THE BRIDGE

The Bridge

The Bridge

The Bridge accepts guest contributions from individuals with special insights into technology or the startup space.

http://www.thebridge.jp

Articles

Shortening feedback loops

SHARE:

This guest post is authored by Mark Bivens. Mark is a Silicon Valley native and former entrepreneur, having started three companies before “turning to the dark side of VC.” He is a venture capitalist that travels between Paris and Tokyo (aka the RudeVC). He is the Managing Partner of Shizen Capital (formerly known as Tachi.ai Ventures) in Japan. You can read more on his blog at http://rude.vc or follow him @markbivens. The Japanese translation of this article is available here. One of the mindsets which we regularly encourage our portfolio companies to espouse is the pursuit of shortening feedback loops. Shortening feedback loops, or “increasing clock speed,” is fundamental to a startup’s ability to navigate a dynamic market. Accelerating the opportunity for feedback underpins the minimum viable product concept in the Lean Startup philosophy. The opposite strategy to pursuing short feedback loops is to research a topic profoundly before acting, theorize on every aspect of a project in painstaking detail, and prepare contingency plans for every imaginable outcome. This approach might be effective for long-duration projects, and is generally considered compulsory when mistakes have life-threatening consequences. (Even then however, one could argue that hundreds of thousands of lives could have…

mark-bivens_portrait

This guest post is authored by Mark Bivens. Mark is a Silicon Valley native and former entrepreneur, having started three companies before “turning to the dark side of VC.”

He is a venture capitalist that travels between Paris and Tokyo (aka the RudeVC). He is the Managing Partner of Shizen Capital (formerly known as Tachi.ai Ventures) in Japan. You can read more on his blog at http://rude.vc or follow him @markbivens. The Japanese translation of this article is available here.


One of the mindsets which we regularly encourage our portfolio companies to espouse is the pursuit of shortening feedback loops.

Shortening feedback loops, or “increasing clock speed,” is fundamental to a startup’s ability to navigate a dynamic market. Accelerating the opportunity for feedback underpins the minimum viable product concept in the Lean Startup philosophy.

The opposite strategy to pursuing short feedback loops is to research a topic profoundly before acting, theorize on every aspect of a project in painstaking detail, and prepare contingency plans for every imaginable outcome. This approach might be effective for long-duration projects, and is generally considered compulsory when mistakes have life-threatening consequences. (Even then however, one could argue that hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved in the Covid-19 pandemic had governments allowed for shorter feedback loops on vaccine safety testing among consenting and fully-informed volunteers). Regardless, such an approach is nearly always a handicap in startups

The ability to iterate: design, build an MVP, deploy, collect market feedback, repeat — is crucial for a startup to find product market fit. Testing iterations of its product with real customers is the fastest way to obtain indispensable market insights which will guide the product road map. This is widely considered obvious in most innovation ecosystems today, but I am still surprised to discover corners of the world where this belief is not yet universal.

Beyond the obvious though, a mindset of short feedback loops extends beyond a startup’s initial product-market fit. It should permeate throughout all company operations: sales, human resources, investor relations, vendor management, etc. Operating with short feedback loops fosters agility in a startup and can be a source of competitive advantage by accelerating learning. (Conversely, in crowded or fast-changing markets, failing to do so will be a competitive disadvantage).

Good salespeople, for instance, naturally crave immediate feedback. Moreover, it is human nature to thrive on short feedback loops, starting from our first steps as toddler. Here’s one example of academic research in this area.

Providing fast and frequent feedback to employees is also critical. When employees in a startup are not clear on whether their work meets expectations, or even whether they are working on the right priorities, the collective focus of the organization drifts. This can also undermine motivation. Similarly, it is a startup CEO’s responsibility to create an environment in which subordinates are comfortable and encouraged to provide feedback upward.

Shortening feedback cycles to investors also brings numerous benefits. Frequent business updates will keep a startup at the top of mind among its investors, which makes it easier for the investor to be helpful, be it with client introductions, capital raising, even hiring, for example. It also serves as a preventative mechanism, by keeping investors on alert before a startup’s financial situation becomes dire.

For many entrepreneurs, this behavior comes naturally. We applaud this and encourage all of our founders to embrace it as a core habit.

Japan’s social publishing platform Note files for IPO

SHARE:

Tokyo-based Note, the Japanese startup behind a social publishing platform under the same name, announced on Friday that its initial listing application on the Tokyo Stock Exchange had been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Growth Market on December 21 with plans to offer 210,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 191,800 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,069,300 shares. The underwriting will be led by Daiwa Securities while Note’s ticker code will be 5243. Based on the company’s estimated issue price is 300 yen (about $2.1) per share, its market cap is approximately 4.4 billion yen (about $31 million). The company apparently decided to have a down-round IPO, a steep discount from its private valuation of 33.8 billion yen (about $260 million in the currency exchange rate then) confirmed in a pre-IPO round back in May. Its share price range will be released on December 5 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on December 6 and pricing on December 12. The final public offering price will be determined on December 13. According to its consolidated statement as of December of 2021, the company posted revenue of 1.88 billion yen ($13.4 million) with an ordinary…

Image credit: Note

Tokyo-based Note, the Japanese startup behind a social publishing platform under the same name, announced on Friday that its initial listing application on the Tokyo Stock Exchange had been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Growth Market on December 21 with plans to offer 210,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 191,800 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,069,300 shares. The underwriting will be led by Daiwa Securities while Note’s ticker code will be 5243.

Based on the company’s estimated issue price is 300 yen (about $2.1) per share, its market cap is approximately 4.4 billion yen (about $31 million). The company apparently decided to have a down-round IPO, a steep discount from its private valuation of 33.8 billion yen (about $260 million in the currency exchange rate then) confirmed in a pre-IPO round back in May.

Its share price range will be released on December 5 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on December 6 and pricing on December 12. The final public offering price will be determined on December 13. According to its consolidated statement as of December of 2021, the company posted revenue of 1.88 billion yen ($13.4 million) with an ordinary loss of 434.5 million yen ($3.1 million).

Under its previous name of Piece of Cake, Note was founded in December of 2011 by Sadaaki Kato, previously a book editor at Japanese publishers like Ascii and Diamond. The company initially launched a service called Cakes, which had been providing users with content created by multiple authors on a subscription basis, but it terminated in 2022. The company then launched the Note platform, which allows users to sell user-generated content to readers in what’s called C2C (consumer-to-consumer) format.

The platform is often compared to Medium because of its appearance, but Medium asks readers to pay for good content while Note charges readers and also collects fees from content writers. In March of 2019, the company launched a service called Note Pro, which makes it easy for companies to create their owned media.

Led by founder and CEO Sadaaki Kato (34.87%), the company’s main shareholders include Femto Growth Capital holds (13.11% through two funds), Nikkei (6.07%), Tencent’s Image Frame Investment (5.94%), Jafco (5.82%), CyberAgent Capital (4.35%), UUUM (TSE: 3990, 2.51%), TV Tokyo Holdings (TSE: 9413, 2.51%), and SMBC Venture Capital (2.02%).

via JPX

Japan’s brand enablement platform AnyMind Group files for IPO

SHARE:

Tokyo-headquartered AnyMind Group, running its business mainly in Japan and other Asian countries, announced on Tuessday that its IPO application to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange had been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Growth Market on December 15 with plans to offer 885,300 shares for public subscription and to sell 403,400 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,804,200 shares. The underwriting will be led by Mizuho Securities and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities while AnyMind’s ticker code will be 5027. Based on the company’s estimated issue price is 970 yen (about $7) per share, its market cap is approximately 55.3 billion yen (about $400 million). Its share price range will be released on November 29 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on November 30 and pricing on December 6. The final public offering price will be determined on December 7. According to its consolidated statement as of December of 2021, the company posted revenue of 19.3 billion yen ($138 million) with an ordinary loss of 53.1 million yen ($381,000). AnyMind was founded in Singapore in 2016 by Kosuke Ufuka (CEO) and Yukihiko Komutsumi (Chief Commercial Officer) under its original name of AdAsia Holdings. The…

Image credit: AnyMind Group

Tokyo-headquartered AnyMind Group, running its business mainly in Japan and other Asian countries, announced on Tuessday that its IPO application to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange had been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Growth Market on December 15 with plans to offer 885,300 shares for public subscription and to sell 403,400 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,804,200 shares. The underwriting will be led by Mizuho Securities and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities while AnyMind’s ticker code will be 5027.

Based on the company’s estimated issue price is 970 yen (about $7) per share, its market cap is approximately 55.3 billion yen (about $400 million). Its share price range will be released on November 29 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on November 30 and pricing on December 6. The final public offering price will be determined on December 7. According to its consolidated statement as of December of 2021, the company posted revenue of 19.3 billion yen ($138 million) with an ordinary loss of 53.1 million yen ($381,000).

AnyMind was founded in Singapore in 2016 by Kosuke Ufuka (CEO) and Yukihiko Komutsumi (Chief Commercial Officer) under its original name of AdAsia Holdings. The company provides brands with a one-stop platform supporting production management, e-commerce, marketing, and logistics management, and currently has 19 offices in 13 countries and regions, mainly in Asia.

The company’s IPO application to the Mothers market was approved by the Tokyo Stock Exchange in February, but the listing was later postponed due to cooling investor sentiment in the wake of Russia’s invasion to Ukraine.

Led by co-founder and CEO Kosuke Sogo (37.21%), the company’s major shareholders include co-founder and CCO Otohiko Kozutsumi (9.54%), SMBC Trust Bank (6.77%), JATF VI (6.63%), JAFCO Asia (4.81%), JIC Venture Growth (3.92%), JP Investment (2.86%), Japan Growth Capital Investment (managed by Nomura Sparx Investment, 2.42%).

See also:

Japan’s FinTech unicorn Opn acquires US payments startup MerchantE

SHARE:

Tokyo-based payments startup Opn (formerly Omise, formerly Synqa) just announced that it has acquired acquired MerchaneE, the startup running the same business based out of Georgia, US. The deal is reportedly worth 50 billion yen (about $360 million). Nikkei says this is one of the largest acquisitions of a foreign company by a Japanese startup. While Opn has many clients in Japan and Southeast Asia, it aims to expand into the US and Europe with the acquisition. This will make Opn’s client base, including MerchantE, reach over 20,000 clients and help them hit over US$19 billion in total payment processing. Opn (formerly Omise, formerly Synqa) was founded in 2013 by CEO Jun Hasegawa and COO Ezra Don Harinsut. The company secured $120 million US in a Series C+ round in May, which made them become Japan’s 5th unicorn (excluding those which have already made exit). Their clients include Toyota Motor and Thai duty-free giant King Power. The company claims that it serves more than 7,000 merchants, mainly in Japan and Southeast Asia, including McDonald’s and Toyota Motor.

Image credit: Opn

Tokyo-based payments startup Opn (formerly Omise, formerly Synqa) just announced that it has acquired acquired MerchaneE, the startup running the same business based out of Georgia, US. The deal is reportedly worth 50 billion yen (about $360 million). Nikkei says this is one of the largest acquisitions of a foreign company by a Japanese startup. While Opn has many clients in Japan and Southeast Asia, it aims to expand into the US and Europe with the acquisition. This will make Opn’s client base, including MerchantE, reach over 20,000 clients and help them hit over US$19 billion in total payment processing.

Opn (formerly Omise, formerly Synqa) was founded in 2013 by CEO Jun Hasegawa and COO Ezra Don Harinsut. The company secured $120 million US in a Series C+ round in May, which made them become Japan’s 5th unicorn (excluding those which have already made exit). Their clients include Toyota Motor and Thai duty-free giant King Power. The company claims that it serves more than 7,000 merchants, mainly in Japan and Southeast Asia, including McDonald’s and Toyota Motor.

Web3 for the gig economy

SHARE:

This guest post is authored by Mark Bivens. Mark is a Silicon Valley native and former entrepreneur, having started three companies before “turning to the dark side of VC.” He is a venture capitalist that travels between Paris and Tokyo (aka the RudeVC). He is the Managing Partner of Shizen Capital (formerly known as Tachi.ai Ventures) in Japan. You can read more on his blog at http://rude.vc or follow him @markbivens. The Japanese translation of this article is available here. I’ve been ruminating on how Web3 could potentially transform gig economy businesses — e.g. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Upwork, Taskrabbit, Fiverr, etc. — and whether applying token economics to these activities would even make sense. Two encounters over the past week have persuaded me that a decentralized model could address some of the failings of these established platforms. The first encounter was with the founder of one of the world’s newest Web3 ride-hailing projects. The second was with a research paper entitled, “Expanding the Locus of Resistance: Understanding the Co-constitution of Control and Resistance in the Gig Economy,” published by Hatim Rahman, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, and Wharton management professor Lindsey Cameron. Rahman…

mark-bivens_portrait

This guest post is authored by Mark Bivens. Mark is a Silicon Valley native and former entrepreneur, having started three companies before “turning to the dark side of VC.”

He is a venture capitalist that travels between Paris and Tokyo (aka the RudeVC). He is the Managing Partner of Shizen Capital (formerly known as Tachi.ai Ventures) in Japan. You can read more on his blog at http://rude.vc or follow him @markbivens. The Japanese translation of this article is available here.


Image credit: RudeVC

I’ve been ruminating on how Web3 could potentially transform gig economy businesses — e.g. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Upwork, Taskrabbit, Fiverr, etc. — and whether applying token economics to these activities would even make sense.

Two encounters over the past week have persuaded me that a decentralized model could address some of the failings of these established platforms.

The first encounter was with the founder of one of the world’s newest Web3 ride-hailing projects. The second was with a research paper entitled, “Expanding the Locus of Resistance: Understanding the Co-constitution of Control and Resistance in the Gig Economy,” published by Hatim Rahman, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, and Wharton management professor Lindsey Cameron.

Rahman and Cameron suggest that the 5-star customer ratings system of these gig economy platforms is broken. They argue that the disproportionate importance of the customer review system subordinates gig workers to essentially a ‘digital boss’, toward whom the workers have little recourse once the rating is finalized and published. The customers, in contrast, do not bear the consequences of negative reviews as acutely as the workers do.

As a result, gig workers devise ways to resist such authority. Tactics can include: carefully vetting a customer’s behavior and prior reviews before accepting the gig, offering discounts once the job is underway in order to elicit a high rating, or even canceling the job before completion in order to avoid a negative review.

As currently structured, the Web2 ratings system abdicates power to people who do not possess a vested interest in the gig worker’s business.

Improving alignment of interests between gig worker and customer strikes me as a way that decentralization can transform these platforms.

Let’s focus on on-demand ride hailing. It’s hard to argue that this concept is not innovative, yet businesses like Uber and Lyft have never reached sustained profitability. Partly this is due to regulatory capture, i.e. when the status of drivers was deemed to be that of employees rather than independent contractors, hence requiring the platform to provide substantial benefits, the economics of the model broke down. Yet despite the regulatory impositions, drivers still struggle to make ends meet, keeping all apps active in order to maximize their driving throughput and undermining any particular loyalty to a single platform.

The thesis of these decentralized ride-hailing projects is essentially that token economics will repair the broken model. Although there still appears to be some experimentation around the specific tokenomics among these new contenders, from what I can understand both drivers and riders will earn platform-specific tokens as they use the service. Token grants could be structured to reward both frequency of usage and longevity, thus fostering loyalty from both the drivers and the riders. If the right to drive for the platform is embedded in an NFT, say, then this right could be transferable and appreciate in value just as the taxi medallions used to do.

Of course, the devil is in the details in the implementation of these models. However, decentralization brings a new dimension to the economic model of the business, which could render it viable again.

We’re at a moment where Web3 has somewhat fallen out of favor as the trendy new thing (albeit not yet in Japan where we’re still catching up). In my experience, when the spotlight on a particular innovation shifts away, this is often the best time for research and reflection on the transformative potential of it.

Japan’s carbon emissions management platform expands into Singapore

SHARE:

Japanese ClimateTech startup Asuene announced on Monday that it has established a subsidiary called Asuzero Singapore. The company will provide the Asuzero GHG (green house gas) emission management platform as well as one-stop service to companies in the region for their decarbonization effort. Asuzero was established in October 2019 by Kohei Nishiwada, who previously worked for Mitsui & Co. on renewable energy-related projects around the world. The company offers Asuene and Asuzero. Asuene offers clean power that enables 100% renewable energy, local production for local consumption, and cost reduction while Asuzero is a cloud service that visualizes CO₂ emissions and enables carbon offsets. To date, the company has secured approximately 2.9 billion yen (about $20 million US) in funding. Pavillion Capital under Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state-run investment firm, and Axiom Asia, a private equity fund focused on the Asia-Pacific region, invested in the company in a Series B round this year. At the time of the funding, the company unveiled that it would start its Asian expansion. via PR Times

Asuzero
Image credit: Asuene

Japanese ClimateTech startup Asuene announced on Monday that it has established a subsidiary called Asuzero Singapore. The company will provide the Asuzero GHG (green house gas) emission management platform as well as one-stop service to companies in the region for their decarbonization effort.

Asuzero was established in October 2019 by Kohei Nishiwada, who previously worked for Mitsui & Co. on renewable energy-related projects around the world. The company offers Asuene and Asuzero. Asuene offers clean power that enables 100% renewable energy, local production for local consumption, and cost reduction while Asuzero is a cloud service that visualizes CO₂ emissions and enables carbon offsets.

To date, the company has secured approximately 2.9 billion yen (about $20 million US) in funding. Pavillion Capital under Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state-run investment firm, and Axiom Asia, a private equity fund focused on the Asia-Pacific region, invested in the company in a Series B round this year. At the time of the funding, the company unveiled that it would start its Asian expansion.

via PR Times

Japanese AR sports platformer Meleap raises $3.5M from China’s QC Investment, others

SHARE:

Tokyo-based Meleap, the Japanese startup offering the Hado Augmented Reality-powered sports in 39 countries, announced on Monday that it has secured 510 million yen (about $3.5 million US) in the latest round. The round is led by Shanghai-based QC Investment with participation from Incubate Fund, Horipro Group Holdings, Kiraboshi Capital, CiP Fund (managed by Eltes, Tokyu Land Corporation, Kajima Corporation, and East Investment Capital GP), and Waki Planning. This follows an investment from Interwars last December. In November last year, the company concluded a business and capital alliance with Horipro to create the “Talent League” (teams comprising of TV personalities as players) while having secured funds from Incubate Fund several times in the past. The latest round brought the company’s funding sum up to 2.2 billion yen ($15 million US). They will use the funds to accelerate its global expansion, market the Talent League, and strengthen its recruitment efforts. Hiroshi Fukuda (current CEO of Meleap), previously of Recruit, and Hitoshi Araki (current CTO of Meleap), previously of Fujitsu, established Meleap in 2014. The company has developed AR games that allow players to perform moves similar to the Kamehameha and Hadouken waves we have seen in animation series, and has 109…

Image credit: Meleap

Tokyo-based Meleap, the Japanese startup offering the Hado Augmented Reality-powered sports in 39 countries, announced on Monday that it has secured 510 million yen (about $3.5 million US) in the latest round. The round is led by Shanghai-based QC Investment with participation from Incubate Fund, Horipro Group Holdings, Kiraboshi Capital, CiP Fund (managed by Eltes, Tokyu Land Corporation, Kajima Corporation, and East Investment Capital GP), and Waki Planning.

This follows an investment from Interwars last December. In November last year, the company concluded a business and capital alliance with Horipro to create the “Talent League” (teams comprising of TV personalities as players) while having secured funds from Incubate Fund several times in the past. The latest round brought the company’s funding sum up to 2.2 billion yen ($15 million US). They will use the funds to accelerate its global expansion, market the Talent League, and strengthen its recruitment efforts.

Hiroshi Fukuda (current CEO of Meleap), previously of Recruit, and Hitoshi Araki (current CTO of Meleap), previously of Fujitsu, established Meleap in 2014. The company has developed AR games that allow players to perform moves similar to the Kamehameha and Hadouken waves we have seen in animation series, and has 109 directly managed and permanent franchise locations in 39 countries that embody these games as sports. The company has a cumulative total of 3.5 million players and more than 100 million households watching the game. In addition, the Talent League, launched in 2020, allows viewers to cheer on players through the Wow Live app.

via PR Times

Dev Protocol raises $1.7M to facilitate creator economy leveraging crypto

SHARE:

Tokyo-based Frame00 (pronounced ‘frame double oh’), the Japanese startup behind a blockchain-based monetization service for OSS (Open Source Software) developers called Dev Protocol, announced on Wednesday, that it has secured 250 million yen (about $1.7 million US) in a pre-series A round. For the company, this follows their seed round in June of 2022 and brought their funding sum up to about 310 million yen (about $2.1 million). This round was led by former MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito-led web3 fund gmjp with participation from B Dash Ventures, SKY Perfect JSAT (TSE:9412), rikka, and 01Booster Capital. Mayumi Hara, CEO of Frame00, is expected to speak at the New Context Conference 2022 Fall to be organized by Digital Garage (TSE:4819) next month. Joi is the co-founder of Digital Garage. In aim to support the prosperity of OSS and the sustainability of community management, FRAME00 has been developing Dev, a protocol for sharing revenue with OSS developers. Dev tokens are redeemable for Ethereum tokens on crypto exchanges. Since its mainnet launch in 2020, the protocol has attracted new financial support for OSS developers around the world. They won the CJK (China, Japan, Korea) OSS Special Contribution Award at the North-East Asia…

Clubs
Image credit: Frame00

Tokyo-based Frame00 (pronounced ‘frame double oh’), the Japanese startup behind a blockchain-based monetization service for OSS (Open Source Software) developers called Dev Protocol, announced on Wednesday, that it has secured 250 million yen (about $1.7 million US) in a pre-series A round. For the company, this follows their seed round in June of 2022 and brought their funding sum up to about 310 million yen (about $2.1 million).

This round was led by former MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito-led web3 fund gmjp with participation from B Dash Ventures, SKY Perfect JSAT (TSE:9412), rikka, and 01Booster Capital. Mayumi Hara, CEO of Frame00, is expected to speak at the New Context Conference 2022 Fall to be organized by Digital Garage (TSE:4819) next month. Joi is the co-founder of Digital Garage.

In aim to support the prosperity of OSS and the sustainability of community management, FRAME00 has been developing Dev, a protocol for sharing revenue with OSS developers. Dev tokens are redeemable for Ethereum tokens on crypto exchanges.

Since its mainnet launch in 2020, the protocol has attracted new financial support for OSS developers around the world. They won the CJK (China, Japan, Korea) OSS Special Contribution Award at the North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum last year.

Currently, the DEV protocol developer community has over 500 members. In response to the diversifying needs of the creator economy, including web3 and metaverse, the company will accelerate developing the Clubs no-code DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) tool. In September, the company set up a new office in Switzerland to comply with global regulatory and develop governance system.

via PR Times

Japan’s digital logistic platform Giho secures $4.7M for Taiwan expansion

SHARE:

See the original story in Japanese. Yokohama-based Willbox, the Japanese startup behind the Giho digital logistics platform, announced on Monday that it has secured about 700 million yen (about $4.7 million) in a series A round. This round is led by SMBC Venture Capital with participation from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Marubeni Ventures, Anobaka, Salesforce Ventures, Golden Asia Fund III, and Mizuhoo Capital. Golden Asia Fund is a joint venture between Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC), the investment arm of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). For the logistics startup, this follows their pre-series A round announced in May, which was led by SMBC Venture Capital with participation from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Marubeni Ventures. Anobaka participated in their seed and pre-series A rounds as well. The company will use the funds to accelerate the development of its services to expand its customer base, as well as to enhance its operations in Japan and Taiwan. Willbox was founded in 2019 by Motonari Kami. His family has been running a Kawasaki-based company called Koei, which handles large-size packaging and logistics for heavy and precision machinery, for half a century. International logistics of large cargoes for heavy and…

Image credit: Willbox

See the original story in Japanese.

Yokohama-based Willbox, the Japanese startup behind the Giho digital logistics platform, announced on Monday that it has secured about 700 million yen (about $4.7 million) in a series A round. This round is led by SMBC Venture Capital with participation from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Marubeni Ventures, Anobaka, Salesforce Ventures, Golden Asia Fund III, and Mizuhoo Capital. Golden Asia Fund is a joint venture between Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC), the investment arm of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

For the logistics startup, this follows their pre-series A round announced in May, which was led by SMBC Venture Capital with participation from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Marubeni Ventures. Anobaka participated in their seed and pre-series A rounds as well. The company will use the funds to accelerate the development of its services to expand its customer base, as well as to enhance its operations in Japan and Taiwan.

Willbox was founded in 2019 by Motonari Kami. His family has been running a Kawasaki-based company called Koei, which handles large-size packaging and logistics for heavy and precision machinery, for half a century. International logistics of large cargoes for heavy and precision machinery require packing in wooden crates before placing them in containers, and these crates are made by specialized craftsmen each time, according to the shape and size of the cargo. For this reason, unlike small cargo, it is not possible to immediately estimate shipping costs or decide on a carrier for the international logistics.

Willbox targets the area of FCL (Full Container Load), mainly for exports. 120 logistics companies are registered with Giho, of which about 20% are packing companies like Koei, and the rest are forwarders, shipping operators, and land transportation companies to ports. Logistics companies spend more than half of their time preparing quotations, but 80% of those quotations will be a waste because of lost orders. Willbox says that based on the information collected from logistics companies, the platform allows shippers to get quotes in about 10 seconds after the data input.

via PR Times

US parent company of Japanese manned hoverbike startup to list on NASDAQ via SPAC

SHARE:

Correction: AERWINS Technologies is not a subsidiary of but the parent company of A.L.I. Technologies. Some changes have been made to the title and the sentences. Tokyo-based startup A.L.I. Technologies announced today that its Delaware-registered subsidiary parent company AERWINS Technologies has agreed an acquisition deal with PONO Capital (NASDAQ: PONO) via a De-SPAC transaction. Based on the deal, the US subsidiary parent company will be listed on NASDAQ. (Form 8-K, Form 425) The company A.L.I. began developing the XTURISMO (formerly known as Speeder) Limited Edition luxury hoverbike in 2017 and then has been accepting orders of it from the world since June of 2022. In addition to offering various drone-based solutions, the company has been developing the C.O.S.M.O.S. operational management system to ensure the safety of airways when many unmanned aircraft such as air mobility and drones are flying. See also: Japan startup unveils manned hoverbike, expecting it to fly above public roads via PR Times

The XTURISMO hoverbike is on a test flight at the Fuji Speedway race course.
Image credit: A.L.I. Technologies

Correction: AERWINS Technologies is not a subsidiary of but the parent company of A.L.I. Technologies. Some changes have been made to the title and the sentences.

Tokyo-based startup A.L.I. Technologies announced today that its Delaware-registered subsidiary parent company AERWINS Technologies has agreed an acquisition deal with PONO Capital (NASDAQ: PONO) via a De-SPAC transaction. Based on the deal, the US subsidiary parent company will be listed on NASDAQ. (Form 8-K, Form 425)

The company A.L.I. began developing the XTURISMO (formerly known as Speeder) Limited Edition luxury hoverbike in 2017 and then has been accepting orders of it from the world since June of 2022.

In addition to offering various drone-based solutions, the company has been developing the C.O.S.M.O.S. operational management system to ensure the safety of airways when many unmanned aircraft such as air mobility and drones are flying.

See also:

via PR Times