Asics Ventures fund invests in textiles of the future
The Asics Ventures investment fund has sprung into action. For its first equity investment, the firm set up in November 2016 by the Asics sport group looked to Japanese start-up Ai Silk, a specialist in conductive textiles.
Ai Silk is a company founded in 2015 and affiliated to Tohoku University. The material it has developed is highly conductive (hence it can pick up physical data from the body) and is extremely comfortable on the skin, being made of silk, as well as able to minimise allergic reactions. Asics will utilise the fabric and help its further development through the group’s Institute of Sport Science.
The Asics group is very active in R&D, and it created the Asics Ventures investment division, endowing it with a capital of €22 million, to boost the group's innovation capabilities, create value and grow new companies. The decision is part of its strategic plan for 2020, one of whose objectives is "to develop revolutionary products."
On the back of significant investment, in the first nine months of 2017 the group's consolidated revenue lost 0.7%, down to JPY310 billion (€2.35 billion). Also, Asics's CEO Motoi Oyama will gradually hand over power from March 2018. Yasuhito Hirota is set to become COO and President of the group, while Motoi Oyama will remain for the time being in charge as CEO and Chairman of the board of directors.
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