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Investors

List of recommended investors for American startups that want to enter the Japanese market.

Recently, I have been receiving more requests for referrals to investors from startups, etc., that want to enter the Japanese market. Therefore, I compiled a list of my favorite investors for startups that want to expand to Japan.


The criteria for selecting these startups are:

1) Their investment decisions are made within one month.

2) They invest mostly in the seed stage companies.

3) They have startup portfolios outside Japan.



1) Scrum Ventures

A VC that specializes in the seed stage and invests in multiple companies from YC and 500Startups. The founder and CEO @takmiyata is an entrepreneur with experience in Japan and has an extensive network in the Japanese tech industry. He also has connections with startups and investors in the Bay Area, so in addition to operations in Japan, you can expect referrals to American investors, etc. They have an office in San Francisco.

http://scrumventures.co/


2) Beenos

Beenos has multiple investments in startups from YC etc., such as Instacart. They have the deepest understanding of the American tech scene among Japanese investors and almost all members speak English fluently. They actively invest not just in the U.S. but also in Asia and have networks in tech communities around the world. @djtokyo is in charge of U.S. investments and he is thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the tech information in the Bay Area as well as in NYC.

http://beenos.com/en/


3) Cyber Agent Ventures

Cyber Agent is one of the largest tech companies in Japan. They have invested in well known startups all around the world and they have an office in San Francisco. They are running various businesses in Japan such as advertising, media, and contents, so they will be a powerful partner when you do business in Japan. @dminamid is in charge of U.S. investments and has a long history of investing in the Bay Area.

http://www.cyberagentventures.com/en/


4) Digital Garage

Digital Garage is known for helping Twitter enter Japan successfully. They have invested in many startups in the past. They have a co-working office in San Francisco and host regular conferences.

http://www.garage.co.jp/en/company/


5) B Dash Ventures

B Dash is a VC that specializes in the seed stage in broad areas in IT such as gaming, EC, advertising, and education. They run one of the biggest tech events in Japan called B Dash Camp which attracts more than 400 people in the major tech industries. This event is held twice a year on an invitation-only basis. By receiving an investment from B Dash, you will be invited to this event and have the opportunity to make contacts with the other participants. @nishida is in charge of investments in the U.S.

http://bdashventures.com/en/


6) East Ventures

They are the most famous seed stage VC in Japan and Southeast Asia. The founder @taiga__ is the most influential investor in Japan. EV is known by everyone in the tech industry in Japan and getting an investment from EV makes it easier to contact Japanese companies. They have recently started to actively invest in American startups. And they started a medium called TechWatch that report on American startups and writes articles in Japanese.

http://east.vc/


7) SV Frontier

The SV Frontier Fund itself is less than one year old but the founder, @bauhause, has been a VC in the Bay Area for several years and knows the startup ecosystem in the U.S. well. They are known for their hands-on support for getting into the Japanese market.

http://svfrontier.com/


8) Recruit

A fund run by a public company that is worth over 1 trillion yen. Their main businesses include staffing and information media for shops, and they boast an overwhelming domestic share. Collaborations with those businesses are the advantages of getting a good return on their investments.


9) IT Farm

They invest in seed to early stage startups. Their main areas of investments are mobile, big data, automobiles, IoT, etc.

http://www.it-farm.com/english/e_index.html


10) Archtype

A company whose main businesses are incubation and consulting. Their strength is in matching startups with other businesses so you can expect a hands-on support for getting into the Japanese market.

http://www.archetype.co.jp/en/


11) Global Brains

An independent venture capital company that has the major carrier KDDI as their partner. The size of the fund is 30 billion yen. They have a strong reputation as a partner for expanding into Asian markets.

http://globalbrains.com/en/


12)WiL

A $300 million fund started by Mr. Isayama who used to work at DMC. They have major companies such as Sony and Nissan in Japan as LPs. They could become a good partner for expanding into the Japanese market.

http://wilab.com/


13) Angel investors

Recently, there are more Japanese angel investors who invest in American startups.  As a tip for talking with them, I think it helps to have a clear idea of what outcomes you expect from them as seed stage investors because each investor has his/her areas of expertise. Also, before accepting an investment, I suggest you find the reputation of that person from Japanese people you can trust.



Japanese angel investors who invest in American startups

- Katsuhiro Okamura

He is actively investing as an angel investor in the Bay Area.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=317214747

https://angel.co/katsuhiro-okamura


- Tad Kimura

He has been through several IPOs as an auditor in Japan. He is actively investing as an angel investor in the Bay Area.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=185067430

https://angel.co/tdk1105


- Yusuke Asakura

Ex-CEO of Mixi which used to be the largest SNS in Japan. He has sold Naked Technologies to Mixi. He invests in the U.S. and in Japan.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=54455791

https://angel.co/yusuke-asakura


- Kiyo Kobayashi

A serial entrepreneur. He has sold a company to KDDI, one of the major carriers in Japan. He currently runs a startup of his own while investing as an angel investor.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=57575922

https://angel.co/kiyo-kobayashi


Japanese venture capitals.

- ANRI

http://anri.vc/


- B Dash Ventures 

http://bdashventures.com/en/


- BEENOS

http://beenos.com/en/


- CyberAgent Ventures

http://www.cyberagentventures.com/en/


- DeNA

https://angel.co/dena


- Digital Garage

http://www.garage.co.jp/en/


- East Ventures

http://east.vc/


- Femto Startup

http://femto.vc/


- Fenox Venture Capital

http://www.fenoxvc.com/


- Fuji Startup Ventures

http://www.fujistartup.co.jp/


- Genuine Startups

http://genuine-startups.com/


- Global Brains

http://globalbrains.com/en/


- Globis Capital Partners

http://www.globiscapital.co.jp/en/


- GREE

http://www.greeventures.com/en/


- GMO Ventures

http://www.gmo-vp.com/en/


- Incubate Fund

http://en.incubatefund.com/


- Infinity Venture Partners

http://www.infinityventures.com/main_eng


- Itochu Technology Ventures

http://www.techv.co.jp/en/


- Istyle Capital

http://istyle-capital.co.jp/home/


- JAFCO

http://www.jafco.co.jp/


- KDDI Open Innovation Fund

http://www.kddi.com/english/ventures/


- KLab Ventures

http://www.klabventures.jp/en/


- Lead Capital

http://www.leadcapital.jp/Pages/default.aspx


- Nissay Capital

http://www.nissay-cap.co.jp/


- NVCC

http://www.nvcc.co.jp/en/index.html


- MOVIDA Japan

http://www.movidainc.com/


- Primal Capital

http://primalcap.com/


- Skyland Ventures

http://skyland.vc/


- Softbank Capital

http://skyland.vc/


- Voyage Ventures

http://voyage-ventures.com/


- Venture United

http://ventureunited.jp/


- YJ Capital

http://yj-capital.co.jp/


- WiL

http://wilab.com/