Tomaruba wants to attract foreign visitors by IoT-powered traditional Japanese houses

Image credit: Tomaruba

See the original story in Japanese.

Kyoto-based Tomaruba, the Japanese startup running vacation rentals businesses focused on traditional Japanese houses, announced today that it has secured funding from Japanese crowdsourcing platform operator Crowdworks (TSE:3900). Tomaruba also unveiled that it has fundraised 83 million yen (about $732,000 US) in total, with prior funding from B Dash Ventures, Anri, and unnamed angel investors.

Tomaruba offers planning, managing and attracting customers for vacation rentals, especially focused on the whole building rentals. The company has been renovating traditional Japanese houses into vacation rentals sites while driving customer traffic from inbound visitors. In addition to managing more than 10 facilities including Yadoru Kyoto Washi-no-yado, the company also offers Machiya Support, a management agency service for vacation rentals owners.

Smart VR Pad
Image credit: Tomaruba

In September, Tomaruba released an iPad app called Smart Vacation Rental Pad, which allows vacation rentals guests to control home appliances in their accommodation or check out hot spots in their neighborhood, aiming to implement it into 50 vacation rentals sites including Tomaruba’s own facilities. In addition to remote control functions of air conditioners and smart home devices, the iPad app has a sensor that will notify a vacation rentals owner when it detects sound louder than a certain decibel degree, aiming to contributing to improving convenience for both of owners and guests of vacation rentals.

Tomaruba partially utilizes crowdsourced workers for responding to online inquiries and telephone inquiries from their customers. Tomaruba claims that the funding was made because their business model meets the Crowd Ecosystem, the new concept that Crowdworks recently announced as one of their medium-term management plans in the latest financial results briefing. Tomaruba uses the funds to strengthen developing the Smart VR Pad app, expand beyond Kyoto, and hire talents to gaining the service level.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda