Investment Team


Mutsunori Sano is a founder and President & CEO of Innovation Engine. He has more than 25-years experience of financial research and consultation.
From 1998 to 2000, he served as General Manager for Industry-University Alliance Team in JAFCO, the biggest venture capital organisation in Japan. During this term, he was in charge of managing two investment funds total 70 million dollars. Prior to that, he was General Manager of Investment Research and was involved in about 200 projects for technical evaluation.
After graduation from Kyoto-Univ. Law Department, he joined Nomura Securities, 3 years after that, he moved to Nomura Research Institute (NRI), the biggest research firm in Japan, where he served 17 years, as Deputy General Manager, Management Development Division, he provided consulting services on holding companies and corporate ventures to major corporations such as Sony, Hitachi Toyota, and many others.
He also served NRI as a Manager of the Medium Enterprises Research Section, involved in about 500 projects as head of the research and the consulting section for Nomura Securities IPO operation. Projects included Misumi, Nagase, Melco, Benessse, Dotour, Net-One Systems, etc. He also served as Analyst, US Stocks, to research US computer, telecommunications, health care and the retail industry.
In addition to the above, he has also served as a part-time lecturer at Waseda University and Kyoto University, and as a member of the examining boards of VEC, NEDO and other governmental organizations.


Takashi Matsumoto is an Investment Partner. Prior to joining Innovation Engine, he was a Managing Director at Aozora Investment and was involved in a number of venture capital investments. Prior to becoming a Managing Director, he gained a wide range of experience working in corporate finance for over 10 years. He is in charge of Life Science at Innovation Engine.
Takashi Matsumoto received a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Kyoto University.


Kazuhiko Ota engaged in Major advisor until February 2015 and has been appointed as investment partner as from March 2015. Prior to joining IE, he was senior manager of investment & research division of JAFCO. During his career of JAFCO manager, he provided management advisory and business valuation service to advanced technology companies. Prior to joining to JAFCO, he engaged in project manager in think-tank division and promoted a lot of research and consulting projects on the electronics and semi-conductor industry in Nomura Research Institute. He also has a career of research & development operation of a large manufacturer company. Kazuhiko Ota received a Master’s degree in electronic engineering from TOKYO University and Ph.D. in business administration from Capella University.


Yasushi Chiba is a Venture Partner. After graduating from a University he worked as a venture capitalist at JAFCO for 15 years, and have made 10 invested companies go public. After that he established a consulting firm in which he engaged in headhunting and management education business.


Hidehito Amemiya is a Venture Partner of Innovation engine. He has been working as a venture capitalist at JAFCO for 6years.During the term, realized 5 IPO's in JAFCO. After joined to ASKANET, launched new business, realized IPO. After that, joining to MEMBERS. Graduated from Meiji University.


Hiroyuki Ishii is a Venture Partner. After Working at Nomura Securities, he entered SBI Holdings as a head of Chinese. He received a Bachelor degree in philosophy from Nanjing University and a Master degree in International Economic Law from Yokohama National University.


Yoshikazu Shinjo is a Venture Partner. He started his career as a venture, capitalist at JAFCO. For 18 years, he invested in mainly manufacturing and IT venture companies. He realized 5 IPO’s during his JAFCO career. After that, he became business consultant and supported many unlisted ventures. From 2015, he is engaged in a government project named Core Companies in precision equipment industry.


Hiroaki Araki is a Venture Partner of Innovation engine. He has been working as a venture capitalist at JAFCO for 15years. During the term, realized 4 IPO’s in his invested companies. After that he established consulting firm which deals with turnaround of companies. He received a Bachelor degree in commerce from Waseda University.