Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

MUFG Teams Up With Plug And Play for New Japan Venture

  • Silicon Valley accelerator to open Tokyo office this month
  • MUFG eyes loan, venture capital and fee business opportunies

Japan’s biggest bank is teaming up with Plug and Play Tech Center as the Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator opens a Tokyo office to link local and global ventures with major corporations.

Plug and Play will open its office in Japan as early as this month, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. as its first partner in the country, according to people familiar with the matter. It will select 20 venture firms for its first three-month accelerator program, starting in the fall, said the people who asked not to be identified as the plan hasn’t been announced. The ventures will include both global companies and local startups.

The tie-up is the first between a Japanese bank and a global accelerator company, the people said.

For MUFG, the tie-up brings opportunities to finance successful ventures and pick up advisory fees from acquisitions or drives to raise equity capital. The bank’s venture capital unit, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., will help find potential ventures as well as investing in them.

Since launching in Silicon Valley in 2006, Plug and Play has supported about 2,000 ventures including PayPal Holdings Inc., LendingClub Corp. and Dropbox Inc. It has a presence in 10 countries including China, Germany and France. The Tokyo office will focus on companies involved with fintech and the Internet of Things, with MUFG helping link these firms to large corporations that may be able to use the technologies.

The Japan office will also work with major universities including the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University to build a pipeline of about 300 potential ventures both from Japan and overseas, the people said.

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