University of Tokyo’s third investment fund reached a first close with capital from Tokyu Land and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Kosuke Ueda

Kosuke Ueda, president and CEO, UTokyoIPC. Image courtesy of University of Tokyo.

University of Tokyo’s Innovation Platform Company (UTokyoIPC) has launched a deeptech spinout investment scheme called Academic Startup Acceleration Fund (ASA Fund).

Real estate developer Tokyu Land and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government contributed to the first close of undisclosed size to ASA Fund. UTokyo IPC will start investing through the new initiative and continue to raise capital, including a commitment of an unspecified amount from the National University Corporation of the University of Tokyo, the institution‘s legal entity.

Formed in 2016, UTokyoIPC is led by president and chief executive Kosuke Ueda (pictured) and aims to strengthen the University of Tokyo’s venture ecosystem. The unit has backed more than 70 companies in Japan and elsewhere from pre-seed to later stages through its first two funds: ¥25bn ($161m) IPC Fund I and ¥25.6bn ($165m) Accelerating Open Innovation Fund I (AOI 1).

The AOI 1 fund reached final closing in February 2022, and was backed by the University of Tokyo as well as corporates Fuyo General Lease, Daikin Industries, Mitsubishi Estate, Hakuhodo and Zeon. MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Norinchukin Bank, SBI Group and Development Bank of Japan were also part of the roster of limited partners.

In addition to startup investments, UTokyo IPC has developed an entrepreneurship support programme, 1stRound, and a human resources matching platform, DeepTech Dive.

Some 85 companies over the past eight years have received support from 1stRound, which is co-sponsored by 14 universities including the University of Tokyo itself, and collaborates with 24 partner companies across various industries. DeepTech Dive meanwhile helped portfolio companies identify and recruit human talent and form teams.

Edison Fu

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