26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Shinichiro Hori, president, Z Venture Capital

Shinichiro Hori serves as president of Z Venture Capital (ZVC), a ¥30bn ($271m) vehicle that was created in April 2021 as the result of a union between Line Ventures and YJ Capital, the respective corporate venturing subsidiaries of messaging platform developer Line and Japan-based internet company Yahoo Japan.

Yahoo Japan and Line, which was formed by South Korea-headquartered internet group Naver, had closed their merger earlier in the same month and will operate under Z Holdings, a publicly-listed holding company backed by Naver and telecommunications firm SoftBank.

The newly formed corporate venture capital (CVC) vehicle will invest in developers of technology related to Z Holdings’ group businesses, such as consumer services, e-commerce, healthcare, cybersecurity, financial technology and enterprise software.

“We aim to generate win-win collaboration between startups and Yahoo, Line and other group companies of Z Holdings,” Hori told Global Corporate Venturing.

Takeshi Idezawa, co-chief executive of Z Holdings, said: “Co-creation with startups that implement new services and technologies is essential for the continued growth of Z Holdings.

“I have high expectations for ZVC, which will play a role as the spearhead of Z Hodings’ global business.”

Z Holdings co-CEO Kawabe added: “I hope ZVC will scout Japan and the world for ventures, invest in promising companies ahead of time, and bring many future partners to the group.”

ZVC will target startup companies in Japan and South Korea as well as in the United States, China and Southeast Asia. It also intends to help US-based developers of edge technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain to expand in East Asia.

YJ Capital was formed in 2012 and its portfolio has included digital transformation technology provider LayerX and no-code development platform Yappli. Hori had served as the unit’s CEO for four and a half years.

Line Ventures’ investments have included smart lock technology producer Photosynth, travel booking platform developer KKDay and business finance provider Funding Societies.

Regarding investing in Japan, Hori said: “In addition to the three areas of commerce, media and fintech, ZVC will actively invest in the healthcare, cybersecurity and business-to-business software domains. In particular, ZVC will focus on supporting the continuous growth of its portfolio companies by investing in all stages from seed-stage startups to the middle to late-stage startups that are in the expansion phase of their business. We will also create opportunities for business collaboration between portfolio companies and Z Holdings group companies, and support the overseas expansion of portfolio companies.”

As for its global investment mandate, Hori explained: “We will promote investment activities in South Korea, Southeast Asia, the United States and China, and make flexible investments according to the market trends of each country. First, we will focus our investment activities in the areas of consumer services, e-commerce, fintech, and online-to-offline and mobility. We will explore frontier markets such as the US in the areas of AI, robotics and deep tech including blockchain, in order to provide support for our portfolio startups to expand into Asia. In addition, we will support the global expansion of businesses in Korea, Japan, and other countries.”