The $46m JGC Mirai Innovation Fund will invest in startups working on net-zero emission, green infrastructure, lifestyle and industry 4.0 technologies globally.

Japan-headquartered infrastructure group JGC Holdings and its engineering subsidiary, JGC Corporation, have earmarked ¥10bn ($92m) for open innovation investments, half of which will go to a newly formed corporate venturing arm. JGC Mirai Innovation Fund is set to operate for 10 years and will be managed by venture capital firm Global Brain. It will target developers of carbon neutrality, sustainable infrastructure, lifestyle improvement and smart industry technologies and products, in Japan and internationally. Founded in 1928 as Japan Gasoline, JGC initially manufactured petroleum products including gasoline, kerosene and diesel. In the subsequent decade it has pivoted its focus to engineering services and diversified its business to cover construction, nuclear power, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and healthcare globally. The group also intends to solve domestic social issues caused by factors such as an ageing population, declining birthrate and outdated infrastructure. Global Brain will provide its startup network and help the fund identify startup investment opportunities in a bid to create synergistic relationships with entrepreneurs in areas including business development and service improvement. Global Brain is overseeing multiple vehicles for Japan-based corporates including 31Ventures, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, Kuroneko Innovation Fund and Sony Financial Ventures, for real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan, telecommunications group KDDI, logistics firm Yamato and Sony Financial Holdings, the financial services arm of consumer electronics conglomerate Sony, respectively.

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Edison Fu

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