Incubate Fund, one of Japan’s leading venture capital firms, announced today that it has raised a new 11 billion yen ($91 million) fund. Though Incubate Fund usually focuses on seed investments, a representative said the new fund, called Incubate Fund III will put larger amounts of money in early-stage startups located in North America, Japan, and the rest of Asia.
Incubate Fund III boosts a roster of backers that includes several of Asia’s largest or highest-profile tech companies. These include Chinese Internet giant Tencent, Yahoo Japan, Sega Sammy, and Tokyo Broadcasting System, as well as INCJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Mistletoe, Mixi, and Development Bank of Japan.
This is good news for Asian startups, which often have difficulty securing VC backing. This is gradually changing, however, as more firms—especially ones based in Japan—begin to focus on making major investments in the region. For example, Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank went on an investment spree last year, and the country’s e-commerce leader, Rakuten, which had already made several major investments in Southeast Asia, launched a $100 million fund. Meanwhile, Convergence Accel raised a fund specifically to focus on Indonesian startups.
Incubate Fund III has already made its first investment in driving app Drivemode, which represents its first U.S. investment. Previously, most of Incubate Fund’s portfolio companies were based in Japan or Southeast Asia.
Other sectors it will focus on include media, entertainment, gaming, online commerce, logistics, medical, financial, real estate, and housing.
In a prepared statement, Incubate Fund said “we aim to create and develop Japan’s next generation of industry by working closely with our Limited Partners, who invested in our fund.”