Japanese entrepreneur to set up 'community centre' for ideas

This article is more than 12 months old

Entrepreneurs from around the region could soon have a "community centre" here for sharing and developing new ideas.

Japanese entrepreneur and investor Taizo Son said yesterday he hopes to open the facility by the end of the year, to spur innovation and bring together start-ups.

Mr Son is the founder of Mistletoe, an early-stage venture firm which has backed start-ups such as Zipline, whose drones are used to deliver blood and plasma to hospitals in rural Rwanda, and fully autonomous car maker Zoox.

"We will set up a Mistletoe meet-up place for entrepreneurs and innovators around the world so that they can network and create new chemistry," he said.

Mr Son, who has relocated here and is seeking permanent residency, intends to visit local universities and start-up incubators to find projects to support.

Japan-based Mistletoe, which was founded in 2013, invested in Singapore-based Internet company Garena last year. The investment sum was not disclosed.

Mr Son is also mulling setting up a centre next year aimed at providing "after-school activities" for young people to learn about entrepreneurship and technology.

He expects to invest US$100 million (S$139.6 million) across South-east Asia over the next five years to support various projects, with "tens of millions" likely earmarked for investments here.

Mr Son is keen on exploring sectors like urban planning, transportation technology, industrial automation, healthcare and education.