UTokyo Innovation Platform Co.’s Second Fund Closes at JPY 25.6 Billion, Involving 11 Institutional Investors

TOKYO, February 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — We are pleased to announce that a fund managed by UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd. (UTokyo IPC), the venture capital investment arm of University of Tokyo (UTokyo), from Japan main national university, has reached its final term, with a total of 25.6 billion yen involving 11 institutional investors.

The Accelerating Open Innovation Fund 1 (AOI Fund 1) is an investment limited partnership that was established in 2020 to facilitate open innovation through industry-academia collaboration. UTokyo IPC is the general partner of the fund, while UTokyo is its lead sponsor.

University-affiliated venture capital partnership investing consecutively at a scale of 25 billion yen

Unlike conventional venture capital funding, AOI Fund 1 operates under the new concept of “nurturing and investing in startups through industry-academia collaboration”. It is designed to support startups spun off from established business entities and the creation of new ventures through partnerships with leading companies in various industries, as well as entrepreneurs who effectively leverage the assets of leading companies for growth.

AOI Fund 1 was launched in 2020, initially with a limited fund size of 2.8 billion yen, with MUFG Bank, Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Later, the size of the fund increased by more than 24 billion yen, with six new investors on its second closing in early 2021: SBI Group, Fuyo General Lease Co., Ltd., DBJ Group, Daikin Industries, Ltd., Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. and Hakuhodo Inc. Together with three other investors, including Zeon Corporation and The Norinchukin Bank, AOI Fund 1 has completed its fundraising, the total amount of the fund reaching JYP 25.6 billion with a total of 13 partners, including UTokyo and UTokyo IPC . This exceeds the amount of UTokyo IPC’s first fund, Innovation Platform No. 1 Investment Limited Partnership (IPC Fund 1), which had a pledged financial contribution of JYP 25.0 billion.

Aim to achieve and accelerate open innovation — “organic” linking of industrial assets in Japan and academic results

The objective of the AOI 1 Fund is to accelerate startups through the organic linking of various assets and strengths accumulated in Japanese industrial sectors – which have an advantage in the global market – with results produced by academic institutions. It also aims to strengthen the industrial competitive advantage of Japannow the 3rd largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).

The AOI Fund 1 deals with a wide range of investment projects, large-scale projects of approximately $20 million to those involving early-stage startups trying to explore the potentials of industry and academia. TradeWaltz Inc. and Citadel AI Inc. are two examples of the portfolio, which currently consists of 14 companies. Its investments transcend national borders – Axial Therapeutics, Inc. to begin with. (Note 1)

Strengthen the competitiveness of Japanese industry by developing a start-up ecosystem around UTokyo

UTokyo began building its university-wide capacity to support startups and entrepreneurship when it became a national university corporation in 2004. Its efforts have so far resulted in the birth of more than 20 listed companies, whose total market capitalization is estimated at more than 1 trillion yen.

Under “Kanmin Innovation Program(Note 2), UTokyo established UTokyo IPC in 2016 as a wholly owned subsidiary. Its goal is to further expand its startup ecosystem through organic partnership with startups, investors such as venture capitalists and established companies and universities/research institutes, making it a global hub of innovation. The IPC Fund 1, launched by UTokyo IPC immediately after its inception, has so far invested in 25 companies. Three have successfully launched IPOs.

The efforts of UTokyo IPC are not limited to investment activities aimed at achieving the objectives of its establishment. A notable case is “1stRound”, a university-affiliated incubation program launched in 2017. Through its bi-annual selection rounds, it provides capital-free capital and intensive hands-on support to hopeful early-stage startups. -priming. This program has evolved from a UTokyo-based acceleration to an intercollegiate activity including University of TsukubaTokyo Medical and Dental University and Tokyo Institute of Technology, as well as an industry-supported consortium comprising 17 industry partners and sponsors.

Each year, 15 to 20 teams benefit from the advantages of this incubation; 43 alumni startups take advantage of this program to actively develop their businesses. Five of them, including the previously mentioned Citadel AI, receive our continued support through an investment from the AOI Fund 1. This program continues to grow, welcoming other academic institutions and partners.

UTokyo’s charter defines the university as an institution that “serves the global public”. We are committed to expanding the startup ecosystem and leading from Japan Open innovation.

AOI Fund Overview 1

General partner: University of Tokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd.
Sponsoring Partners: MUFG Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, SBI Group, Fuyo General Lease Co., Ltd., DBJ Group, Daikin Industries, Ltd., Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd., Hakuhodo Inc., Zeon Corporation, the Norinchukin Bank, the University of Tokyo and an institutional investor.
Fund size: 25.615 billion JPY
Duration: 15 years from 2020
Investment targets: spin-off companies, new ventures through joint ventures, and seed-stage startups all leverage industry-established assets and academia-backed results, e.g. UTokyo.

On University of Tokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd. (UTokyo IPC)

Outline: An investment company committed to developing an innovation ecosystem around UTokyo
Establishment: January 2016
Shareholder: UTokyo (100%)
Address: 261 Entrepreneur Lab, South Clinical Research Bldg., Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Representative: President and CEO Katsuhiko Oizumi
Website: https://www.utokyo-ipc.co.jp/en/

(Note 1) TradeWaltz Inc. is a TokyoNew York-based company that operates the “TradeWaltz®” international trade information sharing platform. The company was created on the basis of an inter-industry consortium, NTT Data Corporation. Professor Fuhito Kojima, Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyojoined the advisory board of TradeWaltz Inc.

URL: https://www.tradewaltz.com/en/

Citadel AI Inc. is a Tokyobased in New York, which is building next-generation machine learning infrastructure to make the world’s AI systems more reliable and secure. The company was founded by two former The University of Tokyocomputer science and electronics engineering departments.

URL: https://www.citadel.co.jp/en

Axial Therapeutics, Inc. is a Boston-clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of people with neurological diseases, where professors Satoshi Uematsu and Seiya Imoto of the Institute of Medical Sciences, The University of Tokyoare members of the Scientific Advisory Board.

URL: https://www.axialtx.com/

(Note 2) “Kanmin Innovation Program” is a government initiative launched in 2013 to encourage seed investment around national universities in Japan. Four major national universities — Tohoku, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka — created venture investment subsidiaries and venture capital funds as part of this initiative. (The term “Kanmin” means “public-private partnership” in Japanese.) The cumulative size of the fund is 125 billion yen, one-fifth of which was provided by the private sector. More than 140 startups have received investments from the funds.

Contact details:

Innovation Platform UTokyo Co., Ltd.
Kazuhiko KAKEHI
Tel: +81-3-3830-0200
E-mail:
[email protected]

SOURCE UTokyo IPC – UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd.

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