Womenomics advocate Kathy Matsui launches venture capital fund

TOKYO – Kathy Matsui, one of Japan’s earliest advocates of empowering women in the workplace, has created a $ 150 million venture capital fund focused on environmental, social and governance investments.

The former vice president and chief Japanese equity strategist of Goldman Sachs Japan announced the launch of the MPower Partners Fund on Monday. Japanese companies Sompo Holdings, Dai-ichi Life Insurance and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings are major investors.

In the male-dominated venture capital industry, the new fund is expected to be one of the world’s leading female-founded players.

Matsui is one of the fund’s three limited partners. She is joined by Yumiko Murakami, former director of the Tokyo center of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Miwa Seki, who worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and translated numerous trade publications. Eriko Suzuki, former general partner of Fresco Capital, is managing director.

The MPower Fund will invest money in startups with promising growth prospects that use technology to address social challenges, with a focus on areas such as healthcare, fintech, education, and healthcare. ‘environment. It plans to target growing-stage and more established Japanese startups, as well as overseas start-ups, spending between 500 million yen and 1.5 billion yen ($ 4.55 million at 13 , $ 7 million) per goal.

ESG principles will be integrated into the investment process. The fund will help companies choose outside directors and establish diversity-sensitive management and organizational practices approximately two to three years before their IPO.

Matsui has been an advocate of “femininity” – the idea that the advancement of women and economic development are closely linked – for more than two decades. She has influenced many companies and investors with analyzes related to diversity and corporate governance. Murakami participated in ESG policy recommendations at the OECD.

The fund plans to use this expertise to help emerging entrepreneurs lay the foundations for sustainable growth.

Matsui’s next steps have been the subject of speculation following his departure from Goldman last year. Based on her years of experience as a SOE analyst, “changing the behavior of large companies is quite difficult,” she said. “I want to promote ESG and diversity by providing support from the start-up phase.”

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