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JAL invests $70m in new innovation fund

Japan Airlines has made a $70 million investment in establishing a new corporate venture capital fund that will focus on investing in travel-related technology.

The Japan Airlines Innovation Fund will be managed by US venture capital firm TransLink Capital, through which “JAL will proactively act with speed; promote collaboration and co-creation with startup companies featuring state-of-the-art technology.”

It adds that the objectives of the fund are to enhance the product offerings of the airline as a full-service carrier, leverage JAL’s assets to focus on new types of transportation, and strengthen the opportunities for its employees to work alongside startup companies.

The creation of the fund is in-line with JAL’s latest medium-term management plan, which contained strategic goals to innovate its full-service offerings and grow new businesses in adjacent areas.

In December 2017, JAL made a $10 million investment in Boom Supersonic, which is developing a new-generation supersonic jet. It also made pre-commitments to take 20 of the aircraft.

That was followed soon after by the announcement of a “capital and business alliance” with Japanese private space transport company Ispace, which aims to launch two missions to the moon by 2020.

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