Japan’s Sojitz Corporation has signed a contract to invest in Continuum I, a venture fund operated by 3one4 Capital Advisors LLP, a Bangalore-based early-stage venture capital firm by Mohandas Pai’s sons — Pranav Pai and Siddarth Pai.
Sojitz Corporation is a sogo shosha (general trading company) based in Tokyo, Japan that also invests in various sectors and conducts financing activities.
With this investment in 3one4’s venture fund, Sojitz aims to obtain a broad range of information on market trends and promising startups with innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
3one4 Capital has recently raised its second fund with commitments of Rs.250 crore and in last month, it led a $8 million funding round of LoanTap, a Mumbai-based online platform that offers flexible loan products to salaried professionals.
Additionally, Sojitz also plans to open an office in Bangalore, India by April 2019 to partner with startups and create new businesses geared towards Indian and overseas markets. Sojitz plans to use information from Continuum I to enter unexplored business areas as well.
Welcoming the investment, Consul-General of Japan in Bengaluru Takayuki Kitagawa said “This is the first successful case ever since the Ministry of Economy along with JETRO started the Indo-Japan Start-up Hub last May in Bengaluru.”
“Sojitsu, one of the major trading companies in Japan, has now invested in Bengaluru exclusively for the purpose of start-up initiatives. This trend will accelerate other Japanese investors to invest in Bengaluru. This will further be facilitated by the new direct flight from Tokyo to Bengaluru that has been announced recently. The business set-up is now ready to take-off. Even though Japan has been a late comer, we are now catching up fast,” he added.
3one4 Capital launched its first fund of Rs 100 crore in 2016 and has so far invested in more than 40 companies including Faircent.com, OnlineTyari, Tracxn, Charmboard, and YourStory.