This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese.
We’ve recently heard many stories making us think about the future form of a design firm. Japanese ad agency Hakuhodo DY Holdings (TSE: 2433) recently took a 30% stake in Ideo, a world-renowned Silicon Valley-based design consulting firm while Japanese video ad network provider Open8 recently acquired The Clip, a Tokyo-based design production startup.
Tokyo-based user experience and interface (UX/UI) design agency Goodpatch announced today that it has fundraised 400 million yen (about $3.5 million) from DG Incubation, Salesforce Ventures, SMBC Venture Capital, SBI Investment, and FiNC. DG Incubation is the investment arm of Japanese internet service giant Digital Garage (TSE:4819) while FiNC is a notable weight-loss advisory startup based in Tokyo.
For Goodpatch, this follows their previous $1 million funding from DG Incubation back in December of 2013. After the previous funding, the company launched cloud-based prototyping tool Prott. While the company has about 80 staffers in Tokyo and Berlin with about 20 people out of these being involved in developing the Prott platform. The company claims that the platform has acquired 55,000 users to date, which though not yet profitable has sales on the increase because more freemium users are being converted to paying users.
Goodpatch founder and CEO Naofumi Tsuchiya says that the funds will be primarily used to further develop the Prott platform, as well as to establish sales offices in Taiwan and North America. In terms of competing globally, it means that Goodpatch will be forced to compete other players like InVision.
We will be tackling the market with a different focus from other prototyping tools. By adding features allowing users to grasp the structure of a prototyping object as well as exporting to UI design and product specification documents, we will make our platform easier integrated with tasks before and after the prototyping.
In addition to Prott, Goodpatch launched a mobile condo/apartment finder app called Talkie last year in association with At Home, a Japanese property information company. In this round, Goodpatch fundraised from two financial companies and a healthcare startup since they expect to explore synergies in the fintech and healthcare sectors respectively.
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy