Japan’s home recommendation platform Ietty raises $1.9 million

Japan’s home recommendation platform Ietty raises $1.9 million

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This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese.

Ietty is a Japanese startup that provides an alternative to conventional house hunting. The startup announced today that it has fundraised about 200 million yen ($1.86 million) from YJ Capital and Incubate Fund. Coinciding with this, YJ Capital CEO Takao Ozawa and Incubate Fund partner Keisuke Wada will join the management board of the company.

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When a user submits criteria for a home and a preferred date to visit candidates on the platform, they will receive a selection of property options from real-estate agencies. A user who then visits a property will receive a reward of 1,000 yen ($9.30) from the platform.

Ietty was launched in July 2013, and subsequently raised about 50 million yen ($500,000) from I Mercury Capital, the investment arm of Japanese Internet company Mixi, in October of the same year. This June they launched a new service for corporate welfare called Ietty Biz.

Ietty CEO Taikhei Ogawa explained recent developments:

About 1,000 people use our service every month, and 20% to 30% of them visit property agencies. We ask users who have submitted strict criteria in finding a home to loosen their requirements so that they will be more likely to find good candidates. We are monitoring these tendencies with the aim to automate the process.

On the corporate service, Ietty Biz has acquired about 40 clients, including listed IT companies, for as short as four months since the launch, which is more than expected, Ogawa says.

Some users (employees working in a corporate client) have decided their relocation using Ietty Biz. When a corporate client opts for a new home through our service, word spreads in the company and more users use our service. New companies, where employees are typically young and are likely to relocate many times, have an affinity for our service. However, we want to reach out to more established companies.

The company will use the funds to hire staff and strengthen sales, especially for supporting property agencies that use the platform.