Japanese HRTech startup SmartHR secures $13M series B from Tokio Marine, Nissen

L to R: Takayuki Sumi (Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance), Yohei Sawayama (Managing Partner, 500 Startups Japan), Shoji Miyata (CEO, SmartHR), James Riney (Head, 500 Startups Japan), Ryo Tamaki (CFO, SmartHR)
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based SmartHR, the Japanese startup offering a cloud-based personnel management service under the same name, announced today that it has raised 1.5 billion yen (about $13.3 million US) in a series B round. This round was conducted through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by 500 Startups Japan with participation from Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, ad agency Nissen (TSE:6543), three unnamed institutional investors and corporate venture capitals, as well as angel investors.

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At the press briefing at SmartHR’s new office in Tokyo, James Riney, Head of 500 Startups Japan, explained about how useful the new funding scheme is for startups, especially for their management:

When a startup is raising funds, their management usually needs to be committed to that effort for three to six months to secure it. (In case of SmartHR,) I told Miyasa-san (CEO of SmartHR) to believe us that we’ll definitely gather investors in his stead.

Ryo Tamaki, who previously worked for Tokyo-based startup incubator Samurai Incubate but recently joined SmartHR as CFO, said that the new scheme enabled them to secure funding in as short as about a month and the labor required was about a quarter of the usual fundraising efforts.

The SPV scheme
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Shoji Miyata, CEO of SmartHR, revealed several figures seeing the growth of his business such as 17.1% of monthly sales growth rate and 6.28 times of YoY user growth rate, plus 9,300 corporate users with 99.3% of user persistency rate.

The latest funds are intended to be used for advertising (airing TV commercial, attending exhibitions, running online and transportation ads) and system development (hiring and employing developers). In addition to the current service menu, the company expects to develop up-sell products and a one-stop platform serving surrounding related solutions together, while driving potential customers to financial services such as company pension plans and “benefit-your-locality” tax scheme businesses.

SmartHR CEO shows the press user growth and persistency rate.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy