Bangkok’s Flare secures early funding, boasts 15,000 drivers wrapping car in ads

A car wrapping in an ad by Flare
Image credit: Flare

See the original story in Japanese.

Bangkok-based Flare, the startup offering a car advertising network under the same name, announced today that it has secured early stage funding from Tokyo-based Voyage Ventures and unnamed angel investors. Financial terms including how much the investment was have not been disclosed. The funding round is unknown but it’s estimated as an early stage which is an equivalent to a pre-series A round given that it follows the previous seed round.

Flare was launched back in August of 2017 by Japanese serial entrepreneur Kazuki Kamiya who moved to Thailand in November of 2013. Prior to Flare, he established a Skype-based Thai language school in May of 2014. Later, he engaged in managing crowdsourced translation / interpretation and business portal website, and now has newly started an on-demand real business. For Flare, he has secured funding three times since its angel and seed rounds.

The Flare users owning automobiles log onto the service via a mobile app, and selects a desired one from among campaigns offered by advertisers. After applying for the campaign through uploading photos of the auto and driver license, wrapper comes and wraps the auto in the ad. Driving record while putting the ad will be sent to Flare via the app so that a user can earn money according to the distance and the route he/she has driven for.

500 autos signed up with Flare at the time of launch back in August of 2017. The startup has tentatively suspended accepting applications from drivers because of too many sign-ups. However, the number of registrants grew up to 6,000 cars in May of 2018 and then 15,000 drivers back in April this year, now aiming to serve 100,000 cars in the near future. Advertisers for Flare are tens of companies in total including cosmetics, food brands, app developers, and shopping malls from Thailand, Japan, and multinational companies.

Flare recently partnered with Toyota Tsusho (Thailand) which is getting more massive to invest in verticals like smart living, aging society, and MaaS (Mobility as a Service). Bangkok Post reported that the partnership intends to run a joint campaign promoting the Flare service leveraging Toyota Tsusho’s auto sales locations all across Thailand, resulted in that the trading giant invested 3 million baht (about $100,000 US) in the BangkoK startup in a pre-sereis A round. (The latest investment is made for the startup’s Japanese business entity).

Flare says it will use the funds to strengthen product development and team structure, aiming to expand into another business leveraging touch points with auto drivers.

A video clip below shows you Thai broadcaster Channel 5’s coverage of the partnership between Toyota Tsusho (Thailand) and Flare.