Kara Swisher

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Go Far West, Young Startup: SoftBank Capital and Yahoo Japan in $20M Fund to Bring U.S. Entrepreneurs There

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SoftBank Capital and Yahoo Japan said they had created an unusual $20 million fund to help U.S. startups break into the Japanese market, while also upping a presence in the U.S.

The partnership between Japan’s largest Internet company — which is also a joint venture with Yahoo — and the venture arm of the giant SoftBank Corp. will invest in companies from early-stage funding to later-stage expansion and focus on mobile applications, social media, e-commerce, online advertising, gaming and cloud computing.

The new funds for that are being put into SoftBank Capital’s $100 million Technology Fund ’10. As part of the deal, Toshiaki Chiku will become head of U.S. operations in Manhattan. SoftBank Capital also recently announced a $250 million PrinceVille Fund, aimed at growth-stage startups in Asia.

Among the firm’s recent exits: Bluefin Labs went to Twitter, Buddy Media to Salesforce.com, Huffington Post to AOL, Hyperpublic to Groupon and OMGPOP to Zynga.

Now, it will be focusing even more on helping U.S. startups in Asia.

“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,” said Chiku in a statement.

SoftBank Capital and Yahoo Japan used performance display advertising company Criteo as an example of a successful investment, in which it also helped the company enter the Asian market (although, technically, Criteo is HQed in France).


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