Providing booking services for weekend leisure activities, Japanese startup secures $2M



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Catarizm, the startup behind online leisure booking site Asoview, announced today that it has raised about 200 million yen (or approximately $1.95 million) from Globis Capital Partners and Jafco. The startup will use the funds to enhance its booking management system and add call center representatives.

Since its official launch back in April [1], the company has been providing booking services for weekend leisure activities like skydiving, rafting, and many others. The company secured a partnership with Yahoo Japan’s travel portal back in October, and we were told at that time that they had listed 1,500 excursion activities on site from over 460 companies. That figure has since grown to about 2,150 activities available from 775 companies. They also launched a finder app for sightseeing spot called Holipple back in December.

Their potential competitors include Trippiece and PlayLife here in Japan, as well as San Francisco-based startup Peek which secured funding of $5 million earlier this month.

What’s interesting about this space is how large the market size is. Catarizm’s CEO Tomohisa Yamano told us that the Japanese travel industry alone is worth about $17.5 billion. But if you factor in the leisure industry as well, it’s as large as $622.6 billion. These figures include sales beyond just the reservation business they are focused on, but you get the idea.

I asked Yamano if he could be more precise about how they foresee their market potential. He responded by pointing out that Tokyo Disney Land had 2.75 million annual visitors back in 2012, and he expects they can acquire a similar volume of paying users.

So far the company headcount is less than 20 people, but they will grow to become a 40-person team as they pursue their sales target.

  1. This particular article/summary is written with many Japanese tech companies and startups in mind.  ↩