Japan’s Aperza, catalogue portal of industrial supply products, secures $5.3M in funding

L to R: Tomotake Kitazawa (JAFCO), Makoto Ishihara (CEO of Jafco), Tomohiro Miyasaka (Partner of GMO-VP)

Yokohama-based Aperza, running the Cluez online catalogue site and the Aperza price comparison site specifically focused on industrial supply products, announced on Monday that it has secured a series A round from Jafco (TSE:8595) and GMO Venture Partners (GMO-VP).  The amount of the funding is estimated 600 million yen (about $5.3 million).

This funding succeeds the previous one with 150 million yen (about $1.3 million) from GMO-VP conducted back in November and the one with an undisclosed amount from Nobuyuki Idei (former chairman and group CEO of Sony, now CEO of Quantum Leaps), Toru Shimada (former executive vice president of Rakuten) and Fumiaki Koizumi (Director of Mercari) conducted this March due to their assumption of the management consultant.

Aperza was founded in December of 2014 by the current CEO Makoto Ishihara (with the original company name of Cluez). In the Cluez portal site, about 1,600 trading companies dealing with industrial supply products had exhibited their catalogues as of last November. The firm revealed the number of exhibitor companies exceeded 3,000 this March and subsequently reached 4,000 this June, and the total number of catalogues is 13,000 now.

The recent growth of exhibitor companies on the Cluez catalogue portal
Image credit: Aperza

With this fund, Aperza aims to secure human resources for existing business, as well as to foray into global service expansion and e-commerce business.

Aperza commented it will make preparation for serious expansion overseas of its service Cluez and Aperza, as the number of accesses to the two services from China or Southeast Asia has been gradually been increasing. The firm launched Cluez of Taiwanese version in August 2015. In addition, it concluded a strategic business alliance with the Chinese biggest portal for manufacturers Gongkong in 2016.

Aperza’s blueprint for the timeline of their business expansion plan, created as of their company’s launch
Image credit: Aperza

Regarding the view of e-comerce business field, the firm is going to enhance the Aperza price comparison site. Ishihara had once showed us a blueprint wherein he planned to develop Aperza from a price comparison website into a marketplace or an e-commence site capable of selling products directly, and the plan was announced this time in accordance with the blueprint.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy