The MSG seasoning manufacturer has opened a Silicon Valley CVC office three years after it began startup investment activities in Japan.

Ajinomoto Silicon Valley office

Ajinomoto Corporate Venture Capital’s Silicon Valley office. Image courtesy of Ajinomoto.

Ajinomoto Corporate Venture Capital, part of Japanese food, pharmaceutical and chemical firm Ajinomoto, has launched a US office.

The parent firm is best known for its monosodium glutamate, more commonly known as MSG, a type of seasoning made from wheat. Ajinomoto also owns a cosmetic brand, Jino, and is active in medical and electronic material fields.

Ajinomoto Corporate Venture Capital was launched in late 2020 and has mainly invested in domestic startups such as ammonia synthesis technology developer Tsubame BHB, plant-based meat provider Daiz and On The Slope, which sells sustainable vegetables grown without pesticides.

The new Silicon Valley CVC department will seek global entrepreneurs developing technologies strategic to Ajinomoto including healthcare, food and wellness, information and communication technology, and sustainability.

Image of Shunji Takehana, VP and general manager, Ajinomoto Corporate Venture Capital, courtesy of LinkedIn.

Alongside this expansion, Ajinomoto CVC disclosed it has made a fund investment in Translink Capital, a US early-stage VC firm focusing on semiconductors, mobility, AI, healthcare, robotics and sustainability.

The unit also backed Elephantech, a Japanese sustainable manufacturing process developer focusing on metal inkjet printed circuit boards.

“Ajinomoto is built by scientists and engineers who execute on bold innovative ideas, and we believe there is no better place than Silicon Valley for us to keep our innovation edge sharp and find shared growth opportunities with entrepreneurs,” Shunji Takehana (pictured left), US general manager of the CVC subsidiary, said in a statement.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.