Rakuten Ventures launches US$100mil global fund
By Digital News Asia July 1, 2014
- Corporate VC fund to focus on early stage investments in Israel, APAC and US
- Looking at tech startups that can deliver financial returns with strategic relevance
RAKUTEN Ventures has announced the launch of a US$100-million global investment fund that will target investments in startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the United States.
The global fund builds on the success of the company’s South-East Asia fund, which was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, ViSenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio, Rakuten Ventures said in a statement.
The larger global fund gives Rakuten Ventures the opportunity to empower the startup ecosystem beyond Japan and South-East Asia and positively affect Internet services globally, while giving the fund more avenues for growth, the company said.
It also supports Rakuten Ventures’ broader goal of long-term investments with startups that have the technology and potential to enable better user experience and facilitation.
The fund will focus broadly on early stage investments in companies from the technology industry that are able to deliver financial returns with strategic relevance, Rakuten Ventures said.
The fund’s operations will be run out of Singapore, with Saemin Ahn, the managing partner of Rakuten Ventures, acting as advisor.
“If you just look at the last couple of years, Waze and Viber are great examples of companies taking on massive issues like transportations and communications, breaking them down to their basics, and providing an engaging and sticky user experience that people have come to love and depend on,” said Saemin.
“More Asia-based VCs (venture capitalists) are venturing out into different regions to look at investment as long-term growth vehicles. Since 2013, Rakuten Ventures has been one such VC to aggressively invest larger amounts into younger companies, to enable them to focus on product and service development,” he added.
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