International law firm Withers advised on the launch of MPower Partners Fund L.P., Japan’s first environment, social and governance (ESG) focused global venture capital fund led by Japanese financial industry experts Kathy Matsui, Yumiko Murakami, Miwa Seki and Eriko Suzuki.
MPower Partners empowers entrepreneurs by providing tech-enabled solutions to societal challenges and driving sustainable growth through ESG integration.
The fund will focus on investments into growth to late-stage Japanese startups, and the remainder into earlier-stage overseas startups, in industries such as healthcare and wellness, fintech, next-generation work and education, next-generation consumers, and environment and sustainability.
The Withers team comprising Tokyo-based partners Koji Yamamoto, Yoshiyuki Omori, Takeo Mizutani, Eric Roose and New York-based partners David Guin and Elliot Galler, advised on the entire spectrum of fund formation, regulatory and tax. They were supported by associates Erin Gutierrez and Brian Yu.
Koji Yamamoto comments: “The team leading MPower Partners are recognized ESG thought leaders and I cannot think of an investment fund that is more well suited for the times that we live in. The unparalleled success of MPower Partners to raise capital is a testament to the support and belief that the market has for its unique strategy. We are honoured to work with them on this launch.”
Kathy Matsui, General Partner of MPower Partners, comments: “Our ability to successfully launch a sizable venture capital fund during a global pandemic was made possible due to the tremendous support we received from Koji Yamamoto and the Withers team. Since the initial stage of our fund conception, they provided valuable guidance and were very responsive to our needs. Given the global nature of our fund, we appreciated their ability to deliver the entire Withers network to support us every step of the way.”
The target of capital commitments is anticipated to be US$150 million, and currently committed limited partners include three leading Japanese financial institutions which are aligned with MPower Partners’ mission of driving ESG throughout the venture ecosystem: The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited, Sompo Holdings, Inc., and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Group (in alphabetical order), alongside other global investors.
The fund plans to leverage its extensive global expertise and network to support startups’ ESG integration, business scaling and global expansion and facilitate overseas startups’ entry into Japan.