Rakuten Ventures launches $100 mln fund

Singapore-based Rakuten Ventures has raised $100 million for its new fund. The pool will focus on tech startups and early-stage companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the U.S. Saemin Ahn, managing partner of Rakuten Ventures, is serving as fund advisor.

PRESS RELEASE

TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rakuten Ventures today announced the launch of a US$100 million global investment fund. The fund will target investments in startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific, and the USA and builds on the success of the Southeast Asia fund, which was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio.

The larger global fund gives Rakuten Ventures the opportunity to empower the startup ecosystem beyond Japan and Southeast Asia and positively affect Internet services globally, while giving the fund more avenues for growth. 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. Over time, this will include an increased focus on growing the ecosystem, technology, membership and financial returns.

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. This broader focus gives the fund a wider horizon for the type of startups and companies it interacts with, and how it interacts with them. This will include having a laser focus on value for company, investing in strong teams, leaders, technology and passion to give Rakuten a stake in future user interaction.

The fund operations will be run out of Singapore, with Saemin Ahn, the Managing Partner of Rakuten Ventures, acting as the fund advisor.

Commenting on the emergence of startups offering innovative solutions to old problems, Saemin said “If you just look at the last couple of years, companies like 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. More Asia-based VCs are venturing out into different regions to look at investment as long-term growth vehicles. Since 2013, Rakuten Ventures has been one of such VCs to aggressively invest larger amounts into younger companies, to enable them to focus on product and service development.”

While the fund’s immediate focus will be on companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the US, Rakuten Ventures plans to take an aggressive approach in expanding operations around the globe.

About Rakuten Ventures
Rakuten Ventures is an early stage corporate venture capital fund focused on empowering the startup ecosystem to positively affect Internet services globally. The fund was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio. In June 2014, Rakuten Ventures launched a US$100 million global fund to target startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific, and the USA, with a focus on companies that can enable better user experience and facilitation. For more information, please contact global-rv@mail.rakuten.com

 

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