Japan’s SmartHR, cloud-based personnel management platform, secures seed round

Kufu CEO Shoji Miyata

See the original story in Japanese.

Kufu is a Japanese startup behind SmartHR, a cloud-based personnel management platform. The company recently announced that it has secured funds from East Ventures, DG Incubation, and Beenext. The exact amount is yet to be announced but it is said to amount to several tens of millions in Japanese yen (hundreds of thousand US dollars).

SmartHR automates procedures related to social insurance and unemployment insurance. It was developed to free up managers or human resources representatives from tiresome and time-consuming personnel management. Launched back in November 2015, this release was announced during the “Startup Battle” pitch competition of TechCrunch Tokyo 2015 where they were victorious. This service gained a great response right after its release, and 2 months later the number of companies using the company’s service has grown from 200 to 450.

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

Noted Kufu CEO Shoji Miyata upon the funds,

It has been growing much larger than we expected. It’s grown 170% from the preceding month so we are re-calculating profit and loss. Although the majority of SmartHR users are companies with 50 to 100 employees, there are also large companies with some 400 to 500 employees.

He also commented:

We have huge demand and numerous inquiries. That also accelerates the improvement of the product.

With the funds raised this time, Kufu plans to strengthen development and the support service system. Keiko Umino, a certified social insurance labor consultant at SmartHR, established a social and labor consultant corporation to deal with the legal procedures under Act on Public Consultants on Social and Labour Insurance; the two companies will cooperate and offer complementary services to users.

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Miyata says:

At this moment our service is only for the enterprises but in the future we are thinking about providing the management displays to consultants as well. The response from the users made us consider this. SmartHR aims to enable anyone to handle the simplified tasks so certified social insurance consultants can effectively commit highly-valued consulting time.

Upon reflecting on the response from users, Miyata commented that “2016 is the year to brush up on the product!” and has set his target for this year – introducing 3,000 companies – which has remained the same since the site release. However, he has revised the target for 2017 upwards to 30,000 companies.

It looks like SmartHR can alter this industry for the first time in ages and we bid godspeed to this endeavor.

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