had marked the first time an educational institution has invested in a 500 Startup batch company.

Related Story: Incuvest joins SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures to invest in ed-tech startup Monkimun