Japan’s Anglers secures six-digit figures to enhance fishing-focused community app



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Angers, running a mobile app for Anglers under the same name, last week fundraised from 500 Startups Japan and mobile game developer Ignis (TSE:3689), as well as undisclosed individual investors. The secured amount was nowt disclosed but is estimated at tens of millions of yen (hundreds of thousands of dollars). The financing stage is considered an intermediate position between the seed round and the series A round. 500 Startups Japan acquires the share options in accordance with a term sheet of J-KISS, the convertible notes-based funding scheme published by the firm back in April. For Anglers, this fundraising is subsequent to the angel round funding from Japanese angel investor Nobuyoshi Yamagishi conducted in December of 2015.

Anglers was founded in October of 2012 (the former company name was Fixa) and subsequently launched the official version of the app in July of 2013. This June, the firm revealed that the number of daily angling results registered topped 1,000 and the cumulative user number reached 270,000.

The growth of the number of angling results registered on the Anglers app

While Swedish FishBrain or Fukuoka-based Tsuriba-Camera provide similar types of service allowing Anglers to share their angling results, Anglers’ strength is the “number” of angling results, according to Anglers COO Norio Fujii. Generally, Anglers hate telling other Anglers little-known fishing spots, so that angling results are not shared very much. Considering risks that the favorite spots are spoiled by others or the number of catches decreases, this angler psychology can easily be understood.

Although each fishing app basically uses the same method to save angling results, Angler users utilize the app for improvement of angling skills or motivation for himself / herself rather than boasting or sharing results. Thus, Anglers succeeded in acquiring an overwhelmingly large number of angling results to its number of users or downloads. Since the app has easily-usable functions as a social media for information sharing, real close-friend Anglers create closed groups and share pinpointed fishing spot information.

With the money secured this time, Anglers will add a system for sharing angling results by area or time-period. Also, the firm will start construction of a C2C (consumer-to-consumer) marketplace allowing users to sell fish they caught.

Fujii explains the need for angling information:

Many of the angling news about where and what kinds of fish can be caught are still
provided by angler hotels and are uneven. Generally, Anglers visiting his / her fishing spot anew want to obtain information about the spot in advance: which time frame to go or what kind of lure to use. On the other hand, angling requires fresh information.

Anglers’ current income source is mainly holding events supported by major fishing tackle manufacturers. Looking forward, the firm has an idea to implement functions enabling accommodation reservation of angler hotels or fishing agents seamlessly via Angler app, aiming to diversify the monetization stream. In addition, the firm plans to establish a fishing tackle review website for Anglers, just as Sefuri’s climbing app Yamap manages a climbing tool review website Yamap Gears.

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The firm also implied the possibility of international development for the mobile app. That may be one of the purposes for taking on 500 Startups Japan as its investor this time as it is backed by the US parent.

Fujii explains his view regarding global development:

Fishing tackle manufacturers renowned worldwide are all Japanese companies such as Shimano or Daiwa. Even FishBrain with the largest user number in the world has only about 700,000 angling results to its 1.5 million users, while Anglers boasts a lopsided registration ratio as to angling results.

In India or China, there were lots of people who angle just to eat thus far, but the number of people who seek enjoyment in angling is increasing. Since the angler psychology of wanting keep favorite fishing spots secret is the same around the world, we can impact the world by leveraging the know-how obtained in Japan.

As an aside, Anglers graduated from the second batch of Tokyo-based startup accelerator Movida Japan, along with above-mentioned Sefuri developing Yamap. It is an interesting coincidence that Yamap intends services for users enjoying the mountains and Anglers intends that for users enjoying the sea.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy