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VMTV #4: Grab’s latest investor MUFG Bank has its eyes set on Southeast Asia

Written by Emily Fang Published on   3 mins read

Nobutake Suzuki, President and CEO of MUFG Innovation Partners, will join KrASIA to discuss how he leads the open innovation strategy on behalf of the largest financial institution in Japan.

The fourth episode will be aired live on July 29, 7 pm SGT.

In February 2020, MUFG Bank—Japan’s largest financial institution—poured USD 706 million into Grab, unearthing the growing interest of Japanese banks who want to invest in Southeast Asia.

This investment leveraged on its strategic SEA partner bank relationships to cooperate with Grab to provide new innovative financial services to clients in the region. Other than Grab, they’ve also recently invested in Investree Singapore Pte. Ltd., a holding company of PT Investree Radhika Jaya (“Investree”), Indonesia’s leading B2B marketplace lending platform. It’s interesting to see how MUFG Innovation Partners’ strategic plays have been steamrolling into Southeast Asia’s fintech space.

Venture Matters: Nobutake Suzuki, President and CEO of MUFG Innovation Partners

RSVP: Grab Your Virtual Seat

Date: 29 July 2020, Wednesday

Time: 19:00-20:00 (GMT +8)

Language: English

We talk to Nobutake Suzuki, President and CEO of MUFG Innovation Partners, live on Venture Matters TV on July 29. With close to 16 years in the VC space, he now leads the open innovation strategy for Japan’s largest financial institution, MUFG Bank. Under his leadership, this corporate venture capital (CVC) arm manages strategic investments in startups and focuses on accelerating partnerships between startups and MUFG. To name a few, their sector focuses are fintech, AI and deep learning, blockchain, and more. Southeast Asia also has been one of their go-to markets to explore ventures.

“MUFG has made many investments in the past few years, including in one of the biggest cryptocurrency startups in America, Coinbase. However, the bank didn’t have enough resources as most investments were made by bankers and executed by a few people. So, MUFG decided to create a separate entity dedicated to startup investment,” Suzuki explained in a recent interview with KrASIA.

When asked about why Southeast Asia is an important market for the firm, he stated that “the region has a unique proposition as we’re seeing a leapfrog phenomenon in financial services happening here. Many countries in Southeast Asia don’t have a mature network or infrastructure for their financial system, but they have high smartphone penetration, leaving huge potential for fintech startups to fill this gap.”

In this virtual webinar, we get the unique chance to chat and explore the following areas with Suzuki. Attendees will get the chance to ask their own questions if time permits.

Areas of Focus:

  1. A brief history of Japanese CVC and investment
  1. Impact of COVID-19 on the bullishness of Japanese investors in SE Asia
  1. Notes on pushing for innovative change and technology transformation in traditional institutions like banks
  1. How can Southeast Asian startups appeal to MUFG and Japanese investors in general?
  1. How should startups manage a Japanese investor?

About Nobutake Suzuki, President and CEO of MUFG Innovation Partners

Nobutake has joined MUFG Bank in 2018 as a managing director in charge of open innovation of MUFG Group, and he has been the President and CEO of MUIP since January 2019. Before joining MUFG, he started his career as a venture capitalist at Global Brain, an independent venture capital firm in Japan, in 2002, and had experiences of investing in both Japanese and overseas startups and managing KDDI and other corporate venture capital funds. Nobutake started his career as a banker at MUFG Bank, where he was in the Industrial Research Division in New York Branch, and other divisions.

About MUFG Innovation Partners

MUFG Innovation Partners was established as a corporate venture capital of MUFG group, and is responsible for the MUFG’s open innovation strategy to accelerate partnerships between startups and MUFG, and strategic investments in startups.


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