Consumer rewards startup Kanmu partners with Credit Saison, raises $440,000 from investors



See the original story in Japanese.

Some of our readers may recall that we featured Kanmu in our previous article about finance apps. It’s a Tokyo-based startup that provides card-linked offers (CLO), a new marketing/loyalty technique for brands and merchants.

Kanmu announced on Monday that it would launch the first CLO service in Japan in partnership with Credit Saison, one of the country’s largest credit card issuers/acquirers. The startup has raised about 43 million yen (about $440,000) from East Ventures, Anri, and other Japanese investors.

CLO has been implemented by major credit card companies in the US since early 2010. It connects offers or discounts directly to a consumer’s credit or debit card, which can then be redeemed at the point of sale.

How does it work?

Credit card holders receive online discount coupons on the dashboard showing your credit card balance. The type of virtual coupons you see will be decided according to what you have bought in the past, by drawing from your purchase history. If you’re interested in using one of these coupons, you simply need to click the banner.


Subsequently, when you visit a retailer and use a credit card registered with the program, you will receive rewards automatically, such as cash-back. For users of partner company Credit Saison, you will be able to earn reward points via the CLO program.


For retailers, you can better target customers and need not worry about any elaborate setup to deploy the program. Retailers will be charged based on a performance-basis, so it’s much easier for them to begin using the program for as part of their marketing efforts.

But what about security? Kanmu’s CEO Wataru Yamaki addressed that point:

Our users’ personal information stays with credit card companies, which guarantees your information is as secure as it was before. We’re also currently working on getting certification for information security as well. […] What we do is managing which user has clicked on which coupon. So personal information never leaves the credit card company. Using this type of purchase analysis, card companies have been sending direct mail to their customers. But now it becoming web-based. For retailers and card companies, it lets you to see how aggressively consumers react to each promotional activity, as soon as that activity is deployed.

Yamaki is a young entrepreneur in his 20s, and has so far been involved in many projects using distributed services and natural language processing. Prior to the launch of the CLO service, he has been exploring financial information services and managing a market cap ranking site called MarketGeek. With these new funds, he hopes to acquire more sales and analysis personnel.