Japan’s Rakuten targets Israel with $100 million VC fund

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Having acquired call app Viber, Rakuten is seeking more Israeli investments.

Chairman and Chief Executive of e-commerce operator Rakuten Inc Hiroshi Mikitani (L) and Viber Media Chief Executive Talmon Marco hold their smartphones as they pose during a news conference in Tokyo on February 14,

Four months after acquiring Viber’s call app Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is still eyeing Israel for future investments. The company today announced that its venture capital investment arm Rakuten Ventures has launched a new $100 million global fund that will target investments in startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific, and the US. The fund operations will be run out of Singapore and Rakuten Ventures’ managing partner Saemin Ahn will act as its fund advisor.

Rakuten stressed that it seeks start up investments that will improve the user experience.

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Ahn said, “If you just look at the last couple of years, Waze and Viber (that we have invested in) 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.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com 

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