US and Japan-based cross-border venture capital firm Sozo Ventures is seeking to raise $500 million for a new fund that will likely continue to make investments in the two countries where it is located, a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows.
The target amount for the new VC fund – Sozo Ventures III – is more than twice the total capital raised by Sozo Ventures for its previous two funds. According to Crunchbase data, the VC firm raised $100 million in 2013 and another $134 million in 2017.
Founded in 2011 by Koichiro Nakamura and Phil Wickham, Sozo invests primarily in the US and Japan, with a focus on technology startups in sectors such as fintech, IoT, healthtech, and cloud.
Its portfolio includes notable global tech firms such as Twitter, video conferencing app Zoom, software firm Palantir, mobile payment company Square, digital writing assistant Grammarly, and cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.
“We look for companies that are at the ‘Readiness’ Stage – a term coined internally that details companies that have a strong management team and culture, stable long-term investors, credible and recognizable customers, and traction, and appropriate organizational structures for target international customers,” the firm said on its website.
Sozo said it dives in at all stages of company building from seed to pre-IPO and supports businesses across multiple stages of financing.
Wichman, one of the firm’s co-founders, was a general partner at JAFCO America Ventures, where he led the creation of portfolio strategic services with more than 40 corporate LPs. He went on to become a partner and urn US operations for Copan, a European venture fund based in Munich, Germany.
Nakamura, on the other hand, was a member of the founding team of Yahoo! Japan and launched Innovation Kitchen, which incubated seed-stage ventures in the country.