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Japan’s TimeTree, shared calendar app for couples, raises $18M

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based TimeTree (previously known as Jubilee Works), the startup behind shared calendar app for couples under the same name, announced in late December that it has raised about 1.96 billion yen (about $17.9 million) in the latest round. Participating investors are Seoul-based Stonebridge Ventures, Persol Innovation Fund (investment arm of Tokyo-based human resource services company Persol Holdings=TSE:2181), and Orient Corporation (TSE:8585). This follows their venture round (raising undisclosed amount) back in December of 2018, series A round (raising $4.6 million) back in August of 2017, and seed round (raising $1.9 million) back in October of 2016. The TimeTree app allows users to share their calendar with their family members, loved ones, friends and colleagues. It surpassed 20 million registered users in December, planning to launch TimeTree Ads, the ad network which can target users based on their schedule, as well as the TimeTree API that enables an easy integration with other apps for input and output schedule data.

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based TimeTree (previously known as Jubilee Works), the startup behind shared calendar app for couples under the same name, announced in late December that it has raised about 1.96 billion yen (about $17.9 million) in the latest round.

Participating investors are Seoul-based Stonebridge Ventures, Persol Innovation Fund (investment arm of Tokyo-based human resource services company Persol Holdings=TSE:2181), and Orient Corporation (TSE:8585). This follows their venture round (raising undisclosed amount) back in December of 2018, series A round (raising $4.6 million) back in August of 2017, and seed round (raising $1.9 million) back in October of 2016.

The TimeTree app allows users to share their calendar with their family members, loved ones, friends and colleagues. It surpassed 20 million registered users in December, planning to launch TimeTree Ads, the ad network which can target users based on their schedule, as well as the TimeTree API that enables an easy integration with other apps for input and output schedule data.

Japanese exoskeleton developer Innophys raises $32.4M

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See the original story in Japanese. Japanese startup developing Innophys announced in late December that it has secured 3.53 billion yen (about $32.4 million US) in the latest round. Participating investors are HI-LEX Corporation (TSE:7279), Fidelity International, Brother Industries (TSE:6448), Future Venture Capital, Nac (TSE:9788), Towa Pharmaceutical (TSE:4553), Tokai (TSE:9729), Bic Camera (TSE:3048), and among others. The company has developed an exoskeleton suit that charges by squeezing a hand pump to fill pressurized air-powered ‘muscles’ that are then used to augment the worker’s natural strength. Allowing users to reduce the burden on the waist when lifting a person or a heavy object, and doing other tasks in a half-crouching position, it can help prevent their back pain and improve working conditions. The Muscle Suit series has sold a total of 5,000 models since its first release back in 2014. via PR Times

Image credit: Innophys

See the original story in Japanese.

Japanese startup developing Innophys announced in late December that it has secured 3.53 billion yen (about $32.4 million US) in the latest round. Participating investors are HI-LEX Corporation (TSE:7279), Fidelity International, Brother Industries (TSE:6448), Future Venture Capital, Nac (TSE:9788), Towa Pharmaceutical (TSE:4553), Tokai (TSE:9729), Bic Camera (TSE:3048), and among others.

The company has developed an exoskeleton suit that charges by squeezing a hand pump to fill pressurized air-powered ‘muscles’ that are then used to augment the worker’s natural strength. Allowing users to reduce the burden on the waist when lifting a person or a heavy object, and doing other tasks in a half-crouching position, it can help prevent their back pain and improve working conditions. The Muscle Suit series has sold a total of 5,000 models since its first release back in 2014.

via PR Times

Smart driving assistant developer Drivemode acquired by Honda R&D

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See the original story in Japanese. Honda R&D, the research and development-focused subsidiary of the Japanese automotive giant, announced on Monday that it has acquired full stake in Drivemode, the US-based startup developing smart driving assistant technology, for an undisclosed sum. The two companies will join forces to develop connect mobility services at Digital Solution Center, a newly developed facility in Honda R&D. They have been working together since 2015 sice the Honda Xcelerator open innovation program. Since its launch back in 2014, Drivemode secured seed funding from Tokyo-based Incubate Fund and then launched an Android app under the same name which allows drivers to control their cars without watching the screen of the app. Prior to launching Drivemode, the startup’s founder Yokichi Koga previously worked at a Boston-based VC as a director and then car-sharing startup Zipcar as an advisor.  

drivemode_featuredimage

See the original story in Japanese.

Honda R&D, the research and development-focused subsidiary of the Japanese automotive giant, announced on Monday that it has acquired full stake in Drivemode, the US-based startup developing smart driving assistant technology, for an undisclosed sum.

The two companies will join forces to develop connect mobility services at Digital Solution Center, a newly developed facility in Honda R&D. They have been working together since 2015 sice the Honda Xcelerator open innovation program.

Since its launch back in 2014, Drivemode secured seed funding from Tokyo-based Incubate Fund and then launched an Android app under the same name which allows drivers to control their cars without watching the screen of the app.

Prior to launching Drivemode, the startup’s founder Yokichi Koga previously worked at a Boston-based VC as a director and then car-sharing startup Zipcar as an advisor.

 

Japanese AI-powered cancer detection startup raises $43M in series B round

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based AI Medical Service, the Japanese startup developing the AI-powered technology to detect cancerous lesions from endoscopic footage, announced on Friday that it has secured about 4.6 billion yen (about $43 million US) in a series B round. Participating investors in this round are: Globis Capital Partners(GCP) WiL Sparx Group Sony Innovation Fund by IGV(Managed by Innovation Growth Ventures, the joint venture of Sony and Daiwa Capital Holdings) Japan Lifeline (cardiovascular medical device manufacturer, TSE:7575) Japan Post Capital Aflac Ventures Ryoyo Electro (semiconductor trader, TSE:8068) SMBC Venture Capital Daiwa Corporate Investment An unnamed angel investor For the company, this follows their previous funding (series A round) worth 1 billion yen back in August of last year and brought their funding sum up to 6.2 billion yen (about $58 million US). Established by physician Dr.TOmohiro Tada, AI Medical Service has been developing an AI-powered diagnostic system for cancer detection. A survey says only 31% even among medical doctors can correctly determine the presence or absence of gastric cancer symptoms from endoscopic footage. With help from more than a few medical doctors, the company can improve the AI engine because of using hundreds of thousands of…

incubate-camp-10th-ai-medical-1

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based AI Medical Service, the Japanese startup developing the AI-powered technology to detect cancerous lesions from endoscopic footage, announced on Friday that it has secured about 4.6 billion yen (about $43 million US) in a series B round.

Participating investors in this round are:

  • Globis Capital Partners(GCP)
  • WiL
  • Sparx Group
  • Sony Innovation Fund by IGV(Managed by Innovation Growth Ventures, the joint venture of Sony and Daiwa Capital Holdings)
  • Japan Lifeline (cardiovascular medical device manufacturer, TSE:7575)
  • Japan Post Capital
  • Aflac Ventures
  • Ryoyo Electro (semiconductor trader, TSE:8068)
  • SMBC Venture Capital
  • Daiwa Corporate Investment
  • An unnamed angel investor

For the company, this follows their previous funding (series A round) worth 1 billion yen back in August of last year and brought their funding sum up to 6.2 billion yen (about $58 million US).

Established by physician Dr.TOmohiro Tada, AI Medical Service has been developing an AI-powered diagnostic system for cancer detection. A survey says only 31% even among medical doctors can correctly determine the presence or absence of gastric cancer symptoms from endoscopic footage. With help from more than a few medical doctors, the company can improve the AI engine because of using hundreds of thousands of high-definition endoscopic images to let it learn better. The engine now can detect with high accuracy the presence of Helicobacter Pylori bacteria, which is known to be the major cause of stomach cancer.

In 2017, the company won the top award at Beyond Next Ventures’ Brave accelerator program in the pre-incorporated startup segment. They also won the Best Growth and Judge awards at Incubate Camp 10th back in August of 2017, followed by winning the TechCrunch Japan award at the 10th Batch Demo Day of Recruit’s Tech Lab Paak accelerator.

The company uses the funds to promote clinical trials, expand the pipeline, hire talents, make more investments, aiming to accelerate the development of real-time endoscope AI and to get an approval of medical regulatory for it.

Japan’s “flying car” developer SkyDrive snags $14M, expects manned test flight this year

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based SkyDrive, the Japanese drone startup spun off from the Cartivator volunteer group consisting of aircraft, drone and automotive engineers, announced on Monday that it has secured 1.5 billion yen (about $13.9 million US). The investment round is unknown but participating investors are Drone Fund, Z Corporation (investment arm of Yahoo Japan), Strive, Itochu Technology Ventures, and Energy & Environment Investment. Drone Fund and Z Corporation have participated in the startup’s past rounds. The company claims that the latest round brought their funding sum up to 2 billon yen (about $18.5 million US). Coinciding with the funding, Tatso Tsutsumi, General Partner of Strive, will join the board of SkyDrive as an outside director. The starutp will use the funds to speed up developing their drone to conduct a test flight within this year. See also: Japan startup unveils manned hoverbike, expecting it to fly above public roads SkyDrive’s so-called “flying car” is an electrically-powered, vertical take-off and landing pilotless aircraft. As a new trend in the mobility industry, the drone is expected to be used for taxi service in cities, means for transportation in remote islands and mountainous areas, emergency transport in the event…

skydrive-team
The SkyDrive team
Image credit: SkyDrive

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based SkyDrive, the Japanese drone startup spun off from the Cartivator volunteer group consisting of aircraft, drone and automotive engineers, announced on Monday that it has secured 1.5 billion yen (about $13.9 million US). The investment round is unknown but participating investors are Drone Fund, Z Corporation (investment arm of Yahoo Japan), Strive, Itochu Technology Ventures, and Energy & Environment Investment.

Drone Fund and Z Corporation have participated in the startup’s past rounds. The company claims that the latest round brought their funding sum up to 2 billon yen (about $18.5 million US). Coinciding with the funding, Tatso Tsutsumi, General Partner of Strive, will join the board of SkyDrive as an outside director. The starutp will use the funds to speed up developing their drone to conduct a test flight within this year.

See also:

SkyDrive’s so-called “flying car” is an electrically-powered, vertical take-off and landing pilotless aircraft. As a new trend in the mobility industry, the drone is expected to be used for taxi service in cities, means for transportation in remote islands and mountainous areas, emergency transport in the event of a diaster. Compared to conventional air crafts, the drone is cost-effective, makes lower noise but requires a smaller space for take-off and landing.

SkyDrive was qualified as a finalist in the Tokyo Startup Gateway 2014 startup incubator, and then won the 5th place at the Launch Pad pitch competition at Infinity Ventures Summit 2015 Spring in Miyazaki. We have learned that the company secured funds from Drone Fund’s 2nd fund earlier this year.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

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

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See the original story in Japanese. 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…

unifa-founders-investors-team
Image credit: UniFa

See the original story in Japanese.

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.

Japanese house construction management SaaS Andpad closes series B with $22.6M

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Oct, the Japanese startup developing and providing the Andpad house construction management platform, announced on Thursday that it has closed a series B round by raising funds from the investment arms of four regional banks in Japan in addition to existing investors. Participating investors are Senshu Ikeda Capital, Iyogin Capital, Kyogin Lease & Capital, Chibagin Capital, Globis Capital Partners, DNX Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and Beenext. This is additional funding in a series b round following the previous announcement back in March of this year, brings the total funding sum in the round up to about 2.4 billion yen (about 22.6 million US). Launched back in 2016, the platform has been adopted by more than 1,600 companies by March of this year. Through respective partnerships with the regional banks participating in this round, the company wants to more focus on expanding their business into provincial areas, aiming to help address labor shortage and improve productivity in the entire Japanese construction industry. Translated by Masaru Ikeda

andpad_featuredimage
Andpad
Image credit: Oct

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Oct, the Japanese startup developing and providing the Andpad house construction management platform, announced on Thursday that it has closed a series B round by raising funds from the investment arms of four regional banks in Japan in addition to existing investors.

Participating investors are Senshu Ikeda Capital, Iyogin Capital, Kyogin Lease & Capital, Chibagin Capital, Globis Capital Partners, DNX Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and Beenext. This is additional funding in a series b round following the previous announcement back in March of this year, brings the total funding sum in the round up to about 2.4 billion yen (about 22.6 million US).

Launched back in 2016, the platform has been adopted by more than 1,600 companies by March of this year. Through respective partnerships with the regional banks participating in this round, the company wants to more focus on expanding their business into provincial areas, aiming to help address labor shortage and improve productivity in the entire Japanese construction industry.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japan’s Gitai, developing robots replacing astronauts, secures $4.1M series A round

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Gitai, the Japanese telexistannce robotics startup for the space industry, announced on Tuesday that it has secured $4.1 million US in a series A round. The round is led by Spiral Ventures Japan with participation from DBJ Capital (the investment arm of the Japanese government-backed Development Bank of Japan), Japanese electric power development company J-Power, 500 Startups Japan (now known as Coral Capital). Among these investors, 500 Startups Japan follows their previous investment in the latter’s seed round (securing $1.25 million US) back in 2017. This brings the startup’s total funding to date up to over 600 million yen (over $5.6 million US) but it may reach up to 1 billion yen (about $9.4 million) by additional funding within this year since the current round is not yet closed. Gitai plans to use the funding to develop autonomous space robots which may replace astronauts in their missions as well as launching a vehicle carrying robots to the International Space Station which is scheduled in late 2020. Gitai was initially focused on the telexistence technology which connects an operator and a robot in two different locations, but later shifted its primary business to serving…

gitai-robot-6th-prototype
6th prototype robot
Image credit: Gitai

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Gitai, the Japanese telexistannce robotics startup for the space industry, announced on Tuesday that it has secured $4.1 million US in a series A round. The round is led by Spiral Ventures Japan with participation from DBJ Capital (the investment arm of the Japanese government-backed Development Bank of Japan), Japanese electric power development company J-Power, 500 Startups Japan (now known as Coral Capital).

Among these investors, 500 Startups Japan follows their previous investment in the latter’s seed round (securing $1.25 million US) back in 2017. This brings the startup’s total funding to date up to over 600 million yen (over $5.6 million US) but it may reach up to 1 billion yen (about $9.4 million) by additional funding within this year since the current round is not yet closed.

Gitai plans to use the funding to develop autonomous space robots which may replace astronauts in their missions as well as launching a vehicle carrying robots to the International Space Station which is scheduled in late 2020.

Gitai was initially focused on the telexistence technology which connects an operator and a robot in two different locations, but later shifted its primary business to serving the space industry back in 2017. Earlier this year, the company announced it has appointed Yuto Nakanishi as COO. Nakanishi is a humanoid scientist/engineer and former CEO of Schaft, the Japanese robotics startup acquired by Google.

Japanese business chat tool developer Chatwork files for IPO

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Kobe-headquartered Chatwork, the startup behind a cloud-based business chat tool under the same name, announced on Thursday that its IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on 24 September with plans to offer 600,000 shares for public subscription and to sell up to 1,270,500 shares in over-allotment options, for a total of 7.9 million shares. Daiwa Securities will lead the underwriting. Its share price range will be released on 29 August with bookbuilding scheduled to start on 2 September and pricing on 6 September. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2018, they posted revenue of 1.31 billion yen (about $12.3 million) with an ordinary loss of 186 million yen ($1.75 million) and a net loss of 110 million yen ($1.04 million). Chatwork, the company’s flagship service, is now being served to 2,747,000 users while 364,000 paying users among them are subscribing to its premium service (as of June this year). In addition, the company also sells antivirus products of Slovakian IT security company ESET. Founded in July of 2000 as EC Studio, the company raised 300 million yen (about $2.5 million) from GMO Venture…

chatwork_screenshots
Image credit: Chatwork

Kobe-headquartered Chatwork, the startup behind a cloud-based business chat tool under the same name, announced on Thursday that its IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on 24 September with plans to offer 600,000 shares for public subscription and to sell up to 1,270,500 shares in over-allotment options, for a total of 7.9 million shares. Daiwa Securities will lead the underwriting.

Its share price range will be released on 29 August with bookbuilding scheduled to start on 2 September and pricing on 6 September. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2018, they posted revenue of 1.31 billion yen (about $12.3 million) with an ordinary loss of 186 million yen ($1.75 million) and a net loss of 110 million yen ($1.04 million).

chatwork-office
Image credit: Chatwork

Chatwork, the company’s flagship service, is now being served to 2,747,000 users while 364,000 paying users among them are subscribing to its premium service (as of June this year). In addition, the company also sells antivirus products of Slovakian IT security company ESET.

Founded in July of 2000 as EC Studio, the company raised 300 million yen (about $2.5 million) from GMO Venture Partners in April of 2015, and subsequently 1.5 billion yen (about $12.8million) from GMO Venture Partners, Jafco, Shinsei Corporate Investment, and SMBC Venture Capital in January of 2016. Established in Osaka, they have moved their headquarters to Tanigami, the western part of Kobe City, as an effort to help making the mountainous area “another Silicon Valley”. They also have business operations in Tokyo and Osaka as well as a representative office in Taipei.

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News app developer Smartnews nabs $29M in series E, becomes Japan’s 3rd unicorn

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Smartnews, the developer of curated news app under the same name, announced on Monday that it has raised 3.1 billion yen (about $29.3 million) in a series E round. The round was led by Japan Post Capital with participation from Japan Co-Invest Limited Partnership, SMBC Venture Capital (SMBC-VC), and Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) according to CrunchBase. Japan Co-Invest, SMBC-VC and DBJ also joined the startup’s series D round back in July of 2016. The latest round brought the total funding to date up to 12.2 billion yen ($115.4 million US). With this funding, the market cap of Smartnews reached $1 billion US and joined the unicorn club. According to CB Insights, the company is the third Unicorn from Japan following AI startup Preferred Networks and Liquid Group which runs a crypto exchange called Liquid by Quoine. (C2C commerce startup used to be a unicorn but went public last year.) Smartnews launched its curated news app in the US back in October of 2014. After nearly five years since then, the company now sees more than 20 million active users in Japan and the US. In particular, the number of users in the…

smartnews-logo
Image credit: The Bridge

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Smartnews, the developer of curated news app under the same name, announced on Monday that it has raised 3.1 billion yen (about $29.3 million) in a series E round. The round was led by Japan Post Capital with participation from Japan Co-Invest Limited Partnership, SMBC Venture Capital (SMBC-VC), and Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) according to CrunchBase. Japan Co-Invest, SMBC-VC and DBJ also joined the startup’s series D round back in July of 2016. The latest round brought the total funding to date up to 12.2 billion yen ($115.4 million US).

With this funding, the market cap of Smartnews reached $1 billion US and joined the unicorn club. According to CB Insights, the company is the third Unicorn from Japan following AI startup Preferred Networks and Liquid Group which runs a crypto exchange called Liquid by Quoine. (C2C commerce startup used to be a unicorn but went public last year.)

Smartnews launched its curated news app in the US back in October of 2014. After nearly five years since then, the company now sees more than 20 million active users in Japan and the US. In particular, the number of users in the US grew five times in a year, and Parse.ly put Smartnews in the 10th rank in traffic sources bringing users to English-language news outlets. Smartnews will use the funds to accelerate the growth in the US market and strengthen the team for global expansion.

As part of global expansion effort, Smartnews appointed Ken Kutaragi, former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, as an external director back in June while Youlin Li, former Head of News Feed Infrastructure at Facebook, joined the team as Vice President of Engineering, Backend System and Foundation back in May. The company has presence in six locations in the world: Tokyo, San Francisco, New York City, Palo Alto, Fukuoka, and Shanghai. Going forward, they will strengthen hiring engineers, product managers, data scientists and other talents.

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