Insurance company

Japanese insurance company Tokio Marine launches CVC fund to support early-stage startups – TechCrunch

Tokyo Navya Tokyo-based insurance company, announced on Tuesday that it has launched its $42 million corporate venture capital (CVC) fund, dubbed Tokio Marine Future Fund, to invest in early-stage startups around the world.

The Palo Alto-based CVC fund will write checks worth between $500,000 and $3 million in seed and Series A rounds in sectors including insurtech, fintech, mobility, healthcare, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, automation and climate technology.

“There are often cases where Tokio Marine sees very promising companies or product ideas that are too early to support Tokio Marine as a customer,” Yoshi Yoshida, who leads the CVC fund at Tokio Marine, told TechCrunch. . “We do not tie investments to an immediate strategic opportunity, but we want to help accelerate development, either as an advisor or as a capability provider, in the hope that eventually there will be an opportunity for partnership strategy or become a client as they progress. »

The fund has partnered with Global Innovation Lab (WiL), a Silicon Valley and Japan-based venture capital firm with approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management, to drive CVC’s strategy and investment process. “WiL will act as the CVC fund manager led by Steve Pretre, who manages WiL’s investments in the fintech and insurtech sectors,” Yoshida said.

WiL Partner Steve Pretre said WiL will provide back-office administration for the fund and leverage its portfolio support capabilities for marketing, Japanese market entry and extensive expertise.

“Initially, I will take an active role in researching and driving investments with the fund, while advising and partnering with the Tokio Marine team as they develop their own network and deal flow” , said Pretre.

Tokio Marine says the new venture capital fund will extend Tokio Marine’s existing commitment to supporting its start-up innovation labs in Silicon Valley, New York, London, Singapore, São Paulo, Taipei and Tokyo.

“The Silicon Valley Innovation Lab works directly with the CVC team to drive business development activities between portfolio companies and Tokio Marine companies post-investment,” Pretre said.

The fund has made several seed investments to date, including Attentiona financial care app that monitors and protects the day-to-day finances of aging parents; Nirvana Insurancea platform that offers commercial insurance for fleets and transport from scratch; Titaniama data protection platform that provides in-use encryption to ensure that even if attackers enter, they cannot leave with valuable data; Trust layer, an AI-powered risk management platform that helps users verify that their trading partners have the right coverage; and Voxela real-time risk identification platform that uses computer vision and AI to enable security cameras to automatically identify hazards and high-risk activities in real time, keeping employees safe and managing the operational efficiency.

Tokio Marine, the sole sponsor of the CVC fund, is now allocating $42 million to the initial fund. The company says Tokio Marine plans to allocate more to the next fund, once it rolls out. Pretre told TechCrunch that Tokio Marine is a longtime LP in the WiL growth fund, so the company approached WiL to partner with its CVC fund.

“The fund is structured as a single LP fund with WiL as the managing GP,” Pretre said. “Through this structure, we have the ability to act quickly on finance-driven investment decisions using a professionally managed venture capital approach while leveraging the strategic value of Tokio Marine’s global operations. during and after the investment process.”

“The global investment opportunity for innovative early-stage startups in the United States and emerging markets is immense,” Yoshida said in a statement. “Tokio Marine’s global presence gives us the ability to help accelerate the growth of startups tackling new opportunities…We’re excited to help empower a new generation of entrepreneurs.”