Japan’s Umami, restaurant guide app for foreign visitors, secures $466K seed round

CC BY 2.0: via Flickr by Seika

Tokyo-based Umami, the Japanese company behind the restaurant mobile app for foreign visitors under the same name, announced last week that it had fundraised 50 million yen (about $466,000) in a seed round. Participating investors in this round were Voyage Ventures, Fujita Kanko (TSE:9722), CSAJ Startup and other undisclosed four companies. Voyage Ventures is the investment arm of Japanese internet company Voyage Group (TSE:3688) while Fujita Kanko is the owner company of notable Japanese hotel chains such as Chinzanso and Washington Hotels. Upon gaining this funding, Umami wants to focus more on driving hotel guests from foreign countries to restaurants and recreational services in town.

Since its launch back in April of 2015, the Umami mobile app has been adopted by about 250 restaurants in Japan. The app allows restaurants to provide their menu in English, Chinese (simplified and traditional) and Korean as well as Japanese, attract customers through coupons, and spread words using social network services so that they can better reach out to foreign visitors. For customers, it helps them find restaurants following their dining preference using a recommendation feature, making orders at a restaurant in their mother tongue and choosing allergy-free or halal food menus.