【Joint Press Release by Lifetime Ventures】
Lifetime Ventures launched the OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund in collaboration with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology to deliver impactful science-based deep tech solutions in sectors that include healthtech, the future of work, sustainable living, and the blue economy. Lifetime Ventures, in collaboration with OIST and backed by Incubate Fund, targets a total fund size of ¥5B (US$40M) that will focus on promising early-stage startups at OIST, in Japan, and globally.
“With this fund, Lifetime Ventures is growing to three partners – two of whom have significant overseas experience – and expanding from Yokohama to Okinawa and Kyoto thus participating both to the internationalization and the regionalization of the Japanese venture capital industry,” says Lifetime Ventures General Partner Ryosuke Kimura. “Lifetime Ventures is excited to collaborate with OIST at this key stage of its development. We will maintain our Okinawa base on OIST’s campus, allowing us to source startup ideas and work closely with researchers to move technologies to the market. We will also leverage OIST’s potential as a talent magnet to build a community of world-class entrepreneurs throughout Japan and beyond.”
“There has never been a better time to start a company in Japan – venture capital available to startups in Japan has increased ten-fold in the last decade,” says OIST President and CEO Peter Gruss. “OIST is excited to partner with Lifetime Ventures to build on this momentum. With OIST as an intellectual center, Okinawa will benefit from the confluence of world-leading research with risk capital to realize its potential as a regional innovation ecosystem.”
The collaboration between Lifetime Ventures and OIST builds on a shared vision to bridge research and commercialization by supporting technical or domain experts and the fund is structured to give founders the flexibility and the support beyond funding they need to transition their ideas or research into commercially successful companies.
“We made OIST an attractive place for the world’s best scientific minds and we aspire to make it one of the most attractive places for the best innovators and entrepreneurs” says OIST Executive Vice President Gil Granot-Mayer. “In recent years, OIST has persistently built-up resources and capabilities to fuel science and innovation in Okinawa. We offer startups from anywhere in the world a chance to build their startup in Okinawa. We also provide access to state-of-the-art equipment, incubation facility, our business partners, and a growing, international community of like-minded peers. This fund is the next step in building a sustainable startup ecosystem around OIST and a great opportunity for Okinawa to place itself as one of the emerging hubs of innovation in the APAC region.”
The OIST-Lifetime Ventures Fund will have strong support and investment from the fund of funds arm of Incubate Fund, a leading venture capital firm in Japan.
“Incubate Fund’s IFLP Fund has a long history of helping young venture capitalists start their own funds,” says General Partner Paul McInerney. “We are delighted to see Lifetime Ventures – a “graduate” of our IFLP program with an exceptional track record of impact over two successful funds – collaborate with OIST, one of Japan’s top research institutions. The combination of Lifetime Venture’s hands-on approach and OIST’s rich bench of technical founders has immense potential for global impact.”
About Lifetime Ventures
Lifetime Ventures is a pre-seed/seed-focused venture capital firm based in Yokohama that aims to create businesses that will be loved and continue to exist for a long time. Established in 2017, Lifetime Ventures has invested in 24 startups to date, including UUUO, a B2B platform creating a new distribution and resource management model for the fisheries industry, and Rehab for Japan, a leading age-tech for an elderly friendly society.
About the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) is a cross-disciplinary graduate school offering a five-year Ph.D. program in science. OIST was founded in 2011 by the Government of Japan to contribute to science and technology worldwide, attract leading researchers from Japan and abroad to conduct high-quality research, advance the development of a world-class research hub, and nucleate a knowledge cluster that will catalyze technology transfer and industrial innovation in Okinawa, Japan.
About Incubate Fund
Founded in 2010, Incubate Fund is a leading seed-stage venture capital firm based in Tokyo, Japan. With over $840 million in assets under management, the firm invests in early-stage startups and venture capital funds in Japan.