DOCOMO to Establish Venture Fund and Incubation Program; Aims to strengthen ties with promising ventures
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, JAPAN -- NTT DOCOMO, INC. , Japan's leading mobile operator and provider of integrated services centered on mobility, announced today that it will establish a 10-billion-yen (109 million USD) venture fund and a related operating company in late February to accelerate development of new businesses for smartphones and tablets.
DOCOMO will also launch an incubation program to support startups and venture companies on February 7. As part of this plan, DOCOMO will invest in 500 Startups II, L.P., an incubation fund established by leading seed fund and startup accelerator 500 Startups, which is based in Silicon Valley, California.
DOCOMO, on behalf of its parent NTT Group , aims to strengthen cooperation with venture companies through initiatives such as investments, primarily in Japan, to help upgrade services and technologies for smart devices in existing fields of business. It also will accelerate development of business models, services and technologies in eight new strategic fields: media/content, finance/payments, commerce, medical/healthcare, machine-to-machine (M2M), aggregation/platforms, environment/ecology and security/safety. Such efforts are expected to rapidly expand DOCOMO's involvement with integrated services centered on mobility.
Companies developing mobile-related services that have the potential to become global standards are welcomed to apply for the incubation program until March 11. Startups and venture companies selected for the program will be provided with various resources and know-how, including up to 2 million yen (23,000 USD) seed funding in convertible notes, use of office space, other infrastructure conducive to business development, and mentoring on management and development. DOCOMO and 500 Startups will jointly help participants tap into markets in North America and other regions. 500 Startups will organize short study programs in Silicon Valley and introduce experts in various fields to provide guidance and mentoring under the incubation program. Also, DOCOMO employees will be dispatched to 500 Startups to enhance their incubation know-how.
Additional support will be offered to companies that develop promising services or technologies, including collaboration with DOCOMO services and sales promotion. Equity investments by the newly established venture fund will also be considered.
DOCOMO's investment in 500 Startups II will be carried out by DOCOMO Capital(TM), Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary.
As DOCOMO builds up its portfolio of startups and venture companies in Japan, its existing U.S.-based subsidiaries DOCOMO Innovations (TM), Inc. and DOCOMO Capital will continue to coordinate similar investments and partnerships in North America.
Existing Subsidiaries in North America
1) DOCOMO Innovations, Inc. Location California, USA Business
Promoting open innovation for creation of new technologies and services related to mobility
Promoting research and development of promising mobile platform technologies
2) DOCOMO Capital, Inc. Location California, USA Business
Investment in startups and venture companies that have innovative, state-of-the-art technologies applicable to mobile communications services
About NTT DOCOMO
NTT DOCOMO is a world-leading integrated-services company centered on mobility. The company serves over 60 million mobile customers in Japan via advanced wireless networks, including a nationwide 3G network and one of the world's first commercial LTE networks. Leveraging its unique capabilities as a mobile operator, DOCOMO is a leading developer of cutting-edge technologies for NFC mobile payments, mobile GPS, mobile TV, intuitive mobile assistance, environmental monitoring, smart grids and much more. Overseas, the company provides technical and operational expertise to eight mobile operators and other partner companies. NTT DOCOMO is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM) and New York (DCM) stock exchanges. Please visit www.nttdocomo.com for more information.
DOCOMO Capital and DOCOMO Innovations are trademarks of NTT DOCOMO, INC.
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