Avex USA expands startup investment fund to $25m, signals plan to back Web3 ventures

Naoki Osada

In April last year, Japan-based music and entertainment company, Avex Group, expanded into North America with the launch of Avex USA.

At the time, Avex noted that its North American branch, led by President Naoki Osada, will house three core business divisions, Avex USA Publishing, the Avex USA label SELENE, and the ‘Future of Music Investment Fund’.

Avex says that its Future of Music Fund was set up to invest in what it describes as “cutting edge music related tech startups that are creating new IP, music experiences and revenue models”.

Today, Avex has revealed that that it’s expanding the size of the fund to $25 million.

In addition to expanding its investment budget to $25 million, Avex USA says that it’s broadening the scope of its investment in music technology startups to early stage businesses involved in crypto and NFTs, with a wider focus on Web3, the metaverse and the creator economy.

Avex USA says that it aims to partner with its portfolio companies to “develop new IP / experiences / and revenue channels in music and entertainment, while providing them with strategic support and guidance to tackle Japan’s music market”.

In Japan, the world’s second largest music market, Avex USA’s parent company, Avex, is often referred to as the country’s fourth major.

Avex USA’s music fund has previously made investments in the likes of Wave, which also attracted investment from Scooter Braun and Justin Bieber, and has hosted virtual streams with Bieber and The Weeknd.

Other companies it has invested in so far include ‘virtual artist record label’ Spirit Bomb/Strangeloop studios, and Endel, which has worked with James Blake and Grimes, and was also named as one of Apple’s ‘best apps’ of 2020.

Avex USA is housed in the Avex House in West Hollywood, a recording studio and creative hub that has hosted artists ranging from Cardi B, James Blake, A$AP Rocky, Normani, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Anitta and more.

The fund’s investment committee consists of Naoki Osada, Avex USA President and music industry veteran, Ryusuke (Ryan) Kamada, SVP of Finance, and ex-JP Morgan Investment Banking, and Lucas Thomashow, SVP of Strategy and ex-Google.

“We believe that now is the time to expand Avex USA’s investment activity.”

Naoki Osada, Avex USA

Speaking to MBW, Naoki Osada President Avex USA said: “We’ve been very fortunate to experience great success in investing in really promising music tech companies since launching our fund.

“All of the founders and their ideas have been so inspiring to us in so many ways.

“We believe that now is the time to expand Avex USA’s investment activity, to further innovate as a next gen music company, and contribute to the growth and evolution of music and Web 3 industries.”

Over the past 12 months, Avex USA has struck a global deal with Sony Music Publishing, and in January it extended a joint publishing partnership with S10 Publishing.Music Business Worldwide