Money

Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa launches entrepreneur competition offering to invest $91 million

Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. 
Michael Sheetz | CNBC

Retail mogul Yusaku Maezawa has launched another competition, offering to invest a total of 10 billion Japanese yen ($91 million) in the businesses of 10 entrepreneurs.

The Japanese billionaire announced on Twitter on Friday that he would look to expand the businesses he picked, with the aim of them listing on a stock exchange, according to a translation.

He shared a link to a website outlining the terms of the competition, which explained that entrepreneurs had to email their business proposals to enter, including details as to how they would spend the funds among other information.

It also specified that entrants were required to pay 100,000 ($910) Japanese yen to enter, as a "screening fee," to be transferred within three days of submitting their proposal.

Maezawa and his management staff would then send questionnaires to applicants who pass the screening stage, followed by initial and final interviews.

Any proposals which don't pass the screening stage would be notified of the result with written comment from Maezawa, the website stated.

It also said that Maezawa would look to own around 20% of the business through his investments.

Entrants had until just before midnight Tokyo time on February 16 to apply for the competition.

In separate tweets, Maezawa explained that the 1 billion Japanese yen was just a guide of investment per business and that the "Maezawa fund" could allocate as much as 3 billion yen to each company.

Maezawa also said he could be flexible with the size of his stake in the business, ranging from 10% to close to 50%.

The billionaire said entrants' businesses could have already received investment from venture capital firms and other companies. At the same time, Maezawa said applicants could also use the opportunity to start a new business, "launch a student venture or increase the size of the company you have taken over from your parents."

He explained to potential entrants that they would not have to return the funds if they made a mistake, adding that "failure to start a business is a big plus of a life experience, and if you succeed, that's fine."

This is not Maezawa's first attempt to make his Twitter followers happier, as the businessman gave away 1 billion Japanese yen at the beginning of the year as part of a social experiment.

Maezawa also attracted attention after canceling his public search for a "life partner" to accompany him on his trip around the moon on Elon Musk's SpaceX Starship rocket.

The billionaire started out selling records from his home but went on to found Japan's largest fashion retail website, Zozotown, in 1998.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect a change in the amount that entrants are required to pay as a screening fee.

make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM