Meet Katsuhiko – Our new Venture Partner

March 22, 2024

We are pleased to announce that Katsuhiko Kumagai has joined the team as Tera’s latest Venture Partner and new country manager in Japan.

We’ve had a strong relationship with Japan for over a decade now, starting with acquisitions (Rakuten acquiring investments into our portfolio companies (Lingvist, Realeyes and Jobbatical from the likes of Rakuten, Global Brain, NTT Docomo and Nordic Ninja) along with investments into Tera Fund II (by Itochu and Mistletoe).

His role will see him lead fund engagements, as well as support founders to expand and raise investment from Japan. Based in Tokyo, he also continues being Head of Global Investments at NEC.

Katsuhiko Q&A:

How did you get into the Tech/Startup/VC World? Previously I was in charge of design consulting at NTT Data. For this I was researching technology in a specific field, and I discovered an Estonian startup company and conducted a PoC with them. I think that was the time when I entered this industry, but also the time I first became involved with Estonia as well! 

Today I am also in charge of M&A and CVC investment in the digital business unit of NEC Corporation, which has a long history as a manufacturing company for over 125 years. I work on the opposite side of VC there. 

Which industries are you most interested in?  My father was an engineer at a semiconductor company, so I feel very passionate about the combination of manufacturing and technology. Recently, I have been very interested in chemical technology and energy innovation. 

What is your role at Tera? As a Venture Partner and Country Manager for Japan, I am in charge of communication and advisory work with Japanese customers. I am also looking how to improve the success of open innovation on the VC side. I look forward to utilising my experience at startups, at large companies and my own hands-on experience in all aspects of the startup ecosystem at Tera. I’m very excited for it. 

Are there some foolproof ways to get your attention when a startup wants to collaborate with you? Regardless of nationality, I am very attracted to people who are willing to learn and seek growth. I would like to generously share my knowledge. 

What is your view on collaboration between New Nordic and Japanese ecosystems? For Japan, New Nordic is especially famous, especiallly Estonia’s e-government. I believe that strategies for small countries with different historical backgrounds to take advantage of their small size and develop are very useful initiatives for the theme of regional revitalization in Japan. I see a great opportunity for mutual benefit in bringing great ideas, products and services from the small but smart New Nordrics into the Japanese market. 
Japanese people are very passionate about high quality, and I think they have high expectations for startups as well. I look forward to mutually reaching even greater heights with Tera’s startups in one of the countries with the highest quality requirements in the world. 

Name a recent book or podcast that really got your attention? I found the book ”Keyence Anatomy” very interesting. It is about an orgnaisation which initially appears to plan the release a product that answers only superficial customer requests. Instead however, rather than looking at the superficial problems faced by customers, this company explores the deep issues that lie behind these and solves problems that even customers were unaware of. I feel great that they have established a great process to bring their products to the world. I previously worked in strategic consulting, which involves thinking things through from a variety of points of view, but this book made me realize once again the importance of this skill also in the startup world as well. 

What is a non-work passion you have? It’s difficult for me to separate work and private life when it comes to something that I’m passionate about. Through work and other activities, we meet people from all over the world, learn a lot, and then give back to others and increase our value. If you can provide more value to the people you meet, you will find the value for which you were born in this era. This gives me more passion than anything else. 

We’re excited to welcome Katsuhiko to the team. He can be contacted at