Rakuten launches $100m global fund

Japanese online retail giant Rakuten has created a US$100 million war chest to shop for startups internationally.

It has launched a global investment fund, targeting investments in startups and companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the US and builds on the success of the Southeast Asia fund, which was originally launched in 2013 and counts Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments and Send Anywhere among its investment portfolio.

The larger global fund gives Rakuten the opportunity to empower the startup ecosystem beyond Japan and Southeast Asia and actively seek out growth opportunities.

It also supports Rakuten’s broader goal of long-term investments with startups that have the technology and potential to enable better user experience and facilitation. Over time, this will include an increased focus on growing the ecosystem, technology, membership and financial returns.

The fund operations will be run out of Singapore, with Saemin Ahn, managing partner of Rakuten Ventures, acting as the fund advisor.

While the fund’s immediate focus will be on companies in Israel, Asia Pacific and the US, Rakuten plans to take an aggressive approach in expanding operations around the globe.