Japanese VC i-nest Capital secures $60m for debut fund

I-next director Shigeo Tsukamoto and president Taku Yamanaka.

Japanese venture capital firm i-nest Capital, established by former Mizuho Financial Group employees, has announced the final close of its debut fund at 6.6 billion yen ($60 million), up from its 6 billion yen ($55 million) target.

In a statement, i-nest Capital said the debut fund received commitments from Mizuho Bank, Mizuho Securities Principal Investment, NTT DOCOMO Inc, Power Solutions Inc, Fuji Startup Ventures, the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, among others.

The fund was launched in December and has invested in Secure Inc, a provider of artificial intelligence-powered security solutions. Secure combines AI and image analysis technology to provide surveillance and authentication systems to its users. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.

In general, i-nest Capital invests in startups in the entertainment and lifestyle sectors.

On its website, the Japanese VC firm said it will allocate 25 per cent of the fund for seed investment while 75 per cent will be for backing companies in the early, middle, or later stages.

Taku Yamanaka, founder and president of i-nest Capital, has over 15 years of investment experience working at Mizuho Bank and other investment companies. He said his firm will focus on companies that are “useful to the world.”

His partner, Shigeo Tsukamoto, who also worked at Mizuho Bank, has supported about 50 companies as an independent consultant.

i-nest Capital now joins a number of venture capital firms in Japan that have raised or are raising new funds.

Last year, Japanese electronics company TDK Corporation established a corporate venture firm, with an initial fund corpus of $50 million, to invest in early-stage innovative startups.

In January, Japanese financial group SBI Holdings said it planned to raise up to 100 billion yen ($920 million) for a new venture capital fund, in what will be the biggest active investment vehicle in Japan focused on startups.

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.