At the reception party for the B Dash event, we heard from the organizer and B Dash Ventures CEO Hiroyuki Watanabe that they are currently forming a new fund. He told us it will be valued at around 6 billion yen (about $59 million) and has secured almost 50% of funding towards its planned closing by end of 2014.
Their previous fund formed in September 2011 was worth 2 billion yen ($20 million) and attracted investment from big companies like Docomo Ventures, Gree, Septeni, Biglobe, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.
The have invested to date in startups including Gumi (game publishing), Gunosy (news curation app), Oh My Glasses (glasses-focused vertical e-commerce), and our readers may recall their portfolio startup ScaleOut was acquired by Mediba, a KDDI company, back in August last year.
The Bridge: Are investors in the new fund the same as those for the previous one?
Watanabe: We can’t disclose that yet. But our investors include internet companies and their executives. We’ll let more corporate investors join the fund from now on.
The Bridge: Your portfolio companies range widely from undisclosed investees to rapidly growing companies like Gumi or Gunosy. Do you have a focus for the new fund?
Watanabe: While the previous fund was focused on seed-, early-, and later-stage companies, the fund will include middle-stage companies as our investee. Because of the huge funding needs from middle- and later-stage companies, we’ll invest several million dollars in them respectively, and strengthen relatively smaller investments in seed- and early-stage companies as well.
The Bridge: We’ve seen several exits like ScaleOut (acquired by Mediba) and FreakOut (recently IPO-ed) in the ad-tech space, and gaming publisher Gumi, one of your portfolio companies, is planning to go IPO by yearend. Do you have any focus on specific spaces to invest in?
Watanabe: I’m keeping my eyes on smartphone-based media startups like Gunosy and Iemo, as well as the other spaces like Adtech, gaming, and e-commerce. I’m sure that more new smartphone services will disrupt conventional businesses, so we’ll invest in various startups taking that approach.
The Bridge: Thank you.