Japan’s Manabie raises $12M in series A round to build “ERP for schools”

Image credit: Manabie

Japanese startup Manabie has been developing a digital transformation platform for teaching and administration tasks at educational institutions. The company announced on Wednesday that it has secured about 1.5 billion yen (about $12 million US) from Globis Capital Partners (GCP), Chiba Dojo Fund, and Genesia Ventures in a Series A round.

This follows angel and seed rounds (raising $4.8 million in total) announced in April of 2020 and an extended seed round ($3 million) in March of 2021. The latest round brought the company’s funding sum up to date to about 2.2 billion yen (about $17 million).

Manabie was founded in January 2020 by Takuya Homma (now CEO of Manabie), who previously founded UK startup Quipper, which was acquired by Recruit for 4.8 billion yen (about $39 million) in 2015, and had been involved in operating Recruit’s “Study Suppli” app in Japan through the PMI (Post-merger Integration) process. Manabie is focused on digitalizing educational institutions in contrast to Quipper which had been helping people gain access to education.

Image credit: Manabie

Honma told us that there’s no major differences in teaching and school operations between countries or regions. While Quipper had been operating in Asian countries, Manabie is currently being used predominantly in Japan, in addition to Asia. In Japan, the government’s GIGA School Initiative has helped bring the digitalization to compulsory education schools to some extent, but there are still challenges for higher education and private cram schools, according to the company.

The Manabie system can be called ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system for educational institutions. More than 100 engineers in eight countries are engaged in the development. Honma expects to use the funds from the latest round to expand the engineering team to about twice as many. The COVID-19 pandemic pushes forward SaaS adoption in the education space, and the company intends to leverage this momentum for further growth.