American movie star Will Smith this month will team up will Japanese football star Keisuke Honda in launching a venture fund aiming to raise about $100 million from Japanese investors seeking inroads in budding U.S. start-ups.
Smith, who had the honour of performing at the World Cup finals, and Honda, fresh from Japan’s run at the World Cup, will use their personal connections to find so-called unicorns — unlisted companies worth $1 billion or more for Japanese affluent investors.
With the new partnership, the celebrity pair hope to help Japanese investors get the kind of information that is crucial for getting in on the ground floor.
Hollywood A-lister Smith owns an asset management company and has experience in investing in start-ups, while Honda, as an angel investor, has poured money into education, drone and other businesses.
He says he now wants to “build bridges between Japanese investors and overseas businesses” with Smith’s cooperation.
Their targets reach beyond the realms of sports and movies to a broad range of businesses that offer consumer products and services.
Both celebrities are expected to personally interview some of the candidates.