Duo aims to attract inbound visitors with new experience to let them visit Japan again

Chikara Ueno (L) and Takuya Ogushi (R) in Tel Aviv, Israel

See the original story in Japanese.

The two guys from the Israel-based consulting firm Aniwo, who had given some posts about the recent Israeli tech scene to The Bridge, have begun a new startup named Matabi Technologies, hoping of ‘the wish to travel again’ in Japanese. The firm’s mission is to provide high-quality traveling experiences in Japan targeting FIT (Free Independent Traveler) which accounts for 80% of visitors to Japan today.

Matabi Technologies was founded by Chikara Ueno and Takuya Ogushi, and an undisclosed person has been appointed CTO.

Through their experiences in the previous job, the two guys felt that Israelis are used to traveling due to their limited territory or the gap year custom. While Asian travelers visiting Japan tend to set tight schedule in advance and enjoy mainly shopping, Israeli and European FITs tend to gather information after arrival in Japan and travel around where they are interested in. Ueno explains about their motive upon starting a new service.

Ueno says,

We sometimes hear negative comments about Japan from well-traveled FITs, such as ‘Japan is a good country but not enough to visit again’ or ‘not so convenient as expected.’ It is disappointing for me because Japan has many tourist attractions, unique culture and rich history. We thought that there are some problems in ways information needed by FITs are being processed and provided.

Mockup of the App
Image credit: Matabi Technologies

The firm targets especially FIT from overseas but its concept may be close to the Japanese travel reservation service Zuboratabi. As Ueno told us that they do not plan to deal with OTA (Online Travel Agency) by themselves, they seem to imagine a business model including customer transfer to OTA. We will report further about that in detail when its MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is completed.

Matabi Technologies had fundraised an undisclosed amount from Toshihisa Adachi (former Chairman of Japan Venture Capital Association) and Ken Mishima (former CEO of Expedia Japan). Adachi and Mishima’s messages are also shown below.

In a press statement Adachi says,

I believe that the Matabi’s business model leveraging its digital technologies will convey the appeal of Japan which is not widely known yet to the entire world.

Mishima says,

The joys of traveling are to find or to experience something new, not being lost. Matabi Technologies has commenced its service to assist travelers visiting to Japan to find new encounters or discovery like serendipity based on its technologies. Please look forward to its future progress.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy