TakeMe raises $2M to help restaurants get ready for tourist surge as Japan reopening borders

Image credit: TakeMe

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based TakeMe, the startup offering marketing and payments solutions for diners and restaurants in Japan, announced today that it has secured 260 million yen (about $2 million) from Taiwan-based New Economy Ventures and unnamed angel investors in the latest round back in March. As far as we can learn from publicly available information, this follows their $9.2 million funding in July of 2018, which appears to be a series A round.

New Economy Ventures has so far invested in Taiwanese crypto infrastructure platform Cybavo (acquired by US Fintech unicorn Circle in 2022), Internet of Energy service provider NextDrive as well as Taiwanese startup XREX offering SaaS (software as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) for crypto businesses. The firm is focused on supporting regional expansion of startups in East Asia.

Previously known as Japan Foodie, TakeMe was founded in December of 2015 by Dong Lu, a Chinese serial entrepreneur from Beijing. After attending a university in Tokyo, he worked at Goldman Sachs and then earned an MBA degree from Stanford University. Subsequently, following working at a consulting firm and a VC, he founded two startups and then sold them out. TakeMe has been so far backed by multiple renowned angel investors: Ikuo Nishioka, Xiao-Hang Yuan, Koutaro Chiba, Naoki Shimada, Yusuke Tanaka, and Legend Partners (Tomohito Ebine’s fund).

TakeMe was also hit hard by the pandemic. For more than three and a half years, TakeMe has been focused on offering digital transformation (DX) solutions for F&B businesses. The initiative includes offering Shopify-like solutions so that restaurants can easily build a take-out and delivery ordering site as well as developing API integrations with online travel agencies (OTAs) and restaurant booking services.

The TakeMe order plaform is adopted by over 50 restaurant chain brands in Japan.
Image credit: TakeMe

In addition to providing restaurants with most of the payment methods used by Japanese consumers and inbound travelers, TakeMe also acts as an intermediary between OTAs and restaurant reservation services, guiding customers to the most suitable restaurants they desire. The platform has been integrated with OTAs like Alibaba’s Fliggy, Hong Kong-based Klook as well as the TableCheck restaurant customer management system.

In July, TakeMe was integrated with the Camel order aggregation platform, which enables restaurants to manage orders from various food delivery services such as UberEats, menu, Wolt, and Demae-can. The integration means that the TakeMe platfom alone allows restaurants to manage bookings from sending local consumers and inbound visitors to accepting orders from food delivery services. Some restaurants are now using the platform for managing even in-store orders.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced last week that his country would lift up the COVID-19-related travel ban on October 19th, exempting foreign visitors to Japan from visa requirements. With the recent weaker Yen trend, the tourism and restaurant industries have high expectations for the revival of inbound visitors’ demand. TakeMe plans to use the funds to enhance its TakeMe Order management system and to accelerate developing functions for inbound visitors.