Beyond Next Ventures, a Tokyo-based venture capital firm, is actively pursuing its goal to support early-stage Asian deep tech startups. They have successfully secured approximately $67.7 million, marking the first close for their third fund, BNV Fund 3. With a target of about $168 million, the company showcases its commitment to driving growth in areas such as biotech and robotics.

Anticipated Closure and Funding Plans

By March 2024, the firm anticipates the complete closure of BNV Fund 3. CEO Tsuyoshi Ito revealed that the procured funds would be channeled into seed, Series A, and subsequent stages for nearly 25 companies. In comparison to their previous funds, they’re willing to invest up to triple the maximum amount, with individual investments ranging from $670,000 to $2 million.

Addressing the Late-Stage Funding Gap

There’s a recognized shortfall of late-stage funding in Japan, which has been a roadblock for startups aspiring to go international. This has also impacted the overall startup valuations in the country. In 2021, the World Bank highlighted that Japan trails behind Europe, North America, and other nations in terms of late-stage investments.

Insights from Ito suggest two primary reasons for this disparity. Firstly, active investments from institutional investors in VC firms is a relatively new phenomenon. Consequently, Japan’s VC firms traditionally maintained smaller fund sizes, directing their focus on seed and early-stage startups. Secondly, the Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market’s structure encourages startups to opt for early IPOs as a means of fund-raising.

However, Ito notes an increasing trend in funding for mid to late-stage startups, reducing the urgency for startups to go public prematurely.

Beyond Next’s Global Vision for Startups

Beyond Next Ventures has a global vision to continuously back startups. They are gearing up to bolster late-stage investments like Series C and D, as well as subsequent investments using the newly raised fund. The operational duration of this fund will also be extended to 11 years, a year longer than their previous funds, with a possible extension of up to three years upon limited partners’ consent.

Specializing in identifying deep tech startups springing from research institutions and universities, Beyond Next plays a pivotal role in commercializing groundbreaking tech and scientific discoveries. They excel in connecting research teams with a vast network of over 3,000 business and management experts.

With the addition of this latest fund, the total assets managed by Beyond Next Ventures will exceed $316 million.

Partnerships and Growth Trajectory

BNV Fund 3 has attracted investments from several entities, including the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, MUFG Bank, Dai-ichi Life Holdings, and Tokyo Century, among others.

In 2020, Beyond Next Ventures expanded its footprint to India, recognizing the nation’s burgeoning startup ecosystem. Since its inception in 2015, the firm has successfully established two funds and has invested in about 80 companies in sectors like healthcare, agri-food, and deep tech, primarily in Japan and India. Their investment portfolio includes ventures like CureApp, Susmed, Elephantech, and iCare.