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Rakuten Ventures launches USD10m global fund

Rakuten Ventures has launched a USD100 million global investment fund which will target investments in start-ups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific, and the US.

The fund builds on the Southeast Asia fund, which was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio.
 
The larger global fund gives Rakuten Ventures the opportunity to empower the start-up ecosystem beyond Japan and Southeast Asia. It also supports Rakuten Ventures’ broader goal of long-term investments with start-ups that have the technology and potential to enable better user experience and facilitation. Over time, this will include an increased focus on growing the ecosystem, technology, membership and financial returns.
 
The fund will focus broadly on early stage investments in companies from the technology industry that are able to deliver financial returns with strategic relevance. This broader focus gives the fund a wider horizon for the type of start-ups and companies it interacts with, and how it interacts with them.
 
The fund operations will be run out of Singapore, with Saemin Ahn, the managing partner of Rakuten Ventures, acting as the fund advisor.
 
Ahn says: “If you just look at the last couple of years, companies like Waze and Viber are great examples of companies taking on massive issues like transportations and communications, breaking them down to their basics, and providing an engaging and sticky user experience that people have come to love and depend on. More Asia-based VCs are venturing out into different regions to look at investment as long-term growth vehicles. Since 2013, Rakuten Ventures has been one of such VCs to aggressively invest larger amounts into younger companies, to enable them to focus on product and service development.”
 
While the fund’s immediate focus will be on companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the US, Rakuten Ventures plans to take an aggressive approach in expanding operations around the globe.

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