Global Hands-On VC (GHOVC), a Tokyo, Japan and Palo Alto, CA based venture capital firm has successfully completed a 5 billion yen first-close toward a 15 billion yen fund, GHOVC Fund I Investment Limited Partnership. GHOVC will invest in Japanese technology startups and provide hands-on support for their global success.
Sojitz Corporation, SOMPO Light Vortex Inc., SunBridge Corporation, et al. are participating in this first closing. Together with these LPs, GHOVC will support Japanese startups not only to succeed in Japan but to build successful global companies.
GHOVC invests in Japanese technology startups, helps its invested startups build management and technical talent from a global talent pool, optimize their product-market fit, and raise funds from global VCs and CVCs. For a Japanese startup to maximize its global potential, and thereby reach its best return on investment, it needs to look beyond the domestic Japanese market for customers, talent, and strategic partnerships.
Experts are noting that Japanese startup market venture returns are poised for dramatic improvement. “We have been investing in select companies in Japan and have worked with the GHOVC team. We would like to see a well-developed ecosystem for Japanese startups, so we are delighted with GHOVC’s fund formation as the team can help Japanese startups with hands-on experience and build stronger startups for global competition” said Nic Brathwaite, founding managing partner of Celesta Capital, a US based VC firm.
GHOVC was established by two Japanese and three American partners, who are successful entrepreneurs and fund managers. The GHOVC team is experienced in founding and managing startups with global product teams and products adopted by global customers:
- Ken Yasunaga： Co-founded a VC fund in Silicon Valley with capital from institutional investors in North America. After returning to Japan, invested in various technology startups at a Japanese venture fund and supported overseas expansion as an outside director of several portfolio companies. Former CFO of a semiconductor startup. Currently serves as head of the global committee of the Japan Venture Capital Association (JVCA).
- Shri Dodani：Serial Entrepreneur, Board Advisor and investor from Silicon Valley. Successful startups with exits CACS, VxTel, et al, including IPO and acquisitions in semiconductors, communication equipment, storage, medical equipment, and enterprise SaaS.
- Allen Miner: Founding member of Oracle Japan. In addition, co-founded Salesforce Japan and Marketo Japan. He has many achievements as a VC and leading promoter of entrepreneurship in Japan since 1999. First Japan-based venture capitalist to be featured on the global Forbes Midas List and a founding director of JVCA.
- Takuya Oikawa: Started his career as a software engineer, engaged in research and product development at DEC, Microsoft, Google and a Japanese startup. Has speciality in product development and technical organization building for large Japanese companies and startups. Published author of product development and management books. One of which was voted as #1 IT engineer book business category by Japanese engineers in 2022.
- Richard Dasher, Ph.D.: Adjunct Professor and Director, US-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University. Deep relationships with Japan include serving as a Program Committee member of the Japanese government’s World Premier International (WPI) Research Center Program and formerly as a board director of Tohoku University. Serves as an advisor to startup companies and business accelerators in Silicon Valley, Canada, South Korea, and China. Mentor for Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs.
About Sojitz Corporation
“Sojitz is a general trading company that develops new businesses with flexible thinking and speed in line with our “Hassojitz” initiative—our term for describing how we bring ideas (hasso) to life as new business. Sojitz Group is engaged in a wide range of businesses globally, including manufacturing, selling, importing, and exporting a variety of products, in addition to providing services and investing in diversified businesses, both in Japan and overseas. We support the overseas expansion of startups with great technological potential by leveraging the global network we have cultivated. With the aim of greatly accelerating and developing such initiatives, we have made an LP investment in GHOVC as an anchor investor. The GHOVC team has the skills necessary for startups to expand their business globally—the ability to seek out new talent, ensure an ideal product-market fit, and provide hands-on management support. By combining GHOVC’s hands-on strengths with Sojitz’s comprehensive business promotion capabilities, Sojitz’s role as a general trading company is to nurture the leaders of Japan’s next-generation industries and support their global success.” – Executive Officer Yasuhisa Nakao
About SOMPO Light Vortex Inc. (“SLV”)
SOMPO Light Vortex was established in July 2021 as the core company of the Digital Business, which has become the Sompo Group’s fifth business.
We are working to solve various social issues using digital technologies with the aim of creating a society in which every person can live a healthy, prosperous, and happy life in one’s own way, or in other words, we SLV help achieve the Sompo Group’s mission to create the theme park for security, health, and wellbeing.
“A user experience that integrates technologies and services in various fields is about to enter a period of further innovation. The technology evolution triggered by the progress of 5G and Web3, the arrival of the social implementation period of MaaS and Digital Health are some of driving forces for the rapid changes in the global economic environment, as the post-DX/COVID progresses. With a team with diverse experience, GHOVC provides Japanese startups and academia with perspectives and opportunities for global scaling. The formation of a community of scientists and others is expected, and SOMPO Light Vortex expects not only investment opportunities, but also synergies for developing diverse human resources and new business development, and we would like to actively contribute and collaborate” – Executive Vice President Takashi Uehara
GHOVC, Tokyo, Japan and Palo Alto, USA based venture capital fund focused on Japanese startups that helps them reach full potential as global companies.