Japan’s Skyland Ventures forms $10 million fund to invest in 30 startups

Skyland Ventures’ Yoshihiko Kinoshita (middle) and other members

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Skyland Ventures, a VC firm focusing on seed-stage startups, announced the launch of its second fund today. The fund of $1.2 billion yen ($10 million) will be for investment in about 30 startups.

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Skyland Ventures CEO Yoshihiko Kinoshita says their typical scheme consists of a 15 million yen ($125,000) initial investment in a startup in a seed round with a potential follow-up investment of 5 million yen to 50 million yen ($42,000 to $420,000). Based on the scheme, Skyland Ventures wants to hold a 10% stake in the startup after its second round funding.

Kinoshita says that his fund will make investments in several batches rather than doing a one-time major investment, in order to reduce the risk that the fund’s large stake in a startup may make it harder to get follow-up funding from other investors.

Kinoshita has been conducting 15-minute mentoring sessions for acting and aspiring entrepreneurs every Wednesday. Through this effort, he has made investments in 20 startups in the last 40 months.

The new fund will invest in startups in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, movie communication, smart robotics, and other Internet sectors. Combining with portfolio startups in the previous fund, Skyland Ventures expects to have invested in 50 startups within two years.

Coinciding with the announcement, Skyland Ventures unveiled that they have invested in the following six startups:

  • Virtual reality; Fictbox (CEO Naoto Kato)
  • Artificial intelligence; Liaro (CEO Kento Hanada)
  • Video communication; Popshoot (CEO Toshihiro Oyama), Modecas (Yusuke Saito)
  • Personal robot; Doki Doki (CEO Takahito Iguchi)
  • Media; ConU (CEO Takashi Ban)

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson