When we first see Mr Kotaro Chiba, we see a traditional Japanese 44 year old who looks much like a person who just stepped out of a 1,000 year old temple in Kyoto. However, the first impression is much different from the real business minded executive who got his start in online-gaming and is not financier who focused on one growth industry – drones.
Mr Chiba, who embraces both the past and the future, is raising funds for what he calls the Drone Fund. Despite working from a humble space, he has big dreams: his fund invests in drones that monitor people flow at major train stations, tourists and has interests in hover scooters as well as pilotless cargo aircraft that can cross oceans. After putting up 150 million yen of his own capital to start his first Drone Fund in 2017, he is now raising 5 billion yen for a second fund which he aims to close by the end of 2018. And Mr Chiba is not stopping there – he is raising another 5 billion yen for a third fund with will materailize by 2020.
Some of his investors are impressive – Mizuho Bank, KDDI Corp and the Japanese government has thrown in backing. Surely the government has interest as flying cars, drones and related vehicles will need government input as laws will be drawn up for this new industry. We are Classiarius are focused on delivering tech ideas and information that, in our view, will bring back the old Japan Inc that we knew from the 1980s.
Mr Chiba has already made 22 investments into drone companies through his first fund. And it is now only investments. This great mind owns 30 drones and has them licensed to fly. With a vast number of drone companies going public in the next 5 to 10 years, Mr Chiba is leading Japan into a new world of investing. He seems to be someone who shows leadership and we at Classiarius will be following his progress in the coming years.