From Tech in Asia, September 14:
What Taizo Son can do for agritech and food startups that VCs can’t
Masayoshi Son is a familiar figure in India, with billions of dollars invested in Flipkart, Ola, and Oyo. Now his younger brother Taizo is on his first visit to India, but this Japanese investor has set his sights far away from ecommerce and transportation. He wants to invest in food and agritech startups.
Today in Bangalore, he announced the setting up of a new entity called Gastrotope in partnership with GSF accelerator. It will incubate and invest in startups innovating at both ends of the food cycle: technologies to upgrade farming as well as more efficient and less wasteful consumption of food.Expanding on that is the Economic Times (India):
In a chat with Tech in Asia, Taizo Son said the typical time-bound venture capital or accelerator model is ill-suited for tackling some of the world’s big issues. He feels more intelligent farming, as well as distribution and consumption of food, with the use of new tech like AI, IoT, and robotics can be transformative.
The Japanese serial entrepreneur and investor, who recently shifted his base to Singapore, wants to approach innovation in this area in a more holistic and long-term way than VC-funded startups are able to do in their drive to scale up fast. Taizo Son invests in startups from his personal wealth and does not face some of those constraints....MORE
For Taizo Son, the bet is always on the next big wave
Updated: Sep 14, 2017, 11.26 PM IST
Taizo Son, younger brother of the world’s mostprolific technology investor Masayoshi Son, is driven by the shock value of an idea. He wants people to stand up and take notice. Their reaction is immaterial—some would hail an idea as the next big thing and some would downright disagree.
Taizo Son, the chief executive of Japanese startup studio Mistletoe, will back an idea from its very beginning if he is convinced it can be a game-changer. His brother, Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japanese Internet conglomerate Soft-Bank, operates at the other end of the spectrum, pumping in millions of dollars into large startups to give them the ammo they need to become category leaders.
Their methods aside, the Sons are united in their belief in technology as the big agent of change. “Ultimately, my brother’s goal and my goal is almost the same. If there is a mountain, the way to climb up can be different,” said Taizo Son. “He is playing an important role for great startups—startups already growing nicely, helping them grow faster and making them bigger in global scale.
On the other hand, I will find very new technologies or ideas that are controversial and make them better, refine them. That is my role. Early-stage companies need every kind of resource, not just money; they need people, network, good clients, etc.”
Taizo Son was in Bengaluru to announce the launch of Gastrotope, a startup accelerator for agri-food tech companies, in partnership with tech accelerator GSF and Indo-Japan business consultancy Infobridge. Gastrotope aims to invest in agri-food tech startups that add value at various levels, beginning with farmers and moving to food transportation, processing, delivery and consumption.
It is expected to be up and running by early next year. The 44-year-old Taizo Son, nearly 15 years younger than Masayoshi Son, became known for his role in building Yahoo Japan and then founding a multi-billion dollar online gaming company called GungHo in 2002. For Taizo Son, the bet is always on the next big wave. That’s how he bet on gaming in its early days.
“I am always watching how technology grows. One killer idea at that time was online gaming. That’s why I developed those games and waited for the wave to come. It is like surfing. I was waiting on the water and in sometime a big wave came. I stood up and could nicely surf,” said Taizo Son....MORE