Japan’s second largest university has set its second venture funds worth $60 million in the region and possibly across the country. Through the Kyoto University Venture Fund (KUVF), the university will fund business initiatives proposed by its faculty and alumni members or “relevant persons who have significant potential synergy with the University, into viable ventures.”
The KUVF is managed by Miyako Capital, which set to base ventures on strictly commercial criteria. According to Kenshin Fujiawara, investment “startups don’t necessarily have to be in Kyoto, or even in Japan, but do require some level of relationship with Kyoto University. For example, appointing an alumnus as a local director.” Thus, any institute that wishes to work with the University of Kyoto may do so and be granted with a startup fund. Even business concepts developed by its students may be supported by the KUVF. Fujiwara, who is a partner at Miyako Capital, also said that negotiations are currently on-going with Singapore based venture capital firms. If they come into an agreement, these businesses may also establish in Japan and have an investment through the KUVF.
The investment process is separate from Kyoto University, which is also locally referred as Kyodai, but has set to follow the following criteria: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Life Science and Biotechnology, Environment and Energy, and Agricultural Food. Investment of the KUVF range from $500,000 to a few million. However, the stage and industry of the startup will still affect the amount of investment it will be granted with. Funds may also be granted for startups that are in seed stage even without an established company given that the immediate team is already experienced.