Japan’s Bizer, cloud-based back-office service for SMEs, raises $815,000 in funding



See the original story in Japanese.

The progression of cloud migration of small and medium sized companies is predicted, and a variety of players are acting on this trend. BizGround, providers of the small to mid-sized company geared cloud-based back-office service Bizer, is also one of these players.

Tokyo-based BizGround recently announced that it has fundraised 1 million yen (about $815,000) from Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of Salesforce.com, as well as from Incubate Fund.

See also:

Launched as a platform for businesses to get counseling from professionals such as tax accountants and lawyers, Bizer subsequently added features for automatically generating paperwork and forms that are to be submitted to government offices as well as features to take care of other tasks involved in business operations. Gradually the service is becoming a total support back office platform.

Along with the announcement of this round of funding, the company has announced a large scale site renewal as well as support for smartphone and tablet users, a 30-day free trial plan, and more. The screens of each feature have been completely redesigned for clarity and ease of use as shown below.

CEO Yuichi Hatakeyama says that in managing BizGround he feels there are two main values they must offer, those are “optimizing business with the cloud” and “crowdsourcing support”.

Hatakeyama commented on the necessity of human support and contractors as a small to medium sized business aimed service:

“We’re getting users who no matter what can’t get the cloud to work for them, but by also offering the human power of the “crowd”, I think we can expand the ways businesses get aid. Makitori, another service specifically focused on paperwork around hiring and retirement, is also seeing increased use.

From this I also feel that there are a certain number of users out there who are in need of this kind of human power. Moving forward we will continue strengthening the two main pillars of our services, “cloud” and “crowd”, but we also plan to strongly reinforce the human power support of the “crowd” part. Soon we are planning on releasing a new human power service, and we are also thinking about expanding the scope of our offerings.”

For small to medium sized businesses who haven’t made the move to the cloud yet, support to help handle that transition is indispensable. It seems that this may be Bizer’s biggest strength, as they focus their attention on their “cloud” and “crowd” hybrid service.

With this latest funding, aiming to strengthen the management system of the company, staff member Akiha Tanaka will take the position of company director while Keisuke Wada, a partner of Incubate Fund, will assume the role of external director. Currently the company is supporting the establishment of over 150 new companies, with requests for company establishment increasing monthly. Through this recent funding, the company will be strengthening their marketing efforts as well as offering their services to more people who are preparing to start companies.

In Japan, around 100,000 companies are established annually. As for Bizer, they have helped in the establishment of 10,000 companies, 10% of the year’s total, and in the future they are looking to help bring Japan’s business foundation rate up from the present 5% to 10%.

Translated by Connor Kirk