The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Kenyu Sobajima, KDDI Open Innovation Fund
Kenyu Sobajima is a US-based senior director of investments at Japan-headquartered telecoms firm KDDI, “the second-largest telecoms company in Japan with more than 45 million mobile customers”. He has worked for KDDI for 22 years and in 2015 moved to its corporate venturing subsidiary KDDI Open Innovation Fund in San Francisco.
Sobajima said KDDI Open Innovation Fund was launched in 2012 with two initial endowments of $50m each, and it has recently expanded again with a third fund of $200m.
He said: “When I was in Japan, I managed the US investment team and seven investments in the US.” For example, in late 2014, Sobajima led a series A $10m funding for Ossia, a US-based developer of remote wireless charging technology.
After relocating to the US in 2015, he made five investments and oversaw incubation and acceleration program KDDI Mugen Labs. He also managed KDDI’s business partnership with internet technology provider Google, social media company Facebook and Japan-based social gaming companies Gree and Colopl, among others.
Currently, KDDI Open Innovation Fund has 50 portfolio companies, and has concluded successful exits. Completed IPOs include those of Japan-based online advertising platform Logly, Japan-based smartphone push message platform developer iRidge, Philippines-based online English learning platform provider RareJob Philippines and China-based data centre operation services provider 21 Vianet Group.
Other exits include US-based teachers communication service provider Edmodo, US-based smart lock producer August Home, Japan-based fashion-oriented social network Vasily and Japan-based code-free app development tool developer IQP.