- Influx of capital will fuel WiL Ventures III fund, WiL Strategic Partners funds and Corporate Venture Capital funds; WiL’s capital commitments now exceed $1.9 billion
- WiL’s mission: bridge the innovation gap between Japan, the US and the rest of the world
- WiL’s investment thesis: provide growth investment capital for innovators across the spectrum of digital transformation, health tech, sustainability, Web3, and emerging technologies
World Innovation Lab (WiL) today announced the venture capital firm has raised over $1 billion in additional capital. The capital will be deployed across multiple funds including WiL’s third growth fund, WiL Ventures III; WiL’s venture fund investments, WiL Strategic Partners funds; and corporate VC (CVC) funds. Capital commitments across all funds now exceed $1.9 billion.
With offices in Palo Alto, California, and Tokyo, WiL’s mission is to strengthen the global venture ecosystem by bridging startups and corporates in the United States and Asia, with a particular focus on Japan — Asia’s leader in SaaS adoption, as well as the world’s second largest enterprise software market and third largest consumer market.
WiL partners with its broad limited-partner base of leading Japanese corporations and government entities to enable U.S. and European startups to scale in Japan, and supports the innovation and globalization of Japanese companies.
The firm’s portfolio boasts a total of 15 unicorns to date. Notable WiL investments that have exited to public markets from Fund I and Fund II include Asana, Mercari, Raksul, Wise and Auth0 — whose acquisition by Okta was completed in May 2021.
“We thank our LPs for fueling WiL’s ongoing growth and empowering us to invest in the next generation of disruptive companies,”said Gen Isayama, WiL co-founder and CEO. “Right from the start, our mission has been to create a mutually beneficial relationship for our LPs and founders. So far, we have predominantly invested in the B2B SaaS space. Those solutions can be used by our entire LP base. This enables our founders to easily attract their lighthouse customers in the Japan market, while at the same time helping our LPs with their digital transformation efforts. We aim to strengthen this partnership between our LPs and founders.”
Bridging Startups & Corporates — a Cross-Cultural Approach to Venture Investment
WiL’s investment thesis has evolved across its funds. But the one constant is addressing LPs’ pain points. WiL’s first two funds have emphasized investment in digital transformation, with its U.S. investments generally concentrated on later-stage rounds, such as Series B and beyond in the B2B SaaS space. Target sectors have included fintech, insurtech, automation and productivity, cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure and developer tools. The firm also invests in the same sectors in Japan, but capital also is deployed to early-stage companies.
In addition to direct investments, WiL invests in established and emerging venture capital funds through its WiL Strategic Partners funds. To further help its LPs achieve their innovation and growth objectives, WiL has developed a track record of developing creative investment structures with its LP partners, including the creation of spinout companies and joint ventures.
WiL Ventures III adds sustainability, climate tech, health tech, Web3, and other emerging technologies as new areas of investment. The firm’s continued goal is to identify solutions that are most relevant to the business and societal challenges its corporate and government LP base is looking to solve. Collaborating with LPs and operating corporate VC funds will also be a new area of focus.
Just as it has adopted creative investment structures, WiL has developed a unique organizational structure to support entrepreneurs and LPs in different geographies and across different cultures. On top of its U.S. and Japan Investment teams, WiL has also established Empowerment & Corporate Innovation and Platform teams to maximize synergies between startups and corporates.
By providing its LPs with a wide menu of services aimed at empowering innovation and growth within their enterprises — such as design-thinking workshops, hosting of expats in WiL’s Silicon Valley office and establishment of joint ventures and spin-offs — WiL’s Empowerment & Corporate Innovation team helps its LPs accelerate their own digital transformation and become more ready to partner with technology startups. This becomes mutually beneficial to WiL’s portfolio companies pursuing expansion into Japan and Asian markets and partnerships with enterprises.
The Platform team also collaborates with all WiL teams to help portfolio companies optimize growth in the areas of hiring, business development and go-to-market strategy. The team also supports various aspects in CVC operations.
WiL believes that its cross-cultural approach and strong set of company values are what enables the firm to deliver on its promises to founders and LPs.
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