Build your company with Antler in Japan

Antler is a global early-stage VC that understands world class startups are built by exceptional entrepreneurs. This is why we bring together and invest in highly motivated people turning their vision into reality. The Antler Japan team provides support by connecting our founders with subject matter experts, successful founders and mentors as well as early access to capital to help build and scale their startups.

Who is Antler Japan for?

We’re looking for people committed to turning their ambitious ideas into game-changing businesses. We work with founders regardless of background or geography—from experienced business operators to technologists and entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an individual or team at day zero or have been building your business for years, we are here to help as a partner obsessed with your success.

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Program Details

We typically work with aspiring entrepreneurs founders pre-idea and pre-team. By joining Antler, we help ambitious individuals find a co-founder(s), validate an idea, build a company and pitch for investment. If successful, companies join Antler Japan's portfolio and receive continued support and access to our global network and resources.Founders can join one of our cohorts which take place regularly throughout the year.

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Formation and validation

Our 10-week intensive program focuses on team formation, idea and product-market fit validation, and business building to maximize our founders’ chance of success.

Week 1-2: Finding founding members

Form a team with other cohort participants through networking and workshops.

Week 3-10: Brush up your idea

Mentoring and support by Antler members and advice from advisors as needed to brush up your idea.

Build your company

You will have an opportunity to pitch our Investment Committee for pre-seed funding. If successful, Antler will invest up to 20 million yen.

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Post-program support

We stand behind you for the entire life cycle of your company—through follow-up funding, tier-one VC access, and our truly global community that supports you in the long term.

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Application Process

Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the full process and will be available to answer all your questions.

Application

Once you submit your application, our Scouting team will review and candidates who meet our criteria will move forward in our process.

1st Round Interview

Your first interview will be with a member of our Scouting team. We use the first interview to get to know you, get a better understanding of your background and figure out if our program would be an ideal fit for you, together.

Partner Interview

Your second interview will be with a Partner who sits in the location you've applied to in order to further evaluate your entrepreneurial aspirations and learn more about our Cohort Program.

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Application Process

Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the full process and will be available to answer all your questions.

Application

Once you submit your application, our Scouting team will review and candidates who meet our criteria will move forward in our process.

1st Round Interview

Your first interview will be with a member of our Scouting team. We use the first interview to get to know you, get a better understanding of your background and figure out if our program would be an ideal fit for you, together.

Partner Interview

Your second interview will be with a Partner who sits in the location you've applied to in order to further evaluate your entrepreneurial aspirations and learn more about our Cohort Program.

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Application Process

Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the full process and will be available to answer all your questions.

Application

Once you submit your application, our Scouting team will review and candidates who meet our criteria will move forward in our process.

1st Round Interview

Your first interview will be with a member of our Scouting team. We use the first interview to get to know you, get a better understanding of your background and figure out if our program would be an ideal fit for you, together.

Partner Interview

Your second interview will be with a Partner who sits in the location you've applied to in order to further evaluate your entrepreneurial aspirations and learn more about our Cohort Program.

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It’s the best time in history to build a business

There has never been a better time to innovate and build a company that solves a meaningful problem. As the issues society faces become more complex, founders are more needed than ever to tackle them.

Our Team

Ryo Umezawa
Partner

Ryo Umezawa is a Partner leading Antler’s expansion into Japan. Prior to Antler, Ryo was a Principal at East Ventures, Japan, an early stage venture capital firm. As a serial entrepreneur, Ryo founded two companies, including AllCoupon Japan (acquired), and was Japan’s country manager for companies such as Tinder, Homeaway (Expedia Group) and Hailo. Ryo spent 10 years in the Philippines prior to studying International Business and Economics at Sophia University in Tokyo. Ryo has been selected as a Leader of Tomorrow at the 40th + 44th St. Gallen Symposium, as well as one of the first members of World Economic Forum, Global Shapers Community (GSC) in its Tokyo hub.

Anzu Kojima
Capital Director

Anzu is the Capital Director at Antler Japan. Anzu has worked with Neuberger Berman, the traditional global asset manager, as an institutional sale. She has raised over USD 1 billion for various products across the asset class, such as private equity, fixed income, and public equity. Prior to this, she has also worked with State Street Trust and Banking. Anzu enjoys building relationships and attracting strategic investors to help exceptional entrepreneurs build impactful businesses.

Yuri Nakayama
Portfolio Director

Yuri is the Portfolio Director at Antler Japan. Yuri has been a venture capitalist for 4 years at STRIVE and Rakuten CVC. She was in charge of sourcing, DD and monitoring of portfolio startups. Prior to this, she has worked for Boston Consulting Group as a consultant. Her first career was a founding member of Japanese IT startup.

Anzu Kojima
Capital Director

Anzu is the Capital Director at Antler Japan. Anzu has worked with Neuberger Berman, the traditional global asset manager, as an institutional sale. She has raised over USD 1 billion for various products across the asset class, such as private equity, fixed income, and public equity. Prior to this, she has also worked with State Street Trust and Banking. Anzu enjoys building relationships and attracting strategic investors to help exceptional entrepreneurs build impactful businesses.

Yuri Nakayama
Portfolio Director

Yuri is the Portfolio Director at Antler Japan. Yuri has been a venture capitalist for 4 years at STRIVE and Rakuten CVC. She was in charge of sourcing, DD and monitoring of portfolio startups. Prior to this, she has worked for Boston Consulting Group as a consultant. Her first career was a founding member of Japanese IT startup.

Tomohito Kinose
Venture Partner

Tomohito Kinose is a serial entrepreneur. As a technologist he co-founded Niwango (ex-Board of Director), provider of largest video sharing service in Japan. He started his research in AI and cyber security at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Keio University, where he was exposed to a variety of emerging technogogies. In 2005, he founded Niwango Inc. with Mr. Nobuo Kawakami, the Chairman of Dwango, and Hiroyuki Nishimura, the administrator of 2channel. He served as a director with his engineering skills, and was engaged in the planning and development of peripheral services for Nico Nico Douga. He has contributed to many companies as a serial entrepreneur and a person who views the entire process from management to development. As a partner of Antler, he is responsible for the promotion of science and technology in Japan, including the commercialization of Japanese technology seeds and the promotion of the activities of engineers. Awards:Winner of the 29th Japan Glaucoma Society Academic Exhibition Award, the Excellence Award in the Healthcare Business Contest of 2019 - the Idea Category at the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry of Japan (\"METI\"), and the \"Honorary Mention\" at the Ars Electronica.

Ryo Umezawa
Partner

Ryo Umezawa is a Partner leading Antler’s expansion into Japan. Prior to Antler, Ryo was a Principal at East Ventures, Japan, an early stage venture capital firm. As a serial entrepreneur, Ryo founded two companies, including AllCoupon Japan (acquired), and was Japan’s country manager for companies such as Tinder, Homeaway (Expedia Group) and Hailo. Ryo spent 10 years in the Philippines prior to studying International Business and Economics at Sophia University in Tokyo. Ryo has been selected as a Leader of Tomorrow at the 40th + 44th St. Gallen Symposium, as well as one of the first members of World Economic Forum, Global Shapers Community (GSC) in its Tokyo hub.

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FAQs

What language will the program be conducted in?

The program will be held completely in Japanese.

What are the conditions for participation?

You must be able to participate on-site at the Toranomon WeWork and be able to participate full-time during the program period.

Do I have to resign from my company?

If you are employed by a company, you will need to take a leave of absence from your company, and if you are a student, you will need to take a leave of absence from your school before the program starts.

Are established corporations eligible?

Yes, established corporations are eligible. However, if you have already raised external funding, you must meet Antler's investment criteria.

Is a business idea required?

No, but the content of the idea will have an impact on the selection process. Engineers are not required to have an idea.

Do you offer visa support?

Unfortunately, we do not offer visa support at this time. Therefore, only Japanese nationals or residents are eligible to participate.

Contact Antler Japan

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Japan