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Gearoid Reidy

Pension Riches Are No Panacea for Japan’s Startups

The world’s biggest pension fund might invest in the next unicorns and decacorns. That’s a good beginning — but the country’s fledgling scene needs more. 

A hidden unicorn?

A hidden unicorn?

Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg  

Japan’s small-but-growing startup scene has seen some deep-pocketed new entrants in recent years, from Sequoia Capital to Softbank Group Corp. Now, here comes the entrant with the deepest pockets of them all: GPIF, the world’s biggest pension pool. 

The Government Pension Investment Fund is reported by the Nikkei to be one of the key investors in a vehicle set up by Globis Capital Partners that aims to uncover unicorns and decacorns among the ventures. The move seems to be at the behest of the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who earlier this year called for GPIF and other pensions pools to invest in startups as part of his “New Capitalism” economic plans.