Tokyo-based crowdsourced bookkeeping startup MerryBiz relocated their office to Omotesando, Tokyo, in September. The company had been operating out of 01Booster, a co-working space near Tokyo Tower, since its launch in 2011. MerryBiz snagged funding from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital in May to boost their business.
CEO Hiroki Kudo explained the reason for the office move:
It was a good opportunity for us to mix with other startups at 01 Booster. However, we decided to move to the next stage in our business as our service concept had sufficiently jelled. Given our upcoming requirement to apply for the PrivacyMark certification, we believed it was the right time to move to an independent office.
Securing funds was a big factor in the decision. The uniqueness of our service is not so prominent so we have to execute it as soon as possible to win the game. The financing was indispensable for us.
While Kudo had been exploring fundraising for several years, it was a challenge to receive a favorable response from investors. In this situation, prominent investors and businesspersons like Terry Hayashiguchi (CyberAgent Ventures), Satoshi Maruyama (Venture United), Etsuji Otsuka (Trium Partners), and Tokyo-based Australian serial entrepreneur Terrie Lloyd, gave Kudo advice and helped him polish his business plan, which led to winning the funding in May.
They developed and rolled out their first web interface in July using the funds. Japanese cloud-based accounting startup Freee recently introduced an entire back-office solution for businesses; MerryBiz wants to take a different approach to better serve users. Kudo explained:
We don’t aim to replace certified accountants with our service. We’ll focus on providing outsourced paperwork services and help accountants focus on giving advice to their clients. We want our users to select convenient features from among our services and use them rather than providing them with a one-stop (full back-office) solution. So we have integrated with third-party services such as MoneyForward (online account book service) and Scanman (outsourced book scanning service).
Typical tech startups tend to market for user acquisitions via digital manners because their products are usually in digital form. However, Kudo thinks this approach has limits in reaching potential users so he plans to establish complementary partnerships with public accountants and other business professionals. Young accountants, many of whom have not been running businesses for very long, may be good partners for MerryBiz.
This space has competitors like F&M (JASDAQ:4771), which runs outsourced bookkeeping service TaxHouse. However, Kuro believes that MerryBiz can be a top player by bringing more technology-based solutions to the industry. As there are many fintech startups in Tokyo he has begun holding meet-ups to encourage people to connect in the fintech space. The second edition of the meet-up will take place on 26 November.