Tokyo-based Sony Corp. is setting up an India-focused venture capital arm that will act as a co-investor in startups alongside celebrities such as film stars and sports personalities and look to participate in the funding boom that has given rise to several unicorns over the past 12 months, people aware of the development told ET.
The $81-billion global media conglomerate, with businesses as diverse as gaming, film and music production and electronics manufacturing, will commit $200 million to the VC arm to begin with, the sources said.
It has roped in former Fox Star Studios chief executive officer Vijay Singh to lead the new venture. In his previous assignment, Singh spent 13 years with Fox Star and helped build the film studio in the country.
In 2016, Sony started an innovation fund with a global focus. However, the new VC arm is a first-of-its kind initiative within the conglomerate that will aim to leverage Sony’s celebrity networks in India to create an India-specific pool of investments that could have long term ‘strategic value’ for the group, sources said.
A mailed query to Sony Corp. remained unanswered. Separately, Singh did not respond to ET’s calls and emailed queries.
Successful investments of cricketer Virat Kohli and film star Deepika Padukone would serve as a template for Sony’s upcoming VC bets, the sources said. TechAI