Abies is a $40m early stage deep tech fund based in Japan and backed by Taizo Son (the also-billionaire younger brother of Masayoshi Son, of Softbank / Vision Fund).
Abies is industry-focused, but also invested opportunistically in space and biotech.
Note: If your time zone is compatible with European Time, our friends at Hello Tomorrow (an NGO running possibly the best and largest deep tech conference in the world — recently postponed) have announced a few cool things:
A discussion this Thursday (11AM CEST) on the impact of Covid-19 on European deep tech funding, with Atomico, Airbus Ventures and Future Positive Capital. I will be moderating the panel. RSVP here.
A nice mapping of 1,000+ funds active in deep tech. Send your comments or updates!
A newsletter on "Investing in Deep Tech" featuring the best startups from their past events. Subscribe here for the first edition next week.
About Sota Nagano and Abies Ventures
Sota Nagano is a Partner at Abies Ventures, a $40m early stage deep tech fund based in Tokyo backed by Taizo Son, a billionaire and active tech investor, and younger brother of Masa, creator of the famous Vision Fund.
Abies Ventures invests in Japan and abroad in industrial tech,
But also opportunistically in multiple sectors including advanced sensors, space tech and life sciences.
Prior to Abies, Sota studied in the US and Italy, worked on Wall Street. He then co-founded an automotive engineering startup named GLM, which Financial Times called Japan’s Tesla, and which he took public for $1.5B in 2017.
Image: The Tommy Kaira ZZ electric sports car by GLM
In this episode, we discuss:
Sota’s journey to deep tech investment.
The origins and competitive advantages of Abies thanks to their broad industry network.
The most promising deep tech sectors in Japan and the opportunities for exits, notably with fast IPOs.
Finally, Sota shares his thought about the cost of failure in Japan, and the parallels he sees between Japan’s tech sector and the situation described in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
Mistletoe: Taizo Son’s global investment vehicle for the startup ecosystem.
Cyberdyne (Japan): the ominous-sounding $500m public company makes futuristic exoskeletons. The stock peaked over $3 bln in 2016.
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency): Japan’s NASA.
Ultrasense Systems (USA): small ultrasound 3D sensors for next-generation UI.
Algal Bio (Japan): a biotech startup that uses thousands of strains of algae to produce functional nutrients, fatty acid, and carotenoids that have applications in food products, cosmetics, medicine, and fuel.
Pixie Dust (Japan): ultrasound array technology for control and interfaces, founded by Dr. Yoichi Ochiai (@ochyai on Twitter, with over 400k followers, on YouTube and video program on Newspicks, in Japanese). Raised $55.1 million.
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
Layer Cake, a movie starring pre-007 Daniel Craig as a cool-headed drug lord.
Fifty Years is a $50m early stage fund investing in science startups solving the world’s biggest problems.
Seth explains about how science startups build the future.
Kelly shares her views on investing in Old School Industries.
pi Ventures is a $30m deep tech fund focused on India.
Manish talks about India’s deep tech landscape.
Anzu Partners is a US-based $190m fund investing nationwide.
John talks about investing in Breakthrough Industrial Technologies
EF is a $115m fund investing in deep tech pre-team and pre-product.
Matt explains how they apply the lean startup to team formation.
Share it if you like it, and let us know if you have suggestions on content / format / guests or else. We’ve been thrilled by the response so far!
Here are some articles you might be interested in:
Did Singapore think Black Mirror was a planning tool? You’ll be the judge.
A creative Twitter thread by a time-traveler from 2025 on the post-Covid world.
Until next time!