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Capital Markets

Japan's SBI looks to raise $450m for AI, blockchain fund

Financial group building on success of fintech fund

TOKYO -- SBI Holdings is launching a new investment vehicle that seeks to capture a broader swath of the fast-growing applications of blockchain and artificial intelligence.

The SBI AI & Blockchain Fund will begin investing this month, managed by subsidiary SBI Investment.

An early spinoff of Masayoshi Son's SoftBank Group, the Japanese financial services group has lined up investors including nearly 50 financial institutions at home and abroad, as well as nonfinancial companies. It expects the fund to grow to more than 50 billion yen ($451 million) as soon as the end of March, up from an initial 20 billion yen, which was raised in just two months as investors seek exposure to these technologies.

A financial technology, or fintech, fund launched by SBI in December 2015 grew to become the biggest of its kind in Japan, raising 30 billion yen from more than 60 investors.

The new fund will provide capital for venture-stage companies in fields beyond fintech, including health care and the "internet of things." Investors will also help them grow by adopting their products and services. 


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