Japanese HR company Slogan ties up with Singapore’s Coent, accelerates seed investment in Asia

From right to left: Slogan CEO Yutaka Ito, Growth Capital Division manager Hidemaro Maekawa

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Slogan is expanding its “growth human capital” business. The company recently tied up with Singapore-based Coent Venture Partners and has started co-investing in startups in Southeast Asia.

While Slogan has been involved with the EdTech-focused acceleration program Slogan Viling Ventures as a partner, the company began investing on the partnership for the first time.

Coent Venture Partners is an investment fund led by Rearpa CEO Shuhei Morofuji who founded Tokyo-based medical human resources company SMS and is representing Viling Holdings, the administrator of Slogan Viling Ventures. Former Enigmo and Groupon Japan CFO Takeo Matsuda is also serving Coent Venture Partners as CFO.

Accelerating seed investment in startups

Slogan Coent, the investment fund jointly managed by Slogan and Coent Venture Partners, is valued at 160 million yen ($1.3 million), expecting to invest several million to 15 million yen in each of the seed-stage startups. The fund is not so large, but they are focused on human resource-related businesses.

Slogan CEO Yutaka Ito explained:

What makes us outstanding is our team. We can help startups expand their business in Southeast Asia leveraging the partnership with Singapore-based Coent Venture Partners. In addition, we have freelance engineers on our team as technical advisors who have developed a number of services at startups from scratch. Based on these strengths, we are going to invest in startups using an angel investment approach.

Budding startups are typically short of resources, but we often hear that they especially lack engineers. Slogan Coent makes seed investments in these startups in conjunction with offering engineering resources, helping them design services in a launching phase.

This will benefit the entrepreneur side. Tokyo-based Bally’s, the startup behind an online travel magazine for females called Tabi Muse, fundraised from Slogan Coent because the startup lacked engineers as well as capital funds.

Slogan’s Growth Capital Division manager Hidemaro Maekawa explained:

The Slogan Coent fund has invested in two startups. We are planning to invest in three startups in June, while another three or four startups are under review for investment.

Slogan has excellent human resources since they have been operating as a human capital business. It hasn’t been released publicly, but supposedly highly capable students who came to Slogan now work for the startups Slogan invested in as interns. Slogan can introduce excellent human resources as well as provide skilled engineers, which is their big strength.

Supporting entrepreneurs creating new verticals

How are investment decisions made at the Slogan Coent fund? Ito explained:

Whether or not we invest in a startup depends on whether Slogan can get involved in and take a hands-on approach to their business as well as whether talented human resources can influence the growth of their business. We especially like to support startups that can leverage our connection with Asia and the strength that we have in the human capital business.

The business plan of regional expansion to Asia is not mandatory in getting funds. But if your business has this possibility, you will be able to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fund. Ito and Maekawa said they have no limit in the vertical or geographical areas of businesses that they will invest in.

They supposedly do not judge whether it is possible to expand into Asia or not, but of course, if the business aims to expand into Asia, then getting funding of between 10 million yen to 30 million yen could be possible from Coent. However, Ito and Maekawa said they will not limit a decision to the business area and the client target.

Ito added:

Our mission is to send talented people to the venture business field and encourage the creation of new industries. To make this happen, we want to support entrepreneurs who can create new fields where more talented people are willing to join.

If the idea of creating new industries excites you, then you have chemistry with them. If you are a budding entrepreneur starting a new business, why not contact them? Slogan is also recruiting talented students as well as entrepreneurs who want to work with startups. Contact them.

Translated by Chieko Frost via Mother First
Edited by Kurt Hanson and Masaru Ikeda
Proofread by “Tex” Pomeroy