ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Business trends

Soccer star Honda plans $100m venture fund with Will Smith

Celebrity pair will link Japanese investors with American unicorns

Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda and American actor and musician Will Smith aim to pool their investment experience and connections.
Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda and Hollywood star Will Smith will pool their connections and investment experience.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda is launching a venture fund with American movie star Will Smith this month, aiming to raise about $100 million from Japanese investors seeking inroads in budding U.S. startups.

Honda, fresh from Japan's run at the World Cup, and Smith will use their personal connections to find so-called unicorns -- unlisted companies worth $1 billion or more -- for Japanese institutional and deep-pocketed individual investors. Nomura Holdings plans to get on board to solicit investors.

Valuations of unicorns tend to skyrocket just before they go public as investors pile in, limiting the potential return after the initial public offering. The celebrity pair hope to help Japanese investors get the kind of information that is crucial for getting in on the ground floor.

Smith owns an asset management company and has experience in investing in startups. Honda, as an angel investor, has poured money into education, drone and other businesses. He wants to "build bridges between Japanese investors and overseas businesses" with Smith's cooperation, the athlete said.

Potential investment targets reach beyond the realms of sports and movies to a broad range of businesses that offer consumer products and services. Honda and Smith are expected to personally interview some of the candidates.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media