Next-gen Japanese wheelchair startup, Whill, closes seed funding with a total of $1,750,000



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Whill is a Japanese startup that is currently developing a next-generation wheelchair. Earlier this week the startup unveiled that it has raised funds from Vegas Tech Fund, 500Startups, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and individual angel investors back on November 6th.

The total amount of funding raised in this round is $750,000, completing the company’s seed funding of $1.75 million in total. Vegas Tech Fund, also involved in this most recent funding, includes Zappos’ Tony Hsieh as a partner CEO. Coinciding with the announcement, Whill has renewed its company website and has began online pre-orders.

According to the CEO Satoshi Sugie, the company has already sold out the 50 available machines by pre-order, and there are over 100 users waiting to buy. They first plan to market the products in the US and are aiming to for a Japan release in late 2014.

Sugie said that he wants to use the funding raised this time not only for Whill’s development but also to add some human resources, such as persons who can perform maintenance on the machine. He thinks it is very important to attain a high level of customer satisfaction.

The company is also looking for business development persons and field engineers. Anyone keen to get involved should consider getting in touch. Sugie is currently exhibiting at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas.

Seeing more and more Japanese startups trying to break into overseas markets is very encouraging for the other startups in Japan. We will also keep an eye on Whill to see how they progress.