Itochu to join Singapore startup fund

YANGON - Itochu will invest in an incubation fund for information technology startups, seeking to tap promising companies in Southeast Asia.

The Japanese trading house will pump a little over 100 million yen ($800,000) into a fund to be set up as early as this year by venture capital company Monk's Hill Ventures. The Singapore-based fund will be capitalised at the equivalent of 10 billion yen or so.

Investors will include Singapore government-backed Temasek Holdings, the region's largest investment group. Itochu plans to work with Temasek in gathering information, among other things.

The fund will invest in about 20 companies at most, aiming for an annual return of 20 per cent in five years.

Itochu has such IT-related operations as Itochu Techno-Solutions and Excite Japan, which offers a portal website that includes a search engine.

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