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ASX Release

19 November 2018


Animoca Brands subsidiary Zeroth partners with DEEPCORE


Animoca Brands Corporation Limited (ASX:AB1, the “Company”) is pleased to advise that its subsidiary Zeroth has entered into a strategic partnership with AI incubator DEEPCORE, a wholly owned subsidiary of global technology player SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984). 


Zeroth was recently acquired by Animoca Brands (see ASX announcement of 2 October 2018). The acquisition boosts the Company’s equity exposure to industry-leading AI and blockchain startups, their talent, and their technology.


The full text of Zeroth and DEEPCORE’s joint announcement is provided below.

Zeroth partners with Japanese AI incubator DEEPCORE 


Zeroth is one of the world’s first AI accelerators focused on frontier technologies like AI and machine learning


Hong Kong, November 19, 2018: Zeroth announces a strategic partnership with DEEPCORE Inc., a Tokyo based incubator and VC focused on advancing artificial intelligence and unleashing the potential of technology visionaries. As part of the partnership, Zeroth and DEEPCORE will collaborate to share dealflow, expertise and information for technology investments in Asian markets, bring their respective communities together, and back the growth of the AI founder community over the next few years.


DEEPCORE, a wholly owned subsidiary of global technology player SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984), aims to accelerate the adoption of deep learning in society and foster entrepreneurs by creating a new ecosystem that promotes collaborative projects and develops startups, in cooperation with various educational research institutions and companies. DEEPCORE operates the AI-focused incubation community “KERNEL HONGO” for AI engineers and researchers in Tokyo, and a VC fund, “DEEPCORE TOKYO I Investment Limited Partnership,” which invests in seed and early-stage AI startups.


Zeroth today also welcomed Paul Pheby as a partner; Mr Pheby previously worked in London, Japan and Asia with various investment banks, Citibank, Salomon Brothers, and Peregrine, and established the first foreign joint venture investment bank and asset management company in Seoul, Korea. Subsequently he founded Lotus Asset Management in Hong Kong and is a partner and founding investor in Midas Asset Management Korea.


Zeroth is one of the first accelerators in the world to focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Zeroth invests in high-potential start-ups and provides operational, strategic, and networking support to investee companies as they develop their businesses. Separately from its acceleration programme, Zeroth has also invested in blockchain-focused companies.


To date, Zeroth has accelerated three cohorts totalling 33 companies, obtaining an average 6% stake index n each, and has made eight investments in companies focused on blockchain technology. Various companies went on to raise funding after graduating from the Zeroth acceleration programme, including from prominent venture capital firms Horizons Ventures (invested in Fano Labs, now Accosys), Mizuho Venture Capital (invested in Laboratik), Portag3 Ventures (invested in Planto), KB Investments (invested in Seoul Robotics), and Aeternity Ventures (invested in Utu).


Zeroth previously announced its first closing with Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1) as anchor investor on October 2, 2018.


Katsumasa Niki, CEO of DEEPCORE said: ”We regard this partnership with Zeroth as an important step to expand the boundary of our capability. Zeroth’s international perspective will provide us with a significant advantage to inspire entrepreneurs in Japan to address globally momentous issues with the power of AI. We are excited to pursue a shared vision with Zeroth. 


Tak Lo, CEO of Zeroth said: “We are humbled to work with DEEPCORE, with whom we share a vision of the future of AI, its impact on technology businesses, and its opportunity to solve humanity’s great problems. Together we will work closely to realize that vision, and support AI founders across the world and specifically in Japan.”


DEEPCORE, whose mission is to be a “CORE for Disruptive Innovations,” is an AI-focused incubator that cultivates young and talented entrepreneurs in the AI field, especially in the Deep Learning arena. DEEPCORE aims to build an ecosystem that fosters entrepreneurs who generate disruptive innovations with technologies and use AI technologies, including Deep Learning, in society. DEEPCORE operates the community and co-working space “KERNEL” (in Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo), builds an AI technology-driven community that enables joint projects with companies, and supports startups.

About Zeroth
Zeroth is one of the world’s first accelerator programs backing founders in frontier technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain. Zeroth invests capital into visionary founders at the pre-seed and seed stage, and partners with them to advance their startups over an acceleration period of three months, utilizing Zeroth’s in-house team of experienced entrepreneurs, an extensive network of parmtners and investors, and a community of other founders who work on the problems that Zeroth companies are solving.


Zeroth SPC is a segregated portfolio company that maintains a series of segregated portfolios through which it makes early-stage investments in startups. Venture Classic Limited is the operational company of Zeroth SPC. In just over one and a half years, Zeroth has invested and worked with over 41 companies from 15 countries. Zeroth companies have attracted top venture capital investors such as Horizons Ventures, Archetype Ventures, and REAPRA, among others. For more information visit


List of companies accelerated by Zeroth
Botimize, Clickful,,, DT42, Aniwear,,, Impress, Mateverse, Fano Labs (Accosys), Automorph, Dishq, Emotics, Etymo, FamFit (OliveX), Foxsy, h30, Laboratik, Marax, Pingpad, Scry, SmartPeep, Volareo, Utu, WeCare, Tru Luv, Scribe Intelligence, Seoul Robotics, Planto, Fasal, MathCognify, Metrix.


Other Zeroth investments
Mainframe, Quadrant Protocol, Perlin Network, DREP Foundation, Libra Credit Network, Ocean protocol, Singularity Net, Raven Protocol.

About Animoca Brands

Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1) leverages gamification, blockchain, and artificial intelligence technologies to develop and publish a broad portfolio of mobile products including games such as The Sandbox, Crazy Kings, and Crazy Defense Heroes as well as products based on popular intellectual properties such as Garfield, Thomas & Friends™, Ever After High and Doraemon. Animoca Brands is the exclusive China distributor of CryptoKitties. The Company is based in Hong Kong, Canada, and Finland. For more information visit or get updates by following Animoca Brands on Facebook, Twitter or Google +.



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