Japan: $9m DroneFund launches; VR firm Cluster raises $1.8m Series A round

Sunset at a Nagao shrine in Japan. Pixabay

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

Kamakura Investment Management and Japanese investor Kotaro Chiba have partnered to launch the $9 million DroneFund, which will invest in drone startups.

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.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.