Japanese venture capital firm GREE Ventures has marked the first close of its third fund that seeks to raise $130 million to invest in startups in India, Southeast Asia and Japan, multiple media reports said.
The VC firm has also rebranded itself to Strive to establish its independence from parent GREE Inc, a Japanese gaming and social networking firm, Nikhil Kapur, partner at the fund, told TechCrunch.
"People often confuse us as a single LP fund. But we’re quite independent from GREE, plus we’re not a corporate fund and we’re not investing in gaming," he said.
Limited Partners (LPs), or investors, in the fund, include GREE Inc, members of Japanese banking holding company Mizuho Financial Group and SME Support JAPAN, which is part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.
GREE Ventures and members of Mizuho had also come in as LPs in the second fund. Kapur said that the VC firm for the first time is also trying to get non-Japanese LPs.
The new fund will focus on business-to-business (B2B) segments. Investments in B2B startups soared 364% to $3.7 billion in 2018 from 2014, according to a study conducted by NetApp in partnership with Zinnov. The number of B2B tech startups has more than tripled from 900 in 2014 to over 3,200 in 2018, it added.
Gree Ventures’ $50 million first fund – AT-I fund – was launched in 2014. Its second fund had made the final close at $67 million in 2017.
The VC firm's investments in India include Delhi-based online community for women POPxo, on-demand fashion rental platform Flyrobe and tech-enabled property startup BuildSupply.
Other Japanese investment firms, notably SoftBank Group Corp, have also been actively investing in Indian startups. Japanese seed investor Incubate Fund's bets in India include e-sports startup GamingMonk and co-living startup StayAbode. Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund (AET Fund), a $50-million proprietary investment vehicle of Los Angeles- and Tokyo-based entertainment company Akatsuki Inc, has invested in gaming startup Mech Mocha and B2B e-commerce startup ShopKirana, among others.