MUFG to acquire 70% stake in Japan’s Kanmu for $150M to foray into BNPL business

Some of the Kanmu team with their founder and CEO Wataru Yamaki standing in the middle.
Image credit: Kanmu

See the original story in Japanese.

Nikkei reported on Monday that Japanese FinTech startup Kanmu is expected to be acquired by Mitsubishi UFJ Bank next spring. The Japanese megabank will acquire 70% stake in the startup for abouut $20 billion yen (about $150 million US), which means the startup’s valuation has reached over 25 billion yen (over $190 million US).

Founded in January of 2011, Kanmu secured 43 million yen (about $440,000 US) in 2013 from East Ventures, ANRI, and others. They launched the Vandle prepaid Visa card in September of 2016, which became a smash hit especially among the Japanese younger generation.

Since January of 2018, Kanmu has gradually received funding from Freakout Holdings. Their other shareholders include ISGS, Adways, Kronos Fund (now known as Entrepreneur), TLM, and five angel investors including Nobuhiro Ariyasu and Hiromasa Umeda. They have secured to date about 4.43 billion yen (about $33.4 million) in funding.

MUFG aims to incorporate the Vandle card into the bank’s debit card through the acquisition. The Vandle card’s mobile app has marked at least 6 million downloads so far. The FinTech startup is expected to remain its independence in their brand and management.

We have reached out to Kanmu founder and CEO Wataru Yamaki for comment.

Some of our readers may recall that MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), the parent company of Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, has recently acquired several BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) startups in the Southeast Asian region such as Akulaku and Home Credit.