Kurashiru, Japan’s answer to Tastemade, secures $4.5 million for global expansion



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Dely, the video-centric culinary media startup offering Kurashiru, announced today that it has fundraised about 500 million yen (about $4.5 million) from YJ Capital, Gumi Ventures, United, as well as Yusuke Sato, managing director of Japanese adtech startup FreakOut (TSE:6094), and an unnamed angel investor. YJ Capital is the investment arm of Yahoo Japan (TSE:4689).

With the funds, the company plans to utilize mobile videos and video content from shops to measure the effectiveness of ads, etc., and it is said they are also considering overseas expansion for the future.

Dely was established in April of 2014. In September of the same year they received funding from Anri and began a food delivery business as their inaugural service. However, after judging the outlook for such services difficult, around February of this year they pivoted to video curation media, which became the model for their current business. As of May, they have organized a team for producing 500 video clips per month.

Dely CEO Yusuke Horie

As mentioned in a previous interview, CEO Yusuke Horie is aiming for Cookpad (TSE:2193), the premiere recipe media site in Japan. He said:

In terms of video clips, recipe content has gained attention, but no matter what you end up with clips that use flashy elements in order to become buzzworthy. But, what the user really wants is information for just a regular curry or stew. Since I was planning to use a stock content model like Cookpad’s from the beginning, of the 1000 or so videos for distribution a month, no more than about 90 are being used as video clips and distributed among social networks, etc.

According to Horie, nearly all of the employees, who have reached 60 people in total, work on video content production, making sure to take time to sort out the finer details such as caloric calculation and recipe description.

So what would happen if Cookpad begins put more stock into doing videos? Naturally, Horie also has various thoughts on this idea. To summarize his words, currently Cookpad is producing as little as 30 videos a month, and there is an inclination that video does not fit in with their original text and picture content format.

He added:

When Rakuten Recipe began, their strategy was to attract users with the incentive of Rakuten reward points. But, what’s on the horizon is a change in format. With the mobile communication environment improving, video is starting to have the competitive edge.

Of course, if Cookpad launches similar projects it could be a whole new game, but for now they are focused on separate problems, creating a prime opportunity for startups aiming to replace them.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda