NEW YORK – MitsuiPE, the private equity department of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., invests in North American early-stage information technology and health-care companies solely for financial return. The firm also helps portfolio companies develop their business in Japan.
Established in 1997, MitsuiPE is part of Mitsui & Co. Ltd.’s global private equity group, which has more than $130 million under management and a 15-member staff. MitsuiPE intends to invest the corporation’s capital in 25 to 30 companies in the next couple years. Mitsui and its related entities have to date invested in more than 50 portfolio companies in the United States. In addition, Mitsui was the first Japanese trading company to create U.S-based venture funds, Orien Ventures I and II, raised in 1985 and 1988, respectively. Together the two vehicles invested more than $75 million in 35 companies.
Before launching a new investment strategy under MitsuiPE, the firm’s principals met with more than 140 major U.S. venture capital firms to discuss creating a hybrid organization that would provide maximum benefits to Mitsui and its portfolio companies . Although it can leverage the resources and networks available from its parent, Mitsui PE is independent and non-exclusive when it arranges Japanese business partners for its portfolio companies. Therefore, MitsuiPE has the financial focus of a venture investor and provides access to the services of a strategic partner. As a result, MitsuiPE touts “U.S.-style venture capital investing with a strategic twist.”
Mitsui, which controls more than 450 Japanese companies and has in excess of 1,200 subsidiaries worldwide, is equipped to take on the growing global interest in private equity investing, particularly in Japan and Asia. Mitsui has structured its Asian vehicles to provide maximum flexibility for its portfolio companies by investing through either the corporation, its subsidiaries, such as Mitsui & Co. and Asia PTE Ltd. in Singapore, or funds such as MVC Corp., in Japan. In addition to opening the door to markets in Asia, Mitsui also has local management expertise, an important factor for U.S. companies when considering Japanese partners. .
Some services available to U.S. portfolio companies include market research, localization, regulatory approvals, product sourcing, establishing joint ventures, channel design and securing customers. One example of how Mitsui helped a U.S. company increase its global brand value was the creation of AOL Japan, a joint venture between Mitsui and AOL. Mitsui provided management, strategic planning and marketing and introduced a local content provider.
MitsuiPE has four investment professionals: General Manager Yoichiro (Roger) Endo, Assistant General Manager Richard E. See, and Managers Ted Yamamoto and Darien T. Kadens.
Select MitsuiPE portfolio companies include:
Array Biopharma Inc. (Boulder, Colo.) is a drug discovery company providing research services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in medicinal chemistry, combinatorial chemistry, high-throughput screening and structure-based drug design.
Co-investors include Boulder Ventures, Frazier & Co., ARCH Venture Partners, Falcon Technologies and Advent International.
Eclipse International Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) provides complete systems solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) developing Windows CE based vertical and embedded devises.
Co-investors include TL Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, United Technologies Automotive and Intel Corp.
Pangea Systems Inc. (Oakland, Calif.) provides enterprise-scaleable bioinformatics software applications for life sciences research and drug discovery. Pangea’s current customers include Chinese National Human Genome Center, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly & Co., Hoescht Marion Roussel, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto and DowAgro.
Co-investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mayfield Fund, MDS Capital Corp., Boston Millennia Partners, Burrill & Co., Moss Forest and Levensohn Capital.
Mitsui & Co (U.S.A.), Inc. is located at 200 Park Avenue, 36th Floor, New York NY 1016-0130 tel. (212) 878-4044, fax. (212) 878-4070, e-Mail: email@example.com.