To invest in companies within “key high-growth industries,” Sony is homing in on the world of investments in upstarts. The company has the goal of raising approximately $185 million or 20 billion JPY in a new tech startup fund, according to reports.
The Innovation Growth Fund (IGF) is said to be jointly run with Daiwa Securities’ VC arm, Daiwa Capital Holdings, and early LPs include Osaka Shoko Shinkin Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company Limited. While a previous fund made over 40 investments, IGF’s aim is said to make larger checks than those usually managed by the company itself.
Daiwa Securities Executive Managing Director Yoshihisa Kaneko said, according to reports, “We believe that the integration of Sony’s insight of cutting-edge technologies and Daiwa Securities Group’s expertise in finance will lead to the creation of a new kind of venture capital business while providing the spark for new trends in the venture capital ecosystem.”
A goal of a longer-term nature is to aid portfolio firms in becoming public firms (where the expertise of public listings from Daiwa enters the picture). At the same time, the fund reportedly plans to make links with “renowned research institutions” as well as other tech firms. According to reports, “the latter certainly sounds like a SoftBank Vision Fund-style approach, albeit considerably less than its $100 billion ammunition.”
In other recent news from Sony, the company has gotten into the taxi-hailing business and rolled out an app per news in April. First spotted by CNET and covered by reporters April 22, the service was dubbed S.Ride, with S standing for simple, smart and speedy. The app was rolled out by Minna No Taxi, which is a joint venture created by Sony, Sony Payment Services and multiple taxi firms located in Japan. It was also noted that Sony isn’t taking on taxi drivers with the new offering: Instead, it’s an app to hail a ride with a taxi, not from an individual.