Japan Lead VC Radar – A glance of the most active lead VCs in 2021 (Infographic)


This guest post is authored by Mark Bivens. Mark is a Silicon Valley native and former entrepreneur, having started three companies before “turning to the dark side of VC.”

He is a venture capitalist that travels between Paris and Tokyo (aka the RudeVC). He is the Managing Partner of Shizen Capital (formerly known as Tachi.ai Ventures) in Japan. You can read more on his blog at http://rude.vc or follow him @markbivens. The Japanese translation of this article is available here.

The infographic we published last month proved popular. Some of the most encouraging feedback we received came from abroad, where foreign investors in the venture asset class expressed appreciation for visibility into Japan’s most active VC Funds. Even domestically, it appears that many local startup founders in Japan find our VC sector here equally opaque, and hence applauded this new transparency.

This collective feedback has inspired us to peel back one more layer of the onion: identifying Japan’s most active Lead VC funds.

What defines a Lead VC?

Quite simply, a Lead VC in a startup is the first venture capital fund to commit to a startup’s fundraising round. The Lead VC structures the investment round, establishes the terms and valuation in a term sheet, and sets the schedule for transaction closing. In Western markets, the Lead VC often represents the largest check in the round, though not necessarily, and this is far less common in Japan.

Japan Lead VC Radar 2021

Accordingly, the Japan Lead VC Radar, 2021 edition depicted below, reflects the number of investments by led by Japan’s independent VC funds into domestic startups in 2021. In a future post I will elaborate on why we believe this is an important tool for Japan’s growing venture ecosystem. Feel free to contact us for any requested corrections.

Click to enlarge.