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Active Japanese Investors and Enterprises in Israel


Quite a few venture capital firms and corporate venture capital arms from Japan are active in Israel, and their cumulative investments in Israeli high-tech companies topped 1 billion dollars in 2020. If you’re a start-up looking for an investment from a firm that can not only provide funds but also expertise and an entry point to the Japanese market, or interested in collaborating with Japanese businesses in any other fashion- please check out the list below, where we gathered some of the most actively investing Japanese firms with a presence in Israel.

Venture capital firms

Samurai Incubate

Established in 2008, Samurai Incubate Inc is an early-stage Japanese Venture Capital firm and the first Incubator in Japan. The Samurai Incubate Israel team, which was established in 2014, is dedicated to taking ventures from the very basic stages to greater heights, and to later connect them to the Japanese market. With their large community in Israel and their strong connection to the corporate world and the ecosystem in both countries, their team is constantly looking to create and strengthen the bridge between Japan and Israel by combining Japan’s industry with Israel’s cutting edge technology and innovative spirit. They invest in bold Startups that are trying to improve, inspire and impact our lives.

They have raised a total of $52M from 3 different funds, from the Samurai Africa Fund and the Samurai Incubate Fund. They invested in over 100 investments, with over 30 in Israel.

Industry Preferences: Enterprise Solutions, Retail, Blockchain, Construction, Fintech, IOT, Foodtech, Logistics and Healthcare.

People of Interest: Ken Sakakibara, CEO; Shirley Binder, Head of Israeli Branch; Ravid Levi, Enterprise Relationship Manager; Rena Yoneyama, Managing Partner.

HQ: Tel-Aviv, Israel; Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.samurai-incubate-israel.asia/


Global Brain

Founded in 1998, Global Brain Corporation is an early stage venture capital firm. GB accelerates growth of portfolio companies in the long run by providing not only capital but also support to build strategies, partnerships and a team to achieve their milestones.

They have raised a total of $425M across 4 funds, their latest being Global Brain Corporation Fund, and have a total asset under management of $900M, making them the largest domestic independent venture capital firm. They made 235 investments across the world. In 2017, Global Brain invested in the Israeli startup Aspectiva (smart shopping), which was sold to Walmart in 2019.

Industry Preferences: Financial Services.

People of Interest: Yasuhiko Yurimoto, Founder & CEO; Zak Murase, Venture Partner; Hiroyoshi Iwata, Venture Capitalist; Junji Okamoto, Startup Investor and Business Development.

HQ: Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://globalbrains.com/


GiTV

Founded in 2017 (2018 in Israel), Global IoT Technology Ventures (GiTV) is an early-stage investor that focuses on industrial IoT Core technologies and value generated new opportunities. They bridge between Japan and top innovation clusters, with Israel in the top list. GiTV has an investment range of $3.5M - $18.5M.

Industry Preferences: IoT, AI, Robotics, Cyber Security, Human Interface, Logistics(I4.0/IIoT), Digital Health, FinTech, AgriTech, FoodTech and Renewable Energy.

People of Interest: Toshihisa Adachi, President and CEO; Yonatan Beck, Partner;

HQ: Tel-Aviv, Israel; Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.gitv.vc/


Corundum

Founded in 2015, Corundum Open Innovation is a venture capital fund seeking to invest in promising high-tech companies in Israel at all stages of product development. Corundum is backed by Japanese corporations. Corundum provides portfolio companies with ongoing support to ensure execution, from business development to operations management and beyond.

They have an investment range of $6M - $35M, while mainly investing in Theranica, an Israeli biomedical technology company focused on developing electronic and wireless communication technology.

Industry Preferences: Pharmaceuticals, Digital Healthcare, Life Sciences, Neuroscience.

People of Interest: Shlomo Kalish, General Partner; David Ben-Ami, General Partner; Ilan Keiselstein, Business Development; Shinichi Okamoto, Business Development.

HQ: Herzliya, Israel; Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.corundumoi.com/


Corporate Venture Capital firms


SBI JI Innovation

Formed in early 2017, SBI JI Innovation is a biopharma focused VC. They were established as a partnership between SBI Holdings of Japan and Vertex Israel. Together as SBI JI, they invest in Israeli venture-backed biopharma companies across different development stages, while focusing on cutting-edge science and groundbreaking innovation. They mostly search for companies that already have attracted investment from world-class investors and have an excellent managing team with a rich pipeline. The fund has made a couple of investments related to Cancer Therapies related companies, such as Adicet Bio and Ayala Pharmaceuticals.

The SBI Group’s total assets under management surged, primarily in investment trusts, and topped ¥1 trillion in September 2018. Vertex is a global venture capital firm with $1 billion under management with many exits, mainly through M&A and IPO. SBI JI investment range is between $10M to $45M.

Industry Preferences: Fintech, Pharmaceuticals, Cyber-Security, Biotechnology, Genetic-Disorders, Insurtech, Biopharmaceutical.

People of interest: Ryo Nakashima, Managing Director; David Ben-Ami, General Partner.

HQ: Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Website: https://www.sbi-ji.co.il/

Magenta Venture Partners

Founded in 2018, Magenta Venture Partners is a venture capital firm focused exclusively on Israeli and Israeli-related early stage technology start-ups across multiple categories. Magenta is backed by prominent Japanese institutional investors, including Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Koito Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

They recently announced a new fund targeting $100M, from Mitsui & Co, to focus on early-stage investments in the domains listed below. Magenta’s Investment amounts are around $5M-$25M, with their biggest investments being BrightWayVision, which is developing an automotive camera system to make driving easier and safer.

Industry Preferences: Enterprise Software, IoT, Industry 4.0, Automotive, Mobility, AI, Fintech, Digitalization, SAAS, Smart-City, Cyber Security, ML, Enterprise-Software, Logistics, Automotive and Data Analytics.

People of interest: Ori Israely, Managing General Partner; Dave Takeuchi, Managing General Partner; Atsushi Mizuno, General Partner; Ran Levitzky, General Partner.

HQ: Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Website: https://www.magenta.vc/

IN Ventures

Founded in 2019, IN Ventures is an Israel's focused corporate VC, the Israeli arm of the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation. The fund invests in deep early-stage technology start-ups that have the potential to make a global impact while making a business connection between portfolio companies and Sumitomo Corporation. .

The fund has $100M managed assets from Sumitomo Corporation and has a $1M-$5M investment range. Recently, they’ve invested in Anagog which offers AI solutions and H2PRO which offers Hydrogen fuel production technology.

Industry Preferences: Cyber Security, AI, Food-Tech, Energy, Data-Analytics, Smart Mobility, ML, Digital Healthcare and Enterprises Solutions.

People of interest: Eyal Rosner, Managing Partner; Eitan Naor, Managing Partner.

HQ: Tel-Aviv, Israel; Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.in-venture.com/

Docomo Ventures

Established in early 2008, Docomo Ventures is the gateway for the start-up and venture community in NTT Group. The fund invests in the field of information technology, telecommunications and content platform services.

They have raised $240M from 2 funds: NNT Investment Partners Fund and DOCOMO Innovation Fund Partnership, and have invested in over 100 projects, with a $100M investment to Skydio, which utilizes artificial intelligence to create flying drones. They have a wide investment range, from $5M to $100M.

Industry Preferences: AI, Information Technology, Financial Services, Drone Management, ML, Retail Tech and Virtual Reality.

People of interest: Christina Ku, Director; Takayuki Inagawa, President & CEO.

HQ: Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.nttdocomo-v.com/

MS&AD Ventures

Founded in 2018, MS&AD Ventures is a leading global insurance organization, engaging in the management of its group companies which are Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., Ltd. and others. They look for great teams in interesting markets, especially companies that aspire to go global in the next 3-5 years.

The venture has raised $120M from MS&AD Ventures I, and have an investment range from $500K to $3M. Their most recent investment was in the Israeli start-up BlackSwan, which develops an enterprise AI operating system used for risk management and more.

Industry Preferences: RiskTech, InsurTech, FinTech, IOT, Climate, Cyber Security, Mobility, Health, AI, ML and Analytics.

People of interest: Takashi Sato, Managing Partner; Jon Soberg, Managing Partner; Tiffine Wang, Managing Partner.

HQ: Menlo Park, California, United States.

Website: https://msad.vc/

31 Ventures

Founded in 2015, 31 Ventures is a venture co-creation by Mitsui Fudosan Co.,Ltd. They provide financial and managerial support alongside uplifting communities to create an environment for startups to grow and gain ability. They also provide a comfortable office environment.

They have a fund of over $80M from Mitsui Fudosan and Global Brain, and their investment range is $4M - $25M. They were the lead investors in Axelspace ($25M), which is a commercial microsatellite developer and satellite imagery provider.

Industry Preferences: AI, Robotics, Big Data and Analytics, Information Technology.

People of Interest: Atsumi Kanaya, Executive Officer; Nobuyuki Tanka, Executive Officer; Hirofumi Iwasaki, Project Manager; Keiichirou Koumura, Project Manager.

HQ: Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.31ventures.jp/

Trading Companies


Mitsubishi


Founded in 1950, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is Japan's largest trading company and a member of the Mitsubishi keiretsu. The corporation is a global integrated business enterprise that develops and operates businesses together with its offices and subsidiaries in approximately 90 countries and regions worldwide, as well as a global network of around 1,700 group companies.


With 10 offices and subsidiaries in approximately 90 countries, they have a very vast investment range, going from $5M up to over $1B. Mitsubiti recently made an investment of $20M in the Israeli B2B payment and credit network company developer Fundbox.


Industry Preferences: Virtually any industry, including Natural Gas, Industrial Materials, Petroleum & Chemicals, Mineral Resources, Industrial Infrastructure, Automotive & Mobility, Food Industry, Consumer Industry and Power Solutions.


People of interest: Leor Ben Yakov, Chief Innovation Officer TLV; Kenji Narushima, Chief Strategy Officer.


HQ: Tokyo, Japan.


Website: https://www.mitsubishicorp.com/



Mitsui


Founded in 1947, Mitsui & Co. is one of the world's most diversified general trading and investment companies. They operate across 140 offices in 65 countries, utilising their global operating locations, networks and information resources to multilaterally pursue business.


They have a wide investment range, going from $3M to $150M. They recently joined with $100M to a VC fund for Israeli Startups - Magenta.


Industry Preferences: Iron & Steel Products, Mineral & Metal Resources, Infrastructure Projects, Integrated Transportation Systems, Chemicals, Energy, Food Resources, Food Products & Services, Consumer Services, IT & Communication.


People of Interest: Ari Dotan, Deputy General Manager; Liron Rotem, Business Development Manager; Ori Friedman, Investor, Operator and Business Developer.


HQ: Tokyo, Japan.


Website: https://www.mitsui.com/




Itochu


Founded in 1858, ITOCHU Corporation is one of the leading Sogo Shosha in Japan, engaging in domestic trading, import/export, business investments in Japan and overseas and much more. With approximately 100 bases in 62 countries, they also made multifaceted investments in insurance agencies, construction, real estate trading, and warehousing.


They have an investment range going from about $3M up to $40M. Itochu recently joined a partnership with the Israeli startup Via, which offers on-demand ride-sharing services in about a dozen countries.


Industry Preferences: textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology, banking and finance.


People of Interest: Tomer Lidor, Manager at Hi-Tech department at ITOCHU Israel; Sanshiro Fukao, Senior Research Fellow, Kenichi Hisamatsu, General Manager.


HQ: Tokyo, Japan; Osaka, Japan.


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


Sumitomo


Founded in 1919, Sumitomo Corporation (“SC”) is a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company with 114 locations in overseas countries/regions and 22 locations in Japan. SC conducts commodity transactions in all industries utilizing worldwide networks, provides related customers with various financing, serves as an organizer and a coordinator for various projects, and invests in companies to promote greater growth potential.

The corporation conducts business activities in a wide range of industries on a global scale, including import and export, with its six business units listed above.


SC has an investment range of about $2M - $20M. In June 2019, the Sumitomo Corporation Group founded IN Venture in Tel Aviv, which made a $10M investment in the Israeli startup Anagog, Reinventing Real-World Personal Engagement.


Industry Preferences: Metal Products, Transportation and Construction Systems, Infrastructure, Media and Digital, Living Related and Real Estate, Mineral Resources, Energy, and Chemical and Electronic.


People of Interest: Shingo Hosotani, General Manager EU; Jeffrey Smith, Director, Investment & Portfolio Management; Tadashi Tanimoto, Manager.


HQ: Tokyo, Japan.


Website: https://www.sumitomocorp.com/


Marubeni


Founded in 1858, Marubeni Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries use their broad business networks, both within Japan and overseas, to conduct importing and exporting (including third country trading), as well as domestic business, encompassing a diverse range of business activities across wide-ranging fields. Additionally, the Marubeni Group offers a variety of services, makes internal and external investments, and is involved in resource development throughout all of the above industries. Starting in 2019, the corporation also has a VC fund, Marubeni Ventures, which has an office in Tel Aviv.


They have a wide investment range, going from about $5M up to $150M. In 2020, Marubeni Ventures has invested in the Israeli startup D-ID, which offers a system designed to protect images from unauthorized automated facial recognition.


Industry Preferences: lifestyle, ICT & real estate business, forest products, food, agri business, chemicals, energy, metals & mineral resources, power business, infrastructure project, aerospace & ship, finance & leasing business, construction, industrial machinery & mobility, and next generation business development.


People of Interest: Yanay Geva, Head of Business Development in Tel-Aviv; Hiroki Yamaji, Country Manager (Israel).


HQ: Tokyo, Japan.

Website: https://www.marubeni.com/



Toyota Tsusho

Founded in 1948, Toyota Tsusho is the trading arm of the Toyota Group. The corporation does business with customers around the world through a global network spanning around 120 countries and 1000 group companies. The general trading company business model rests on two axes - trading and business investment.

Toyota Tsusho has an investment range of about $1M - $40M. In late 2019, The corporation entered a partnership with OurCrowd, Israel’s largest crowdfunding platform, to scout for Israeli Tech.

Industry Preferences: Metals, Global Parts & Logistics, Automotive, Machinery, Energy & Project, Chemicals & Electronics, Food & Consumer Services.

People of Interest: Kazunori Mori, Country Manager (Israel); Ryohei Ueda, Project Manager.

HQ: Main - Nagoya, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Osaka, Japan.

Website: https://www.toyota-tsusho.com/



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