Tokyo—April 19, 2021—Hakuhodo Inc., the world’s third largest advertising company, is pleased to announce that it has decided to invest in Accelerating Open Innovation Fund 1 (AOI Fund 1), a fund organized by UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd. (UTokyo IPC). UTokyo IPC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Tokyo.
Hakuhodo’s new business development unit, MIRAI Business Division, is dedicated to the mission of “collective business creation.” To that end it works across industry and sectoral boundaries with a multitude of partners, including major corporations, startups, academia, and government. With them it pursues the goal of solving social challenges too big for any company to tackle alone—and creating new lifestyles for the future.
Today, innovation is being spearheaded globally by academic-based innovation ecosystems. Silicon Valley, Boston, Beijing, and Shenzhen are cases in point. Adventurous startups that build on scientific knowledge and technology acquired from universities and research institutes are the drivers of innovation. Ecosystems with universities at their core are emerging in Japan as well. Particularly noteworthy is the innovation ecosystem now growing up around the University of Tokyo. With its well-developed infrastructure for incubating and supporting startups, this ecosystem generates innovations through the practical application of advanced technologies that emerge from the University’s scientific cluster.
UTokyo IPC’s AOI Fund 1 invests aggressively in promoting open innovation in the ecosystem centering on the University of Tokyo. It primarily provides funding for commercializing the results of research, setting up new companies through carve-outs, and pre-seed startups achieved through collaboration between the University and private sector. It thus functions as a driver of the University ecosystem’s expansion.
By holding a stake in the fund, Hakuhodo will accomplish several things. It will help fuel the growth of the University of Tokyo innovation ecosystem by promoting alliances between startups and the University, as well as the rest of the academic community. And by combining the creativity at which it excels with advanced technology, it will generate innovations that give sei-katsu-sha pleasure and enrich society.