Sony Ventures has introduced the Sony Innovation Fund: Africa (SIF: AF), a program aimed at nurturing the growth of entertainment businesses in Africa. The Tokyo-based multinational conglomerate, operating through Sony Ventures Corporation (SVC), has allocated $10 million to support early-stage startups in gaming, music, film, and content distribution.
This move by Sony Ventures represents its latest initiative to provide backing for technology ventures across different markets and development stages, with a particular emphasis on African entertainment startups. Last year, SVC successfully completed the initial funding round for the Sony Innovation Fund 3, raising $215 million to support emerging technology companies at all stages of development.
The subsidiary oversees all of Sony’s venture investment activities, including SIF3, Sony Innovation Fund (SIF), Sony Innovation Growth Fund in partnership with Daiwa Capital Holdings, and Sony Innovation Fund: Environment.
Sony’s venture arm has made over 100 investments in both consumer and enterprise-focused enterprises spanning various sectors such as entertainment, robotics, AI, mobility, fintech, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, using funds from these different sources.
In Africa, fintech has garnered the most significant share of venture capital investments, accounting for nearly half of the funding directed toward the continent in the past year. While sectors like logistics, healthcare, and mobility draw the attention of local and global investors in African tech, the entertainment sector, often overlooked, is where Sony Ventures is choosing to make its inaugural entry into Africa.
Gen Tsuchikawa, CEO of Sony Ventures, explained that although Sony established the Sony Innovation Fund in 2016 to invest in ventures across diverse business fields, it remains a creative entertainment and technology company with a mission to enrich the world with emotion through the combination of creativity and technology.
Tsuchikawa added that aside from the fund’s strategy to invest in seed and early-stage startups, it will also offer follow-on investments to companies already in its portfolio.
“The entertainment field has been a key area of focus for Sony Innovation Fund since the beginning and will continue to be. Africa, in particular, has a vibrant community of creators and entrepreneurs looking to invent new ways to enhance entertainment experiences for audiences and that propelled Sony to establish SIF: AF,” he added.
While there is no set timetable for deploying the $10 million or a specific number of startups the fund intends to support, Sony Innovation Fund: Africa anticipates providing investments ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Tsuchikawa mentioned that the fund has initiated due diligence on a few startups but refrained from sharing specific details. “We plan to start our work with South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, but there is a possibility of expanding the scope of the project in the future.”