SBI Holdings Launches 100 Billion Yen Web3 Fund to Boost Japanese Start-ups
The fund aims to propel Web3, AI, and metaverse development in Japan. This coincides with the Japanese gaming business' move toward blockchain tech, signaling a major shift in the country's digital scene.
SBI Holdings, a renowned Japanese financial firm, has announced a significant push to support Japan's Web3 businesses. They are launching a 100 billion yen fund focused on new technologies like Web3, AI, and the metaverse. This is to help Japanese startups compete on a global scale, with funding to begin by the end of 2023.
With that, SBI plans to finance 150-200 startups in various tech fields, injecting several hundred million to several billion yen into each. The goal is to speed up innovation and support the nation's startup ecosystem.
This funding responds to Japan's lag in startup numbers and success compared to the U.S. and Europe. The Kishida Government recognized this in November 2022 with a Five-Year Plan for Start-up Development. At the time, Prime Minister Kishida emphasized the need for stronger support for local entrepreneurs.
SBI's Web3 fund has secured over 50 billion yen from major institutions like Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mizuho Bank. This demonstrates the project's significance in revitalizing the nation's startup scene.
Such a huge fund is unusual in Japan, particularly in venture capital. An SBI representative highlighted the need for stronger financial support for startups to compete globally.
Japan's gaming industry is also embracing Web3. For instance, Bandai Namco has teamed up with Oasys to create RYUZO, a virtual pet game centered around a series of NFT digital creatures. Square Enix, best known for famous titles like Final Fantasy, has partnered with Polygon to launch its Web3 project Symbiogenesis. Sega, a prominent player in gaming, is going Web3 with Battle of Three Kingdoms – Sangokushi Taisen, a highly anticipated trading card game (TCG).