Panasoni will be launching a corporate venture capital arm in April 2017. The new VC firm is based in California and will mainly be investing in U.S. startups with an initial investment corpus of around US$100 million.
This is nothing new as Panasonic has been investing in Silicon Valley technology startups for nearly 20 years since 1988. As a member of the venture community, the company has been helping these firms grow by providing a wide array of in-house technologies and human resources.
Panasonic Ventures, however, comes in a way for the electronics giant to explore new business opportunities as it looks to create new businesses not bound by the company’s existing business fields.
Masahiro Kinoshita, who previously heads M&A and business creation for Panasonic in North America will serve as the President of the new venture firm – leading Panasonic’s investments in startups that have unique business models.
But given its core business areas of consumer electronics appliances and entertainment devices, the latest fund is likely to focus on investments in robotics, the IoT space, smart home solutions, and AR/VR developments.
Through these investments as well as collaboration with these companies to explore new business opportunities, Panasonic aims to create new businesses that will drive its future growth.
Founded in 1918, Panasonic Corporation is today a household name and leader in the development of diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, enterprise solutions and device industries.
The company has its primary listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Nagoya bourse. It operates 474 subsidiaries and 94 associated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.553 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2016.
By Vivian Foo, VCNewsNetwork