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Japan robot suit developer leads new startup fund for healthcare and AI

Cyberdyne to use $82m to bring synergies with its HAL device and create new markets

Cyberdyne's robotic suit makes it easier for caregivers to move patients in and out of bed.

TSUKUBA, Japan -- Cyberdyne, the developer of robot suit Hal, announced on Thursday that it has set up a fund to support tech-specialist startups.

The fund was started with five partners: Daiwa House Industry,Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, Daido Life Insurance, Mizuho Bank and its venture capital unit Mizuho Capital.

The fund has initially raised 9.2 billion yen ($81.9 million), and plans to invest in areas such as medical and healthcare, robotics, and artificial intelligence over the 10-year investment period.

The fund aims to eventually raise 20-30 billion yen in total, through CEJ Capital, an investment vehicle set up by Cyberdyne, Mizuho Capital and venture capitalist Global Brain in December. It will spend 30 million yen to 2 billion yen on each startup.

Led by Yoshiyuki Sankai, Cyberdyne president and University of Tsukuba professor, the fund's mission is to discover high-potential businesses specializing in advanced technology in areas such as medicine and healthcare, and support them from the research phase to commercialization.

Potential investees will be able to bring synergies with Cyberdyne's robot suits designed to provide walking assistance to patients, or create new, related markets.

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