Global Brain-Mitsui Fudosan launch $45m fund targeted at Series A investments

Tokyo-based VC firm Global Brain Corporation and Japanese real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan have partnered to launch a US$45 million strategic investment fund, with Global Brain managing the fund.

Called ’31VENTURES Global Innovation Fund I’, the fund is redeemable for 10 years and will be targeting investment in Series A and later round. However, it is open to exploring and investing in specific pre-Series A bridging rounds.

The fund will be targeting seed-, early-, and middle-stage startups in Japan, North America, Europe, Israel, and Asian countries. Some verticals it is targeting are real-estate, IoT (Internet of Things), security, environment, energy, sharing economy, e-commerce, fintech, robotics, and life sciences. However, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology are not part of its investment theme.

31 Ventures is the trade name of Mitsui Fudosan’s corporate venture unit. As part of the fund’s launch, it will also be functioning as a ‘fund of funds’, becoming a limited partner (LP) of 500 Startups and Draper Nexus Ventures targeting seed and early stage ventures. This will see a portion of the Global Innovation Fund invested into these firms.

This global expansion drive has also seen Mitsui Fudosan partnering the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York and NUS Enterprise, in Singapore, the startup incubation arm of National University of Singapore (NUS). This business alliance with NUS Enterprise will see NUS’s entrepreneurial unit collaborating with Global Brain and Mitsui Fudosan to support the global reach of startup ventures.

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Mitsui Fudosan has been primarily conducting their open innovation efforts at their startup hubs, such as Kashiwa-no-ha Open Innovation Lab, or KOIL, in a suburb of Tokyo. This is in addition to having invested in a “real-tech” fund led by Japanese biotech company Euglena, the company annually organises the Asian Entrepreneurship Award to support startup ecosystems in Japan and the rest of the world.

In a separate development, Mitsui Fudosan is also planning to form 31 Ventures Club as an entrepreneurial community, allowing participating startups to use four co-working spaces at various locations in Tokyo with a single membership.

Furthermore, the company will also establish new startup hubs in two locations in Tokyo, planning to curate life science-focused startups in Nihonbashi near Tokyo Station. As part of the drive to grow ventures, investees will be able to access community managers to aid them in with management consultation and advisory services.

In corporate public documents, the firm stated: “We will support all areas required for the growth of startups together with professional partner companies, such as law firms, accounting firms and consultants, to enable startups to succeed in their businesses.”

In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Takashi Sano of Global Brain shared: “As this fund is of global focus and Mitsui Fudosan has a lot of assets across Asia, we’re more than happy to talk to startups who’d like to leverage these resources on top of Global Brain’s support for a startup venture’s growth.”



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