13 Top Japan Venture Capital Firms for Early-Stage Startups [2024]

If you’re looking for Japan venture capital firms to help fund your early-stage startup, here are 15 options to explore.

Japan is known for more than just its cherry blossoms and samurai swords. It is a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology. Because of its strong focus on technology and openness to new ideas, it creates a unique environment for startups and venture capital to thrive.

In 2022, venture capitalists in Japan raised a total of ¥616.5 billion ($4.16 billion), with assets under management in this sector increasing by 12% from 2013. This development highlights the vast possibilities that Japan’s venture capital market provides for early-stage businesses.

If you are a startup founder looking for venture capital firms to fund your early-stage startup. Here is our list of top Japan venture capital firms. 

13 Early-Stage Japan Venture Capital Firms

1. East Ventures

East Ventures is a renowned Japanese venture capital firm. They are the most active investor in SEA and Indonesia, according to various media. And they were named the most consistent top-performing VC fund globally. They provide multi-stage investments, from seed to growth stage investments. Also, they are committed to achieving sustainable development and bringing positive impacts to society through their initiatives and ESG-embedded practices.

Japan Venture Capital

Details of East Ventures

Foundation Year: 2009

Countries of Operation: 

  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Japan

Number of Investments: 829

Lead Investments: 257

Number of Exits: 54

Funds raised: $1.1B

Focus of East Ventures

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Late Stage Startup

Industries

  • AI & ML
  • Cybersecurity
  • E-Commerce
  • Fintech
  • Health & Wellness
  • Supply Chain & Logistics
  • DTC
  • Education
  • Agriculture

Notable Investments

1. Mercari

URL: www.mercari.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: ¥17.6B

2. RedMart

URL: www.redmart.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: $55.1M

3. Tokopedia

URL: www.tokopedia.com

Funding Rounds: 11 

Total Funding: $2.8B

Contact

Website: https://east.vc/ 

Email: info@east.vc

2. DCM

DCM is a global venture capital firm in Japan. Since 1996, they have invested in more than 300 technology companies across Asia and the U.S. They also assist entrepreneurs in building companies that will change how institutions and people use and live with technology.

Besides that DCM partner has operational experience and building hyper-growth startups into billion-dollar businesses. They also empower their entrepreneurs with operational guidance, financial resources and a global network of business.

Details of DCM

Foundation Year: 1996

Countries of Operation:

  • USA
  • China
  • Japan

Number of Investments: 742

Lead Investments: 192

Number of Exits: 133

Funds raised:  $4.1B

Minimum cheque size: $500,000

Maximum Cheque Size: $2,000,000

Focus of DCM

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • Internet & Mobile
  • Consumer
  • Social
  • Gaming
  • SaaS

Notable Investments

 1. SoFi

URL: www.sofi.com

Funding Rounds: 18

Total Funding: $4.1B

2. Careem

URL: careem.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: $771.7M

3. Life360

URL: www.life360.com

Funding Rounds: 15

Total Funding: $140.2M

Contact

Website: https://www.dcm.com/

Email: businessplan@dcm.com

Phone: (415) 321-1882

3. Strive

Strive is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Tokyo, SEA. They mainly focus on seed to early-stage startups and support from launch to expansion of the business. Also, they defy the existing boundaries as investors and help every aspect of business growth. Besides that, they also provide proactive, hands-on support and become the best Japan venture capital for entrepreneurs

Details of Strive

Foundation Year: 2011

Countries of Operation: 

  • Japan
  • Singapore

Number of Investments: 192

Lead Investments: 53

Number of Exits: 60 

Funds raised: 10.2B

Focus of Strive

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • Transportation
  • Travel & Hospitality
  •  Marketplace

Notable Investments

1. Grab

URL: www.grab.com

Funding Rounds: 34

Total Funding: $16.5B

2. Galapagos

URL: www.glpgs.com

Funding Rounds: 2

Total Funding: ¥1.3B

3. Qoala

URL: www.qoala.app

Funding Rounds: 5

Total Funding: $89M

Contact:

Website: https://strive.vc/en/

Email: info+1@strive.vc

4.   ITOCHU Technology Ventures

Itochu Technology Ventures is a well-known Japanese corporate venture fund seeking early-stage startup investment opportunities. They are one of the world’s largest corporations, with offices in over 80 countries.

Their goal is to invest and help build top information technology companies by leveraging a vast array of resources both internationally and domestically throughout ITOCHU and their group companies. Also, the ITOCHU group has a long track record of funding information technology companies with great success, including NVIDIA, Siebel Systems, Openwave, and Aruba Networks

Details of ITOCHU Technology Ventures

Foundation Year: 2000

Countries of Operation: 

  • Japan

Number of Investments: 193 

Lead Investments: 41 

Number of Exits: 22 

Funds raised: $336.7M

Minimum cheque size: $5,000,000

Focus of ITOCHU Technology Ventures

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Late Stage  Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • Consumer
  • Enterprise
  • Internet & Mobile

Notable Investments

 1. Box

URL: www.box.com

Funding Rounds: 14

Total Funding: $1.1B

2. Mercari

URL: www.mercari.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: ¥17.6B

3. TriNetX

URL: trinetx.com

Funding Rounds: 2

Total Funding: $42.5M

Contact 

Website: https://www.techv.co.jp/

Phone: +81 2013042910

5. Plug and Play Tech Center

Plug and Play venture capital firm is the ultimate innovation platform. Their mission is to build the world’s leading innovation platform and make it accessible to everyone. They achieve it by connecting entrepreneurs, corporations, and investors.

Also, they’re working with partners to build a system that connects people, invests in startups, and brings together key stakeholders. So far, they have built a unique network of strategic investors, experienced entrepreneurs, and industry leaders who actively support the firm with its successful and expanding investment portfolio

Details of Plug and Play Tech Center

Foundation Year: 2006

Countries of Operation: 

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Brazil
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Morocco
  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • South Africa
  • Italy
  • France
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea

Number of Investments: 1683

Lead Investments: 139

Number of Exits: 160

Funds raised: $45.5M

Minimum cheque size: $50,000

Maximum Cheque Size: $250,000

Focus of Plug and Play Tech Center

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Series A
  • Series B
  • Series C

Industries

  • DTC
  • Enterprise
  • Fintech
  • Food & Beverage
  • Healthcare
  • InsurTech
  • IoT
  • Media
  • Transportation
  • Hardware
  • Proptech & Real Estate
  • Supply Chain & Logistics
  • Climate & Sustainability
  • Travel & Hospitality
  • Agriculture
  • Energy

Notable Investments

 1. Verse

URL: https://verse.me/

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: $37.6M

2. Honeyation

URL: www.joinhoney.com

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $31.8M

3. Life360

URL: http://www.life360.com/

Funding Rounds: 15

Total Funding: $140.2M

Contact

Website: https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/

Email: investment@plugandplaytechcenter.com

Phone: +1 408-524-1400

6. Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is a government organization. They provide investment support and opportunities for founders looking to build their businesses. Their mission is to accelerate the development of companies to achieve a solid position in the global marketplace, resulting in increased national and regional prosperity. Besides that, they also provide the necessary support to companies to develop, grow, scale, and achieve their global ambition

Details of  Enterprise Ireland

Foundation Year: 1998

Countries of Operation: 

  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Czechia
  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Poland
  • Brazil
  • USA
  • Canada
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Australia
  • China
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Kenya

Number of Investments: 765

Lead Investments: 163

Number of Exits: 100

Funds raised: €179M

Focus of Enterprise Ireland

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Late Stage Startup
  • Private Equity
  • Seed

Industries

  • Life Sciences
  • Industrial

Notable Investments

1. Cubic Telecom

URL: www.cubictelecom.com

Funding Rounds: 8

Total Funding: $122.4M

2. Soapbox Labs

URL:  soapboxlabs.com

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $11.8M

3. AYLIEN

URL: http://aylien.com/

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $9.3M

Contact:

Website: https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/

Email: equitydept@enterprise-ireland.com

Phone: +353 (1) 7272000

7.  Salesforce Ventures

Salesforce Ventures is a well-known corporate venture capital firm. They focus mainly on investing in enterprise software. They aim to assist driven entrepreneurs in constructing pioneering companies. Besides that, they have a great enthusiasm for the long-term positive effects of business technology.

Details of  Salesforce Ventures

Foundation Year:  2009

Countries of Operation:

  • USA
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Japan

Number of Investments: 820

Lead Investments: 148

Number of Exits: 138

Funds raised: $1.3B

Minimum check size: $1,000,000

Maximum check size: $2,000,000

Focus of Salesforce Ventures

Stage 

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Late Stage Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • Cloud
  • SaaS
  • Enterprise
  • Healthcare
  • Productivity
  • Fintech
  • Cybersecurity
  • Automation

Notable Investments

 1. Zoom

URL: zoom.us

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $276M

2. DocuSign

URL: www.docusign.com

Funding Rounds: 20

Total Funding: $536.2M

3. Infor

URL: www.infor.com

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $4B

Contact

Website: https://salesforceventures.com/

8. HAX

HAX is a well-known hard tech venture capital firm with residency programs for pre-seed funding. Startups apply to HAX with an initial prototype, customer insight, and vision. Then, they invest and build alongside their founders, fundamentally inflecting their technical progress with their team of engineers and investment partners. Founders should think of HAX as an extension of their engineering, business development, fundraising, design, and marketing teams.

As startups reach critical milestones, they support fundraising strategy and investor introductions. They also continue to invest, to the tune of over $25 million USD per year globally, and just raised an additional $100M in capital to support the later-stage growth of our startups. ‍

Details of  HAX

Foundation Year: 2012

Countries of Operation: 

  • China
  • Japan
  • USA

Number of Investments: 573

Lead Investments: 10 

Number of Exits: 13 

Funds raised: $5,000,000

Maximum Cheque Size: $250,000

Focus on HAX

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • Deep Tech & Hard Science
  • Robotics
  • Industrial
  • Infrastructure

Notable Investments:

1. Riot Games

URL: www.riotgames.com

Funding Rounds: 5

Total Funding: $21M

2. Roadie

URL: www.roadie.com

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $62M

3. AiSight

URL: aisight.de

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: $3.5M

Contact

Website: https://hax.co/

Email: makeit@hax.co

9. Cyber Agent Capital

CyberAgent Ventures is a Japanese venture capital firm. They are leading global innovation jointly with unicorn startups. They invest in venture companies with high potential in Internet-related businesses, led by entrepreneurs with excellent management and leadership. They have headquartered in Tokyo. They also have a presence in South Korea, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam and invest in startups in those countries..

Details of Cyber Agent Capital

Foundation Year: 2006

Countries of Operation: 

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • USA
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia

Number of Investments: 396

Lead Investments: 87

Number of Exits: 46

Funds raised: $185.8M

Focus of Cyber Agent Capital

Stage

  • Early Stage
  • Seed

Industries

  • Fintech
  • Entertainment
  • SaaS
  • AI & ML
  • Education
  • AR & VR
  • Consumer
  • Proptech & Real Estate
  • DTC
  • IoT
  • Healthcare
  • Marketplace

Notable Investments:

1. Sansan

URL: www.sansan.com

Funding Rounds: 9

Total Funding: $120.5M

2. Paidy

URL: www.paidy.com

Funding Rounds: 12

Total Funding: $397.9M

3. Tokopedia

URL: www.tokopedia.com

Funding Rounds: 11

Total Funding: $2.8B

Contact

Website: https://www.cyberagentcapital.com/

Phone: +81 363863933

10.  Globis Capital Partners

Globis Capital Partners (GCP)is a renowned venture capital firm in Japan. They prefer to invest in the technology, media, consumer services, and education technology sectors. They are known for their combination of local business presence. With a combination of local business presence through Globis Group and Western VC experience, they have established new VC standards in Japan, with hands-on and in-depth industry understanding.

Details of Globis Capital Partners

Foundation Year: 2006

Countries of Operation:

  •  Japan

Number of Investments: 191

Lead Investments: 68

Number of Exits: 36 

Funds raised: $1.5B

Focus of Globis Capital Partners

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Late Stage Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • Consumer
  • Enterprise
  • Internet & Mobile

Notable Investments

 1. Mercari

URL: www.mercari.com

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: ¥17.6B

2. Uzabase

URL: www.uzabase.com

Funding Rounds: 3  

Total Funding:  ¥774M

3. Akatsuki Games Inc.

URL: games.aktsk.jp

Funding Rounds:

Total Funding: ¥1.4B

Contact

Website: https://www.globiscapital.co.jp/en/

Email: info-gcp@globis.co.jp

Phone: +81 3-5275-3870

11.  White Star Capital

White Star Capital is a well-known international venture capital fund and multistage technology investment platform that invests in North America, Europe, and Asia. They back extraordinary entrepreneurs around the world, leveraging their enormous experience and networks to help them scale their businesses. Operating from New York, London, Montreal, Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, their presence, perspective, and people allow them to work closely with founders to help them scale worldwide from Series A onward.

.

Details of  White Star Capital

Foundation Year: 2007

Countries of Operation: 

  • USA
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Japan
  • China

Number of Investments: 161

Lead Investments: 65 

Number of Exits: 19 

Funds raised: $690.4M

Minimum cheque size: $1,000,000

Maximum Cheque Size: $6,000,000

Focus of  White Star Capital

Stage

  • Seed
  • Late Stage Startup
  • Series A
  • Series B

Industries

  • Healthcare
  • Internet & Mobile
  • Fintech
  • SaaS
  • Marketplace
  • DTC
  • Mobility
  • Productivity

Notable Investments

 1. Dfns

URL: www.dfns.co

Funding Rounds: 2

Total Funding: $14.6M

2. Unacast

URL: www.unacast.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: $51.1M

3. Dollar Shave Club

URL: www.dollarshaveclub.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: $163.5M

Contact

Website: https://whitestarcapital.com/

 Email: info@whitestarcapital.com

Phone: (239) 272-6030

12.  World Innovation Lab (WiL)

World Innovation Lab (WiL)  is an established venture capital from governments and global corporations. They prefer to invest in companies that are ready to scale and enter new markets. They also help US founders to expand into the Japanese market and support Japanese startups to expand globally. Their vision is to be the intermediary between corporates and startups in key hubs across the globe – starting with Japan and the US.

Besides that, they also support their corporate investors in evolving their own innovation capabilities through executive training, strategic advisory, and partnerships with leading startups.

.

Details of World Innovation Lab (WiL)

Foundation Year: 2013

Countries of Operation: 

  • USA
  • Japan

Number of Investments: 148

Lead Investments: 43

Number of Exits: 21 

Funds raised: $1.8B

Minimum cheque size: $5,000,000

Maximum Cheque Size: $30,000,000

Focus of World Innovation Lab (WiL)

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Late Stage Startup

Industries

  • Enterprise
  • SaaS
  • Fintech
  • InsurTech
  • Automation
  • Productivity
  • Cloud
  • Cybersecurity
  • Developer Tools
  • Climate & Sustainability
  • Healthcare

Notable Investments

 1. Mercari

URL: www.mercari.com

Funding Rounds: 7

Total Funding: ¥17.6B

2. Wise

URL:  wise.com

Funding Rounds: 13

Total Funding: $1.7B

3. Doctor On Demand

URL: www.doctorondemand.comhubs.com/

Funding Rounds: $31.5M

Total Funding: $235.7M

Contact

Website: https://wilab.com/

Email: contact@wilab.com

13.  Scrum Ventures

Scrum Ventures is well known early-stage Japan venture firm. They have a powerful network in Asia. They help startups and corporations innovate together. From their base in Silicon Valley, they prefer to invest in entrepreneurs who are innovating in different industries. 

Furthermore, they are uniquely positioned to assist portfolio companies seeking to expand internationally and accelerate their expansion in Asia. Recently, they launched Scrum Studios, including innovative corporations such as Panasonic, Nintendo, and Dentsu

Details of Scrum Ventures

Foundation Year: 2013

Countries of Operation: 

  • USA
  • Japan

Number of Investments: 159

Lead Investments:

Number of Exits: 14

Funds raised: $5.2M

Minimum cheque size: $500,000

Maximum Cheque Size: $5,000,000

Focus of Scrum Ventures

Stage

  • Early Stage Startup
  • Seed

Industries

  • SaaS
  • InsurTech
  • Fintech
  • Healthcare
  • Deep Tech & Hard Science
  • Robotics

Notable Investments

 1. ExaWizards

URL: exawizards.com

Funding Rounds: 4

Total Funding: ¥6.2B

2. Origin

URL: www.origin.io

Funding Rounds: 3

Total Funding: $12.3M

3. Chariot

URL: www.chariot.com

Funding Rounds: 2

Total Funding: $6M

Contact

Website: https://scrum.vc/

Email: contact@scrum.vc

Phone: (415) 722-9424

This is our list of Japanese venture capitalists willing to invest in your startup. You must understand that getting funds in the early stage will be hard. So, you have to be well prepared from MVP to equity. Make sure you cover it all. You can also discuss everything with an expert if you want. 

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