DroneFund launches with a corpus of $9 million, while VR startup Cluster raises a $1.8 million Series A round.
DroneFund launches with $9m initial corpus
According to a report by The Bridge, it counts six board members including Chiba and a number of drone experts — Yoshichika Sakamoto of ORSO, Motoaki Nishiwaki of Microsoft, Souki Oomae of Creative Hope, Daisuke Imai of Asratec, Shintaro Takahashi, special lecturer for Keio University’s Department of Media Studies, and Kazuhiro Obara, former executive director at Rakuten and former senior manager at Google Japan.
The DroneFund currently counts 11 drone startups in its portfolio.
Commenting on the fund, Chiba said, “I believe that from now drones will become an integral part of society. But, it will require the investment of risk money, internet based management methods, and the collaboration and production of good technology. The plan is to clear these hurdles with the fund and disseminate Japanese drone technologies and services to the world.”
In addition to investing in drone startups, the fund will also hold a drone version of a startup support community called Chiba Dojo in collaboration with Keio University SFC Institute’s Consortium for the Co-creation of Drone Collaborative Society.
Additionally, through a business collaboration with R&D company Leave A Nest, it will leverage a network of 3,500 small factories and university-researched development technology. It will also acquire patents in collaboration with the intellectual property management institution initiative Drone IP Lab.
Cluster raises $1.8m Series A round
Tokyo-based Cluster, which has developed a social virtual reality (VR) app that supports several thousand people-scale events, has closed a JPY 200 million ($1.8 million) Series A from Avex Ventures, TSE-listed United, DeNA (TSE:2432) and Skyland Ventures, and undisclosed individual investors.
Avex Ventures is the investment arm of Japanese showbiz giant Avex Holdings Group.
Cluster had raised JPY 50 million from Skyland Ventures, East Ventures and various angel investors in an angel round in April 2016. The latest investment will also see Cluster and Avex Holdings Group enter into a business partnership.
Cluster will use the funds to establish more business collaborations with enterprises that possess popular content as well as improve its product. This includes multi-device support covering smartphone and mobile VR.