Yamap, mountaineers community app from Japan, secures $11M in series B round

Yamap CEO Yoshi Haruyama with the investors who participated this round
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

Fukuoka-based Yamap, which operates a community platform for mountaineers, announced on Friday at a press conference held in Tokyo that it has fundraised about 1.2 billion yen (around $11.2M US) in a series B round.

The following 14 companies and funds participated in this round:

  • ICI Ishii Sports
  • Kyushu Wide Area Reconstruction Assistance Fund (managed by REVIC Capital)
  • FFG Venture Business Partners (Investment arm of Fukuoka Bank)
  • Yamaguchi Capital (Investment arm of Yamaguchi Bank)
  • I Mercury Capital
  • SMBC Venture Capital
  • Setouchi Kanko Kasseika Fund (Managed by Setouchi DMO)
  • Japan Asia Group
  • SRL
  • Oita Venture Capital (Investment arm of Oita Bank)
  • Sagin Capital & Consulting (Investment arm of Saga Bank)
  • Hiroshima Venture Capital (Investment arm of Hiroshima Bank)
  • Morinaga (TSE:2201)
  • 01Booster

Keeping in mind the participation of numerous funds supported by regional banks, we can assume the intention is for Yamap to contribute to the revitalization of regional tourism. The company revealed that the amount raised from Japan’s largest outdoor retailer, ICI Ishii Sports, is the largest of the 14 contributions, although the amount received from each company and fund individually was not disclosed.

For Yamap, this round follows the seed round which saw 5 million yen funding (about $46.6K US) from Samurai Incubate and the series A round (March 2016) in which it fundraised 170 million yen (about $1.5M US) from Colopl (TSE: 3668), Daiwa Corporate Investment, and Dogan. With the latest round at this time, the total amount fundraised to date for Yamap has reached about 14 billion yen (around $12.8M US).

Yamap Founder and CEO Yoshi Haruyama explaining the intention behind the fundraising and business partnership
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

In addition to announcing the fundraising, Yamap also revealed that it has partnered with Ishii Sports, one of the investors this time around. Through this partnership the two companies will implement measures such as cooperation between members of Yamap and Ishii Sports, collaboration between Yamap and Ishii Sports stores (33 throughout Japan), and the expansion of joint events put on by the two companies. With the renewal of Ishii Sport’s e-commerce platform planned this fall, they also expect some sort of system integration with Yamap.

Mountaineering enthusiast Yoshi Haruyama (Founder/CEO) established Yamap in 2013 (the name at establishment was Sefuri). Even in mountains unreachable by cellular radio waves, the company has developed a map app called Yamap that allows mountaineers to know their current location by using the GPS radio waves of satellites.

See also:

In 2014, the company was adopted into the first batch of IBM Blue Hub, the IBM Incubation Program in Tokyo, followed by winning the pitch arena of B Dash Camp 2015 Spring held in Fukuoka.

In July of 2015, the company released Yamap Gears, an outdoor equipment review app, its own insurance plans, and the media site .Hyakkei (Dot Hyakkei) specialized in the outdoors. It has also tried to diversify sales by partnering with camera, smartphone, and smartwatch makers.

In addition to Yamap’s user community partnering with Olympus’ open platform camera “Air A01” to develop outdoor camera accessories, Yamap also comes preinstalled on Kyocera’s smartphone Torque for the outdoors and Japan’s first domestic smartwatch WSD-F10 from Casio.

To give an idea of the number of Yamap’s users, the latest figures show that the app has been download 820,000 times with nearly 100 million monthly page views (the precise number of users is undisclosed). Leisure White Paper 2016 published by Japan Productivity Headquarters estimates there are 8.6 million mountaineers in Japan, which means slightly less than 10% of the entire population of mountaineers in Japan is using Yamap. By partnering with Ishii Sports, Yamap aims for synergy with the Ishii Sports member community which totals over 1 million.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda