Japanese-led sports-betting startup Kibow snags $840K from CyberAgent Ventures



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

Singapore-based Kibow, a Japanese-led startup behind a sports-betting service focused on the mobile sector, has fundraised about 100 million yen (about $838,000) from CyberAgent Ventures and unnamed angel investors.

Prior to launching Kibow, the company’s CEO Fumitada Naoe launched a funeral service company called Sanctuary and subsequently sold off the company. Kibow has received a license for sports-betting in the Philippines, and is now working to obtain a license in UK.

According to Naoe, there are several online sports-betting companies in UK but many of them cannot keep up with the mobile shift. So this is the space that Kibow wants to get into.

Kibow is developing a platform where people can enjoy participating in sports-betting more casually. We expect to launch the service and obtain a license in UK by this year’s end, planning to expand to North America, mainland China, and other Asian markets.

Naoe wants to promote minor sports and extreme sports through his sports-betting business. He elaborated:

Since minor sports and extreme sports have had limited chance in connecting with core fans, it has been difficult to find a market for monetization. But the higher penetration of the Internet has made it possible to connect core sports with core fans. There’s no organization supporting this movement, so we’d like to establish a scheme helping such activities in the future.

According to Naoe, his team will also focus on branding, aiming to change the past image of conventional industries in the way Red Bull or GoPro have been doing. The Kibow team considers to host sports events in the future.

Naoe continuted:

Kibow CEO Fumitada Naoe

We are aiming to be a betting platform where users can enjoy betting but can support athletes at the same time. I think that we can make it possible by leveraging the gamification method.

Whether or not betting on sports has a good impact on society depends on what the concept behind the service is. We want to carefully respect our concept upon development.

I am betting odds will be equalized in the future due to the adoption of artificial intelligence. When it happens, I think that people will want to bet their money based upon which team or player they want to support rather than pursuing profitability.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy