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Airbus Ventures Fund III LP has attracted several investors in Japan, and the venture investment arm of Airbus SE has officially entered into an agreement with Development Bank of Japan Inc. (DBJ), Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company Limited (Mitsubishi UFJ Lease) and Fuyo General Lease Co., Ltd. (FGL). Committed to Asia Pacific innovation, the VC is expanding its presence in Tokyo:

Airbus Ventures has been based in Silicon Valley for some time with representatives also found at Airbus corporate locations in Paris and Toulouse. As a result the portfolio is quite US and Europe heavy - with just a handful of investments in Japan to date - including CFRI who specialise in carbon fibre recycling and satellite ground station company Infostellar.

Tokyo-based Airbus Ventures staff Yuichiro Hikosaka and Lewis Pinault are actively looking for investment opportunities in Japanese start-up companies that need support for the overseas expansion of their businesses.

Lewis Pinault is quoted in an e27 article about Venture Capital in the Asia Pacific regions

In this e27 article it's noted that there's just one global fund from which investments are made - with no Asia-Pac specific vehicle - and that the team will be looking to make early and growth stage investments in companies operating within space capabilities, robotics, connectivity, autonomy, AI, and novel material / manufacturing technologies.

It seems as though Singapore and Tokyo were both in the running for the fund's regional office, no doubt some hefty investments into the new Airbus Ventures III fund from two major keiretsu, and a government backed bank helped sway that decision in Tokyo's favour. Airbus Ventures is, however, expected to launch an upcoming investment in Singapore’s emerging deep space capabilities.

The investments came from:

  • Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company (8593.T) | $4.2bn USD market cap - part of the Mitsubishi Group keiretsu - eyeing new insights on cutting edge aerospace opportunities such as electric aircraft, new materials and alternative fuels to feed back into wider 'Sustainable Growth 2030' plan

  • Fuyo General Lease Co (8424.T) | $1.8bn USD market cap - part of the larger Fuyo Group keiretsu - looking to grasp global trends and acquire knowledge with aviation being a core strategic domain for the business under their 'Frontier Expansion 2021' plan

  • Development Bank of Japan (8301.T) | $163bn USD funds under management - owned by the Government of Japan through the Minister of Finance - have a particular eye on investments in the space sector to complement loan and equity finance provided to the Japanese aviation industry

Read the official Press Release here.


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