Panasonic Corporation, which is has a primary listing on the Tokyo Stock Exhange and a secondary listing on the Nagoya bourse, is establishing a new company, Panasonic Ventures, LLC, in April 2017. The new California-based venture capital (VC) firm will invest in US startups, with an initial corpus of $100 million.
Panasonic has invested in Silicon Valley start-ups with cutting-edge technologies for nearly 20 years since 1998. As a member of the venture community, the company has been helping these firms grow by providing a wide array of in-house technologies and human resources. The venture unit will be led by Masahiro Kinoshita, who heads M&A and business creation for the Panasonic Corporation of North America.
Going forward, Panasonic Ventures, with new external venture capitalists, will spearhead Panasonic’s investments in startups that have unique business models or products and services not bound by the company’s existing business fields.
Through these investments, as well as collaborating with these firms to explore new business opportunities, Panasonic looks to create new businesses that will drive its future growth.
Panasonic Corporation is a multinational corporation (MNC) founded in 1918 with a market capitalisation of $27.9 billion as at March 2017 with a long history of developing diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, enterprise solutions and device industries. It now operates 474 subsidiaries and 94 associated companies worldwide
Its operations are organised into three broad business fields: Consumer, Solutions and Components & Devices. Additionally, it operates nine “domain companies” – AVC Networks, Eco Solutions, Appliances, Industrial Devices, Systems and Communications, Automotive Systems, Energy, and Healthcare & Manufacturing Solutions.
Last year, its consumer electronics division was reported to have put aside a $10 million fund targeting acquisitions in the AI and machine learning space.
This latest fund will likely be concentrating on investments in robotics, the IoT space, smart home solutions and AR/VR developments, given its core business areas are consumer electronics, appliances and entertainment devices.