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Japan’s Mobile Gaming Company Akatsuki Launches $50M AR Fund (EXCLUSIVE)

Japanese mobile gaming company Akatsuki has launched a new $50 million investment fund for augmented reality (AR) and other advanced media technologies. With the Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund, or short AET Fund, the company aims to invest in Seed and Series A rounds of startups in the U.S. and beyond.

“We are looking for new entertainment content and services globally,” said  Akatsuki CFO and AET Fund managing director Tomoya Ogawa in an interview with Variety. Ogawa said that Akatsuki was especially interested in AR, and that it had plans to use the technology not just for mobile gaming, but also for other entertainment services, including esports and more.

Akatsuki had been looking at startups in Japan, but decided to officially launch the fund in part to also invest elsewhere. “There are many entertainment startups in the U.S.,” Ogawa said.

The company plans to primarily invest in Seed and Series A rounds, with individual investments ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. “We want to learn from the market,” he said.

The launch of the AET Fund comes just weeks after Akatsuki announced the launch of its own U.S.-based film production venture. Akatsuki Entertainment USA is being led by Annmarie Sairrino Bailey, who previously worked as senior VP at All Nippon Entertainment Works.

Akatsuki SVP Daisuke Umemoto said that all of this was part of an attempt to broaden the company’s footprint beyond gaming. “We define ourselves as an entertainment company,” he said.

Akatsuki was founded in 2010 in Japan, and has since developed and distributed variety of mobile and social games. In 2017, it co-developed and distributed “Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle,” which has been published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The company is publicly listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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