Cloud-based personnel management tool SmartHR wins TechCrunch Tokyo’s pitch competition



TechCrunch Japan, the Japanese version of the leading startup news site, held its flagship annual conference TechCrunch Tokyo in Shibuya today, where 12 outstanding startups from Japan and Korea fiercely competed with each others to win the Startup Battle pitch competition.

Based on votes by judges comprising investors and evangelists from Japan and the US, Tokyo-based Kufu, the Japanese startup behind cloud-based personnel management tool SmartHR, won the top award.

SmartHR (TechCrunch Tokyo 2015 Startup Battle Top Award winner, IBM BlueHub Award winner, GuruNavi Award winner)

Kufu CEO Shoji Miyata (right) receives the award from TechCrunch US writer Kim-Mai Cutler.

Personnel management requiring the preparation of forms and documents to be filled in is a time-consuming task, especially at small companies. SmartHR is a cloud-based platform that enables users to complete all these tasks in one week for free versus three weeks for a cost of 20,000 yen ($170) on average if outsourced to a certified labor and social insurance consultant/scrivener [Sharoushi].

SmartHR is targeting four million small and medium-sized enterprises employing 27 million people in Japan. The team is planning to harmonize it with the E-Gov API (application program interface) that the Japanese government recently introduced. A database of employees is also built by using the platform so it will also provide features that encourage companies to enact office rules or hire an occupational health physician according to how many employees they have.

Below is a quick rundown of other 11 startups which delivered their awesome pitch at today’s showcase event.

Bonx (Sakura Internet Award winner, PR Times Award winner, PayPal award winner)

Bonx is a wearable transceiver for skiers and other outdoor sports afficianadoes.

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OneTapBuy (AWS Award winner, Special Judge’s Award winner)

Previously known as MyBanker, OneTapBuy has been focused on developing mobile app which specifically helps people manage their savings and investments more easily.

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VideoTap (Microsoft BizSpark Plus Award winner)

VideoTap is a female-targeted mobile video ad network that attracts 40 million unique users every month.

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Popcorn is a last-minute beauty salon booking app, focused on serving in the central Tokyo area. It helps salon owners cultivate a new customer base while customers can have their hair cut for a lower price.

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CasterBiz is a crowdsourcing platform for small businesses focused on personnel and accounting as well as secretarial tasks.


Shelfy helps restaurant owners get better deals for renovation by connecting with design studios and construction companies.

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Tanren helps large retail chains educate their employees at locations dotting the region by using an online video platform.


Originally from Korea, Watcha is a mobile app recommending movies, TV drama series and anime series by learning a user’s preference.


WealthNavi is an asset management service that helps middle-income people better locate diversified investments internationally.


Shopcounter is a marketplace for e-commerce businesses to launch a real pop-up stores.


Mijin allows companies to launch their original blockchain-based P2P network.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy