TechCrunch Japan reported last week that Tokyo-based Freee, a Japanese startup behind a cloud-based accounting platform under the same name, has fundraised 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) from several investors including FinTech Fund, an investment fund recently launched by a subsidiary of Japanese financial service giant SBI Holdings (TSE:8473).
In conjunction with the previous series C round funding in August, the latest funding means the company has fundraised 4.5 billion yen ($37.3 million) in 2015 to become the most-funded unlisted company in Japan last year. Meanwhile, SBI Holdings recently announced a strategic partnership with Yello Mobile, a Seoul-based conglomerate of Korean mobile startups, for cultivating FinTech businesses in Japan and Southeast Asia.
Currently serving over 400,000 companies in Japan, the company announced in December that it has partnered with 11 Japanese megabanks including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) and Mizuho Bank, giving them an access to accounting data of SMEs and freelancers using the Freee platform upon their approval so that these banks can provide new financial services such as loans using the data for eligibility of expenditures.
In contrast to a study by University of Oxford predicting artificial intelligence will replace many jobs including accountants, Freee CEO Daisuke Sasaki does not think this will happen because accountants will be able to provide business owners with useful advice on business decisions by leveraging automated systems like Freee.
Edited by Kurt Hanson