Tera Ventures’ New Partner from a Japanese Corporation

  • Tallinn-based Tera Ventures attracts a top manager from Japan as partner
  • The fund has a decade-long history of various interactions with Japanese businesses and investors
  • Mr Kumagai’s expertise should strengthen Tera Ventures ties with Japan, while the new partner is excited about new ideas and concepts to implement at home

This March, one of Estonia’s most active funds Tera Ventures (invested in BotGuard recently, among others) announced a milestone team expansion. Katsuhiko Kumagai, NEC Corporation’s head of global investment & turnaround, is joining the Tallinn-based fund as its new partner.

Tera and Japan

Andrus Oks, Founding Partner at Tera Ventures

Tera Ventures has had a strong relationship with Japan for over a decade now, starting with acquisitions (such as Rakuten acquiring Fits.me), Japanese investments into Tera’s portfolio companies (Lingvist, Realeyes, and Jobbatical from the likes of Rakuten, Global Brain, NTT DoCoMo, and Nordic Ninja) along with investments into Tera Fund II (by Itochu and Mistletoe).

We have been building a network of venture partners in various countries for several years already. And Japan is certainly strategic for us, several of our portcos have raised money from high profile investors there and we have 2 Japanese LPs in our fund also. Our network in Japan beyond this is quite extensive. Katsuhiko stands out quite notably with his background from several Japanese tech companies, his ambition to build bridges between our ecosystem and his great personality,’ Tera Ventures’ founding partner Andrus Oks tells ITKeyMedia.

The New Recruit’s Background

Mr Kumagai admits to having inherited a passion for technology from his father who was an engineer at a semiconductor company. As for the startup ecosystem, Mr Kumagai got introduced to it during his time in charge of design consulting at NTT Data.

I was researching technology in a specific field, and I discovered an Estonian startup company and conducted a PoC with them. I think that was the time when I entered this industry, but also the time I first became involved with Estonia as well!’ Mr Kumagai recalls.

The Recognition and High Expectations

Katsuhiko Kumagai, Venture Partner & Country Manager Japan at Tera Ventures. Head of Global Investment & Turnover at NEC Corporation

According to him, the New Nordics are quite famous in Japan, especially Estonia’s e-government. He believes that strategies for small countries with different historical backgrounds to take advantage of their small size and develop are very useful initiatives for the theme of regional revitalization in Japan.

‘Japanese people are very passionate about high quality, and I think they have high expectations for startups as well. I look forward to mutually reaching even greater heights with Tera’s startups in one of the countries with the highest quality requirements in the world,’ Mr Kumagai adds.

‘Japanese indeed have high expectations for startups, specifically they are also very interested in international startups. Furthermore, they have recognized that European and in particular, New Nordic startups may be especially useful and a better fit for the Japanese market, as our startups are really born-global type, more so than the US startups, for example, which have the benefit of a massive home market,’ Mr Oks comments.

He notes that most Japanese investors have quite broad interest toward Estonian startups, as they are also interested to learn from our ecosystem. Naturally, they also focus on global trends like AI, as well as ClimateTech, which has become quite popular in recent years. Importantly, Japan has many notable corporate investors, i.e. for whom the focus is usually derived from interests of their corporation.


In turn, Mr Kumagai shares that he sees a great opportunity for mutual benefit in bringing great ideas, products and services from the small but smart New Nordrics into the Japanese market.

As a Venture Partner and Country Manager for Japan, the new recruit will be in charge of communication and advisory work with Japanese customers. He also expects to utilize his experience at startups and large companies, as well as his own hands-on experience in all aspects of the startup ecosystem, to improve the success of open innovation on the VC side.


Comments are closed.