Japan’s TDK Ventures scouts for early-stage deals from debut $50m fund, says MD

TDK Corporation Headquarters

TDK Ventures Inc, the recently-launched corporate venture firm of Japanese electronics company TDK Corporation, is all set to carve out its path in the alternative assets industry.

Launched in July with an initial corpus of $50 million, the early-stage technology-focused venture firm is targeting to dole out cheques of up to $2.5 million for each bet, according to a top executive of the firm.

“We aim to provide investments between $250,000 and $2.5 million,” TDK Ventures managing director Nicolas Sauvage told DealStreetAsia in an interaction.

TDK Ventures’ investments will be more strategic in nature as it seeks to bolster innovation in material science, energy/power and related areas that are typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios.

“In addition to financial support, we are offering startups the opportunity to leverage TDK’s massive scale and reach to access potential customers, channels, a global ecosystem, industry connections, market knowledge, operating expertise as well as go-to-market/branding mentorship,” added Sauvage.

TDK Ventures Inc is seeking to back early-stage startups, innovators and university researchers in the areas of industrial internet of things (IIoT), magnetics, piezoelectrics, dielectrics, semiconductors, organic materials and neuro-electricals, both from a pure fundamental material approach up to a full-stack approach.

The firm, Sauvage said, will co-invest with like-minded venture capital firms and corporate venture capital firms, which will allow its portfolio companies to be fully supported with the experience, the network of connections and the financial resources necessary to bring great ideas to reality.

Based in Silicon Valley, TDK Ventures does not target any specific geographic regions.

“The king of the hill for a given market or application segment could be anywhere in the world. Therefore, our allocations won’t be tied to specific geographic regions. We will consider making investments in innovative startups wherever they are based,” said Sauvage.

TDK Corporation is an electronics company in Japan. Its portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminium electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices.

The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of $12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide.

Japanese companies are increasingly evincing interest in the burgeoning startup ecosystem. According to a Nikkei Asian Review report, investment in startups by major Japanese enterprises nearly doubled in 2018 as companies look beyond the purview of technology to fuel growth in a fast-changing environment.

Corporate venture capital investment totaled 133.8 billion yen ($1.23 billion) for the year through December 26, up 91% from the full-year record set in 2017, according to data compiled by mergers and acquisitions advisory firm Recof.

Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) established a new subsidiary, TEPCO Ventures, to turn new businesses into venture companies. The 2 billion yen business unit will help its owner to respond fast and more effectively to deregulation and energy market changes. East Japan Railway, meanwhile, set up a venture capital unit with 5 billion yen in funding last February.

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.