Japanese Investment firm Cyber Agent Ventures is still looking for investments within the country and the rest of Asia. The venture capital firm, which opened an office in South Korea in August 2012, previously invested in Kakao in 2011. Since then, Kakao has grown to a point where it is considered strange not to have the company’s instant messaging app Kakao Talk installed on your smartphone.
Cyber Agent Ventures has invested in companies in several other Asian countries including China, Vietnam and Taiwan. Though early and closing stage startups are preferred in Korea, branches in other regions also cover seed stage and founding stage investments. In Korea the firm wants to contribute to the ecosystem by helping internet companies that have the potential to grow and go global, through investment and other means of support. Generally large markets are targeted and businesses that have innovative products or services are preferred.
Located in the Gangnam Financial Center, Cyber Agent Ventures Korea is overseen by general manager Hideyuki Ebihara, who has been with the company for eight years. Recently, the local office also hired new loan officer Eric Jeong who grew up in Japan and previously worked as a consultant. Ebihara says that the startup industry between Korea and Japan is quite similar.
“In terms of difference between the two countries, I think it is almost the same situation. Now people in the startup community are trying to build a new ecosystem like Silicon Valley in the US. There are several seed accelerators and incubation programs in Japan but government support in Korea is much better.”
Most recently CyberAgent Ventures invested in Fashion Guide.com.tw, a Taiwanese social networking site based around cosmetic products. The VC firm originally set up an office in the country in late 2011 and since invested in other sites and services including, iPart and iCook. Cyber Agent Ventures is also responsible for operating its incubation center “Startup Base Camp” in Tokyo. The workspace was created for local and international startups and offers comfortable and quiet areas for entreprenuers to work and hold meetings.