MISSION STATEMENT

  • Yusuke Amano
  • Tatsuo Tsutsumi

INTRODUCTION

GREE Ventures is a venture capital firm that originally started as a new business for GREE, a driving force behind innovation in Japan's mobile Internet services. It invests in Japan as well as emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and India to support entrepreneurs who seek to solve issues in the world through technology. GREE Ventures is more than just a shareholder. The firm supports the management and operations together with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In other words, the most important thing for the firm is to be a hands-on investor. CEO and Partner Yusuke Amano along with Partner Tatsuo Tsutsumi talk about the present and future of GREE Ventures.

Amano
I believe that we investors should be “on the same boat” as entrepreneurs. We want more than anything to invest in entrepreneurs who take large risks and work to find solutions for issues the world faces. As a result, we will not be able to fully commit ourseleves without taking on risk ourselves. We aim to be a venture capital firm that takes as much risk as the entrepreneurs do and grows together with them. For this reason, we even invest from our own pockets into the funds that we manage.

― GREE Ventures manages funds in which fund managers Amano and Tsutusmi have invested their own savings, putting their money on the “same boat” as startups. That is done in the belief that it is important to be a hands-on venture capital firm that not only invests but takes risks along with the entrepreneurs.

Tsutsumi
Amano and I are particular about being involved as lead investors in all of the companies we invest in. Lead investors are more than just shareholders, by being committed as officers of the companies we invest in. For this reason, I feel that the work of an investor goes beyond just investing. We play a significant part in the management of the company as well. At GREE Ventures, none of our members would nonchalantly say that it would be OK for one company to fail because we have a portfolio where we could recover the loss in the big picture. We are a venture capital firm where it is important for us to honestly deal with each and every company.
Amano
It is our style to take, in addition to monetary risks, risks in terms of time, human resources and labor to maximize returns and further raise the likelihood of success. To tell the truth, this way of doing things has some inefficient aspects because we are limited in terms of the number of companies we can fund and support, but we believe that being alongside the entrepreneurs and growing together with them is the surest way to succeed as a venture capital firm.
Tsutsumi
We think of ourselves as a venture capital startup. We believe that we shape the venture capital firm ourselves from scratch. With our funds, we are looking not for “partners to join the fund”; rather, we are looking for “partners who want to make the fund together with us”. There are a variety of phases in which we investors can support entrepreneurs: financing, business development, and more. We want to be an organization that can move as a stakeholder on the same boat instead of being spectator investors.
CHAPTER 01

Tsutsumi
When investing, we place emphasis on what problems the company is trying to solve and who really needs what the company is trying to build. Looking at our portfolio, we are making a wide range of investments in fields such as media, ad technology, e-commerce, finance, health, and cloud services, but that is only a hindsight on investments we made while looking at issues and markets that we were aware of. As part of our investment strategy, while we see benefit in making specialized investments in specific industries: “what issue will be solved” is more important as a starting point than investing in any particular industry.

― The mission of GREE Ventures is to “support companies shaping the future”. This is almost like the role of a navigator who guides a sailing ship to its destination. A ship cannot set off toward a “new continent” without the passion of its crew and their vast knowledge and experience, necessary to put the wind and course of direction to one's advantage and arrive safely. For startups, the wind propelling the ship forward is the market and the course leading to the destination is the problem-solving.

Amano
The reason we emphasize problem-solving and the market amidst various possible perspectives is because we believe the ability to portray a story of who—whether it be individuals or companies—wants what the startup offers is the value of the startup and its business. Investors must be able to correctly assess this story and the market.
Tsutsumi
I believe it is our job as investors to “produce achievable solutions” for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs naturally have something they want to accomplish, but sometimes that power proves hard for them to control. Our perspective from having seen many entrepreneurs is helpful in that area. The work of investors is to find the achievable solutions of “this is what is realistically demanded most by the market” through interaction with entrepreneurs around the world. Ideas alone are of no value. Only entrepreneurs with ability to execute—to actually do what has been decided—see great success.
CHAPTER 02

― GREE Ventures established its second new fund, AT-II Investment Limited Partnership, on May 12, 2016 to expand investments in Japan as well as other parts of Asia. Where will the voyage GREE Ventures has embarked on lead to?

Amano
When we started GREE Ventures five years ago, we initially began with investments in Japan and Southeast Asia. At the time, there were few Japanese investors in Southeast Asia, and there were not many ventures either. We conducted investment activities with an emphasis on problems and markets, and I feel that we have established a foothold as a pioneer. Making use of that knowledge, we intend to deploy to more developing economies in Southeast Asia and in India, where Japanese investments are still sparse.
Tsutsumi
The members assembled at GREE Ventures have very diverse backgrounds, and we have become a very interesting venture capital firm. Investment involves individual as well as team effort. The issue we face is how to have an investment style as a venture capital firm while maximizing individual talents. Solving this issue is to an extent both Amano's and my role.
Amano
GREE Ventures struggles in the same way as startups do from the standpoint that we make our own style on our own. Sometimes, we are told that if we want to do business we should start a company ourselves. I am always interested in starting a company, but I invest instead because I can create more businesses by supporting more entrepreneurs. For us, supporting entrepreneurs is the form by which we achieve our greatest business creation. Even so, the lead role is played by the entrepreneurs, and I believe our job is to devote ourselves to working behind the scenes. I believe wholeheartedly that we should treasure how the entrepreneurs we have supported can shine and succeed.
CHAPTER 03

MISSION STATEMENT

“Investors are startup navigators.”

  • TOP
  • INTRO
  • CHAPTER01
  • CHAPTER02
  • CHAPTER03
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