Japan’s MUFG eyes SE Asian fintech startups with $185m CVC fund

FILE PHOTO - People walk past a branch of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG) in Tokyo, Japan, May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

Japan’s largest bank by assets, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), is eyeing Southeast Asian fintech investments with its $185-million (20 billion yen) CVC fund, according to a Business Times report.

The Japanese bank launched MUFG Innovation Partners (MUIP) in January, and targets startups both in Japan and overseas.

According to the report, MUFG did not state how many investments MUIP plans to make in the region, but noted that it is scouting for fintech startups that are looking to enter Japan.

The report adds that MUFG is betting on growing wealth across Southeast Asia, particularly among the middle class.

This will generate fresh demand for new solutions to help customers manage and invest this wealth. MUFG added that it views this as an opportunity for innovation, and for startups to add value creatively in that space.

Apart from fintech, MUFG also listed deep-tech as another potential area of investment, depending on the level of synergies it provided. This includes areas such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and quantum computing.

MUIP has so far invested an undisclosed amount in Moneytree, a Japanese personal financial management app that aggregates data from users’ bank accounts, credit accounts, digital money, loyalty points and brokerage accounts.

Moneytree operates Moneytree Link, a financial data platform which aggregates data for accounting service providers and financial institutions.

MUFG has been making some big bets beyond Asia as well.

Last month, MUFG announced it was buying the aviation finance arm of Germany’s DZ Bank, DVB. The deal stood at $6.4 billion (5.6 billion euros) under MUFG Bank and BOT Lease.

Also read:

People Digest: MUFG adds MD; Carlyle announces promotions

MUFG close to acquiring aviation finance arm of Germany’s DZ Bank for $6.3b

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.