Japan’s Code Republic accelerator debuts 4 startups at Winter 2018 Demo Day


See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Code Republic, the startup accelerator jointly operated by YJ Capital and East Ventures, hosted the Demo Day of its fifth batch and four teams took the stage. The accelerator claims the total number of its portfolio startups has reached 20, including the fifth batch, and of those nine have succeeded in raising funds in their next pre-series A round.

Through its three-month long program launched back in April of 2016, the accelerator has been offering opportunities for its participating entrepreneurs, such as dinner meetings with prominent entrepreneurs, undergo mentoring, and a free use of the Yahoo Japan coworking space Lodge. Additionally, Code Republic invests 7 million yen (about $65K US) in exxhange for acquiring a 7% equity stake in each startup under a 100 million yen (about $925K) post-money valuation.

Below are descriptions of the four teams who pitched for the Demo Day of the fifth batch. Each of them are seeking funds for the next round. Although none of the teams are stealth, some of them have yet to launch their services, so they intentionally avoided detailed descriptions of their content.

Check by Spur

More than 50% of women regardless of age have worries regarding the beauty products they use, such as cosmetic and skincare products not agreeing with their skin, and around 70% of people feel they have sensitive skin. There are word-of-mouth websites specializing in skincare such as Hwahae in Korea and SkinDeep in the US, but Spur feels there is no website in Japan equivalent to those. This is why the company came up with the Check review website.

One of the characteristics of the platfom is that users can search for information by skin trouble, and with just a glance see whether the given skin product has ingredients that cause allergies or not. The company also analyzes characteristics each time the user posts information and can provide information more suitable for that person as the number of postings increases. Check is looking to become a site similar to HairLabo (previously known as HageLabo), in that it is not easily influenced by advertisers and it does not depend on product and dermatological affiliates.

Meily by Meily

Korea comes to mind when speaking of cosmetic surgery, but in Japan the number of cosmetic surgeries exceeds 1.9 million per year which is larger than that of Korea. However, despite the size of the market, there are no means for sharing information like cosmetic review websites, and there are cases of skewed information between service providers and recipients. On blogs there are many instances where clinic names are written using ambiguous characters, and it is difficult to find them even with the help of search engines.

Meily is a social network platform focused on beauty care. It offers a way to search for information as well as Q&A between those who have tried services before and people currently visiting clinics with people considering consultation in the future. Additional functions include case lists of cosmetic dermatology, cosmetic surgery, and aesthetic dentistry clinics while users can compare the provided services. The company has released the app for iOS and Android, and is planning to develop a web app in the future.

Foriio by 1ne Studio

Foriio helps creators match with companies that are looking to order products from creators. For companies seeking creators, there is a limit to their reach, while on the other hand, some creators do not have access to such companies. As a result, work becomes concentrated on a select few creators, and there is an imbalance of opportunity in that work does not come to creators who are buried even though they are capable.

Foriio makes it easy for creators to appeal to companies by simply uploading files to their portfolio where they are converted to an appropriate file format and organized and displayed on the web. Users can change the portfolio to display according to where they are proposing, and for work co-produced by multiple creators, they can also credit each assigned parts. The plan is to optimize human resource matching by visualizing skills.

Winks by Laetia

Winks is a virtual talent agency for China. In Japan, the number of virtual talent increased from 100 people last year to about 5,000 this year. Meanwhile, according to Laetia, the company behind the platform, there are currently only about 200 virtual talent in China, but it will increase rapidly in the next six months.

Currently, Winks sponsors 11 virtual talents for China. With the concept of Japanese “Moe” characters at its core combined with localization by members in China the company is aiming for the top position in China in this field.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda