Rakuten Ventures injects extra $100m into global startup fund

By Steven Millward for techinAsia

Rakuten Ventures, the investment arm of the Japan-based ecommerce titan, today announced it’s doubling its Global Investment Fund to US$200 million.

The US$100m injection was revealed this afternoon by Saemin Ahn, the managing director of Rakuten Ventures. He was talking onstage at Tech in Asia Singapore 2016 about the VC firm and its three investments divisions. Rakuten Ventures has global, Japan, and fintech funds.

This comes 10 weeks after the launch of the Rakuten Ventures Japan Fund.

Based out of Singapore and Tokyo, it has placed several bets on well-known startups such as file transfer app Send Anywhere andmarketplace app Carousell.

Rakuten Ventures has also backed a number of much more technical startups that make services other tech companies can make use of, likeimage recognition firm Visenze and push notifications service OneSignal.

This new cash injection comes 10 weeks after the launch of the Rakuten Ventures Japan Fund, which holds US$85 million to focus on startups in Rakuten’s home nation.

While Rakuten has made startup investments and acquisitions of its own, most noticeably in buying up mobile messaging app Viber, that is on a different track from Saemin’s objective with the VC division.

“We are pretty separate in terms of how we operate,” he explained in mid-2014 when the fund launched. “But if you look at our overall philosophy, I think that there is somewhat of a distinction in that the strategic investment office has more of a direct linkage in terms of how ecommerce will be used. Whereas for me, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in that vector. Neither side has any influence on the other, but we are in very tight communication in terms of what happens on each side.”

First appeared in TechinAsia