SoftBank Capital and Yahoo! JAPAN Announce Partnership and $20M Fund Investment to Help Bring More U.S. Startups to the Japanese Market

Japan’s leading Internet company to fund early-stage companies via SoftBank Capital and help startups drive business in Japan


WEBWIRE – Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New York, NY & Tokyo, Japan – Yahoo Japan Corp. (“Yahoo! JAPAN”), Japan’s largest web portal and one of the largest e-commerce platforms, and SoftBank Capital, a venture group affiliated with Japan’s SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”), today announced an investment and partnership designed to help U.S. startups of all sizes in everything from early-stage funding to later-stage expansion.
 
SoftBank Capital’s early-stage Technology Fund ’10 has been investing $100 million on behalf of SoftBank, which has anchored SoftBank Capital’s investing activities since 1995. Yahoo! JAPAN, a joint venture between U.S. Internet company Yahoo! Inc. and SoftBank, has invested $20 million into the early stage fund. This complements the $250 million PrinceVille Investments, L.P. fund (“PrinceVille Fund”) announced in February.
 
In addition to its investment, Yahoo! JAPAN is announcing Toshiaki Chiku as its head of U.S. operations, where he will oversee investments and partnerships while working out of Softbank Capital’s Manhattan office.
 
“Yahoo! JAPAN is making a big effort to expand our venture capital impact in the United States, and we are firmly committed to helping companies at all growth stages get into the Japanese market,” Chiku said. “Japan can be challenging for many U.S. companies, and given our scale and affiliation with SoftBank Corp., we’re in a great position to help them grow and succeed.”
 
Yahoo! JAPAN’s influence in the Japanese market allows its partners to fully harness the market’s opportunities. Every month, Yahoo! JAPAN reaches more than 80 percent* of Japan’s Internet users through its services. Criteo, the global leader in performance display advertising, recently began an expansion into Asia after completing a Series D round with investors including SoftBank Capital and Yahoo! JAPAN.
 
“Our partnerships with SoftBank Capital and Yahoo! JAPAN have been crucial in helping us establish our presence in Asia, with Yahoo! JAPAN enabling us to rapidly scale our business by tapping into one of the largest sources of premium inventory on Japan’s leading Internet portal" Criteo CEO JB Rudelle said.
 
Yahoo! JAPAN’s partnership with SoftBank Capital is one of many developments further cementing Softbank Capital’s reputation as the premier investment partner for U.S. companies looking to expand into Asia. The fund has been investing on behalf of SoftBank, which has brought many U.S. companies to the Japanese market starting with Yahoo! JAPAN in 1995. The investment firm recently announced its $250 million PrinceVille Fund designed to help growth-stage entrepreneurs and their businesses compete in and expand into Asia.
 
Yahoo! JAPAN and SoftBank Capital are looking to invest in companies in the mobile applications, social media, e-commerce, online advertising, gaming and cloud computing spaces. SoftBank Capital’s previous exits include Bluefin Labs acquired by Twitter, Buddy Media acquired by Salesforce.com, Huffington Post acquired by AOL, Hyperpublic acquired by Groupon and OMGPOP acquired by Zynga.
 
“We like to say that our expertise and partnerships give our portfolio companies an ‘unfair advantage’ when it comes to growth opportunities in Asian markets,” said Ron Fisher, Managing Partner of SoftBank Capital. “Partners like Yahoo! JAPAN allow us to deliver on that message and become a preferred partner that can help our portfolio companies forge the relationships necessary to further expand their international presence.”
 
* Source: Nielsen (NetView JP), brand level data, access from home and office using PCs(excluding Internet application, February 2013
 
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital makes early and growth stage investments in companies that connect people, devices and the world. SoftBank Capital invests in category leaders in consumer and enterprise mobile, online advertising, ecommerce, social media and cloud computing.  We have been making investments since 1995, with recent exits including Bluefin Labs, Buddy Media, Hyperpublic, Huffington Post, OMGPOP, Pivot and ZipList. Our investors include SoftBank Corp., which introduced the iPhone to the Japanese market and recently announced the strategic acquisition of Sprint; and Yahoo! JAPAN, the largest search engine and content portal in Japan. To learn more, visit www.softbank.com.
 
About Yahoo! JAPAN
Yahoo! JAPAN, operated by Yahoo Japan Corporation, is a leading Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations in Japan. Yahoo! JAPAN seeks to provide online products and services essential to users’ lives, and offers a full range of tools and marketing solutions for businesses to connect with Internet users in Japan. Yahoo! JAPAN is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.



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