Japan’s Ookami behind sports-centric social network app Player! raises series B round


See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Ookami, the Japanese startup behind sports entertainment app “Player!”, earlier this month announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount from NTT Docomo Ventures, Mizuho Capital, Asahi Media Lab Ventures and Asics Ventures in its series B round. The raised amount is estimated to be several millions of US dollars as surmised from information emanating from various quarters.

It is the fundraising subsequent to the one with 30 million yen (about $270,000) in total from investors including Dai Tamesue (athlete), Uzabase, Yusuke Umeda (CEO of Uzabase), Tomohito Ebine (founder of Opt) and Toshiaki Komtasu (co-founder of Photo Create) in its angel round (in June of 2014 and March of 2015), the one with an undicslosed amount from Gree Ventures in a seed round (in April of 2016), and the one with an undisclosed amount from IMJ Investment Partners (now Spiral Ventures Japan), Gree Ventures and The Asahi Shimbun in a series A round (March of 2017).

With this secured money, Ookami is going to strengthen human resource recruitment / development in designer, finance / management and marketing sector.

Team members of Ookami
Image credit: Ookami

Ookami was founded in April of 2014. In the following year, the team launched the mobile app Player! for iOS, pivoting its concept from sports news platform to sports SNS which distributes progress or results of games and allows users to share the excitement in real time with other users watching the same game. The app was winner of both App Store Best of 2015 and Good Design Award in 2016. Player! for Apple Watch was launched in September of 2016 and that for Android will be likewise, soon. Coincidentally with this fundraising, Ookami announced that it has added the following three functions to Player!.

  • Reminder function about favorite teams
  • Launch of Player! for web
  • Enhancement of content coverage as to college / amateur sports

Ookami participated in Tokyu Accelerate Program 3rd batch last year and won NewWork Award on its demo day. As a demonstration in the program, the team tested a real-time distribution of process of Japan vs. North Korea of E-1 Football Championship last December 9th, using the outdoor large-display Q’s Eye in Shibuya.

Now that FIFA World Cup is being held in Russia, Player! has been distributing proceedings of the games over a two-week period beginning June 18th at digital signage at major railway stations in Tokyo and Osaka.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy