Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has announced plans to initiate a $20 million fund to help US start ups gain a foothold in Japan. The company is partnering with Japanese firm Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) on the venture and will look to invest in start ups from their early stages of development to late stage expansion in the Japanese market.

Yahoo

Japan offers unique challenges to US companies attempting to build a presence in the market. The unique culture and language make it extremely difficult for start ups to operate there because of the high costs involved in dealing with such changes. This fund aims to make the transition easier for the start ups to navigate those costs and obstacles.

The new fund may help Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) claim new ideas as it helps start ups develop into viable businesses. If the company can find an idea it is willing to fund, it may well seek to take the business that crated it into its empire, funding firms at the start up stage will give Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) access to the businesses before anyone else.

On today’s market, Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares rose by more than 1.5%. The company revealed its earnings report for the first three months of 2013 on April 16. The firm earned 38 cents per share in the first quarter, on revenue of $1.07 billion. Since the start of 2013, the company’s shares have risen by more than 24%. In the last twelve months the stock has risen by more than 60%.

Investors are unsure what path Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is planning to follow to growth, but the firm’s ability to hold on in its core businesses in the face of massive competition. Through 2013, the market will be looking for the company to reveal a cogent strategy for the years ahead, and one that will find the company a niche in the tech market.

That strategy is still a mystery to most, past reducing costs and cutting some of the company’s less profitable businesses from its register. Rumors that the company was seeking to acquire Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) appear to have been unfounded, though that move was met with some support from commentators.  The future is still a mystery for the company, and the initiation of a fund for start ups offers little in the way of explanation.