The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC)a deep technology investment firm, announced the first close of its fifth fund, which is expected to total 30 billion yen (equivalent to approximately US$275 million) by June 2021. UTEC currently has approximately $780 million of assets under management, and said this makes it one of the largest science and technology focused venture capital funds in Japan, and one of the largest deep tech funds in Asia.
UTEC is an independent firm that works closely with universities. It is associated with the University of Tokyo (UTokyo), where it has entered into a partnership with its Technology Licensing Office (TLO) to create and invest in spin-off companies. He has also worked with researchers from Waseda University, Kyoto University, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, University of Cambridge, National University of Singapore and the ‘Indian Institute of Technology, among other institutions.
Broadly speaking, UTEC focuses on three areas: Health and Life Sciences, Information Technology, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. Specifically, it seeks technologies that address some of Japan’s most important issues, including an aging population, labor shortages, and digitization of legacy industries.
“UTEC 5 will allow us to deliver more funds from the seed/early stages to the pre-IPO/M&A stages in Japan and globally, on a larger scale and more consistently,” the partner said. director and president Tomotaka Goji in a statement. “I think this will further help our startups grow to address global issues facing humanity.”
The company also partners with other funds, including Arch Venture Partners and Blume Ventures, to find investment opportunities around the world.
UTEC’s portfolio already includes more than 80 Japanese startups and 30 startups from other countries, including the United States, India, Southeast Asia and Europe. So far, 25 of his investments have come out. Thirteen went public and now have an aggregate market capitalization of around $15 billion, and 12 went public through mergers and acquisitions.
Some of his releases include 908 Devices, a mass spectrometry company that went public on Nasdaq last year; Fyusion, a computer vision startup acquired by Cox Automotive; and Phyzios, who was acquired by Google in 2013.
About half of UTEC’s portfolio are university spin-offs. For university-based spin-off companies, UTEC supports their commercialization by helping to hire crucial talent, including leadership positions, business development, and go-to-market strategies. The size of the company’s first check is around $500,000 to $5 million, and it also usually provides follow-on capital.
“We typically double our investment in subsequent rounds of company funding and can invest up to approximately $23 million per company over its lifecycle,” UTEC’s director told TechCrunch. Kiran Mysore, who leads their global investments in AI.
UTEC’s other investments include personal mobility robotics company BionicM, which started in UTokyo, and spatial intelligence solutions developer Locix, which spun off from UC Berkeley. The firm also helps startups collaborate with academic institutions. For example, Indian biotechnology Bugworks collaborates with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and a Japanese industrial robotics startup Mujin now works with Carnegie Mellon.