Ikuo Hiraishi, managing director at Infarm Japan, is a serial entrepreneur and is running seed-focused funds. In 2016, he invested as an angel in the Berlin startup Infarm, and in 2020, he established Infarm Japan becoming its Managing Director. In January 2021, he accomplished its first launch in Asia at Kinokuniya International.
Previously, Ikou has co-founded several startups, including WebCrew which went public in 2004, and Interscope which successfully acquired by Yahoo! Japan in 2007. Later, he co-founded SunBridge Global Ventures, a seed-early stage-focused VC and its portfolio spread into the US and Europe in addition to Japan. His company DreamVision works towards building a global startup ecosystem in Tokyo.
"For most Japanese people, Berlin is a long way away, not only in distance but also psychologically. However, people in the startups and venture capital communities are very much interested to know what kind of place Berlin is and how the Berlin startup ecosystem is. That’s why I’d like to share my experiences, knowledge, and network developed through the AsiaBerlin Ambassador activities with the people in Japan," he says.
"Since I’m one of the early investors at Infarm and Yeay based in Berlin, I’ve been able to get connected with the Berlin startup ecosystem. Also, the reason they wanted to have me as an investor is that they’re interested in coming into the Japanese market. Actually, Infarm has launched in Tokyo and I’ve become Managing Director at Infarm Japan.
Through the process, I’ve learned how to bring foreign startups into the Japanese market. That’s why someone who is interested in entering the Japanese market, I may be able to give them some advice and to connect them with the right people."
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