India and Japan are jointly launching a $187 million (Rs 1,298 crore) startup fund-of-funds (FoF) to invest in over 100 technology startups in India with focus on ventures working in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, reported Nikkie Asia.

The fund is an outcome of a deal between Japan and India sealed in October last year, in which the countries agreed to cooperate on a broad range of projects related to business, technology and human resources.

According to an another report on same, by VCCircle, the corpus of upcoming FoF called "Indo-Japan Emerging Technology & Innovation AIF" is $187 million (Rs 1,298 crore), of which $150 million will be raised from Japanese investors while the remaining will be raised from Indian investors.

The upcoming FoF, which expects the first close by September this year, aims to invest in more than 200 Indian companies focssed on emerging areas such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), fintech, healthcare, consumer, education, robotics, automation and business-to-business (B2B) software, said the VCCircle report.

Four Japanese firms - Mizuho Bank, Development Bank of Japan, Nippon Life and Suzuki Motor -- have already signed letters of intent for the FoF.

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd (RNAM), the Indian asset management arm of Nippon Life, will manage the FoF.

In addition, the Indian government will send specialists for advising the FoF on investment targets. These specialists will have knowledge about local startups in India.

A year back, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in association with India's Nasscom and IIM, Bengaluru on Monday launched an office and Indo-Japan Startup Hub in Bengaluru in order to support Japanese companies' local operations. Japanese govt plans to use this office to arrange cooperation between Japanese companies and startups that will be backed by the fund.

Just a couple of days back, Japan's NTT Data, a Fortune 500 company, has invested an undisclosed amount of funds in Pune-based CloudHedge Technologies.

Recent Japan-based Activities within Indian Startup Ecosystem

Earlier this month, Tokyo-based internet services firm, Rakuten Inc., launched Rakuten Social Accelerator, its social innovation initiative, in Bengaluru. Rakuten Social Accelerator is a collaboration program that brings together social entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations and Rakuten employees, each with a social mission to tackle critical issues facing society today using technologies and business assets.

In this month only, Japan's highly regarded entertainment company Akatsuki Inc's Entertainment Technology Fund, AET, announced that it is looking to invest $500,000 each in five new early-stage startups in India that falls under vernacular category.

Recently, India’s premier bio-innovation hub, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), has signed an Letter of Intent (LOI) with Beyond Next Ventures (BNV), a Tokyo-based venture capital firm and one of the leading independent accelerators in Japan dedicated to incubation investment in technology start-ups, to fund and mentor the best deep science innovations in the field of Life Sciences and Biotechnology in India.

In April, Japan's venture capital fund, Incubate Fund announced that it is setting up a $27 million India dedicated fund by the end of 2019, for investing in promising Indian startups.

To recall, in last August, Japanese payments firm Anypay, invested an undisclosed amount in India's on-demand payments and e-commerce platform, Instamojo. Besides, Softbank is already dominating as an investor in most of the unicorn startups in India.

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