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Japan's Netprice looks to invest up to $4M in Indian tech startups this year

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Netprice.com Inc, a consumer internet incubation cum investment firm, is planning to step up its activity in India by investing in a clutch of startups in the web and mobile space. The firm is looking to put in between $500,000 and $4 million in three-four companies in 2014, according to a report in The Economic Times, citing its president and CEO Teruhide Sato.

He did not clarify if the firm has already identified any companies for investments.

This comes close on the heels of the investment announcement by Beenos Asia Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Netprice, along with Japanese online payments firm econtext Asia Ltd, in Mumbai-based online payments company Citrus Payments Solutions. Earlier, the firm had put backed online marketplace ShopClues in India.

The Netprice group was set up in 1999 in Tokyo with the objective of facilitating commerce on internet. According to its website, it has placed its business focus on the internet and distribution since inception, and has set up a broad array of businesses.

The group has a total of nine companies, including some into flash sales. With the strategy of creating new e-commerce models, the group also engages in the incubation business. It is currently incubating seven companies, including Defacto Standard Co, Shop Airlines, and Open Network Lab.

Of late, Japanese investors and incubators have been aggressively focusing on India, given the size of the market and the growing internet population. There have also been reports that Tokyo-based global startup incubator-cum-early-stage investor Samurai Incubate is looking to foray into India, in partnerships with domestic incubators.

Moreover Japanese firms have also been actively striking M&As in the big data and payments space.

In November last year, Hitachi acquired Chennai-based payment solutions firm Prizm Payment Services Pvt Ltd. Previously NTT had acquired Netmagic and more recently, it snapped global managed and cloud network services company Virtela Technology.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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