Tokyo-based gaming and entertainment company Akatsuki Inc, which co-developed popular mobile game Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle with Bandai Namco, plans to bring Japanese animation content for children to India early next year, and monetise it through merchandising.
According to recent gaming industry reports, Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle, based on a popular Japanese anime series and manga comic, exceeded 300 million downloads worldwide as of August 2019, and in February this year, had earned over $1.6 billion in total revenue.
Yuki Kawamura, Partner, Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund (AET Fund), the corporate venture capital arm of Akatsuki Inc, in an interview said that they “are exploring multiple options, not just mobile” to make this content available to viewers. They also plan to dub the animation content into local languages. The company is still working on specific details such as the nature of the content and distribution platforms, he added.
It also plans to leverage some of the fund’s recent investments in India such as Planet Superheroes, a character merchandising company, to grow in India, he added.
Headquartered in Tokyo with offices in Taiwan and Los Angeles, Akatsuki Inc produces games for mobile phones and tablets. They have also expanded into the live experience business by providing a search and reservation platform for tours and special events in Japan. The company was formed in 2010 and went public in 2016, and has a market capitalisation of around $900 million.
“As of now, their business is mostly focused on the Japanese market but the long term goal is to become a global entertainment player like Disney or Netflix. So that’s why they set up this CVC arm in late 2017 to explore entertainment opportunities outside of Japan,” he said.
The AET Fund has a corpus of $50 million, for investments in India and the US, and actively invests in new forms of entertainment technology, content and streaming services.
In India, they have made more than 15 investments since they launched the fund here last year. AET typically co-invests with local VCs – In India, they have partnered with Blume Ventures, among others.
“Our first strategy was to invest in multiple areas to understand the startup ecosystem and to develop relationships with local startups and local investors. But now, because we think we have developed a robust network here and we understand more about this market, we are focusing on three verticals – content, media and entertainment,” Kawamura said.
The fund’s portfolio includes SuperGaming, a social gaming platform for casual gamers, electric bikes company Yulu, online discovery and shopping platform Little Black Book, B2B e-commerce startup ShopKirana and mobile gaming startup Mech Mocha.