This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese.
Tokyo-based United (TSE:2497), the Japanese listed company focused on developing mobile apps and adtech platforms, announced on Wednesday that it will acquire a whole stake in Kiramex, a Japanese startup behind online crowdsourced programming school service TechAcademy. According to disclosed information, the listed company will acquire Kiramex for about 600 million yen (about $5.1 million) through stock swap and payment in cash. This deal is expected to be closed on February 19th.
Since its launch back in May of 2010, Kiramex had been offering a Groupon-like group-buying platform called Kaupon, starting as the second business of its kind in Japan. Riding a wave of popularity, the company secured angel investments only a month after launch, followed by $2.4 million in funding from Globis Capital Partners in September the same year. However, the Japanese group-buying industry subsequently became fiercely competitive and saturated because of the number of similar services continuously coming online. In 2013, the situation forced Kiramex to withdraw from the group-buying business (ownership of the Kaupon platform was subsequently handed over to Japanese internet company Cybridge).
Prior to shutdown of its group-buying business, the team launched online crowdsourced programming school platform TechAcademy in 2012. It has acquired more than 7,000 aspiring programmers as students to date. Additionally, it’s been adopted by about 100 companies for their in-house employee training. In partnership with the new parent company United, Kiramex aims to expand the TechAcademy business further by leveraging the former’s marketing expertise and efforts.
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy