Japanese growth hacking startup Kaizen Platform raises $5 million



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Kaizen Platform, the startup behind the user interface A/B testing platform PlanBCD, announced today that it has secured $5 million from Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Gree Ventures. With the funds, the company expects to add more engineers to help with platform development.

Co-founder and CEO Kenji Sudo will be focused on launching the company’s international business, preparing to launch offices in San Francisco and New York. Sudo explained:

We’ll use these funds to enhance our service so it can help companies grow their online businesses, rather than just serve as an A/B testing tool as it is now. We have invited Jun Ogawa (the former ad sales head at Google Japan) as country manager and Yugo Takino (former gaming platform head at GREE) as a product manager, which will allow me to focus more on launching our US operations.

Beyond A/B testing

As Kaizen’s interface improvement solutions combine a testing tool with crowdsourcing, and it has been embraced by many web app development companies in Japan. Their enterprise edition of PlanBCD has acquired more than 30 corporate users since its launch last August. And on online edition of their service has been adopted by 500 companies in 15 countries worldwide. According to Sudo, many of their users are non-internet companies who can’t pay much attention to typical growth hacking techniques for their websites. Kaizen aims to help both less-knowledgeable companies as well as experienced users improve conversions and user acquisitions. He explained:

However well you can run an ad promotion, you can’t expect conversions without improved content on the landing page. We’re planning to build a dashboard feature that helps users understand which part of their websites should be improved for better conversions by showing them metrics.

He gave me a quick look at the dashboard, which lists improvement points with numerical indicators, essentially empowering webmasters to ask crowdsourced workers to make an improvements with just the press of a button.

While things have been good for Kaizen so far, their business still has a problem to resolve. They have about 400 crowdsourced workers who can help with client work, but they still need more. To address this need, they are exploring the possibility of finding workers in more remote areas.

Through partnerships with local governments, we would like to provide work opportunities for people like university students, especially in remote areas.

Corporate websites are often being updated and promoted, especially during new seasons or when new products are released. So if Kaizen can introduced a better version of its platform, it should be an invaluable tool for website maintenance and improvement not only in Japan but also around the world. Let’s stay tuned and see how they do!