Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings is set to unveil a $663 million fund dedicated to supporting startups engaged in Web3, AI, and the Metaverse. The fund’s operations are scheduled to commence by the close of the current year, with investments reaching 150-200 companies within its portfolio.
Each investment within the fund is anticipated to span from hundreds of millions to tens of billions of yen, aiming to cover a broad spectrum of startups in the specified sectors. The fund plans to achieve a maximum scale of ¥100 billion, as SBI Holdings aims to gain momentum in the Web3, AI, and Metaverse domains.
The fund initiated by SBI Holdings has already secured commitments, with major financial institutions such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Nippon Life Insurance Company, and Daiwa Securities Group pledging over ¥50 billion.
SBI’s move supports the Japanese government’s “Five-Year Plan for Startup Development,” established by the Kishida administration in November 2022. The plan aims to propel startup development by increasing the current ¥800 billion investment in startups to approximately ¥10 trillion ($66 billion) by 2027 to push the startup ecosystem in Japan.
In alignment with this vision, the administration has declared its intent to nurture 100 unicorns and 100,000 startup companies to lead Japan as the largest startup hub in Asia and a prominent global startup cluster.
The proactive approach extends beyond financial assistance, as evidenced by the decision to allow startups to issue crypto tokens instead of stock when seeking public funding. This regulatory change is intended to diversify income streams for new businesses and facilitate Japan’s evolving crypto regulations.
As the Web3 and AI startup landscape evolves, regulatory challenges and tax reforms become critical considerations. The Japanese government is actively working on revising the tax system related to Web3 companies. The proposed tax reform outline is expected to be finalized around mid-December.
Japan is maintaining its leadership in crypto regulations, recently implementing new stablecoin legislation. SBI Digital Asset Holdings, based in Singapore, is actively involved in the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Project Guardian.