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SpaceData develops AI that can create digital twin of entire planet, raises $10M+ in seed round

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Tokyo-based SpaceData, the Japanese startup developing artificial intelligence that can create a Digital Twin of the Earth from Satellite Data, announced on Wednesday that it has secured 1.42 billion yen (over $10 million US) in a seed round. Participating investors are Spiral Capital, Sparx Innovation for Future, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, GREE Ventures, The Creative Fund, Headline Asia, MZ Web3 Fund in addition to three angel investors: Jo Hirao (CEO of Zigexn), Hiroshi Tomishima (Co-founder of Mercari), and Yusaku Maezawa (Founder of Zozo). SpaceData was founded in January of 2017 by serial entrepreneur Katsuaki Sato, also known as the founder of Japanese tech company Metaps (TSE:6172) and running several startups. The company has developed AI-based technologies that can generates virtual worlds (digital twin) using satellite data and 3DCG technology. Using machine learning on geostationary images of the ground and terrain data from satellites, the platform can automatically detect, classify, and organize objects on the ground, and generate their 3D models with detailed texture using 3DCG technology. The company’s algorithm excels at automatically generating 3D models from a human perspective, which is something that conventional 3D globe tools (such as Google Earth) are not very good at. This makes it easier…

Image credit: SpaceData

Tokyo-based SpaceData, the Japanese startup developing artificial intelligence that can create a Digital Twin of the Earth from Satellite Data, announced on Wednesday that it has secured 1.42 billion yen (over $10 million US) in a seed round. Participating investors are Spiral Capital, Sparx Innovation for Future, KDDI Open Innovation Fund, GREE Ventures, The Creative Fund, Headline Asia, MZ Web3 Fund in addition to three angel investors: Jo Hirao (CEO of Zigexn), Hiroshi Tomishima (Co-founder of Mercari), and Yusaku Maezawa (Founder of Zozo).

SpaceData was founded in January of 2017 by serial entrepreneur Katsuaki Sato, also known as the founder of Japanese tech company Metaps (TSE:6172) and running several startups. The company has developed AI-based technologies that can generates virtual worlds (digital twin) using satellite data and 3DCG technology. Using machine learning on geostationary images of the ground and terrain data from satellites, the platform can automatically detect, classify, and organize objects on the ground, and generate their 3D models with detailed texture using 3DCG technology.

The company’s algorithm excels at automatically generating 3D models from a human perspective, which is something that conventional 3D globe tools (such as Google Earth) are not very good at. This makes it easier to be adopted into applications such as VR (virtual technology), games, and video production, where people move around in 3D space from a human perspective. The company claims that the generated digital twin data can meet the rapidly growing demand for metaverse in various industries, including entertainment, autonomous driving, urban development, disaster prevention, and defense.

via PR Times

Japan’s AI-powered contract management startup LegalForce secures $100M+ in series D

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Tokyo-based LegalForce announced on Thursday that it has secured approximately 13.7 billion yen (over $101.6 million US) in a Series D round. The round is led by by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from Sequoia China, Goldman Sachs, WiL (World Innovaion Lab, Mizuho Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and others. WiL, Mizuho Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital followed their previous investment. The latest round brought the startup’s funding sumup to approximately 17.9 billion yen (over $132.8 million US). LegalForce has been offering two SaaS tools: LegalForce and LegalForce Cabinet. LegalForce uses natural language processing and other technologies to offer functions such as reviewing contracts according the type of agreement, detecting clauses that may be omitted or risky in addition to prevent omissions and oversights. Sine its launch back in April of 2019, the service has been serving more than 2,000 companies and law firms. Regarding LegalForce Cabinet, when you upload contracts/documents into it, its artificial intelligence will automatically read titles, names of contracting parties, and contract expiration date to create a ledger of them. As of June, the service is used by over 450 companies.

The LegalForce team
Image credit: LegalForce

Tokyo-based LegalForce announced on Thursday that it has secured approximately 13.7 billion yen (over $101.6 million US) in a Series D round.

The round is led by by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from Sequoia China, Goldman Sachs, WiL (World Innovaion Lab, Mizuho Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and others. WiL, Mizuho Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital followed their previous investment. The latest round brought the startup’s funding sumup to approximately 17.9 billion yen (over $132.8 million US).

LegalForce has been offering two SaaS tools: LegalForce and LegalForce Cabinet.

LegalForce uses natural language processing and other technologies to offer functions such as reviewing contracts according the type of agreement, detecting clauses that may be omitted or risky in addition to prevent omissions and oversights. Sine its launch back in April of 2019, the service has been serving more than 2,000 companies and law firms.

Regarding LegalForce Cabinet, when you upload contracts/documents into it, its artificial intelligence will automatically read titles, names of contracting parties, and contract expiration date to create a ledger of them. As of June, the service is used by over 450 companies.

Japanese sneaker marketplace reaches $340M valuation after raising funds from SoftBank

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This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese. Tokyo-based Soda, the Japanese startup behind a marketplace specializing in sneakers and streetwear called SNKRDUNK (pronounced as Sneaker Dunk), announced today that it has secured an undisclosed sum in a series D round from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 (SBVF2), which brought the company’s valuation up to 38 billion yen or $340 million US. This follows the company’s series C round back in July where it secured 6.2 billion yen (about $54 million US), meaning that their valuation became 1.6 times in just 4 months. The previous round was led by Korean tech giant Naver’s Kream with participation from Altos, SoftBank Ventures Asia, JAFCO Group, and existing investors including basepartners, Coloplast Next, and The Guild. The funds raised in the latest round will be used for expanding into the Asian markets such as Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong in addition to strengthening business expansion effort in Japan, AI-based logistics, authenticity assessment, and customer support. This is SBVF2’s second investment in a Japanese startup following cash injection into biotech startup Aculys Pharma. SoftBank Vision Fund 1 (SBVF1) had been investing 100 billion yen in each startup on average, mainly focused on…

This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Soda, the Japanese startup behind a marketplace specializing in sneakers and streetwear called SNKRDUNK (pronounced as Sneaker Dunk), announced today that it has secured an undisclosed sum in a series D round from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 (SBVF2), which brought the company’s valuation up to 38 billion yen or $340 million US.

This follows the company’s series C round back in July where it secured 6.2 billion yen (about $54 million US), meaning that their valuation became 1.6 times in just 4 months. The previous round was led by Korean tech giant Naver’s Kream with participation from Altos, SoftBank Ventures Asia, JAFCO Group, and existing investors including basepartners, Coloplast Next, and The Guild.

The funds raised in the latest round will be used for expanding into the Asian markets such as Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong in addition to strengthening business expansion effort in Japan, AI-based logistics, authenticity assessment, and customer support. This is SBVF2’s second investment in a Japanese startup following cash injection into biotech startup Aculys Pharma.

SoftBank Vision Fund 1 (SBVF1) had been investing 100 billion yen in each startup on average, mainly focused on US-based unicorns which are valued over $1 billion. However, the average ticket size of the second fund (SBVF2) has been reduced to 20 billion yen ($177 million), and some of Japanese startups have been gradually becoming the fund’s potential investees.

In an interview with Forbes Japan, SBVF2’s managing partner Kentaro Matsui shared his fund’s five investment principles: 1. market size, 2. innovativeness of services, products, and technologies, 3. accelerating growth through AI (artificial intelligence) and data utilization, 4. entrepreneurs and management team with a clear vision, and 5. sustainability of the business and a clear path to profitability.

In the statement, Soda claims AI-based logistics as one of what the fund is used for. By optimizing the logistics process leveraging cutting-edge technologies, the company expects to allow customers to experience the new standard of trading – sell today, receive tomorrow. It’s unnecessary to say technology is the key to breakthroughs here.

According to the SoftBank Group’s financial results for the second quarter ending March 31, 2022, SVF1 and SFVF2 have 81 and 157 portfolio companies respectively.

Japan’s Citadel AI secures seed round to automatically detect errors in predictions

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Citadel AI, the Japanese startup developing automated AI quality maintenance tools, announced on Monday that it has secured 100 million yen (about $900,000 US) in a seed round from UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC) and Anri. For the startup, this is the first funding from external investors. They launched Citadel Rader in beta in May, aiming to help companies protect themselves from AI-specific risks by automatically monitoring their AI systems, detecting, blocking, and visualizing anomalies. Citadel AI was launched in December by CEO Hironori “Rick” Kobayashi and CTO Kenny Song. Prior to Citadel AI, Kobayashi served Loyalty Marketing as president, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) as SVP, and US-based meat processing firm Indiana Packers Corporation as CEO. Meanwhile, Song led the development of TensorFlow and AutoML as a product manager at Google Brain, the tech giant’s AI research and development unit. Unlike traditional hardware-based software, AI systems are exposed to an ever-changing real-world environment that degrades their accuracy and quality day by day. It is important for businesses to maintain the quality of AI functions by automatically detecting anomalies before they are misrecognized and misjudged, resulting in business losses and compliance issues. Citadel Rader has an XAI (eXplainable Artificial Intelligence) function that…

Image credit: Citadel AI

Citadel AI, the Japanese startup developing automated AI quality maintenance tools, announced on Monday that it has secured 100 million yen (about $900,000 US) in a seed round from UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC) and Anri. For the startup, this is the first funding from external investors. They launched Citadel Rader in beta in May, aiming to help companies protect themselves from AI-specific risks by automatically monitoring their AI systems, detecting, blocking, and visualizing anomalies.

Citadel AI was launched in December by CEO Hironori “Rick” Kobayashi and CTO Kenny Song. Prior to Citadel AI, Kobayashi served Loyalty Marketing as president, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) as SVP, and US-based meat processing firm Indiana Packers Corporation as CEO. Meanwhile, Song led the development of TensorFlow and AutoML as a product manager at Google Brain, the tech giant’s AI research and development unit.

Unlike traditional hardware-based software, AI systems are exposed to an ever-changing real-world environment that degrades their accuracy and quality day by day. It is important for businesses to maintain the quality of AI functions by automatically detecting anomalies before they are misrecognized and misjudged, resulting in business losses and compliance issues. Citadel Rader has an XAI (eXplainable Artificial Intelligence) function that automatically detects and blocks AI input and output anomalies and visualizes them in a form that humans can understand.

Kobayashi says,

In the development stage, AI reads only clean data, but when it moves to actual operation, it receives a variety of data, including those with input errors. Basically, people think that computers will give correct answers, and even if they give wrong answers, it is difficult to point them out.

Since it is difficult for companies to allocate human resources to monitor the output of AI, our tool may help AI engineers who are usually busy with their daily work find the time to concentrate on their original work.

Image credit: Citadel AI

When a system integrator receives an order for an AI system, they will typically implement the system but not provide services to automate the operation and maintenance afterwards.

Kobayashi continued,

If the accuracy and quality of the data deteriorates, in the worst case scenario, it could lead to errors in sales forecasting, or in credit approval. For example, think FATF (Financial Action Task Force, the global organization working with money laundering regulators in various countries). A single node with poor security in determining a money laundering case could lead to the vulnerability of the entire global network, which could lead to the node not being allowed to join the organization.

He added that Citadel Rader is currently used by more than 10 companies on a trial basis and is in talks with more than 100 companies as potential users. The company plans to use the funds to expand its engineering team for the product’s official launch which is scheduled next spring.

Japanese robotics startup Telexistence closes series A round with $40M+

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Tokyo-based Telexistence, the Japanese startup developing remote-controlled robots, announced today that it has secured about 2.2 billion yen (about $20 million US) in a series A2 round. Participating investors include Airbus Ventures, KDDI Open Innovation Fund (KOIF), Deepcore, UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC), and several unnamed investors, in addition to Monoful, a digital transformation-focused subsidiary of global logistics giant GLP. This follows a previous round (estimated to be series A1) in December of 2018 when some of the investors participating in the latest round such as KOIF, UTokyo IPC, Deepcore, and Monoful also participated. With the Series A1 (previous round) and A2 (the latest round) rounds combined, the company has secured about 4.5 billion yen (over $40 million US) in a series A round. Telexistence has been developing tele-controlled robots using a variety of technologies including tele-presence, robotics, communications, virtual reality (VR), haptics, and artificial intelligence (AI). They plan to use the funds to expand its product development team as well as accelerating product development and implementation to the expanding customer base in the retail and logistics sectors. The company has partnered with Monoful to develop the Augmented Workforce Platform (AWP) for logistics facility operations. AWP allows operators to control…

The Model-T robot
Image credit: Telexistence

Tokyo-based Telexistence, the Japanese startup developing remote-controlled robots, announced today that it has secured about 2.2 billion yen (about $20 million US) in a series A2 round. Participating investors include Airbus Ventures, KDDI Open Innovation Fund (KOIF), Deepcore, UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC), and several unnamed investors, in addition to Monoful, a digital transformation-focused subsidiary of global logistics giant GLP.

This follows a previous round (estimated to be series A1) in December of 2018 when some of the investors participating in the latest round such as KOIF, UTokyo IPC, Deepcore, and Monoful also participated. With the Series A1 (previous round) and A2 (the latest round) rounds combined, the company has secured about 4.5 billion yen (over $40 million US) in a series A round.

Telexistence has been developing tele-controlled robots using a variety of technologies including tele-presence, robotics, communications, virtual reality (VR), haptics, and artificial intelligence (AI). They plan to use the funds to expand its product development team as well as accelerating product development and implementation to the expanding customer base in the retail and logistics sectors.

The company has partnered with Monoful to develop the Augmented Workforce Platform (AWP) for logistics facility operations. AWP allows operators to control robots installed in warehouses via the Internet and participate in tasks such as loading and unloading pallets while operators are working from home.

The company also announced that it has tied up with Japanese office furniture giant Okamura Corporation (TSE:7984) for joint research and development of fixture products optimized for carrying and displaying by robots.

Japan’s X-ray image sensing startup ANSeeN secures over $10M in series B round

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ANSeeN is a startup spun out of Shizuoka University and has been developing x-ray image sensors and color cameras. The company announced on Monday that it has secured 1.08 billion yen (about $10.1 million US) in a series B round. Participating investors in this round are Cyberdyne (TSE: 7779) and its subsidiary CEJ Capital, Environmental Energy Investment, Drone Fund, Shinkin Capital inn addition to Shizuoka Capital. The amount raised includes debt financing from the Shoko Chukin Bank and Hamamatsu Iwata Shinkin Bank, as well as a grant from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). This follows the startup’s series A round in November 2018 when they secured about 300 million yen (about $2.8 million US). Shizuoka Capital and Shinkin Capital participated in the previous series A round as well. ANSeeN’s X-ray camera has a higher resolution than conventional ones, which makes it easier to identify the shape of the content in a an inspection object. The company aims to develop a system that can be used for automated and unattended baggage inspection in conjunction with artificial intelligence. The company claims that this system can make it possible to visualize cast metal parts, such as automobiles and trains,…

Image credit: ANSeeN

ANSeeN is a startup spun out of Shizuoka University and has been developing x-ray image sensors and color cameras. The company announced on Monday that it has secured 1.08 billion yen (about $10.1 million US) in a series B round. Participating investors in this round are Cyberdyne (TSE: 7779) and its subsidiary CEJ Capital, Environmental Energy Investment, Drone Fund, Shinkin Capital inn addition to Shizuoka Capital.

The amount raised includes debt financing from the Shoko Chukin Bank and Hamamatsu Iwata Shinkin Bank, as well as a grant from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). This follows the startup’s series A round in November 2018 when they secured about 300 million yen (about $2.8 million US). Shizuoka Capital and Shinkin Capital participated in the previous series A round as well.

ANSeeN’s X-ray camera has a higher resolution than conventional ones, which makes it easier to identify the shape of the content in a an inspection object. The company aims to develop a system that can be used for automated and unattended baggage inspection in conjunction with artificial intelligence. The company claims that this system can make it possible to visualize cast metal parts, such as automobiles and trains, which have been difficult to visualize in the past.

AnSeeN will use the funds to install a facility to mass-produce X-ray image sensors and X-ray color cameras, aiming to establish a mass-production system by the end of 2021 to use them for non-destructive testing and dental inspection equipment. The company partnered with Cyberdyne to promote the application and commercialization of the camera in the cybernics industry.

AnSeeN was selected for the second phase of Tokyo-based railway company JR East’s incubation/acceleration program in November 2018 and then won the top prize for the team eligible for the program’s incubation course at the Demo Day event.

Japan’s Medmain nabs over $10M to expand AI-powered telepathology diagnostic system

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See the original story in Japanese. Fukuoka-based Medmain, the Japanese MedTech startup behind the PidPort telepathology solutions and the Medteria cloud for medical students, announced on Monday that it has secured 1.1 billion yen (about $10 million US) through the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that Hike Ventures has set up for this round. The company has not mentioned the stage of the rounud but it’s believed as a series A round. The latest round follows the 100 million yen funding back in August 2018, and brought the total sum of funding to date up to 1.2 billion yen (about 11.3 million US). Participating investors in this round are Fukuoka Wajiro Hospital Group, IHW Group from International University of Health and Welfare (IUHW), QTnet, Hike Ventures, Innovations and Future Creation, Deepcore, Dogan Beta as well as unnamed angel investors. Deepcore and Dogan Beta participated in the previous round. SPVs have advantages for startups, including lowering the time and effort required to raise funds, and some of our readers may recall that Japanese HRTech startup SmartHR used this scheme for their Series B round. Medmain said it adopted the scheme this time to streamline raising a large sum of funding from multiple…

The Medmain team, CEO Osamu Iizuka stands on the center.
Image credit: Medmain

See the original story in Japanese.

Fukuoka-based Medmain, the Japanese MedTech startup behind the PidPort telepathology solutions and the Medteria cloud for medical students, announced on Monday that it has secured 1.1 billion yen (about $10 million US) through the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that Hike Ventures has set up for this round. The company has not mentioned the stage of the rounud but it’s believed as a series A round. The latest round follows the 100 million yen funding back in August 2018, and brought the total sum of funding to date up to 1.2 billion yen (about 11.3 million US).

Participating investors in this round are Fukuoka Wajiro Hospital Group, IHW Group from International University of Health and Welfare (IUHW), QTnet, Hike Ventures, Innovations and Future Creation, Deepcore, Dogan Beta as well as unnamed angel investors. Deepcore and Dogan Beta participated in the previous round.

SPVs have advantages for startups, including lowering the time and effort required to raise funds, and some of our readers may recall that Japanese HRTech startup SmartHR used this scheme for their Series B round. Medmain said it adopted the scheme this time to streamline raising a large sum of funding from multiple investors including hospital managements.

The Fukuoka Wajiro Hospital Group has 24 medical institutions and seven medical education institutions in Japan, while the IHW Group from IUHW is made of medical, educational, and welfare groups with about 60 facilities nationwide. With the participation of these groups, the company intends to accelerate product development involving the clinical environment.

The PidPort functions.
Image credit: Medmain

Medmain is the first startup born out of Kyushu University’s officially approved club activity for encouraging entrepreneurship. PidPort, one of the startup’s flagship products, leverages deep learning and proprietary computer vision technology to enable quick and accurate pathology diagnosis.

In partnership with the Kyushu University School of Medicine and Kyushu University Hospital, the company has been using supercomputers to conduct high-speed learning for artificial intelligence (AI). Launching the alpha version back in winter in 2018 followed by the official version in February this year, it is conducting joint research with over 50 medical institutions in Japan.

Medical care and computer vision are considered to be a good match. Among many medical applications (e.g., radiological and endoscopic images), the company has chosen pathology as a focus because it believed this area was particularly behind in digitalization. In pathology, a doctor takes tissue samples from a patient’s body and a pathologist uses a microscope to check them. Medmain provides pathologists with an environment so that they can remotely complete this process by checking scanned images. In addition, the more images and learning data are collected, the more precise diagnosis the platform can provide. This may contribute to solving the delay in diagnosis due to the shortage of pathologists.

PidPort viewer’s image
Image credit: Medmain

Because of the restrictions of medical-related laws, PidPort is used only on a research basis at this point in Japan, but it is used for actual medical diagnosis in other countries. In countries and regions where pathologists are scarce, pathologists in Japan have provided consultation and advice to a local doctor based on images of the latter’s patient’s tissue using the platform.

In addition, the spread of the novel coronavirus has restricted the movement people including even pathologists, but the platform allows pathologists to make diagnoses online without traveling multiple hospitals, which becomes a good opportunity to advance digital pathology.

Medmain plans to use the funds to enhance its AI algorithms, investing in image scanning equipment in addition to hiring talents for global business expansion effort. In Japan, the AI-powered diagnostic function is currently limited to research use due to legal restrictions, so the company will highlight the potential of remote pathological diagnosis leveraged by digital scanning and cloud storage functions for domestic sales.

Japan’s Ground, developing AI and robotics for intelligent logistics, secures $16.2M

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Ground, the Japanese startup developing artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics solutions specifically focused on offering intelligent logistics, announced on Friday that it has secured up to 1.71 billion yen (about $16.2 million US) in the latest round. This round was led by Japanese state-owned investment company INCJ with participation from Sony (Sony Innovation Fund), Saphire Capital, JA Mitsui Leasing, IMM Investment (Korea), and IMM INvestment Group Japan. Of these, INCJ has agreed to invest up to 1 billion yen (about $9.5 million US) in the logistics startup. Ground was founded in April of 2015 by Hiratomo Miyata who previously led the respective logistics arms of Japanese e-commerce giants Askul and Rakuten. The startup has formed a capital and business tie-up with Japanese office furniture maker Okamura (TSE:7944) in addition to Frameworx, the logistics-focused subsidiary of Japanese largest homebuilder Daiwa House Industry (TSE:1925). The funding at this time follows 1 billion yen (about $9.5 million US) funding from Daiwa House Industry back in June of 2017. The company has developed a platform that combines robots and AI software to optimize logistics operations including picking in warehouse. Leveraging a customer database to help understand consumer…

ground-amr-robot
AMR, Ground’s autonomous collaborative robot for the logistics industry
Image credit: Ground

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Ground, the Japanese startup developing artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics solutions specifically focused on offering intelligent logistics, announced on Friday that it has secured up to 1.71 billion yen (about $16.2 million US) in the latest round. This round was led by Japanese state-owned investment company INCJ with participation from Sony (Sony Innovation Fund), Saphire Capital, JA Mitsui Leasing, IMM Investment (Korea), and IMM INvestment Group Japan. Of these, INCJ has agreed to invest up to 1 billion yen (about $9.5 million US) in the logistics startup.

Ground was founded in April of 2015 by Hiratomo Miyata who previously led the respective logistics arms of Japanese e-commerce giants Askul and Rakuten. The startup has formed a capital and business tie-up with Japanese office furniture maker Okamura (TSE:7944) in addition to Frameworx, the logistics-focused subsidiary of Japanese largest homebuilder Daiwa House Industry (TSE:1925). The funding at this time follows 1 billion yen (about $9.5 million US) funding from Daiwa House Industry back in June of 2017.

rock-thailand-vol1-ground-2
Image credit: Ground

The company has developed a platform that combines robots and AI software to optimize logistics operations including picking in warehouse. Leveraging a customer database to help understand consumer behavior, the platform adopts machine learning to allow users to predict how many products should be manufactured and will be sold, thereby improving the overall efficiency of their logistics operations. The platform is unique in terms of offering all at once: both hardware-powered (robotics) and software-driven (AI) approaches.

Ground participated in Rock Thailand, the cross-market open innovation initiative co-hosted by the Japanese Embassy to Thailand and Thailand’s major conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) earlier this year, where the startup suggested the possibility of overseas business expansion. They will use the funds to strengthen hiring talents for business expansion as well as research and development of new technologies in the logistics sector.

Japan’s Wovn announces Dropbox-like online storage for document translation

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Tokyo-based Wovn Technologies, the Japanese startup offering a multilingual support platform for websites and other digital resources, announced today that they will launch a new service called Wovn Workbox at their business conference held in Tokyo today. Similar to Dropbox, Box, and other cloud-based storage services, Wovn Workbox allows you to share documents but also translate them into other languages automatically so that your colleagues can understand your document written in their unfamiliar language. When an original file is revised, that change will be made to its translation result immediately. Planned to be launched in August, the cloud service can support several file formats: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Text files (PDF file support follows later). The software for synchronizing files in a user’s local storage with the cloud will be available on Mac OS X 10.10 and its later as well as Windows 10 and its later. Pricing details have not been published yet but it appears to be charged on a monthly subscription basis. Translation results will be reviewed by artificial intelligence and then checked by native speakers. Wovn expects the new service to be adopted by companies where multinational talents are using cloud services on a daily basis….

wovn-globalized
Globalized 2019
Image credit: Wovn Technologies

Tokyo-based Wovn Technologies, the Japanese startup offering a multilingual support platform for websites and other digital resources, announced today that they will launch a new service called Wovn Workbox at their business conference held in Tokyo today.

Similar to Dropbox, Box, and other cloud-based storage services, Wovn Workbox allows you to share documents but also translate them into other languages automatically so that your colleagues can understand your document written in their unfamiliar language. When an original file is revised, that change will be made to its translation result immediately.

Planned to be launched in August, the cloud service can support several file formats: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Text files (PDF file support follows later). The software for synchronizing files in a user’s local storage with the cloud will be available on Mac OS X 10.10 and its later as well as Windows 10 and its later. Pricing details have not been published yet but it appears to be charged on a monthly subscription basis. Translation results will be reviewed by artificial intelligence and then checked by native speakers.

wovn-workbox-1
Image credit: Wovn Technologies

Wovn expects the new service to be adopted by companies where multinational talents are using cloud services on a daily basis. By allowing them to translate their documents and decks into many languages and keep results update, Wovn wants to eliminate language barriers among diverse employees. In Japan, the decline of workforce and the rise of international businesses may cause definitely increasing the number of immigrant workers in offices. With the new service, Wovn wants to help internationalization efforts of companies in their internal operations as well as their marketing activities to potential customers.

Wovn has partnered with SBI Group and integrated with the latter’s electronic approval workflow system so that SBI employees can communicate each other regardless of which language they speak. Wovn is also expected to integrate their platform with third-party’s various cloud-based services in addition to Workbox-like online storage services. 

Japanese user location analytics startup Rei Frontier raises $2.7M from Mitsui & Co.

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Rei Frontier, the Japanese startup behind AI-powered user location analytics platform called SilentLog Analytics/SDK, announced today it has raised 300 million yen (about $2.7 million US) from Mitsui & Co. The investment includes a strategic partnership, which lets the startup collaborate with the trading giant to offer various mobility services according to the user’s behavioral characteristics, create new means of mobility to alleviate traffic congestion by changing people’s behavior, and design an integrated system so that people can move seamlessly between multiple ways of transportation. The company provides a marketing service called Silent Log Analytics enabling a new type of activity analysis by analyzing customers’ location information with artificial intelligence (AI). Companies want to know about customers and customers want companies to make optimized proposal for each, but in reality, sometimes the problem occurs where products that were purchased offline are recommended online. To solve this, Silent Log Analytics acquires 40,000 users’ activity data per day, obtaining their consent. Using smartphone-mounted GPS and sensors, it determines users’ condition or social attribute. Rei Frontier gathers information and owns the accumulated knowledge that only requires 3% power consumption. The team aims to optimize recommendation or…

L to R: Kenshi Tamura (CEO, Rei Frontier), Michihiro Nose (Mobility Business Unit I, Mitsui & Co.)
Image credit: Rei Frontier

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Rei Frontier, the Japanese startup behind AI-powered user location analytics platform called SilentLog Analytics/SDK, announced today it has raised 300 million yen (about $2.7 million US) from Mitsui & Co.

The investment includes a strategic partnership, which lets the startup collaborate with the trading giant to offer various mobility services according to the user’s behavioral characteristics, create new means of mobility to alleviate traffic congestion by changing people’s behavior, and design an integrated system so that people can move seamlessly between multiple ways of transportation.

The company provides a marketing service called Silent Log Analytics enabling a new type of activity analysis by analyzing customers’ location information with artificial intelligence (AI). Companies want to know about customers and customers want companies to make optimized proposal for each, but in reality, sometimes the problem occurs where products that were purchased offline are recommended online.

To solve this, Silent Log Analytics acquires 40,000 users’ activity data per day, obtaining their consent. Using smartphone-mounted GPS and sensors, it determines users’ condition or social attribute. Rei Frontier gathers information and owns the accumulated knowledge that only requires 3% power consumption. The team aims to optimize recommendation or customer notification by not sending entertainment information during work or not sending business information after work.

This Rei Frontier’s app allows users to monitor the fuel efficiency of their car on mobile.
Image credit: Rei Frontier

SilentLog Analytics has two types of use cases: One is the public type offering an SDK (software developer kit) to mobile apps for consumers, and the other one is the private type for corporate users for their internal business use. Diversified in many fields, examples include integration with a health promotion app, a fleet management app as well as predicting how people move in town especially in the event of a disaster.

Since Mobility Business Unit I of Mitsui & Co. has railway companies, transport functions at mines and other assets in the overseas, Rei Frontier says they can expect to achieve a good result of the collaboration in the mobility sector.

SilentLog Analytics has expanded into the European Union and UK markets where GDPR has been effective and requires businesses strictly comply with local regulations on information handling. Rei Frontier CEO Kenshi Tamura told The Bridge that facility investment in such overseas markets is one of the reasons why they have decided to raise funds at this time.

Rei Frontier was chosen for the third batch of Tokyo Railway’s accelerator program back in 2017, won the Spring Up! sports-focused accelerator program by Japanese system integration company TIS back in 2018. The company raised an undisclosed sum from Adways and Inclusion Japan back in April of 2015, subsequently an undisclosed sum from Mizuho Capital and IID (TSE:6038) back in August of 2016, and also 140 million yen ($1.2 million US) from Iwagin Jigyo Sozo Capital and Energy & Environment Investment.

Their potential competitors include Sentinance (Belgium), Anagog (Israel), SafeGraph (US) and Factual (US), but there is no dominant player yet from the technology and data volume perspective. Our readers may recall that Tokyo-based VC Global Brain-backed startup Near, previously called AdNear and originated from India, has expanded into the Japanese market.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda