Japan VC Roundup: Skyland raises $10m fund; Media startup The Bridge raises money

Tokyo by night and rain. Credit:Flickr/Moyan Brenn

Japan is seeing intense activity in the venture capital space, with firms like 500 Startups and Fenox Venture Capital seeking to establish a presence in Japan’s technology entrepreneur space

Japanese corporations are also increase their venture capital profile, following the creation of a US$100 million fund established by Draper Nexus Ventures, an investment firm based in Japan and Silicon Valley. The fund counted Fujifilm, IHI, NEC, Panasonic, and Fujitsu among its limited partners.

Skyland raises second fund with capitalisation of $10m

Tokyo-based early stage investor Skyland Ventures has raised a $10-million fund, its second, since launching in 2012.

According to an interaction between founder and managing partner Max Kinoshita with Tech in Asia, the fund will be used for seed and pre-seed investments in approximately 30 startup ventures focusing on personal robotics, virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and video communications. They intend to grow their portfolio to 50 ventures within the 2016-2018 period, with the possibility of investments outside of Japan.

Skyland Ventures was launched by Kinoshita in August 2012, following stints at Daiwa Corporate Investment and Incubate Fund, an investment fund established by Japanese gaming firm DeNA. Observing that it was easier to raise money but still difficult to secure pre-seed investments, Kinoshita explained that Skyland’s second fund would allocate approximately $150,000 as an initial investment quantum, with amounts ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 for follow-on funding.

Targeting Japanese entrepreneurial ventures or those operating in the US with Japanese founders under 30 years of age, Kinoshita intends to find them through channels such as university outreach programs and weekly open-house pitch events at its Hive Shibuya co-working space, jointly operated with early-stage VC firm East Ventures.

Limited partners in the new fund include East Ventures, mobile gaming firm DeNA, mobile app and online advertising firm United, PR agency Vector, Septeni Holdings, and online marketing firm Adways.

The Bridge raises venture round

Japan-based startup news media The Bridge, incepted in 2011 as startup dating but subsequently rebranded itself in 2013, has secured an undisclosed investment from Fuji Startup Ventures and PR Times.

Providing coverage on startups in Japan and internationally in both English and Japanese, the media firm organises multiple events and meetups within Japan. Masaru Ikeda, it’s co-founder, claims that the website has nearly 520,000 monthly unique users

Fuji Startup Ventures is the investment arm of Fuji Television Network, a Japanese broadcaster, while PR Times is a public relations firm aiming to streamline the transmission and reception of press releases.

In an interaction with e27, Ikeda shared that funds would be used for talent acquisition and the development of media businesses connecting investors and entrepreneurs.

Also Read: Funding Roundup: Tata Capital invests in Nearex; Toast raising $750k seed

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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.