Japan: IMJ Investment Partners rebrands to Spiral Ventures

IMJ Investment Partners (IMJ-IP), a Japanese startup-focused VC firm with offices in Singapore and Tokyo, is rebranding to Spiral Ventures. It has also secured in excess of $44.6 million for a $53.5 million Japan fund. 

According to a report by The Bridge, the rebrand is part of an organisational restructuring that will see it become a group under the Singapore-based corporation Spiral Ventures Pte Ltd.

This will consist of Spiral Ventures Asia Ltd concentrating on investment activities in Japan and Southeast Asia, while Spiral Ventures Japan LLP will target East Asia and Japan. Yuji Horiguchi and Tomokazu Okuno, the managing partners of IMJ, will serve as the CEOs of Spiral Ventures and Spiral Ventures Japan LLP respectively. 

This restructuring comes following a MBO (management buyout) that saw Horiguchi and other shareholders acquire the majority of the shares from the major shareholder Culture Convenience Club (CCC).

IMJ was founded in 2012 when Horiguchi was engaged in foreign investment works at Japanese full-services digital agency IMJ. Operating as an independent VC firm with limited partners (LPs) rather than a CVC (corporate venture capital) unit under IMJ.

In April 2016, NYSE-listed international management consulting and professionals services corporation Accenture acquired a major stake in IMJ from CCC. This was aimed at enhancing its digital service capabilities.

The rebrands is meant to appeal to both current and potential LPS and to differentiate it from the IMJ brand. This rebrand will also see a new fund – the Spiral Asia Global Fund – targeting opportunities in India and Southeast Asia. 

In a statement to The Bridge, Horiguchi said, “Currently, the firm has one staffer in Jakarta and four in Singapore. In India, the firm utilises the partnership with New Delhi-based Technology 9 Labs supporting the growth hack for startups. The investment target of Asia Global Fund covers a wide range of countries / regions, including seven ASEAN countries, India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.”

It will continue to operate the IMJ-IP Japan Fund, which is to be renamed to the Spiral Ventures Japan Fund. To date, it has secured capital commitments of more than JPY 5 billion ($44.6 million) of a targeted JPY 6 billion ($53.5 million) close. 

LPs of the Japan Fund, whose mandate includes startup investments in Japan, China and South Korea, includes major Japanese enterprises and the Japanese Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation.

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