Corporate Venture Capital in Japan

Corporate Venture Capital in Japan

In the heart of the global financial ecosystem, Japan stands as a center of innovation and strategic investment, particularly in the realm of corporate venture capital (CVC). As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan has long been recognized for its technological advancements and pioneering business models. Yet, in recent years, it’s the rise of activities related to corporate venture capital in Japan that has garnered significant attention. Established Japanese corporations, recognizing the potential of emerging startups, have ventured into strategic investments, aiming to harness their innovative solutions and drive mutual growth.

This fusion of corporate strength with startup agility has reshaped Japan’s business landscape. Corporate venture capital in Japan is not merely about financial investments; it’s a strategic alliance where large corporations offer startups not just capital, but also mentorship, market access, and operational expertise. In return, these corporations gain a competitive edge, tapping into disruptive technologies and fresh market perspectives. As this symbiotic relationship flourishes, the ecosystem of corporate venture capital in Japan promises to be a pivotal force in the country’s future economic narrative.

What is Corporate Venture Capital (CVC)?

Corporate Venture capital (CVC) represents a strategic fusion of the corporate world and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Unlike traditional venture capital, which seeks financial returns, corporate venture capital is the investment arm of established corporations aiming to fund promising startups. This investment is not just about capital infusion; it’s a bid to harness innovation, access disruptive technologies, and explore new market avenues. By aligning with startups, these corporations not only diversify their portfolio but also position themselves at the forefront of industry evolution, ensuring they remain competitive in an ever-changing business landscape.

CVC also offers startups mentorship, market access, and operational expertise. For instance, Makoto Shibata from Phenolabs highlights that large corporations often worry about the stability of startups. By investing through CVCs, they gain a better understanding and certain control over their business partners, ensuring a more stable and fruitful collaboration.

How is CVC different from traditional venture capital?

Corporate venture capital (CVC) is a distinct form of venture capital rooted in the strategic goals of its parent company. The main difference between CVCs and traditional VCs lies in their goals. While traditional VCs focus on maximizing returns within a set period, CVCs prioritize strategic outcomes that align with the parent company’s long-term objectives. This strategic alignment often involves fostering partnerships that enhance the corporation’s core business.

Strategic Fit Assessment: CVC firms prioritize investments that align with their parent company’s strategic interests. They carefully evaluate factors such as product compatibility, technology integration, and alignment with the target market.

Long-Term Perspective: Unlike traditional venture capitalists, corporate venture in Japan capital adopts a longer-term perspective. They aim to forge enduring partnerships with their portfolio companies, emphasizing sustained value creation over quick returns, which influences their investment criteria.

Leveraging Parent Company Resources: Corporate venture capital in Japan leverages the resources and expertise of its parent companies. They assess how assets like distribution networks, research facilities, and specialized knowledge can be utilized to benefit the startups in their portfolio.

Involvement in Day-to-Day Operations: Corporate venture capitalists in Japan often take a more active role in the day-to-day operations of their investments. This involvement may extend to influencing governance structures to ensure alignment with their parent company’s strategic objectives.

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Why is it important to understand (CVC) in Japan for entrepreneurs?

Understanding Corporate Venture Capital in Japan is crucial for foreign entrepreneurs aiming to penetrate the Japanese market. the landscape of corporate venture capital in Japan is dynamic and evolving, with many established corporations actively investing in startups and innovative technologies. These investments are not just financial; they often come with opportunities for strategic partnerships, access to vast networks, and potential collaborations in research and development. As funds for corporate venture capital in Japan continue to develop new business models and foster innovation, foreign entrepreneurs can benefit immensely from these partnerships. Aligning with a Japanese CVC firm can provide startups with invaluable market insights, local expertise, and a foothold in one of the world’s most technologically advanced economies. Moreover, with Japan’s emphasis on long-term relationships and trust, a partnership with a reputable CVC firm can pave the way for sustained growth and success in the region.

In our podcast episode on Corporate Venture Capital, Makoto Shibata discusses how Japanese corporations are increasingly setting up CVCs to pursue innovation and reduce operational costs. This trend is particularly driven by Japan’s low interest rates and the need for corporates to find new growth avenues. Understanding this motivation helps entrepreneurs align their pitches and business models to attract CVC investments.

Tips for Finding the perfect CVC for Foreign Entrepreneurs. 

Navigating the world of corporate venture capital in Japan can be a daunting task for foreign entrepreneurs. The landscape is unique, with its blend of traditional and strategic motivations, and understanding its nuances is crucial for success. Whether you’re a budding startup or an established business looking to expand into the Japanese market, securing the right CVC partnership can be a game-changer. This guide provides valuable insights and actionable tips to help foreign entrepreneurs strategically position themselves and secure CVC funding in Japan.

Understand the Landscape: It’s essential to recognize that Japanese CVC firms often have strategic motivations beyond financial returns, such as gaining insights into new technologies or fostering collaborations, acquisitions, or other strategic objectives.

Engage with Regular VCs First: Rather than directly approaching Japanese CVC firms in the early stages, consider engaging with regular VCs, especially because CVCs typically don’t lead funding rounds. Additionally, Japanese CVC firms often seek external validation, so having interest from a regular VC can make your startup more appealing. They can introduce or approach the CVC on your behalf.

Consider Foreign CVCs: Be aware that foreign CVC firms operating in Japan, such as Salesforce behave more like traditional VCs.Ken Asada, the Japan head for Salesforce ventures himself highlighted the growth for corporate venture capital in Japan and has collaborated extensively with the local Japanese CVC community. You can approach them in a similar manner as you would with regular VCs, and they may be open to leading investment rounds.

Identify Your Niche: If your startup operates within a specific sector or theme (e.g., AI, biotech), seek out sector-specific funds in Japan that specialize in those areas for potential investment. For example, banks would be more interested in investing in Fintech companies due to their specialization in the sector.

Participate in Pitch Contests: Engaging in pitch contests or startup competitions in Japan can be beneficial. Even if winning isn’t the primary goal, performing well can provide external validation that makes your startup more attractive to both VCs and CVCs.

Leverage Recommendations: Build relationships with existing portfolio companies of VCs and CVCs in Japan. A sincere recommendation from one of these companies can significantly increase your chances of securing meetings with VCs and CVCs.

Prepare Tailored Materials: Once introductions are made or meetings are scheduled, ensure that your startup’s pitch, business plan, and other materials are well-prepared and tailored to the specific interests and strategic motivations of the corporate venture capital in Japan.

Once introductions are made or meetings are scheduled, ensure that the startup’s pitch, business plan, and other relevant materials are well-prepared and tailored to the specific interests and strategic motivations of corporate venture capital in Japan. By following these tips, Japanese startups can strategically position themselves to secure CVC funding in the competitive landscape.

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What is the difference between Japanese and English-speaking startups acquiring CVC funding?

In the dynamic world of startups, securing funding is a pivotal step towards growth and expansion. CVC funding, in particular, has emerged as a significant source of investment for many startups globally. However, when we delve deeper into the landscape of startups across different regions such as the East and West, notable distinctions arise. This article seeks to explore the differences between Japanese and English-speaking startups in their pursuit and acquisition of CVC funding. By understanding these nuances, we can gain a clearer insight into the diverse strategies and challenges faced by startups in varying cultural and linguistic contexts.

CharacteristicJapanese StartupsEnglish-speaking Startups
Cultural DynamicsEmphasizes long-term relationships, trust, and collaboration within their business ecosystem.Often have a transactional mindset, emphasizing rapid growth and potential exit strategies.
Influences on Decision-makingPrioritize domestic CVCs that align with corporate values and strategic goals, influenced by the cultural backdrop.Focus on scalability and articulating their value proposition to CVCs.
Market FamiliarityOften have a preference for domestic CVCs due to familiarity with the local market, regulatory environment, and business customs.Operate with an understanding that they might need to adapt to different markets, including Japan.
Approach to Seeking CVC FundingBenefit from domestic CVCs’ understanding of local business etiquettes and customs.Recognize the need to navigate potential challenges like language barriers and differing business etiquette in foreign markets.
Perspective on Global CollaborationsBenefit from foreign CVC actively seek opportunities to invest in innovative startups in Japan.Benefit from local CVC wanting to embrace the global nature of business, leading to increased cross-border collaborations.

What are the Top 10 CVC firms in Japan?

CVC firms play a pivotal role in fostering innovation and driving economic growth in Japan. These firms, often subsidiaries or divisions of established corporations, invest in promising startups, offering them financial backing, mentorship, and strategic partnerships. By doing so, they not only ensure the growth of these startups but also infuse fresh ideas and technologies into their parent corporations. Here’s a look at the top 10 firms focusing on corporate venture capital in Japan:

Docomo Ventures: Docomo Ventures is the venture capital subsidiary of NTT Docomo, a leading mobile communication company in Japan. Established in February 2013, Docomo Ventures operates with an operational fund of 100 billion yen over a 10-year period. The firm actively invests in startups that showcase promising services or technologies. Their primary objective is to identify and nurture innovative businesses that align with the future vision of NTT Docomo.

MUFG Innovation Partners: MUIP (MUFG Innovation Partners), MUFG’s Corporate Venture Capital division, is considered a testament to the evolving financial landscape. Its establishment reflects MUFG’s adaptation to rapid technological advancements and its commitment to investing in innovative startups and technologies that can reshape the financial sector. MUIP’s focus on strategic partnerships and collaborations with startups underscores the shift from traditional banking models to technology-driven solutions, aligning with global trends in the financial industry. This proactive approach by established financial institutions like MUFG ensures they remain competitive and relevant in an ever-changing financial landscape.  For a more in-depth look into how corporate venture capital in Japan operates in Japan, especially within the financial sector, watch the podcast episode Corporate Venture Capital in Japan Part 2 with MUFG Innovation Partners.

NTT Docomo Bank: NTT Docomo is a premier mobile phone operator in Japan. While the mention of “NTT Docomo Bank” might refer to a specific division related to financial services, NTT Docomo’s broader venture activities are noteworthy. The company invests in venture businesses that offer potential synergies, reflecting Docomo’s commitment to innovation and business expansion.

Global Brain: Global Brain stands out as an independent venture capital firm that offers support to startups on a global scale. In the landscape of corporate venture capital in Japan, Global Brain has carved a niche for itself by assisting Japanese enterprises in managing their CVC funds. Currently, they administer 14 funds in collaboration with companies like KDDI and Mitsui Fudosan. Their role in the ecosystem of corporate venture capital in Japan is pivotal, bridging the gap between startups and established corporations.

Mitsui Fudosan: Mitsui Fudosan, one of Japan’s largest real estate developers, is actively involved in a myriad of real estate projects. These range from residential and commercial ventures to urban development projects in the realm of corporate venture capital in Japan. Mitsui Fudosan has forged a partnership with Global Brain. This collaboration targets startups across the globe, emphasizing innovations in real estate and related sectors.

CyberAgent: As a leading Japanese internet company, CyberAgent offers a plethora of web services, operates a variety of content websites, and manages an internet advertising agency. CyberAgent Capital, its investment arm, is at the forefront of the company’s venture activities. Specializing in internet business investments, CyberAgent Capital operates in multiple countries. Their focus is on facilitating mutual market entries and fostering cross-border service collaborations, reflecting CyberAgent’s vision of a connected digital world.

KDDI: KDDI, a leading telecommunications company in Japan, provides an extensive array of services encompassing mobile phone services, fixed-line communications, and internet offerings. To bolster its commitment to innovation and strategic growth, KDDI established the “KDDI Open Innovation Fund.” This CVC initiative invests across a diverse range of fields, drawing on KDDI’s deep-rooted expertise in business and technology. Key investment areas include AI, IoT, Data Marketing, Fintech, B2B SaaS, and entertainment. 

The fund’s expansive approach supports a myriad of venture companies, both domestically in Japan and internationally. The currently active segment of this initiative, the “KDDI Open Innovation Fund III,” places a heightened focus on sectors such as AI, IoT, data marketing, fintech, B2B SaaS, and entertainment, operating with a substantial capital of 20 billion yen. Through this endeavor, KDDI aims not merely to invest but to foster collaborative activities, driving innovation and mutual advancement with promising startups.

SoftBank Vision Fund: SoftBank Vision Fund, operating under SoftBank Group Corp., is distinguished as one of the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital funds with over $100 billion in capital. As a CVC firm, its key characteristics include a global investment reach, with significant stakes in regions like the US, China, India, and Europe. The fund predominantly targets technology companies, especially those emphasizing global artificial intelligence. Collaborations with major global entities such as Apple, Qualcomm, and Foxconn further underscore its influential position. Despite facing controversies with investments like WeWork, the fund’s strategic focus on innovative tech firms solidifies its pivotal role in the global tech investment landscape.

JAFCO Co., Ltd: JAFCO Co., Ltd., under the Japan Asia Group, is a distinguished venture capital firm with a legacy since 1973. With an investment commitment surpassing 1 trillion yen, JAFCO has backed over 1,000 companies to public listings. Their portfolio spans sectors like IT, medical biotechnology, and electronics in Japanese, American, and Asian markets. A significant 97% of their investments target high-growth, seed-early-stage companies. JAFCO’s substantial ¥80 billion fund supports both venture and buyout investments, adjusting to each company’s unique needs. Beyond financial backing, JAFCO provides specialized operational support to its portfolio companies, ensuring their growth and success.

JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund: The JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund operates as a CVC initiative under the joint management of JGC Holdings Corporation and JGC Japan Corporation. Reflecting JGC’s vision of a safe, secure, and sustainable social system, the fund strategically invests in both domestic and foreign start-ups with innovative technologies and business models. With a substantial capital of 5 billion yen and a 10-year management term, the fund showcases a long-term commitment to its ventures.  In essence, the JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund bridges the gap between innovative start-ups and established corporations, fostering mutual growth and success in the context of a CVC firm.

Japanese actors that invest in corporate venture capital

What industries and startups are favored by CVC investments in Japan?

In recent years, Japan has witnessed a significant transformation in its venture capital landscape. Historically, Japanese venture capital firms leaned towards minor investments in middle-to-late-stage ventures that showcased stable operations. However, the current trend indicates a more proactive approach, with VC firms investing larger sums, appointing directors, and offering extensive business support. This shift in investment strategy is reflective of the broader changes in the Japanese startup ecosystem and the government’s renewed emphasis on fostering innovation.


The technological sector in Japan has seen a surge in interest and investments. The government’s focus on open innovation and disruptive business ideas has played a pivotal role in this. The establishment of networks connecting entrepreneurs, universities, major corporations, and venture capitalists is aimed at fostering collaborations that could give rise to the next big tech giants, akin to Google or Amazon. Moreover, the government recognizes the importance of evolving childcare services and startup-centric intellectual property rules to further bolster the tech industry.


While specific details on fintech were not provided in the sources, it’s worth noting that the broader financial sector in Japan has been undergoing rapid digital transformation. The presence of startups like Kiva, which offers extended warranty services for e-commerce and has attracted investments from both Japanese and foreign entities, indicates the potential growth in the fintech space.


The healthcare sector, especially the life sciences industry, is another area that has garnered attention in Japan. With the country’s aging population and advanced technological infrastructure, there’s a growing demand for innovative healthcare solutions, making it an attractive sector for investments in corporate venture capital in Japan.


E-commerce is another sector that has seen growth, with startups like Kiva being a testament to this. The increasing digitalization, coupled with the government’s supportive policies and the population’s growing comfort with online shopping, makes e-commerce a lucrative sector for investments of corporate venture capital in Japan.

partnership for corporate venture capital

What are some challenges entrepreneurs might face when seeking CVC investments?

Entrepreneurs seeking investments in corporate venture capital in Japan often face a myriad of challenges. In Japan, the startup ecosystem has been growing, with many startups, funds, and other supporters based primarily in Tokyo. However, as the ecosystem diversifies and corporations and funds involving corporate venture capital in Japan expand their presence in investing and collaborating with startups, there have been reports of negative reactions due to the inequity of bargaining power between investors and startups. This is particularly evident when large companies collaborate with startups. The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have issued guidelines on best practices for such collaborations, emphasizing the importance of fair and equitable partnerships. 

Additionally, the Japan Patent Office has provided model agreements and commentaries on collaborative contracts to guide these interactions. These measures aim to ensure that startups are not disadvantaged in their dealings with larger, more established entities.

What are the benefits of getting CVC vs. Private Equity or CV?

Investments in corporate venture capital in Japan are characterized by their strategic focus. Unlike traditional venture capital or private equity investments that primarily aim for financial returns, firms investing in corporate venture capital in Japan often prioritize strategic alliances with startups. These alliances can lead to potential mergers and acquisitions, offering startups not just financial support but also access to the larger company’s resources, networks, and market presence. This strategic alignment can provide startups with a competitive edge, enabling them to scale and innovate more rapidly. Moreover, corporate venture capital in Japan tends to have a long-term view and approach their investments as partnerships with the target companies, fostering a collaborative and supportive relationship.

What rules and regulations should businesses in Japan consider for CVC activities?

In Japan, the regulatory landscape for venture capital, including CVC activities, is governed by the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act of Japan (FIEA). The Japanese government has been proactive in enhancing the country’s role as an international finance hub, enacting several regulatory changes to foster a conducive environment for investment funds. For instance, the amended FIEA introduced a new exemption for funds that mainly cater to overseas investors. Furthermore, the government has announced plans to promote public-private investment funds, lift certain investment limitations, and introduce new tax incentives to encourage individual investors to invest in VC funds. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has also issued guidance on investment in security tokens. 

As the startup ecosystem in Japan continues to grow, the government is also addressing potential issues of inequity between investors and startups. Guidelines have been issued by the JFTC and METI to ensure best practices in collaborations between large companies and startups. Entrepreneurs and businesses looking to invest time and resources in corporate venture capital in Japan should be aware of these regulations and guidelines to ensure compliance and foster successful partnerships

If you’re looking for your startup to scale and thrive “Scaling Your Company” ” offers invaluable insights and expertise. One must-watch for entrepreneurs to navigate the complex world of corporate venture capital in Japan is Corporate Venture Capital with Makato Shibata. In this episode, Batino interviews Makoto Shibata from Phenolabs, discussing the intricacies of corporate venture capital in Japan. Shibata provides insights into how corporate venture capital in Japan operates, their strategic alliances with startups, and the differences between traditional venture capital and corporate venture capital in Japa. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the structure and goals of corporate venture capital in Japan. before partnering with them. The episode also touches upon alternative ways for startups to raise funds, such as business loans, asset-backed loans, and private placement bonds. Throughout the discussion, the importance of networking and building relationships in the venture capital space is highlighted. Make sure not to miss out on this podcast episode!

What is the best way to approach CVCs?

Venturing into the Japanese venture capital (VC) market can be both rewarding and challenging. With a record US$4.5 billion in VC funding in 2021, Japan presents a lucrative opportunity for startups. However, navigating the intricacies of the Japanese VC ecosystem requires a strategic approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you effectively approach corporate venture capital in Japan.

  1. Research the Japanese VC Market: Understand the size and dynamics of the Japanese venture capital market. In 2021, startups in Japan attracted a record US$4.5 billion in VC funding. Additionally, make sure to familiarize yourself with the major players and trends in the Japanese VC ecosystem.
  2. Identify the Right CVC Firm: Once expeirWhile SoftBank Vision Fund is a major player, there are other VC funds and corporate investors active in Japan. Choose one that aligns with your business goals and industry.
  3. Prepare Necessary Documentation: In your business plan, clearly delineate your business model, target audience, competitors, financial outlook, and expansion approach. Additionally, present detailed financial statements to demonstrate your company’s fiscal well-being. Incorporate details about your company’s background, team, offerings, and accomplishments in the company profile. Lastly, furnish an in-depth market analysis highlighting potential growth opportunities and challenges in your industry.
  4. Understand the Investment Criteria: Each CVC firm will have its criteria for investment. For instance, SoftBank Vision Fund previously focused on larger ticket sizes but has recently shown interest in Japanese startups.
  5. Engage with Legal Counsel: Given the complexities of the Japanese VC market and the legal framework, it’s crucial to engage with legal experts familiar with VC financings in Japan.
  6. Initiate Contact with the CVC Firm: Reach out to the investment team of the CVC firm, present your business case, and express your interest in securing funding.
  7. Negotiation & Due Diligence: If the CVC firm shows interest, it will initiate a due diligence process to assess the viability of your business. Make sure to negotiate the terms of the investment, including the amount, valuation, and rights associated with the investment.
  8. Comply with Regulatory Requirements: Be aware of regulations such as the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (FEFTA) which imposes restrictions on investments by foreign investors in certain Japanese industries.
  9. Finalize the Investment Agreement: Once terms are agreed upon, finalize the investment agreement. This will typically include a subscription agreement, a shareholders’ agreement, and a charter document.

Key Considerations:

Market Dynamics: The Japanese VC market is smaller compared to its economic size. However, there’s a growing interest from major VC funds, including SoftBank Vision Fund.

Legal Framework: The legal framework for VC investments in Japan is complex. It’s crucial to understand the nuances and work with legal experts.

Cultural Differences: Understand the cultural nuances of doing business in Japan. Building trust and relationships is vital.

If you’re keen on diving deeper into the mindset of venture capitalists, especially in the context of the Japanese market, we highly recommend listening to the podcast episode Part 3: How to Understand Venture Capitalists in Japan with Schyler Alexandra Cole.

Examples of successful CVC projects in Japan

There has been a surge of projects relating to corporate venture capital in Japan in recent years. These projects, often collaborations between established corporations and promising startups, aim to foster innovation, drive growth, and address pressing challenges in various sectors. From medical technology to mobile gaming and sustainable solutions, projects in corporate venture capital in Japan have made significant strides in bringing groundbreaking ideas to fruition. Here are some notable examples:

LIFESCAPES, inc.: An example of a successful project with corporate venture capital in Japan involved the “JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund” investing in LIFESCAPES Inc., a Keio University startup focused on rehab technology for severe post-stroke motor disabilities through a brain-machine interface (BMI) system. This success can be attributed to addressing a significant medical need, backed by credible research from Keio University, and supported by the JGC Group’s financial and strategic backing. This venture underscores the potential of innovative medical solutions to address pressing health challenges.

Playco: Playco, a pioneering startup in the mobile gaming industry, was created in 2020 and aims to revolutionize gaming by creating instant, social multiplayer games accessible across messaging and social apps. Founded with $100 million in Sequoia Capital and funding, currently valued at a $1 billion valuation, Playco focuses on removing barriers to entry by eliminating the need for downloads and installations. Their HTML5 engine acquired from Game Closure enables seamless integration with platforms like WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook Messenger, tapping into vast user bases. 

 Green Earth Institute (GEI): Green Earth Institute (GEI), a pioneering Japanese startup founded in 2011, has emerged as a leader in the sustainable materials and biofuels industry. GEI focuses on producing carbon-neutral biofuels and green chemicals from non-food biomass, revolutionizing traditional fermentation processes with more efficient and cost-effective technology developed by the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE). This innovative approach aligns with global sustainability efforts and positions GEI as a key player in eco-friendly solutions. The startup’s success is further amplified through a strategic partnership with DIC Corporation, facilitated by DIC’s corporate venture capital unit, which not only provides financial backing but also fosters collaborative research in areas such as adhesives, coatings, and printing inks. 

Finally, our guest Mr. Shibata also discusses the importance of CVCs in fostering cross-industry collaborations. For example, a financial services company might invest in a fintech startup to integrate innovative technologies into their existing services, enhancing both the startup’s growth and the corporation’s market competitiveness. These collaborations can lead to the development of new products and services that benefit both parties.

To delve deeper into the entrepreneurial landscape in Japan and understand the dynamics of scaling businesses, you can explore more insights from understanding the Top 20 Entrepreneurs in Japan. 

Tokyo as an investment hub

Insider Perspectives on CVC Decision-Making Processes

Our podcast guest, Makoto Shibata from FINOLAB sheds light on the intricate decision-making processes within Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) arms in Japan. Unlike traditional VCs, CVCs must align their investments with the strategic goals of their parent companies. This alignment often involves multiple layers of approval from various departments such as research and development, corporate planning, and senior executives.

Shibata highlights that the autonomy of CVC teams can vary. Some CVCs operate independently, making swift investment decisions, while others require extensive approvals, slowing the process. The strategic fit of a startup is crucial, with CVCs assessing how well the startup’s technology or business model complements the parent company’s long-term goals.

Furthermore, the background of CVC leaders influences their approach. Those with venture capital or startup experience may adopt a more dynamic and flexible strategy, whereas those from within the corporation might adhere to stricter corporate policies.

Understanding these internal dynamics can help startups better navigate and engage with Japanese CVCs, enhancing their chances of securing valuable investments.

Are there any unique changes to CVC investment in 2023 or 2024?

In recent years, Japan has witnessed a significant shift in venture capital investing, moving from a preference for small, minority investments in stable, middle-to-late-stage ventures to a more proactive approach. This involves larger investments, active participation through directorships, and extensive business support. The recent startup boom in Japan aligns with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s emphasis on open innovation and disruptive business concepts. Under a policy introduced in November 2022, there’s an ambitious goal to increase annual startup investments tenfold, reaching approximately 10 trillion yen by fiscal 2027. This vision is supported by initiatives like the J-Startup program by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and policy measures such as tax incentives for companies to establish units in corporate venture capital in Japan.  
A significant development expected in 2024 is the relaxation of regulations on limited partnerships, which will potentially attract more global investments into Japanese venture capital funds. This evolving landscape underscores the importance for foreign entrepreneurs to understand the dynamics of corporate venture capital in Japan, as it offers not just financial backing but strategic partnerships, market insights, and a gateway to one of the world’s leading economies.

Final Thoughts

Over the years, the landscape of corporate venture capital in Japan has undergone a significant transformation, mirroring the country’s dedication to innovation and the nurturing of an entrepreneurial ethos. As Japanese firms consistently channel investments into budding startups and cutting-edge technologies, they’re not just fueling economic progress but also charting a course toward a luminous, technologically progressive future. Yet, the triumph of these ventures extends beyond mere capital infusion. It hinges on adept strategic marketing and meticulous scaling endeavors. In fact, corporate venture capital had the third-largest share of capital in investment in 2018 with 13%, highlighting the substantial financial commitment to these efforts. This is where “Scaling Your Company” steps in. With profound expertise in business expansion, we ensure that investments in corporate venture capital in Japan are leveraged to their fullest and help create significant growth for startups.

At “Scaling Your Company,” our marketing agency offers unwavering guidance, counsel, and backing for burgeoning enterprises. If you’re in pursuit of a forward-thinking marketing partner to bolster your company’s ascent, explore what our marketing agency has to offer. Explore more articles on startup growth and support in the articles below as well:


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