Japan’s Metaps secures $35.7M series C round to strengthen big data business



This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese.

As some Japanese news media reported earlier this morning, Tokyo-based Metaps, the company that provides an app monetization platform using artificial intelligence, will announce today that it has fundraised 4.3 billion yen ($35.7 million) in series C round from several businesses and  VC firms from Japan and the US. Details of investors are yet to be disclosed until later on when the company will announce joint venture launches in partnership with these investors.

Coinciding with this funding, Metaps announced that Heizo Takenaka, the former Japanese minister of state, has joined the advisory board of the company.

Metaps was founded under the former name of E-factor in September 2007 by Katsuaki Sato. Born in 1986, he attended Tokyo’s Waseda University but subsequently dropped out to establish the company, which in 2011 launched app monetization platform Metaps. This was soon followed by securing series A round funding of 440 million yen including 330 million yen from Ngi Group (now known as United); in March 2013 series B round funding of about 1 billion yen from Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and other investors was realized.

Headquartered in Tokyo, they started global business expansion in 2011, opening regional offices in Singapore, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, and Shanghai. Foreign sales from these markets outside Japan accounts for about 70% of corporate income.

In view of app monetization platforms, they have been often cited with other startups such as Japanese ad technology developer FreakOut. To date, apps adopting Metaps’ monetization platform have surpassed over 1.2 billion downloads globally.

Metaps launched a freemium payments platform ‘Spike’ in April 2014, and has acquired 40,000 merchants in seven months since then (or 50,000 merchants in ten months to date). Recently, the company has teamed up with Space Shift on big data analytic systems in relation to ultra-micro satellites.

Metaps says that the funds will be used for hiring people and R&D on big data analysis solutions as applied to wearable devices and automobiles. The company has been collecting usage information of mobile app users via the app monetization platform, but aims to acquire that from 800 million people – five times of the current accumulation – by expanding beyond to aforementioned new areas.

In view of large pre-IPO funding rounds in Japan, this Metaps funding is the second largest following that of Gumi which raised 5 billion yen (about $50 million) back in July.

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Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy