Teppei Tsutsui (GFR Fund) on Investing in Passionate Users
Teppei Tsutsui is the Managing Director at GFR Fund, which is a San Francisco-based venture capital fund that invests in early-stage, virtual and augmented reality startups.
GFR Fund has deep ties to GREE, a Japanese mobile gaming giant, where Teppei spent many years doing corporate planning, strategic finance, and corporate investments.
Teppei got to know GREE while working as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. There he worked on one of GREE’s acquisitions. Teppei made the jump to finance after nearly 8 years at Mitsubishi Corporation and completing his MBA at the University of Chicago.
In this conversation, Teppei and I talk about his perspective on the VR and AR markets as an early-stage investor. We get into his investment decision making process including what made a few founders stand out among the crowd.
We also talk about the recent Global AR Online Pitch Competition, which drew several hundred AR-focused startups from around the world. And given that Teppei hails from Japan, we had to talk about the growth there of virtual personalities - these virtual human characters that have become powerful influencers.
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Links From The Episode
- Book: eBoys by Randall Stross
- Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- Global AR Online Pitch Competition, which is co-sponsored by GFR Fund, Superventures, and The Venture Reality Fund
- Article: What We Learned From The Global AR Online Pitch Event
- Article: From Hatsune Miku to Kizuna Ai to Lil Miquela: Evolution of Virtual Personalities by Teppei Tsutsui
- Article: Virtual influencers: Lil Miquela and Shudu Gram are the vanguard of online marketing’s future (and a similar piece from AdWeek)
- Kizuna AI - virtual youtube host
- Lil Miquela - virtual personality on Instagram
- Shudu - virtual fashion model on Instagram