Landmark business alliance formed between Artesian and MUFG Bank

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    Artesian Venture Partners Pty Ltd (Artesian) has announced it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG Bank) to collaborate in the growth of the startup ecosystem in Australia and Japan (the Agreement).

    Artesian, established in 2004, is a global alternative fund manager headquartered in Australia with a strong track record of investing in early-stage companies. As one of the most active venture capital investors in Australia, with total funds under management exceeding AUD $1 billion.

    MUFG Bank is a leading global financial services group and one of the largest banking institutions in Japan. MUFG has offices throughout Japan and in 40 other countries. MUFG Bank has been striving to offer its customers a range of financial services since its establishment of its business in Australia in 1915.

    With the signing of the MOU, Artesian aims to support MUFG Bank to accelerate its business development into Australian innovations. This includes working with MUFG Bank to provide its corporate customers with opportunities to collaborate with, and invest in, startup companies in Australia.

    This will expand the range of support MUFG Bank is able to offer to the Japanese startup companies going forward, such as business expansion to the Australian market and raising capital from venture capital funds outside of Japan.

    MUFG Bank's parent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., has identified 10 priority agenda items which it will prioritise to achieve a sustainable environment and society. In this regard, MUFG is particularly focused on "industry incubation and innovation support." Alongside Artesian, MUFG will continue to encourage the sustainable growth of emerging companies and support collaborations between startup companies and large corporations under the MOU to contribute to the further growth of industry in both Australia and Japan.

    Corporate partner Natsuko Ogawa leads the firm's Japan practice in Australia, and was delighted to bring the two Ashurst clients together on this landmark agreement.

    "MUFG Bank and Artesian are both valued clients of the firm, with whom we have long standing relationships. We are delighted to have been able to play a small part in introducing them and supporting the initial stages of their relationship.

    As a firm, we have been proud to support Japanese companies in their Australian investments for more than three decades. We identified the start up space in Australia as a major area for potential growth in the Australia Japan relationship two to three years ago but initially there was little appetite for early stage investment by Japanese corporates.

    This has changed in the last 12 months, and we have seen significant interest from Japanese investors in the startup ecosystem (often driven by their EX/DX strategies). The opportunities here are not well-known compared to Silicon Valley and Israel, but Australia is starting to attract interest. What is needed is better information flow to our Japanese colleagues and a willingness to learn to work together effectively in this space. That is why this new alliance is so exciting."

    Natsuko practices in the area of mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, acting primarily for Japanese clients investing in Australia. Her ability to work seamlessly in a Japanese and Australian business context has lead clients to also seek her strategic insights and facilitate collaborations.

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