UTokyoIPC-aligned venture unit AOI I secured SMBC and Mitsubishi UFJ for an initial close intended to aid the generation of quality spinouts.

University of Tokyo’s Innovation Platform (UTokyoIPC) has raised an initial ¥2.8bn ($26.1m) for a new carveout-focused venture fund in partnership with patent information platform Astamuse and business development firm Dream Incubator.
University of Tokyo invested in the first close, as did financial services firms Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank.
The fund, dubbed AOI I, aims to generate high-quality spinouts by instilling a strong management ethos with sound market research, marrying UTokyoIPC’s tech transfer professionalism with resources from both Astamuse and Dream Incubator.
A carveout is typically defined as a spinout with intellectual property from a major corporation. AOI I has already made two investments: Fimecs, a UTokyo spinout carved out of pharmaceutical firm Takeda, and Onedot, a kids’ media carveout household product maker Unicharm.
More information on both companies can be found in today’s deal net. UTokyo IPC believes AOI I Fund will help its investees attract follow-on funding, potentially remedying falling venture dollars due to the coronavirus-associated economic slowdown.
The slowdown is seen as making it harder for Japan’s corporations to splinter off loss-making units with growth potential, hindering the country’s moves toward open innovation.
UTokyo IPC has previously sought industry backing with its 1st Round accelerator, securing backers including automotive firm Toyota Motor and insurance companies Nippon Life Insurance and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance.
The accelerator also works alongside property developer Mitsui Fudosan, IT equipment and real estate leasing company Fuyo General Lease and rail operator JR East’s Startup program.