VC Investments

Part
01
of two
Part
01

VC Investments Part I

The Venture Capital investments made by Nomura Securities, Asset Management One and Mitsui from 2017-2019 are Boxed, Omise, MM Capital Partners, GOQii, SmartE, Minh Phu Seafood, TriNetX, and Fictiv. More information about each initiative is presented below.

Nomura Securities

  • 1) Boxed
    • Nomura Securities, together with Gabriel Naouri, Daniel Schryer, CDIB Capital, Alpha Square Group, and lead investor AEON, invested and helped raise $111 million in a Series D round for Boxed in August 2018.
    • The venture capital funding round helped raise Boxed's value to $600 million.
  • 2) Omise
    • Tokyo-headquartered Nomura Holdings, the parent company of Nomura Securities, has invested an undisclosed amount to Thailand-based fintech service provider Omise Holdings last July 2019.
    • The fund will be used by Omise to scale their operations to multiple verticals such as blockchain technology, payments, and digital asset exchanges.

Asset Management One

  • 1) MM Capital Partners
    • In November 2018, Marubeni, Mizuho Bank and Asset Management One has joined up and invested for the formation of MM Capital Partners, where Marubeni will have 90% stake, and both Mizuho Bank and Asset Management One will have 5% stakes.
    • MM Capital Partners will now manage the MM Capital Infrastructure Fund 1 L.P., which was formed in January 2019.

Mitsui & Co.

  • 1) GOQii
    • Mitsui & Co. was the lead investor for the Series B round of GOQii, where they raised $30 million last November 2018.
    • Other investor participants were Denlow Investment Trust and Galaxy Digital.
  • 2) SmartE
    • Mitsui & Co. invested $14 Million in a Series B funding round for Treasure Vase Ventures Pvt. Ltd, the parent of SmartE, an electric mobility service firm from India.
    • Delhi-based SmartE will use the funds to expand into new markets with their more than 1,000 electric rickshaws in Delhi NCR.
  • 3) Minh Phu Seafood
    • Mitsui & Co. invested $150 million to Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company based in Vietnam last May 2019.
    • Mitsui & Co. will have a 35% stake in the seafood company due to this deal.
    • Minh Phu Seafood will use the fund for further growth and application of digital technology.
  • 4) TriNetX
    • TriNetX has raised $40 million for a Series D funding round from Mitsui & Co., Merck, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, MPM Capital, F2 Ventures, and Deerfield Management.
    • The Series D funding round brings TriNetX to a total of $102 million in funding.
  • 5) Fictiv
    • Led by G2VP, and investors such as Mitsui & Co. Accel, Bill Gates, Intel Capital, Sinovation and Tandon Group, has raised $33 million in a Series C funding for Fictiv in March 2019.
    • Fictiv will use the funds for the acceleration of its work to digitize and automate the manufacturing workflow.
  • 6) Tonik Energy
    • Mitsui & Co. was the lead investor of the Series A funding round by Tonik Energy for raising a £13 Million investment in February 2019.
    • Tonik Energy will use this fund for the acceleration of their integrated strategy of combining renewable and energy-saving technologies with affordable energy supply.
  • 7) Yellow Door Energy
    • Mitsui & Co., together with other investors such as International Finance Corporation (IFC), Equinor Energy Ventures (Equinor), Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), and UAE-based Adenium Energy Capital (Adenium), helped raise $65 million in the Series A funding round of Yellow Door Energy, a UAE-based leading solar developer, in January 2019.
    • Yellow Door Energy will use this fund to help them in scaling their solar energy and energy efficiency solutions investments in the Middle East and Africa.
  • 8) NapaJen Pharma
    • Lead investor INCJ, Ltd., together with other existing investors Mitsui & Co., and new participant investor P&E Directions Inc., helped raise $12.4 million Series C funding round for NapaJen Pharma Inc. in January 2019.
    • NapaJen Pharma Inc. will use this fund for completing the Phase 1 clinical development of NJA-730 started in the autumn of 2018 in Australia, and for further development.
  • 9) Ridecell
    • San Francisco-based startup Ridecell was able to raise their $28 million Series B round, which was extended to over $60 million, with the help of investors such as Mitsui & Co., Activate Capital, ERGO Corporate Venture Fund, Cox Automotive, Initialized Capital, Denso, Penske, Deutsche Bahn, LG Technology Ventures, BNP Paribas, Ally Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund, and Khosla Ventures.
    • Ridecell will use their funds for developing their current mobility and operations platform.

Research Strategy

We first researched the venture capital investments made by Nomura Securities, Asset Management One, and Mitsui & Co. within the past 24 months by using their company website as the most credible sources of information to directly address the client's request. We searched for articles or news from the news, press release or media pages of their company websites from 2017 up to 2019. However, we didn't find any venture capital investments by the three assigned companies. We only found press releases and articles about direct investments by Nomura Securities, Asset Management One, and Mitsui & Co. and not venture capital investments, which aren't relevant. We also found out from Asset Management One's company website that they were only formed last 2016 as an integration of Asset Management companies. We also tried each company's annual reports for 2017 and 2018, however, we still didn't find any relevant information about the three companies' venture capital investments.

We then changed strategy by trying to research startups, investors and company information sources such as AngelList and Crunchbase, among others. We found relevant information for venture capital investments of Nomura Securities and Mitsui & Co. Using the Glossary of Funding Types by Crunchbase, we were able to identify VC investments. For Nomura Securities, there were only the Venture Round for Omise for an undisclosed amount in 2019, and Series D for Boxed worth $111 Million in 2018, which fits the criteria of the past 24 months from 2017-2019. For Mitsui & Co., we found nine venture capital investments from November 13, 2018, to July 22, 2019, in Crunchbase. Crunchbase only shows 10 lists of recent investments for free and needs a Crunchbase Pro account to show more than that. We then added the link of Mitsui & Co. Crunchbase profile for client's option to access an additional list of investments. We did not find any Asset Management One profile or investments from both Crunchbase and AngelList.

In order to research for Asset Management One's venture capital investments from 2017-2019, and additional VC investments of Nomura Securities and Mitsui & Co. within the 2017-2019 timeframe, we researched and used press release aggregators such as PRNewswire, Business Wire, and Globe Newswire, among others; media sources such as Houston Chronicle; and trade industry publication and sources such as Undercurrent News, Deal Street Asia, TechCrunch, and YourStory, among others. We were able to find one venture capital investment of Asset Management One from the periods of 2017-2019, and no additional VC investments for both Nomura Securities and Mitsui & Co. were found.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

VC Investments Part II

Japan Post Capital was founded in 2017 and has made approximately 23 deals, with the majority undisclosed. On the other hand, research findings did not reveal any information regarding investments made by Seiryu Asset Management, which manages the Japanese GPIF (government pension investment fund) since 2014. Meanwhile, Mizuho Securities invests using many options, including venture capital, private equity fund, etc., and has not made many investments in the past 24 months as per the research findings. Included below are in-depth analyses on each of the companies, along with details of their venture capital funding activities.

JAPAN POST CAPITAL

Established in November 2017, Japan Post is an investment business and management and financial consulting services company with a capital of 1.5 billion yen. On the Japan Post Capital website, it indicates to have made 23 investments into different companies. The next section highlights those companies, including a brief sentence about what they do and any info regarding the deals.

DISCLOSED DEALS


UNDISCLOSED DEALS

  • Edgematrix — Was launched in April 2019. Edgematrix is an artificial intelligence startup with a product, EdgeAI Box that performs AI processing in real-time on massive data such as 4k and 8K.
  • Giftpad — Is a social gift service. It is currently estimated to handle over 60,000 items from famous manufacturers and top brands.
  • PECO — Peco is a Japanese startup primarily focusing on the pet business. PECO has one of the biggest pet media in Japan.
  • Pathee — Pathee is a startup creating a spatial engine to drive spatial information globally. It claims to deliver spatial information to your hands.
  • Blue Innovation — A drone UAS system integrator and business consulting company. It is also dedicated to manufacturing coastal monitoring systems.
  • Nousouken — Focuses primarily on the agriculture sector. It provides a platform for consigning and selling fresh agricultural products.
  • Goma Books — An online marketplace for books. The platform features books that focus on different genres and fit all demographics.
  • NetStars — Is a financial technology company promoting Japan's cashlessness. It offers Chinese people who visit Japan a broad array of inbound services.
  • AI Inside — Specializes in software development and artificial intelligence business. It uses an algorithm to convert all information into digital data.
  • Soundfun — Is a Japanese startup aiming to make the world happier through sound and fun. Its flagship product, Mirai speaker is designed for both individuals with and without hearing impairments.
UNDISCLOSED DEALS CONTINUED

SEIRYU ASSET MANAGEMENT

  • Seiryu Asset Management is a new domestic equities investment management company and a fund operator of the Japanese GPIF since 2014. Currently, no investments are listed on its website, and press releases or business reports of other companies.
  • According to the Global AgInvesting Asia 2018 summit, Seiryu Asset Management indicated that it had commenced working with a forestry investment fund abroad and sought to continue exploring farmland investment opportunities. Unluckily, no more details were shared by the report regarding the forestry investment fund.
  • According to the company website, Seiryu Asset Management was established on July 7, 2009, and has an estimated capital of 150 million yen, approximately $1.422 million based on the current (August 12, 2019) XE.com exchange rate.
  • It is a member of the Japan Investment Advisors Association and the second financial commodity industry association.
  • Unfortunately, no information was uncovered specifically regarding the venture capital investments Seiryu Asset Management Company has made, probably because its core business line is investing Japan's government pension investment fund.
  • Moreover, being a privately held company, it is unlikely that Seiryu Asset Management Company makes its publications publicly; hence, the scanty information on this fund manager. Again, the small capital amount is insufficient to facilitate any major investments beyond $1.5 million.

MIZUHO SECURITIES

  • Mizuho Securities is a 125.1 billion yen Japanese financial instruments firm registered with the director of the Kanto Local Finance Bureau of the Ministry of Finance. The company has 7,554 employees, 262 networks in Japan, and 24 outside Japan.
  • On November 26, 2018, Mizuho Securities invested $5 million at the 1st close of Cybernaut New Frontier Venture Fund, a China-focused VC fund. In totality, the maximum fund size is set at $300 million; however, Mizuho Securities aims at a total commitment of approximately $20 million by the final close of the fund.
  • Cybernaut New Frontier Venture Fund will invest in several tech fields. It primarily targets tech segments such as AI, IoT, ICT, intelligent manufacturing, fintech, health-tech, and smart city technologies.
  • According to Crunchbase, the most recent venture capital investment by Mizuho Securities was in 2017 at 1.5 billion yen invested into One Tap Buy, Japan's first securities trading app. The venture round investment into One Tap Buy was the only recent one included in Crunchbase while others date back to years — 2010, 2006, and 2005.
  • Mizuho Securities also owns 30% stake in Mobile Internet Capital, a venture capital in the mobile internet space. Other partners and their ownership stake as a percentage include NTT Docomo, Inc. with 30%, Internet Research Institute, Inc. 30%, and MIC Executive/Employee Stock Ownership Plan 10%.
  • Mobile Internet Capital fund size is estimated at over 23.6 billion yen. Likewise, since its founding in 1999, Mobile Internet Capital has a capital amount of 100 million yen and has made nine venture capital investments since August 2017.
  • Mobile Internet Capital has invested in the following companies Best1.com Inc., Rakumo Inc., EastmeetEast Inc., Phone Appli Inc., Glad Cubed Inc., Agatha Inc., Weekday Inc., Hashilus, Inc., and QBIT Robotics, Inc.
  • Overall, Mizuho Securities invests using several options, including private equity. On that note, the company has committed to several private equity investment funds. In 2018, the company signed an agreement to commit $30 million for the 1st close of Tata Capital Growth Fund II, L.P. which will invest in the Indian market.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Most of the information on VC investments made by Japan Capital Post, Seiryu Asset Management, and Mizuho Securities within the past 24 months came primarily from the individual company websites, specifically their news section where they report investment activities. For instance, over 90% of the details for Japan Capital Post came from its website and few from third-party business news providers and startups-focused companies such as Techcrunch and Crunchbase. Equally, Seiryu Asset Management and Mizuho Securities websites provided specific information regarding the respective companies venture activities or fund and capital size. However, there was little information on venture investing included on Seiryu Asset Management and related reports, likely because the company is the pension fund manager for the government and focuses on investments in the agriculture domain. Therefore, only Japan Capital Post offers exclusive venture capital investment services, whereas Mizuho Securities offers a mix, including private equity funding, venture capital, limited liability funding, and so on. Besides, Mizuho Securities has invested in several funds, including the Mobile Internet Capital, which it owns a 30% stake. Extensive searches online across business news reports in Japan did not yield any more results regarding the venture capital investments made by the above companies.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
From Part 02