Japanese C2C marketplace app Mercari to acquire Asia-focused auction site Smaoku


Japanese C2C(consumer-to-consumer) marketplace app producer Mercari announced today that it will acquire Zawatt, the startup behind a Japan-based online auction site catering in brand goods, called Smaoku. The deal takes effect as of Feb.27 but financial details thereof have not been disclosed.

Smaoku (short for Smart Auction) allows users to buy/sell authentic second-hand items vis-a-vis other users. Last May, English and traditional Chinese interfaces became usable in addition to the Japanese one, aiming to serve U.S., Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Singaporean buyers.

Since being established in May of 2011, Zawatt has released several web services including WebScope (social list bulletin board) and Ohako (karaoke companion finder). The company launched Smaoku in October of 2013 and won KDDI Mugen Labo’s 5th batch demo day with the ‘real-time auction’ concept that makes users feel as if they are at a real auction site when buying items online.

In 2015, Zawatt raised 250 million yen(USD 2 million) from IMJ Investment Partners (IMJ-IP), plus China’s SIG Asia Investments and its partner VC firm MS Capital of Japan.

Upon the acquisition at this time, Zawatt co-founder and CEO Daisaku Harada will join Mercari while Smaoku will continue to be run by the current staff.

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Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy