See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based MiddleField, operating the auto parts database website Garage, announced back in December that it had raised 250 million yen ($2.2 million) from Femto Growth Fund 2.0. The detail of the investment including share ratio is not disclosed. Femto Growth Fund 2.0 is managed by Femto Growth Capital where Tetsuya Isozaki acts as General Partner.
Garage provides information about auto parts from engine to exterior by category / manufacturer, used for dressing-up or tuning-up of autos for race or enjoyment. When a user chooses a car model on the website, the car is displayed by linking with information about each additional part, allowing him / her to make inquiries for purchasing.
Currently, Garage covers 1,500 brands and is tied up with 300 shops which deal with attachable aftermarket parts. Garage does not only provide auto parts information, but also intermediates between purchase wishers and shops supporting mounting work to allow users to get reservation. Shota Nakayama, CEO of MiddleField, says most of its users visit Garage by smartphone:
Like other industries, the major inflow path is the search with smartphone shifted from magazine in this field as well, and 80% of our users visit Garage with smartphone. The purchase wishers of auto parts tend to take enough time to consider which parts to choose within the budget. Although they formerly used to collect information mainly from magazines, magazines are not suitable for carrying and covering information only about a part of auto makers, so that they have come to search with smartphone.
The author of this article also likes cars and have purchased such magazines covering parts information (have not attached parts though). As the main information gathering means having shifted from magazine to smartphone, a certain format is needed to overcome problems such as underdevelopment of shops’ website or complexity of information about attachment means or costs, and Garage aims to fill in the blank. According to Nakayama, the firm plans to renew the website early this year.
MiddleField was founded in December of 2015 by Nakayama, who had experienced business development in the racing team Lexus Team Sard which participated in many races, and have developed auto-related media Motorz.
In 2017, with Garage, the firm took part in the Asahi Shimbun Accelerator Program, an acceleration program by the Japanese major newspaper company Asahi Shimbun. After its Demo Day, the service was showcased at Incubate Camp 10th held by Incubate Fund or StarBurst managed by ProtoStar, and was highly evaluated by investors.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy