Japan’s WAmazing secures $8.5M series B from railway operators to serve foreign visitors

WAmazing exhibits a booth at International Travel Fair in Kaohsiung, Taiwan last week, in partnership with Tokyu Corporation’s resort hotel promotion.
Image credit: WAmazing

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based WAmazing, the Japanese startup offering free SIM cards and tourism services to foreign visitors to Japan, announced today that it has secured 930 million yen (about $8.5 million US) in a series B round funding. This round was led by Tokyo-based private railway operator Tokyu Corporation (TSE:9005) with participation from JR West Innovations (corporate venture capital of the Japanese railway company covering western part of Japan), JR East Startup (the one covering eastern part of Japan), Yamaguchi Capital, Pola Orbis Holdings (TSE:4927), Nihon Unisys’ investment arm Canal Ventures as well as several unnamed angel investors. For WAmazing, this follows their previous $9.2 million funding back in September of 2017 (it’s supposed to be a series A round, and the amount includes loans from financial institutions).

WAmazing distributes free SIM cards to foreigners visiting Japan and provides tourism information via a mobile app. Foreign tourists register their personal information on the WAmazing website before embarking on their trip and then can pick up the SIM card upon arrival at 20 international airports in Japan (covering 90% of overseas tourist inflow routes). WAmazing directs tourists to activity providers and in doing so takes a 10%-15% sales commission.

In two years and more since the service launched the app has been installed 240,000 times, mainly in Taiwan and Hong Kong Users are also expanding in China and Southeast Asia. The startup has made excellent results at many startup showcase events, such as winning B Dash Camp 2017 Spring in Fukuoka, the Tokyu Prize (equivalent of First Prize) at Tokyu Corporation’s 3rd accelerator batch Demo Day, Morning Pitch’s 2019 year-beginning edition, and JR East’s 1st accelerator batch Demo Day.

In contrast with their series A round backed by VC firms mainly, business companies including railway operators participate in the series B round at this time. Since these companies are strengthening their inbound and regional revitalization businesses all across Japan, WAmazing recognizes they can share the same marketing strategy and aim to work collaboratively.