Japanese personal accounting startup Money Forward raises $5 million



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Money Forward, the startup behind the personal accounting app of the same name, announced today that it has raised 500 million yen ($5 million) from Japanese investment company Jafco.

Money Forward provides online personal accounting for individuals, allowing them to easily manage their daily expenses by integrating with their bank passbooks and credit purchase history with information scraped from their web bank and credit accounts. The service is also available for desktop, as well as iOS and Android platforms. The company also announced that it will launch a cloud-based accounting service for individual and corporate users, and it will also start publishing an online newsletter.

The service launched back in December of 2012 in beta, and subsequently launched its official version back in July of 2013. The company’s CEO Yosuke Tsuji told us that their service has acquired over 100 million accounting records from users, up 43% on average in the last several months [1]. He explained:

We launched an asset simulation tool called ‘Yoso-Q’ this past July, and it has been getting lots of attention from our users. Its daily active users are much higher than we expected. When we look at visiting frequency, almost 30% of our users who have registered their bank accounts on our service are using the simulation tool once every two days.

Their personalized credit card recommendation engine is especially popular among users. It proposes cards based on how much you pay on a monthly basis, or what kind of rewards you want to get. Their 60% of users are male, and 40% are female.

CHART: The growth of expense data collected from Money Forward users

Simplifying income tax reporting

Cloud-based accounting is a fierce space here in Japan, where Tokyo-based startup Freee is doing well in its user acquisition. According to Tsuji, Money Forward will be also getting into this space, launching a tax reporting tool later next month. It will simplifies your tax reporting tasks by scraping expenses from your bank accounts and sorting out automatically.

So what is his overall goal for Money Forward? He explains:

Along with the account aggregation technology, we’ll be providing various services for users including asset management and simulation for individuals, and cloud-based accounting for SMEs. When you have money management troubles, you find the answer at Money Forward. That’s what we’re aiming to be.

With the funds raised this time around, the company plans to hire more engineers in an effort to be a leading one-stop solution provider.

The startup was spun-off from Tokyo online stock brokerage Monex in 2012. It raised 100 million yen (over $1 million) back in March from several angel investors and WIT Corporation, a technology licensing organization under Waseda University.

  1. Not to be confused with user growth, of course.