rizonLOS ALTOS, Calif. – Horizon Ventures LLC in early November hired Takashi Kameda as the firm’s first associate director, said Jack Carsten, a managing director at the firm. Kameda comes to Horizon, a backer of early-stage information technology companies, after a nine-month stint at Sun Microsystems Inc. where he was a contracted researcher helping the company develop its ASP strategy for the Japanese marketplace.
Horizon added Kameda to its investment team because of his background in technology and his experience with the ITOCHU Corp., a Japanese conglomerate that is Horizon’s largest limited partner, Carsten said. “ITOCHU has two investment funds of their own and Takashi has a history with them, so we hope he can help us work with them on co-investment opportunities or help them come in and do mezzanine investments behind us in some of our portfolio companies,” Carsten added.
Kameda’s experience with ITOCHU is lengthy. Prior to his time at Sun, Kameda worked for three years at CRC Research Institute, a systems integrator/outsourcing subsidiary of the corporation. As a new business development manager at CRC, Kameda developed that company’s ASP business and strategy. Before he was at CRC, Kameda spent two years working at the ITOCHU Systems and Technologies Corp. and four years with ITOCHU Corp., itself.
Kameda said while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business from 1995 to 1997 studying entrepreneurial management and strategic management, he decided that he would like to be either an entrepreneur or a venture capitalist. “So I got the opportunity to be a VC first,” he noted.
Carsten said Kameda’s responsibilities will include evaluating investment opportunities and doing market research for the firm. Kameda said he plans on spending the next six months or so assisting Horizon’s managing directors and learning the VC business. Ultimately, he hopes to lead investments in ASPs and peer-to-peer computing for the firm, as well as leveraging his contacts in Japan in order to help Horizon’s portfolio companies expand into the Japanese marketplace.
Horizon closed on its freshman vehicle, the $82.5 million Horizon Ventures Fund I LP, in April, Carsten said. In August, the firm closed on a $5 million side fund whose investors are high-net-worth individuals and executives of Asian companies, he added. Some 60% of Fund I’s capital comes from Far Eastern LPs, Carsten noted, explaining this is a result of the his prior business experience in Asia, as a vice president of Intel Corp. from 1975 to 1987. Carsten noted John Hall, another managing director and co-founder of Horizon, also had a wide network of contacts in Asia from his business experience, which includes 12 years as a general partner with VC firm Newtek Ventures.
Horizon, which invests in the Series A and Series B rounds of companies located near its offices in Northern California, has done six deals for $15 million to date. In October, Horizon also appointed Doug Tsui as the firm’s third managing director from venture partner. Tsui will focus most of his efforts on communications networking deals, Carsten said. Horizon’s investment team now numbers four professionals: Tsui, Hall and Carsten, Managing Directors, and Kameda.