Airbus Ventures lands (in the) Japanese capital

Airbus Ventures Fund III has attracted several investors in Japan and the aerospace conglomerate's Venture Capital fund will now open a Tokyo office, their first in the Asia Pacific region.

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 Yuchiro Hikosaka has been on board since Q2 '19 (the fund invested in Telexistence where he sits on the Board) and Partner Lewis Pinault has been extolling the virtues of the Asia-Pacific region of late. He appears to be based in Japan at least part-time.

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 the Tokyo's favour.

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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