Tokyo-based VC firm Nextblue announced on Thursday that its first fund targeting to raise up to 3 billion yen ($27.5 million), which was initially set up in April, has reached its first close with completing securing about half of the final target. Disclosed limited partners include Japanese department store chain Marui Group, Japanese system integrator Q’sfix, and Japanese social gifting and e-voucher rewards platform Giftee .
The fund’s investment areas are Future of Work, Future of Health, and Future of Lifestyle. It intends to invest in seed stage startups in Japan as well as those in the pre-series A stage in Europe which have completed the product market fit phase and is ready for expanding into the Japanese market.
The fund was founded by Yuichi Kori, Kanako Inoue, and Vincent Tan. Followed by launching his own startup Otsumu, Kori has been running his own VC called Reality Accelerator. Both Inoue and Tan have worked at Boston Consulting Group and Tokyo-based VC firm D4V. Nextblue’s goal is to support Japanese startups as well as European startups which usually face similar social issues to the Japanese society in their home turf. For helping these European startups expand into Japan, the fund expects to establish a joint venture with them and provide hands-on support with local partners.
Kori had been investing in startups through his own Reality Accelerator, and this activity will be apparently integrated into Nextblue. Kori and Inoue mainly invest in Japanese startups from Tokyo, while Tan is currently based in Berlin to watch the European startup landscape.
As of the announcement, the firm unveiled a portfolio of 14 investees from the first fund so far. Among them, two companies – AZOO and Early Music Company Japan – graduated from the fund’s accelerator program conducted in Tokyo last summer.
- AZOO …… Provides Wasimil, an operation automation service for small and medium-sized hotels
- Early Music Company Japan …… Provides Smart Accompanist, a platform for selling ”minus-one” sound tracks of classical music
- Indigames …… Develops and provides casual games and high-quality game development engines
- Kalkul …… Develops and provides Aura, a vertical AR (augmented reality) audio content platform
- Matsuri Technologies …… Provides SaaS and platforms for short-term rental residences
- SecureNavi …… Provides ISMS (Information Security Management System) automation tools
- Precal …… Provides an automated prescription data-entry service for pharmacies
- Ohne (UK) …… Provides organic sanitary product subscription service and PMS (premenstrual syndrome) relief products
- Xapix (Germany) …… Provides a platform that automatically integrates data and organizes data suitable for AI use
- FounderNest (Spain) …… Provides an AI-powered platform for matching startups and investors
- BreakthroughX Health (Germany) …… Provides an app for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis
- Lana Labs (Germany) …… Develops and provides AI-based process mining tools
- Artivive (Austria) …… Provides AR art creation tools
Nextblue seems to be looking to bring Japanese startups to Europe too. The firm says it is happy to provide support to startups that already have overseas offices or branches.