THE $50 MILLION FUND FROM LEADING ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY AKATSUKI INC. IS INVESTING IN CUTTING EDGE ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY STARTUPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Los Angeles, CA [February 27, 2018] – Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund (AET Fund), a $50 million investment fund launched by Japan’s leading entertainment company Akatsuki Inc. is expanding its executive structure by hiring Mark Linao as Principal, it was announced today by Akatsuki Inc. CFO and AET Fund Managing Director, Tomoya Ogawa.
Linao will report to Mr. Ogawa. In his role, Linao will be responsible for managing the company’s $50 million fund and its operations in the United States across several verticals in the entertainment technology sector. His work will involve sourcing, evaluating and investing in companies applying entertainment and gamification elements to several industries such as retail, marketing, education, and health and fitness, and companies leveraging frontier technologies for entertainment (AR/VR, AI, and blockchain technology). The fund is also interested in emerging forms of entertainment and gaming, such as eSports, live streaming, and live experiences.
“We are thrilled to have Mr. Linao on board to aide in Akatsuki’s goal of discovering and nurturing groundbreaking companies who are poised to become leaders of innovation in the realm of new entertainment technologies,” said Mr. Ogawa. “His vast experience as an active advisor successfully guiding numerous entrepreneurs and investors through their business ventures from seed funding to development and execution makes him a highly regarded and trusted partner among many in the entrepreneurial tech and entertainment industry. His background and knowledge in investments and venture capital will help our company continue to be a revolutionary leader in the entertainment technology space.”
“I am overwhelmingly delighted to work with Ogawa-san and the team at AET Fund, as well as the entrepreneurs who are building at the intersection of entertainment and technology,” commented Linao. “There are lots of structural changes and new business models in media and entertainment that have largely been shaped by technology shifts. As new media consumption habits emerge, we will continue to invest in and work with companies who are exploring the new frontiers of entertainment. Whether that involves established mediums such as mobile phones, or more emerging tech like VR/AR, voice assistants, blockchain technology, and beyond – the future looks very exciting.”
The AET Fund is dedicated to supporting the exploration of technology within entertainment. The $50 million fund was launched in October 2017 with the goal to providing the resources that will empower creative, innovative content and services to deliver brand new experiences that bridge the digital and real-world.
AET Fund recently announced its first round of investments in eight unique, cutting-edge entertainment tech startups from Japan, the U.S. and Switzerland. The investments by the AET Fund represent a new surge of interest in various new entertainment technologies for Akatsuki Inc., including AR, VR, and MR.
The first entertainment-fueled startups to benefit from the initial tranche of the $50 million investment fund include HypeVR, FABLE STUDIO, Tyffon Inc., OCTI, RosieReality Inc., and ALE Co., Ltd.
Investing between $100,000 and $1 million on average in each company, AET Fund is working as a collaborator and mentor with these startups, lending its experience and expertise to help the companies grow into leaders of next generation technology. With further investments expected in 2018, AET Fund is additionally set to increase its overall investments by executing partnerships across the globe to search for progressive and innovative forms of technology in entertainment.
Before joining AET Fund, Linao was a senior multi-disciplined Engineer at aerospace and defense firm Raytheon. Linao had also spent time at the Rubicon Project and Amazon. After that, Linao was an Associate at Technicolor Ventures eventually transitioning to Director of Corporate Development and Strategy at Technicolor. Currently, Linao is a Venture Partner at Candela Partners, an angel and pre-seed fund focused on mixed reality, computer vision, and mapping.
Linao has spent that last few years advising, mentoring, and supporting several startups focused on augmented reality, virtual reality, and gaming. Linao is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering and holds a MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Highly regarded and ambitious mobile gaming company Akatsuki Inc. launched 10 short years ago and now has annual revenues topping $100 million in their first half of this fiscal year. With a mission of driving innovation within the entertainment industry Akatsuki Inc. has quickly became one of the top leading Japanese mobile gaming companies.
Akatsuki Inc. recently launched a US based feature film production arm, Akatsuki Entertainment USA, to develop, finance and produce feature films and content across all platforms for the global marketplace. The company is helmed by production executive Annmarie Sairrino Bailey who serves as President and Board Member. Industry veteran Sandy Climan, President of Entertainment Media Ventures, serves as senior advisor to the company as well as to the parent company Akatsuki Inc. and Moeko Suzuki, head of Akatsuki Entertainment Tokyo Division.
■About: AET Fund
AET Fund ( https://en.aktsk.jp/AETfund/ ) is a corporate global fund of Akatsuki Inc., established to unearth entertainment technology. AET Fund aims to create innovative experiences, fusing the digital and real-world domains, by investing in next generation technologies and services. The size of the fund is $50 Million, and the fund focuses on investments in entertainment tech startups of seed or series A rounds.
■About: Akatsuki, Inc.
Akatsuki Inc. ( https://en.aktsk.jp/ ) headquartered in Tokyo with offices in Taiwan and Los Angeles, is the highly regarded entertainment company based in Japan. Incorporated in 2010, Akatsuki has achieved remarkable growth and went public in 2016 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. With a mission of driving innovation within the entertainment industry, Akatsuki is responsible for successful games played all over the world. Akatsuki’s core business focuses on the production of games for mobile phones and tablets. Akatsuki has expanded its service offerings to include the live experience business by providing an easy search and reservation platform for experience based entertainment such as outdoor tours or special events in Japan. The company is best known for co-developing one of 2017’s most successful mobile games “Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle,” published by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment.