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Tuesday, March 28, 2000
U.S. Money Flows Into Japan Net Start-Ups

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Big U.S. venture capitalists and manufacturers are
pouring money into Japanese Internet start-up firms, The Nihon
Keizai Shimbun has learned.

The U.S. companies believe the creation of Nasdaq Japan and other
markets will make it both easier and quicker for Japanese start-ups
to list. They also aim to acquire new technologies offered by the
Japanese ventures.

GE Capital Corp., Japanese firms Jafco Co. (8595) and Itochu
Techno-Science Corp. plan to invest 1.78 billion yen Wednesday in
Sapporo software developer Softfront Inc. The investment will boost
Softfront`s capital by more than a factor of 6 to 1.24 billion yen.

Softfront plans to sell systems that can send and receive audio and
graphics over the Internet at high speeds in Japan and the U.S.
Depending on the terminal, its system can send audio data with a
delay of just 0.09 second, the fastest in the world and more than
four times the speed of earlier systems, including that developed by
Microsoft Corp.

The company expects sales of 600 million yen in the year through
Friday and will increase its work force to 250 from the current 100
employees. The firm plans to go public during fiscal 2001.

A consortium of seven companies, including Compaq Computer
Corp. and chip giant Intel Corp., recently invested 800 million yen in
software developer 10art-ni Corp. 10art-ni will use the funds for R&D
and will work with the group on software development, sales of
manufactured goods and other operations.

10art-ni specializes in developing Linux and Java software.
Combining the two systems cuts costs, so markets related to the
two systems are growing rapidly. The company aims to list on
Mothers, the Tokyo Stock Exchange`s market for start-ups this
year.


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