Panasonic, Scrum Ventures announce BeeEdge joint venture to foster innovation


This is a guest post authored by “Tex” Pomeroy. He is a Tokyo-based writer specializing in ICT and high technology.

Scrum Ventures’ partner Makoto Haruta speaks at a press conference in Tokyo.
Image credit: “Tex” Pomeroy

Panasonic (TSE:6752) held a press conference as MC’d by Panasonic Senior Managing Executive Officer Tetsuro Homma on Thursday, announcing in Tokyo that it is forming a joint venture with a 49% share called BeeEdge together with Scrum Ventures, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm.

Aimed at enabling a new generation of products, BeeEdge will identify technologies within Panasonic that are not fully utilized and create independent startups to develop them commercially. BeeEdge will act as an accelerator, with Panasonic and Scrum pooling their experience upon collaboration and supporting entrepreneurs.

Scrum Ventures said in their release on the U.S. side.

We know how to identify and support startups that are working on ground‐breaking new technologies. We are very hands‐on with founders and make sure they have what is needed to succeed. Sharing our expertise with Panasonic is a great opportunity to bring underutilized innovations to market.

Tak Miyata heads the U.S. outfit as Founding Partner of Scrum Ventures, a seed-stage venture firm investing across a range of industries in the U.S. and Asia. With extensive experience plus networks in both Silicon Valley and Japan, Scrum Ventures accelerates their portfolio companies for global opportunities and helps corporations innovate. Scrum Ventures partner Makoto Haruta will become BeeEdge President. It was recently announced that Scrum Studio to connect global corporations in Japan with startups in Silicon Valley through investing and collaboration have been set up.

Scrum Ventures’ partner Makoto Haruta (right) shakes hands with Panasonic’s Tetsuro Homma (left).
Image credit: “Tex” Pomeroy

Meanwhile Panasonic, known for creating consumer electronics that enhance customer lifestyles, has been increasing its investment to create new consumer experiences and businesses for the next generation. In April, it will look to focus their design efforts in Kyoto, among other changes. Haruta took the stage to underscore Scrum Ventures’ track record identifying new trends and technologies, in addition to strong understanding of the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem, noting that Scrum Ventures is well‐positioned to bring expertise to BeeEdge upon advising the startups.

Homma, in charge of the Appliance Company at Panasonic, said:

We are looking forward to working with Scrum Ventures because of their expertise in supporting startups. From analyzing opportunities and bringing products to market, to sharing best practices in operations, Scrum Ventures will be a valuable partner in maximizing how we develop our technologies with new innovative companies.

The Osaka manufacturing giant spokesman added as well that Panasonic is mulling investment into the Scrum Ventures Fund III along with the joint venture set-up.