Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology has partnered Lifetime Ventures to raise a deep tech-focused fund with a target size of $40m.

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology campus. Photo courtesy of OIST. Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) joined forces today with Lifetime Ventures to create the OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund with a target size of ¥5bn ($40m). The fund will focus on early-stage deep tech developers emerging out of OIST, as well Japan and globally. It will aim to support founders beyond capital, helping them commercialise research through access to technical and domain experts. The fund of funds arm of venture capital firm Incubate Fund is backing the vehicle. Peter Gruss, president and chief executive of OIST, said: “There has never been a better time to start a company in Japan — venture capital available to startups in Japan has increased ten-fold in the last decade. “OIST is excited to partner with Lifetime Ventures to build on this momentum. With OIST as an intellectual centre, Okinawa will benefit from the confluence of world-leading research with risk capital to realise its potential as a regional innovation ecosystem.” Gil Granot-Mayer, executive vice-president of OIST, added: “We made OIST an attractive place for the world’s best scientific minds and we aspire to make it one of the most attractive places for the best innovators and entrepreneurs. “In recent years, OIST has persistently built-up resources and capabilities to fuel science and innovation in Okinawa. We offer startups from anywhere in the world a chance to build their startup in Okinawa. We also provide access to state-of-the-art equipment, incubation facility, our business partners, and a growing, international community of like-minded peers. “This fund is the next step in building a sustainable startup ecosystem around OIST and a great opportunity for Okinawa to place itself as one of the emerging hubs of innovation in the Asia-Pacific region.”

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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).