Japan’s Gozal secures new funds, adds new functions to automate corporate operations



See the original story in Japanese.

Gozal is a Japanese crowdsourcing site for back office operations like procedures upon establishing companies or social insurance scheme coverage for employees. BEC, which offers this Gozal platform, announced last week that they have raised about 100 million yen (about $830,000) from CyberAgent Ventures (hereinafter CAV), Venture United, Saison Ventures, and Japanese web marketing company Speee. It has been about a year since BEC raised 10 million yen (about $83,000) from CAV’s Seed Generator Fund at the end of 2014.

Along with this fundraising, BEC substantially upgraded the functions for Gozal. Gozal was officially launched in March 2015 (launched as beta version in August 2014) to offer service as a crowdsourcing platform for consultations in these seven professions: lawyers (law offices), patent attorneys (patent offices), certified public accountants (accounting firms), certified tax accountants, judicial scriveners, administrative scriveners, and social insurance and labor consultants. With this upgrade, a new function was added in which procedures like establishing companies or enrollment of employees under the social insurance is templated. All the users have to do is to follow the instructions and fill in the column with the required information; the specialists in those seven fields can handle these procedures.

Motohiro Takatani, founder and CEO of BEC, realized cost reductions by templating the standardizable workflow. He emphasizes that the quality of services is guaranteed due to consultations with specialists. The users can also entrust the entire procedure to these specialists upon request.

In this upgraded Gozal, one of the new functions is automatic notification of users as to changed trade name registration when they modify the name of their company in the profile. The users just need to fill in or change the information required on the platform, and Gozal informs automatically the users of the following procedures. With this function the users do not need to focus attention on all the procedures, and they can just rely on Gozal.

It is very interesting that this automatic notification system is not programmed in advance on Gozal but Gozal will be progressing with its machine learning system based on the advise from the specialists in the seven fields. Normally when this kind of function is released, the system is programmed and patternized based on all assumed scenarios. However, Gozal has been learning the patterns using this machine learning system, it makes possible the release of this function without completing all possible scenario patternization. It can deal with the frequent lack of extracting scenario, the more the users go on Gozal, the better Gozal reads users’ minds. BEC is applying for a patent of this function and implementation.

In this industry, there are some competing companies like Freee and Bizer. However, Takatani has confidence and says:

To choose the task itself is not very easy. Thanks to this automatic notification system, Gozal makes the labor procedures easier for users unfamiliar with those procedures.

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Although the target users of Gozal are the managers of small and medium enterprises or startups, they plan to develop a function which makes the employees partially input the data by themselves in the future and which allows the managers to minimize time as well as labor. They also intend to cooperate with Credit Saison (TSE:8253), the parent company of Saison Ventures, to develop new services.

Gozal has about 1,000 companies using their services and the number of agencies charged with the procedures in the seven fields is about 200. The platform has matched more than 300 cases, and the total of the handling fee generated via Gozal exceeded 2 million yen (about $16,500) as of the end of October, 2015.

Translated by Minako Ambiru via Mother First
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda