See the original story in Japanese.
Japan’s Jiraffe, operating the “Hikakaku!” purchase price comparison website for used items, on Thursday announced it had raised 400 million yen (about 3.8 million dollars US) in total from Imercury Capital, Gree, Mercari and Adventure, in addition to current investors of Dream Incubator and Shunsuke Sasaki (Founder / Executive Director of Japanese gaming company Pokelabo). The share ratios and the pay-in dates were undisclosed.
Jiraffe was founded in October of 2014 by the current CEO Teruaki Aso, who launched Hikakaku! from his experience of having trouble selling his own iPad when he was at Hitotsubashi University. The firm had subsequently raised and now owns a capital of 600 million yen (5.7 million dollars US) including capital reserves.
In 2017, the firm launched marketplace for used smartphone “Smama (Smartphone-no-Market)” and announced a capital tie-up with CASH, providing pawnbroker app for spot cash under the same name.
To meet potential demands
Jiraffe has been hiring staffers almost every month. I asked Aso why it was necessary now to raise funds and he answered:
The main purpose is to step up to the next round. Business style with a horizontal spread can be considered but we decided to take on a new situational challenge.
We have managed Hikakaku to meet obvious demands so far, but we will provide services including Smama to meet potential demands. We raised the funds also to cover the cost of commercial message production for them.
According to Aso, many of the investors of this round have already recognized Jiraffe and their assessment has improved since the previous presentation. Many investment companies participated in this round and the point of success upon raising money was that they attained high opinion for the results shown, in addition to the team itself, seeing possibilities for the new business fields.-
Aso is 25 years old now and had started business as a student entrepreneur, but the team has many members aged around 30 with much experience working at major companies. Assigning persons in charge of business for each product, Aso leads cooperation and communication structure in entirety for this management system.
The firm will maintain growth for each of its current services; it will continue development of Smaphone-no-Market and is considering an additional function on Hikakaku! that performs a package estimate for all items sent from each user.
Seeing how Yusuke Horie (CEO of Dely, running a cooking video service Kurashiru) succeeded in raising funds, I felt as a member of the same generation that he exhibited suavity. I think more people should take on challenges like him rather than looking for easy wins. My company and I, as an individual, can hopefully take the lead in this trend.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy