Asia-focused mobile rewards startup Yoyo Holdings fundraises from KLab, Gree Ventures



See the original story in Japanese.

Yoyo Holdings, the startup known for providing mobile rewards platforms, announced today that it has secured funding from KLab GlobalGree Ventures, and an unnamed angel investor. Details of the investment have not been disclosed but the raised sum likely ranges around several million US dollars. The company fundraised $1.3 million from Gree Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures and Incubate Fund in the previous round back in May 2014.

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Out of all three investors participating in this round, KLab Global is a Singapore-based global business-focused subsidiary of Japanese mobile game development company KLab (TSE:3656). Yoyo Holdings is incorporated in Singapore but runs systems development and business operations mainly in Manila, the Philippines. Based on a partnership with KLab Global, Yoyo Holdings will relocate its Manila operations to inside the office of KLab Cyscorpions, a Manila-based subsidiary of KLab Global, aiming to receive substantial support for engineering efforts and corporate operations.

Consisting of about 25 employees, Yoyo Holding provides mobile users with rewards platform: Candy and PopSlide. Candy is a solution that rewards users for performing micro-tasks – such as surveys, app installs, banner clicks or review submissions – by giving them airtime or prepaid phone credit. Popslide distributes news and weather forecasts as well as other updates and ads to your smartphone lock screen. In return for viewing such information, users receive rewards for free Internet access on their smartphone. The company’s combined user base from the two services has acquired over a million users to date in the Southeast Asia region.

Yoyo Holdings co-founder and CEO Yosuke Fukada told The Bridge that they will use the funds to strengthen their engineering development resources:

In Southeast Asia, for instance, many people use an Android phone supporting multiple SIM cards with multiple phone numbers, so we need to support models which are not so common in advanced countries. Even Facebook has developed a mobile app specifically designed for rural areas in this region, where mobile broadband is likely unavailable. In a similar manner, we want to strengthen our engineering in order to better fit the targeted markets.

Coinciding with the funding, the company unveiled that Suni Kang has joined the team. She was previously working at Tonchidot Corporation, the Japanese startup behind the Sekai Camera Augmented Reality (AR) app, followed by working in the Philippines; she wanted to fathom the market potential in the Southeast Asia region. Along with working at an IT company as a project manager in Manila, she has deepened the mutual relationship with Yoyo Holdings by writing a guest post about them for Japanese tech blog Techwave, resulting in her joining the team as a project manager and recruiter.

Aiming to attract the Next Billion Market which accounts for two-thirds of the entire global population, Yoyo Holdings plans on expanding into the Indian market by the end of this year, in addition to enhancing their existing presence in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Unlike typical message apps, a mobile reward app using a lock screen will not typically co-exist with other similar apps in the smartphone since there’s only one lock screen for each mobile. Upon this understanding, Fukada and his team aim to fill the role as a dominant player in this space as soon as possible.

Yoyo won the startup competition and New Economic Summit in April as well as the second prize at Infinity Venture Summit (IVS) 2014 Fall last year. According to Fukada, their massive exposure at IVS helped them lead to the funds at this time around from KLab Global.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy