Japan’s UniFa, developing AI/IoT-powered kindergartner monitoring, secures $32M series C

Image credit: UniFa

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Nagoya-based UniFa, the Japanese startup behind the Lookmee service brand using AI-powered IoT (Internet of solutions) solutions for tracking kindergartners’ health and growth, announced on Friday that it has secured about 3.5 billion yen (about $32.4 million US) in a series C round.

Investors participating in this round are Japanese state-backed fund INCJ, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, medical service provider M3, Japan Post Capital, business management consulting firm Link And Motivation (TSE:2170), SBI Investment, Aflac Ventures, Nagoya-based textile trader Toyoshima, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Toppan Printing (TSE:7911), Shinsei Corporate Investment, and SMBC Venture Capital.

Among all these investors, Toppan Printing, Shinsei Corporate Investment, and SMBC Venture Capital have participated in the past round. For UniFa, this follows their previous funding back in October of 2017 (1.02 billion yen), in April of 2017 ($1 million US from Fenos Venture Capital or now known as Pegasus Tech Ventures), and in 2015 (300 million yen from Jafco and Japan Finance Corporation). The latest round brought their total funding sum up to about 5 billion yen (about $46.3 million US).

The company offers AI and IoT-powered healthcare solution for monitoring kindergartners’ safe nap, smart thermometer service in addition to allowing their parents to purchase movies and pictures shooting their child at the kindergarten. As of August, their service is used by about 350,000 people at 6,250 kindergartens and other childcare facilities all across Japan. The company uses the funds to improve their existing products and develop new services, aiming to speed up completing so-called “Smart Kindergarten”.

UniFa announced in June that it has appointed Naoto Hoshi as CFO. He previously worked as an investment banker at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. Coinciding with the funding at this time, the company acquired Kidsly, a childcare-focused online service originally founded by Recruit Marketing Partners and later acquired by Tokyo-based children book publisher Froebel.