In a move that will hopefully attract U.S. startups to the Land of the Rising Sun, Softbank Capital and Yahoo Japan have created a $20 million fund geared towards helping U.S startups, with a focus in mobile applications, e-commerce, and web advertising, get started in the Japanese market. The fund is designed to help out early-stage startups who still need to get their foot onto the ground. Alongside the new fund, Yahoo Japan has also assigned a new head of U.S operations, Toshiaki Chiku, who will be working out of Softbank's New York City location.
The new $20 million fund wil be added to Softbank Capital's current $100 million Technology Fund'10, which is also aim towards startups looking to breaking into the Japanese market. Softbank Capital also has a $250 million PrinceVille Fund, that is set aside for startups who are in the later stages of their development. The fund is for startups that are geared towards mobile applications, social media, e-commerce, online advertising, gaming and cloud computing, and more.
In a statement released by Chiku, he says that Japan can be a difficult market to enter for many U.S. companies, but thanks to the collaborative efforts of Yahoo Japan and Softbank Capital, U.S. companies will have the support it needs to "grow and succeed". In an interview, Joe Medved, a partner at Softbank capital, stated that this is Yahoo Japan's "first investment in the U.S. market in its history."
Softbank had made several investments in early stage startups before, including Bluefin Labs, Buddy Media, Buffington Post, Hyperpublic, and OMGPOP. Bluefin Labs was sold to Twitter, Buddy Media was sold to Salesforce.com, Huffington Post was sold to AOL, Hyperpublic was sold to Groupon, and OMGPOP was sold to Zynga. Softbank Capital was also an early investor in Yahoo, and it currently owns a 40% stake in Yahoo Japan. With the new funding, Softbank capital hopes to see a huge increase in growth opportunities in Japan, which would in turn help develop international business for its early-stage investments.
[via All Things D]