Top 50 Rising Stars 2022 (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Daisuke Mitani, senior director, KDDI Open Innovation Fund

Daisuke “DK” Mitani joined KDDI Open Innovation Fund, the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of Japan-based telecommunications company KDDI Corporation, in October 2018 and invests across the North American and European markets as senior director of the investment team.

Mitani, who was involved in the formation of the unit, said: “Through our experience to create new business with startup companies, we came to the understanding of the necessity to have a specific arm to tackle it.

“I thought having a CVC arm also contributes to the growing ecosystem of Japanese startups, while the size of startup funding was less than $1bn at that period of time.”

Regarding his professional ambitions for the future, Mitani said: “Since I have my roots in Japan, I am eager to contribute to the sustainable growth of the Japanese economy.

“Bridging startups between the different markets definitely stimulates each market. I want to be the connector of innovations amongst those regions.”

Among the investments that mark successes for the European and North American offices he represents, Mitani cites three in particular that they invested in during series A rounds and have subsequently gone to series B, including digital assets investment platform Securatize, collectibles investment platform RallyRD and automated communications company Allganize.

Other investments in his portfolio include public transportation data provider WhereIsMyTransport, meeting management software Bizly, GPS technology provider Swift Navigation and AI-enabled search engine Xayn.

A true KDDI veteran, prior to joining the Open Innovation Fund, Mitani spent 17 years at KDDI Corporation – as assistant manager from 2001 to 2010 and M&A manager from 2010 to 2018.

Fernando Moncada Rivera

Fernando Moncada Rivera is a reporter at Global Corporate Venturing and also host of the CVC Unplugged podcast.