Why Big Idea Ventures’ Andrew Ive is Excited About the Japan Food Tech Ecosystem

Just over a week ago, we caught up with Big Idea Ventures’ managing partner Andrew Ive in Tokyo to talk food tech investing. Ive was in Japan for SKS Japan, The Spoon’s event that we started in 2017 in partnership with Sigmaxyz, which has grown to become Japan’s preeminent food tech summit.

While we were surprised to see Andrew in Japan, he told us it’s natural since his company has been focused on Asia since day one.

“Part of the reason why I’m in Tokyo is that we are a global firm,” Ive said. “We opened our Singapore office on the same day as our New York office because Asia was always going to be an incredibly important part of our business. And obviously, not just the business part, but the food communities.

Andrew told us he’s excited about Japan because he’s seen a real increase in activity over the past couple of years.

“I think the corporates here, they’re starting to think about how can they work with external partners, entrepreneurs, like SKS and so on, to sort of really increase the vibrancy of the Japanese food system.”

Ive also talked about Big Idea Ventures’ initiative to harness the intellectual property of universities in the US by launching companies. The fund, called Generation Food Rural Partners, announced last week that it had launched its first portfolio company, TerraSafe Materials, a material science company developing new products, coatings, and applications for sustainable packaging.

“These universities have got an enormous array of IP,” Ive said. “Traditionally, they only ever really commercialized about 1% of all of the work, which means there’s a huge treasure trove of solutions and things that can really fix a lot of the problems in the food sustainability space that they haven’t really figured out how to commercialize yet.”

You can listen to our full conversation below.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.

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