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Startups

Japanese soccer star's fund bets on Elon Musk startups

Venture with Will Smith invests in mind-machine links and superfast transit

Keisuke Honda, left, said the brain-computer interface being developed by Elon Musk venture Neuralink will "advance humanity to the next stage of evolution." (Photos by Masayori Ishikawa and Reuters)

TOKYO -- A venture capital fund set up by Japanese soccer player Keisuke Honda and American actor Will Smith has invested in two of Tesla founder Elon Musk's other ventures, including a company working on a way to connect brains with computers.

The Dreamers Fund has invested a small but undisclosed amount in Neuralink and Boring Co., the first Japanese investment in either business.

Neuralink is developing a brain-machine interface that involves drilling small holes in the skull and implanting ultrafine threads containing thousands of electrodes directly into the brain. These threads would be connected to a small device allowing the user to control smartphones or computers with just their thoughts.

"We believe this technology will advance humanity to the next stage of evolution," Honda said.

Boring Co. is an infrastructure enterprise that seeks to reduce traffic by building ultrafast "hyperloop" mass transit systems underground, leveraging its low-cost tunnel excavation capabilities. It has completed a test tunnel near Los Angeles.

The Dreamers Fund aims to invest a total of about 10 billion yen ($92 million) in U.S. startups. It has received capital from companies including Nomura Holdings, Shiseido and advertising agency Dentsu.

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