Michelin chef Shintaro Esaki and former securities banker Osamu Ito are going into the bento business together. Ito recently left Morgan Stanley to become the CEO of Crowdfunding Inc., a Tokyo-based company that will fund online startups. According to Business Week, Ito is seeking to raise 35 million yen ($345,135 USD) to bring about a bento empire, supervised by Esaki, whose Tokyo restaurant of the same name has three Michelin stars.
The team plans to sell 50 million yen worth of the diet-oriented, low-calorie and low-sugar lunch boxes, within the first year of business. Investors would receive about 10 to 13 percent of the annual profits, according to Ito. To begin, the “Oishi Plus” bento boxes will start selling at about 880 yen each (about $8.68 USD) in Tokyo.
Ito’s partnership with Esaki is part of a larger endeavor by the former banker to make it easier for Japanese investors to become involved in meaningful business ventures. Ito told Business Week that “Providing capital to those who are in dire need at appropriate times is the role of financial firms,” and that he was excited to be able to support “projects that will set the trend in the new era.”