Japanese investment firm Venture United forms $11 million startup fund



See the original story in Japanese.

Venture United, a Japanese startup investment company, announced today that it has formed a fund worth 1.2 million yen ($11 million). The fund’s investors include the country’s state-run SME Support, Fusion Communications (a telco owned by Rakuten), SBI Securities, ad agency Hakuhodo, and Digital Advertising Consortium.

Venture United and its parent company United, the company best known for homescreen app CocoPPa, have already invested in many startups, including Lifenet Insurance, Enigmo, Unoh (acquired by Zynga back in 2010), and Nobot (acquired by Mediba, a KDDI company).

We spoke with the company’s chief venture capitalist Satoshi Maruyama to find what entrepreneurs and service sectors they are planning to invest in.

Satoshi Maruyama
Satoshi Maruyama

We expect to invest in entrepreneurs with a big vision, typically those who want to change the world or create a business that can work in the global market.

As smartphone use has grown, broadband internet is available to us anywhere. So our communication might be more active. So the sectors where we will look for potential investees will be commerce, O2O (online-to-offline), and omni-channel retailing. Following this strategy, we invested in Whyteboard, the startup behind the mobile flea market app Listor last April. We also invested in U-Note, and we aim to help them invent a new form of media.