Japan’s NVCC launches $42 million fund for commercializing neuroscience and humanoid tech

Japan’s NVCC launches $42 million fund for commercializing neuroscience and humanoid tech

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Kodomoroid, a humanoid robot invented by Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International (ATR)
Kodomoroid, a humanoid robot invented by Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International (ATR)

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based startup-focused investment firm Nippon Venture Capital (NVCC) announced earlier this week that it has formed an investment fund to help Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International (ATR), a private institute that has developed humanoid robots (see video below), convert their innovative technologies into consumer products.

The fund is named Keihanna ATR Fund after a science city in Japan and is valued at 5 billion yen ($41.8 million). Investors include Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Omron Ventures, Kyoto Bank, KDDI, Kozo Keikaku Engineering, Suncall, Shinsei Bank, and Sumitomo Electric Industries.

According to the announcement, this fund targets the following scientific areas:

  • Computational neuroscience, such as brain-machine interface, neuroscientific diagnosis, and medical treatment for people suffering mental disorders
  • Humanoid robots supporting people’s daily activities such as Geminoid, Telenoid (nursing-care robot), and technologies on studying customer behavior at retail stores
  • Wireless technologies such as obtaining electric power from radio waves

They will focus on investing in new companies based in Osaka. NVCC will give hands-on support to invested companies on business management, in addition to performing their duties of managing the fund and determining whether to invest.

In Japan, other investment or incubation activities focused on a science city include TEP (TX Entrepreneur Partners) and KOIL (Kashiwa-No-Ha Open Innovation Lab).

Translated by Sumi Yo via Mother First
Edited by Masaru Ikeda and Kurt Hunson