CyberAgent rebrands investment arm, looks at synergies between core biz and portfolio

The CAC team. Front row, center: CEO Hirofumi Kondo; To his right: Riho Hayama managing the Fujita Fund. 2nd row, center: new team member Mauricio Omura.
Image credit: CyberAgent Capital

See the original story in Japanese.

CyberAgent (CA) announced today that CyberAgent Ventures (CAV), a consolidated subsidiary of the company to develop its VC business, has been rebranded into CyberAgent Capital (CAC). Hirofumi Kondo, who served as the Japan Lead for CAV, is being appointed as CEO of CAC.

Established as CyberAgent Investment (CAI) back in 2006, the company subsequently rebranded itself CAV in 2010. This marks the 2nd rebranding for the company. Growth in the company and the fund are behind these changes. Additionally, as the saying “CAV mafia” goes, the company has produced many venture capitalists, who then went on to join other VCs or establish new, independent VCs.

With the birth of CAC, the company appears to be organizing the roles of new team members and increasing its presence. In 2010 when CAI was rebranded CAV, they only had about 100 portfolio startups (including 20 overseas), but now the number has increased to about 350 startups across 8 countries (the cumulative number, including those that have exited). Including the headquarters in Tokyo, CAC has offices in 10 locations in 8 countries mainly in Asia. Along with the establishment of CAC, the company announced that 3rd generation Japanese Brazilian Mauricio Omura will join the team.

CyberAgent CEO Susumu Fujita commenting at Monthly Pitch
Image credit: CyberAgent

On top of this, the company is also restarting investment activity from so-called Fujita Fund, which was established in 2013 but has remained less active in recent years. Fujita Fund is an investment initiative for seed/early-startups by CA CEO Susumu Fujita in order to support young executives. For the sake of convenience, the term fund is used, but there are no limited partners and the investment comes straight from CA’s main accounts.

Fujita Fund has successfully invested in numerous Japanese startups that reached IPO including Wantedly, CrowdWorks, and Base, but all investment activities were frozen after the fall of 2014 due to the startup bubble. The first company to receive funds after the resumption of activities is Taimee, which launched a work share app of the same name in August of last year. Last year Taimee raised a total of 56 million yen (about $501K US) from Genesia Ventures, CAV (at the time), and Gaiax.

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The new Fujita Fund collaborates with CAC in making an investment. CyberAgent CEO Office’s Investment Planning Headquarters manages Fujita Fund, but CAC’s CEO Kondo will also be in charge of this Headquarters, while Riho Hayama, who previously worked as a producer at CyberAgent’s entertainment livestreaming service Abema TV, will manage the Fujita Fund full time. Fujita Fund’s ticket size is around 100 million yen (about $895K US) to several hundred million yen and if the startup is internet related the vertical does not matter. So far, the company has decided to invest in four projects including Taimee (the remaining three are unpublished) while CAC has already invested in two of them including Taimee.

CA and CAC are planning to progressively manage Monthly Pitch, a monthly meet-up focused on helping startups get funds, from here on out. With the redevelopment of Shibuya, CA and CAC are planning transfer to a new building, which could mean that events to encourage startups and entrepreneurs will be held more frequently than last year. The number of companies participating in Monthly Pitch has exceeded 160 and it appears the company may be considering global development of the event (in the same manner as the Rising Expo conference).

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda