26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Gen Tsuchikawa, Sony Innovation Fund

Gen Tsuchikawa has been vice-president  of corporate development at Japan-headquartered electronics producer Sony and chief investment manager at its corporate venturing unit Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) since August 2016.

Hiroki Totoki, representative corporate executive officer, senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Sony, said in his nomination of Tsuchikawa: “For the past 14 years, Gen has been relentlessly driving a wide range of strategic initiatives, spanning the whole spectrum of Sony’s diverse business domains and across Sony’s global worldwide footprint.

“As the head of Sony’s corporate development, he led a large number of complex buy-side and sell-side transactions. Since establishing Sony Innovation Fund from the ground up in 2016, Gen’s leadership has resulted in SIF investing in over 40 breakthrough startups. He and his global team continue to provide tremendous support to portfolio companies and instil a genuine open innovation momentum throughout the Sony group.”

Tsuchikawa initially joined in 2004 as senior vice-president of corporate development and treasury for the US electronics operations.

Since July 2016, Austin Noronha has been the fund’s US-based managing director. Noronha initially joined Sony at the end of 2001 as a managing director of its growth ventures and innovation group in San José, in the US state of California. In 2016, he helped restructure the CVC unit and relocated to the Silicon Valley.

SIF’s team sources and invests in startups developing disruptive technologies and pursue strategic partnerships with them. Both strategic and financial returns are priorities of the fund. It focuses on investments in the US, the EU, Israel and Japan.

One of the unit’s team members is this year’s GCV Rising Star Ludovic Copéré, a managing director of the fund, who came from Sony’s international offices spanning three continents in France, the UK, the US and Japan. Another managing director Joseph Tou also hailed from Sony’s corporate development unit.

SIF focuses on seed, early and middle-stage companies. The unit’s mission is to drive business creation, create a talented team, develop innovative and scalable technology and explore novel ecosystems on behalf of the broader Sony corporation.

The most recent deals include an $11m series A round for US-based vision technology developer Brodmann17 in March, a ¥140m ($1.3m) series A round for Japan-based insurance sales software developer Hokan in January and a $60m series B round for US-based mobility software developer RideCell in November.

In June last year, the fund participated in a series A round for US-based drone delivery service provider Matternet and a $18m series A round for Switzerland-based indoor drone technology developer Verity Studios.

Three months earlier, the fund funded US-based robotic locomotion technology developer Agility Robotics in an $8m series A round, and a month before that, it took part in the equity portion of the $41m equity and debt financing round for Japan-based digital asset management platform developer WealthNavi.

In the midst of its reorganisation in mid-2017, the fund invested an undisclosed amount in Japan-based cybersecurity startup Caulis and Japan-based electrostimulation device maker Happy Hacking Life.

Tsuchikawa has more than 30 years of investment and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) experience across industries including banking, wealth management and enterprise.

Before joining Sony, Tsuchikawa had been a director of investment banking at wealth management firm Merrill Lynch for five years covering M&A and technology media and telecoms.

Before that, he had served as a senior manager of the president’s office at Industrial Bank of Japan for more than 15 years where he managed tier-one financing, set up joint ventures with financial services firm Nomura and started a loan syndication business.

Tsuchikawa holds a bachelor of law degree from Hitotsubashi University and an MBA at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.