THE BRIDGE

Takeshi Hirano

Takeshi Hirano

Takeshi is a Japanese tech blogger and a co-founder of The Bridge, and is also the CEO for bootupAsia, Inc. He started his career as a web designer.

Articles

Livestreaming firm M17 appoints Infinity Venture Partners’ Hirofumi Ono as Global CEO

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See the original story in Japanese. 17 Media Japan, the local operating company of mobile livestreaming app 17 Live or ‘Ichinana’ also known as Livit in the English-speaking countries, announced today that Hirofumi Ono was appointed as Global CEO of its parent company M17 Entertainment Limited (M17). Focused on the Japanese market, M17 will be continually responsible for service operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and other Asian countries. Former M17 CEO Joesph Phua will step down as CEO to become a non-executive chairman. Ono will also continue to serve 17 Media japan as its president. The Japanese operations of the livestreaming app was launched back in 2017 by Ono who has been backing M17 as one of investors – Co-founder & Managing Partner of Infinity Venture Partners. The app now has become an outstanding platform where singers and entertainers perform their live shows. It has acquired 45 million registrants as of November of 2019. Along with this, Ono announced that he will be stepping down from his role as managing director at Infinity Ventures in September. He was involved in launching the VC firm back in 2008 together with Akio Tanaka and Masashi Kobayashi. See also: Infinity Venture…

M17 Entertainment’s new Global CEO Hirofumi Ono
Image credit: M17 Entertainment

See the original story in Japanese.

17 Media Japan, the local operating company of mobile livestreaming app 17 Live or ‘Ichinana’ also known as Livit in the English-speaking countries, announced today that Hirofumi Ono was appointed as Global CEO of its parent company M17 Entertainment Limited (M17). Focused on the Japanese market, M17 will be continually responsible for service operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and other Asian countries. Former M17 CEO Joesph Phua will step down as CEO to become a non-executive chairman. Ono will also continue to serve 17 Media japan as its president.

The Japanese operations of the livestreaming app was launched back in 2017 by Ono who has been backing M17 as one of investors – Co-founder & Managing Partner of Infinity Venture Partners. The app now has become an outstanding platform where singers and entertainers perform their live shows. It has acquired 45 million registrants as of November of 2019.

Along with this, Ono announced that he will be stepping down from his role as managing director at Infinity Ventures in September. He was involved in launching the VC firm back in 2008 together with Akio Tanaka and Masashi Kobayashi.

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In addition to investing in ventures in Japan and the Greater China region, Ono has contributed to the growth of startups with his unique style of entrepreneurial involvement as a founding member of them. The startups he was involved in managing include Rekoo Japan (the company behind Sunshine Ranch), Jmty.jp (Japanese classifieds site), Groupon Japan, Farfetch Japan, and of course 17 Media Japan. He has also made a significant impact on the startup ecosystem as an investor, hosting Infinity Ventures Summit (IVS), one of the largest venture conferences in Japan, for 12 years.

Below is his open letter on his Facebook timeline. (sic)

It is my pleasure to announce that I will be graduating from Infinity Ventures(IV), which I have led with Akio since 2008, this September.

And I will be taking on the role of Global CEO at M17 Entertainment, Ltd(M17). that is portfolio company of IV and is the parent company of
17 Media Japan where I have been acting as CEO over 3 years.

After launching 17 Media Japan from zero and leading its growth to No. 1 in Japan, there was a strong request from Joseph Phua, Co-Founder of M17 Global and Chairman, for me to take over the global CEO position, and after discussions with Akio and Joseph Huang internally in IV. I decided that the best way for me is to graduate from IV and commit to M17 as CEO so that I can contribute to those who helped me a lot during my time in IV by leading M17 to further growth stage.

In the 12 years since launching IV from scratch, I have had the great opportunity to not only invest but also run many companies on my own like Rekoo Japan (Sunshine Farm), Groupon Japan, Jimoty, Farfetch Japan, and 17 Media Japan. And fortunately most of them made great success to be leading companies in that industries and brought successful exit.

I am particularly pleased that Jimoty that I had built literally from scratch completely on my own went public this year.

I have also been able to get involved in some of the big exits for IVP’s fund, such as Soracom, freee and some of great investment like Wealth Navi and YeahKa (listed in HK and worth over 3billion USD now).

M17 is now expanding widely in Japan, Taiwan, India, HK, the US and the Middle East, and I will continue to grow the company so that we can expand our live streaming business even further around the world.

I am looking forward to a longer relationship with you as a serial entrepreneur.

As for IV, IVS President Toshiaki Shimakawa has successfully hosted more than 1,000 guests in the first online IVS, and the IV Japan team will continue to strengthen its operations with keeping investing in Japan and leading IVS.

Also, I will continue to contribute to IVS LaunchPad as an advisor to the development of our startups.

Sorry for that long message.

I would like to have opportunity to say hello to you individually if I could.

Thanks
Hiro

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japan’s retail solution startup Hey secures $66M from Bain Capital, acquires Coubic

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Hey, the Japanese tech firm behind payments startup and e-shop builder, announced today that it has secured series E round funding. Participating investors in this round are Bain Capital, Hong Kong-based Anatole, Goldman Saches, PayPal, YJ Capital (investment arm of Yahoo Japan) as well as World Innovation Lab (WiL). Hey has not disclosed the size of the entire round but their statement reveals Bain Capital alone will invest 7 billion yen (about $66 million) in this deal. Hey will use the funds to double its team from 200 to 400 staffers. Along with the funds, the company will acquire a full stake in Coubic, a Japanese startup behind scheduling and appointment booking solution under the same name. Coubic has recently integrated with “Reserve with Google”, which now allows consumers to make bookings or purchase tickets through Google Search and Maps from the local businesses using Coubic. Coubic has also recently integrated with Zoom in aim to help retailers offer online counseling or other learning services under the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in October 2013 by ex-Googler Hiroshi Kuraoka, Coubic has now 2.5 million monthly active users and is serving more than 80,000 companies and…

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Hey, the Japanese tech firm behind payments startup and e-shop builder, announced today that it has secured series E round funding.

Participating investors in this round are Bain Capital, Hong Kong-based Anatole, Goldman Saches, PayPal, YJ Capital (investment arm of Yahoo Japan) as well as World Innovation Lab (WiL). Hey has not disclosed the size of the entire round but their statement reveals Bain Capital alone will invest 7 billion yen (about $66 million) in this deal.

Hey will use the funds to double its team from 200 to 400 staffers.

Along with the funds, the company will acquire a full stake in Coubic, a Japanese startup behind scheduling and appointment booking solution under the same name. Coubic has recently integrated with “Reserve with Google”, which now allows consumers to make bookings or purchase tickets through Google Search and Maps from the local businesses using Coubic.

Coubic has also recently integrated with Zoom in aim to help retailers offer online counseling or other learning services under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founded in October 2013 by ex-Googler Hiroshi Kuraoka, Coubic has now 2.5 million monthly active users and is serving more than 80,000 companies and individuals across over 180 business categories.

Here’s what Hey CEO Yusuke Sato says in an official statement:

I’ll never forget the words of a customer I got the other day. That’s from President Suzuki of Hamanoyu, who use our Stores platform to sell his traditional inn’s flagship menu of red bream fish boiled with soy sauce.

He said in his letter to us:

“The kitchen, which had been bereft of guests, has been revitalized by orders online from from all over the country. Our staffs were encouraged by the fact that there were customers who wanted to stay with us, and we felt anew that we had to take a stand for the customers who wanted to come back someday.”

We were reminded that what we can do is small in the face of a major disaster, but nevertheless, we could be a source of hope and vitality for those who are in such a difficult situation.

Through this funding and the acquisition (of Coubic), we will further accelerate the rollout of features for individuals and small and medium-sized businesses in response to the new normal, such as early withdrawal of sales proceeds, support for opening an online store, and simplified online lesson booking through integration with the Zoom video conferencing service, which we have released to address the challenges associated with the pandemic and business restraint measures.

Together with Hey team and our new colleagues from Coubic, we will contribute to creating a society supported by an economy driven by persistence, passion and fun, rather than just pursuing profit and scale.

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Japanese UX design firm Goodpatch files for IPO, pushing its valuation to $40M

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based user experience and interface (UX/UI) design agency Goodpatch announced today it has applied to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and was approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on June 30with plans to offer 308,900 shares for public subscription and to sell about 98,900 shares in over-allotment options for a total of about 350,900 shares. The underwriting will be led by Daiwa Securities while Goodpatch’s ticker code will be 7351. Based on the estimated IPO price of 610 yen (about $5.7) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 4.3 billion yen (about $40 million). Its share price range will be released on June 11 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on June 15 and pricing on June 19. According to the consolidated statement as of August 2019, they posted revenue of 1.41 billion yen (about $13.1 million) with an ordinary profit of 93 million yen (about $865,000). Goodpatch was founded in August of 2011. Prior to the company, CEO Naofumi Tsuchiya worked as an intern at San Francisco’s digital agency Btrax, and founded Goodpatch after returning home to Japan. The company’s name comes from the incubation…

Image credit Goodpatch

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based user experience and interface (UX/UI) design agency Goodpatch announced today it has applied to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and was approved.

The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on June 30with plans to offer 308,900 shares for public subscription and to sell about 98,900 shares in over-allotment options for a total of about 350,900 shares. The underwriting will be led by Daiwa Securities while Goodpatch’s ticker code will be 7351.

Based on the estimated IPO price of 610 yen (about $5.7) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 4.3 billion yen (about $40 million).

Its share price range will be released on June 11 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on June 15 and pricing on June 19. According to the consolidated statement as of August 2019, they posted revenue of 1.41 billion yen (about $13.1 million) with an ordinary profit of 93 million yen (about $865,000).

Goodpatch was founded in August of 2011. Prior to the company, CEO Naofumi Tsuchiya worked as an intern at San Francisco’s digital agency Btrax, and founded Goodpatch after returning home to Japan. The company’s name comes from the incubation space Dogpatch Labs in San Francisco. Their prototyping tool Prott, which was officially launched in October of 2014, has been introduced in major IT companies, startups, design farms, and so on.

Led by founder and CEO Naofumi Tsuchiya, the company’s major shareholders include Digital Garage Group (21.4%, DG Lab and DG Ventures), Blue Rose (8.24%), SBI Investment (7.93%), and Salesforce Ventures (3.08%).

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Asia-focused EdTech startup Manabie raises $4.8M seed round from Japanese investors

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See the original story in Japanese. Singapore-based Manabie, the EdTech startup offering e-learning service in the Southeast Asian region, announced today that it has fundraised $4.8 million US in a seed round. This round was led by Tokyo-headquartered Genesia Ventures with participation from notable Japanese angel investors including: Keisuke Honda (Professional football player) Mochio Umeda (US-based IT consultant known for having introduced Web2.0 issues to Japan) Nobuhiro Ariyasu (Founder of Coach United) Yasukane Matsumoto (CEO of Raksul) Yoshinori Fukushima (Co-founder of Gunosy, CEO of LayerX) Masayuki Watanabe (Founder of Quipper) Shunsuke Oyu (Founder of Connehito) Details of Financial terms have not been disclosed. Earlier this month, the company published a Japanese article aiming to help teachers turn their classes into virtual ones while many schools are forced to be closed due to the COVIT-19 pandemic. Prior to the launch of Manabie back in April of 2019, the company’s CEO Takuya Honma previously co-founded UK-based EdTech startup Quipper which was subsequently acquired by Japanese human resources and internet service company Recruit Holdings (TSE:6098) back in 2015. Quipper has been helping thousands of schools in the world launch their classes online. Manabie is offering e-learning apps for elementary, junior high, and high…

See the original story in Japanese.

Singapore-based Manabie, the EdTech startup offering e-learning service in the Southeast Asian region, announced today that it has fundraised $4.8 million US in a seed round. This round was led by Tokyo-headquartered Genesia Ventures with participation from notable Japanese angel investors including:

  • Keisuke Honda (Professional football player)
  • Mochio Umeda (US-based IT consultant known for having introduced Web2.0 issues to Japan)
  • Nobuhiro Ariyasu (Founder of Coach United)
  • Yasukane Matsumoto (CEO of Raksul)
  • Yoshinori Fukushima (Co-founder of Gunosy, CEO of LayerX)
  • Masayuki Watanabe (Founder of Quipper)
  • Shunsuke Oyu (Founder of Connehito)

Details of Financial terms have not been disclosed. Earlier this month, the company published a Japanese article aiming to help teachers turn their classes into virtual ones while many schools are forced to be closed due to the COVIT-19 pandemic.

Prior to the launch of Manabie back in April of 2019, the company’s CEO Takuya Honma previously co-founded UK-based EdTech startup Quipper which was subsequently acquired by Japanese human resources and internet service company Recruit Holdings (TSE:6098) back in 2015. Quipper has been helping thousands of schools in the world launch their classes online.

Manabie is offering e-learning apps for elementary, junior high, and high school students as well as running learning centers in the Southeast Asian region, especially in Vietnam for now.

The company plans to use the funds to expand their business into all across Vietnam in addition to offering extensive support for educational institutions in Japan which are in urgent need of making their classes online in face of the pandemic-caused temporarily closure.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japan’s ‘For Startups’, exec and talent search service for startups, files for IPO

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based ‘For Startups‘, the company offering an executive and talent search service for Japanese startups in addition to the Startup DB database platform, announced today that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on March 13 with plans to offer 200,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 120,000 shares in over-allotment options for a total of about 600,000 shares. The underwriting will be led by Nomura Securities while the company’s ticker code will be 7089. Based on the estimated IPO price of 1,520 yen (about $13.8) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 4.7 billion yen (about $42.8 million). Its share price range will be released on February 21 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on February 26 and pricing on March 3. According to the consolidated statement as of March 2019, they posted revenue of 1.045 billion yen (about $9.5 million) with an ordinary profit of 274 million yen (about $2.5 million). In order to strengthen an executive and talent search service focused on startups, the company was spun off from Saint Media (now known as Willof…

For Startups’ Headquarters
Image credit: For Startups

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based ‘For Startups‘, the company offering an executive and talent search service for Japanese startups in addition to the Startup DB database platform, announced today that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved.

The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on March 13 with plans to offer 200,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 120,000 shares in over-allotment options for a total of about 600,000 shares. The underwriting will be led by Nomura Securities while the company’s ticker code will be 7089.

Based on the estimated IPO price of 1,520 yen (about $13.8) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 4.7 billion yen (about $42.8 million).

Its share price range will be released on February 21 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on February 26 and pricing on March 3. According to the consolidated statement as of March 2019, they posted revenue of 1.045 billion yen (about $9.5 million) with an ordinary profit of 274 million yen (about $2.5 million).

In order to strengthen an executive and talent search service focused on startups, the company was spun off from Saint Media (now known as Willof Work) and launched back in September of 2016 under their previous name of Net Jinzaibank. Their main shareholders include Willgroup (92%, TSE:6089, Willof Work’s parent company) and For Startups’ CEO Yuichiro Shimizu (8%).

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Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japanese consulting matchmaking platform VisasQ files for IPO

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based VisasQ (VQ), the Japanese startup behind a consulting matchmaking platform under the same name, announced today that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on March 10 with plans to offer 500,000 shares for public subscription and to sell about 426,400 shares in over-allotment options for a total of about 2.3 million shares. The underwriting will be led by Mizuho Securities while VQ’s ticker code will be 4490. Based on the estimated IPO price of 2,100 yen (about $19.4) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 17 billion yen (about $156.6 million). Its share price range will be released on February 19 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on February 20 and pricing on February 27. According to the consolidated statement as of February 2019, they posted revenue of 614 million yen (about $5.7 million) with an ordinary profit of 24 million yen (about $221,000). See also: Circuit board design tool ‘Quadcept’ wins Innovation Weekend Grand Finale in Tokyo Launched back in March of 2010 under the previous name of Walkntalk, VQ has been offering an online matchmaking…

Image credit: VisasQ

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based VisasQ (VQ), the Japanese startup behind a consulting matchmaking platform under the same name, announced today that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved.

The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on March 10 with plans to offer 500,000 shares for public subscription and to sell about 426,400 shares in over-allotment options for a total of about 2.3 million shares. The underwriting will be led by Mizuho Securities while VQ’s ticker code will be 4490.

Based on the estimated IPO price of 2,100 yen (about $19.4) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 17 billion yen (about $156.6 million).

Its share price range will be released on February 19 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on February 20 and pricing on February 27. According to the consolidated statement as of February 2019, they posted revenue of 614 million yen (about $5.7 million) with an ordinary profit of 24 million yen (about $221,000).

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VQ CEO EIko Hashiba

Launched back in March of 2010 under the previous name of Walkntalk, VQ has been offering an online matchmaking platform where companies can get consultation and advice from appropriate professionals (the company call them ‘advisors’) according to their expertise. It’s mainly used for industrial research and market analysis.

VQ Interview, one of the products that VQ’s representative first analyzes a client’s request and then link up to an appropriate professional, has received 44,000 orders from clients as of December 2019, which accounts for 80% of the total orders across their entire product line. The company has 86,000 registered professionals in 500 different business sectors and 423 clients (as of 2020 Q3).

Led by founder and CEO Eiko Hashiba (59.33%), the company’s major shareholders include VC firm DCM (14.19%), Venture United (11.13%), CyberAgent Capital (7.22%), DBJ Capital (2.83%), Mizuho Capital (2.83%), Naoki Aoyagi (0.91%), and CTO Soshi Hanamura (0.78%).

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japanese online classifieds startup Jimoty files for IPO

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Jimoty, the Japanese startup behind online classifieds site under the same name, announced in late December that the IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. Jimoty provides listings in a wide range of categories, including items for sale, job listings, services, and events. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on Feb 7 with plans to offer 50,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 190,600 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,220,700 shares. The underwriting will be led by Daiwa Securities while Jimoty’s ticker code will be 7082. Its share price range will be released on January 22 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on January 23 and pricing on January 29. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2018, they posted revenue of 935.89 million yen (about $9 million) with an ordinary profit of 7.06 million yen (about $64,000). Led by Opt Holdings (30.68%), their major shareholders include NTT Docomo (16.22%), Infinity Venture Partners (14.23%), Proto Corporation (10.71%), Energy & Environment Investment (9.51%), Jimoty CEO Takahiro Kato (8.71%), Lifull (4.29%), Japan Best Rescue System (2.14%), and Seibu Shinkin Capital. See also: Japanese…

Jimoty Headquarters in Tokyo
Image credit: Jomoty

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Jimoty, the Japanese startup behind online classifieds site under the same name, announced in late December that the IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. Jimoty provides listings in a wide range of categories, including items for sale, job listings, services, and events.

The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on Feb 7 with plans to offer 50,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 190,600 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,220,700 shares. The underwriting will be led by Daiwa Securities while Jimoty’s ticker code will be 7082.

Its share price range will be released on January 22 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on January 23 and pricing on January 29. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2018, they posted revenue of 935.89 million yen (about $9 million) with an ordinary profit of 7.06 million yen (about $64,000).

Led by Opt Holdings (30.68%), their major shareholders include NTT Docomo (16.22%), Infinity Venture Partners (14.23%), Proto Corporation (10.71%), Energy & Environment Investment (9.51%), Jimoty CEO Takahiro Kato (8.71%), Lifull (4.29%), Japan Best Rescue System (2.14%), and Seibu Shinkin Capital.

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Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japanese crowdsourcing startup Lancers files for IPO

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Lancers, the Japanese startup providing a major crowdsourcing platform under the same name, announced on Wednesday that the IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on December 16 with plans to offer 2,270,000 million shares for public subscription and to sell up to 1,100,600 shares in over-allotment options, for a total of 5,067,400 shares. Daiwa Securities will lead the underwriting. Its share price range will be released on November 17 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on November 29 and pricing on December 6. According to the consolidated statement as of March 2019, they posted revenue of 2.52 billion yen (about $23.2 million) with an ordinary loss of 93 million yen ($854,000), serving 33,000 companies in Japan while unit sales per client reaches 194,000 yen (about $1,780). See also: Can crowdsourcing startups change Japan’s employment landscape? Lancers CEO Yosuke Akiyoshi on obstacles facing crowdsourcing in Japan Japanese crowdsourcing startup Lancers launches matchmaking platform for regional businesses Since its launch back in 2008, the company has been offering a platform allowing companies outsource tasks to freelancers. The traditional concept of crowdsourcing…

Lancers CEO Yosuke Akiyoshi

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Lancers, the Japanese startup providing a major crowdsourcing platform under the same name, announced on Wednesday that the IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on December 16 with plans to offer 2,270,000 million shares for public subscription and to sell up to 1,100,600 shares in over-allotment options, for a total of 5,067,400 shares. Daiwa Securities will lead the underwriting.

Its share price range will be released on November 17 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on November 29 and pricing on December 6. According to the consolidated statement as of March 2019, they posted revenue of 2.52 billion yen (about $23.2 million) with an ordinary loss of 93 million yen ($854,000), serving 33,000 companies in Japan while unit sales per client reaches 194,000 yen (about $1,780).

See also:

Since its launch back in 2008, the company has been offering a platform allowing companies outsource tasks to freelancers. The traditional concept of crowdsourcing has been that someone in a remote location helps you finish minor tasks at an affordable rate. But platforms like Lancers are being used for more, serving as a primary income stream for some.

Led by CEO Yosuke Akiyoshi (62.47%), the company’s major shareholders include Globis Capital Partners (15.62%), KDDI (5.95%), Persol Holdings (5.38%), GMO Venture Partners (3.05%), Shinsei Bank (2.3%), and Gree Ventures (1.18%, now known as Strive).

Japan’s luxury brand consignment app Reclo raises $34M to boost China expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Active Sonar, the startup behind luxury brand consignment app Reclo, announced on Thursday that it has raised 3.6 billion yen (about $33.8 million US) from CITIC Capital, SBI Investment, and SBI Securities with loans from Mizuho Bank. Using the funds, the company will strengthen its China expansion. CITIC Capital is the asset management arm of Chinese largest financial conglomerate CITIC Group. Other details, such as the investment ratio of each investor and market cap, payment dates, were not diclosed. When you have a luxury brand item which is no longer needed, the Reclo platform allows you to ask experts for the appropriate value and price to sell it online. The platform will handle all other time-consuming processes such as selling the item, receiving payments from and shipping to the buyer so that all you have to do is just send the item to the platform. If you are not satisfied with the expert’s assessment, the platform would send you back your item for free. Unlike typical auction platforms or flea market apps, Reclo is not a C2C (consumer-to-consumer) marketplace and can prevent users from buying knock-off items which is often seen in the…

reclo-mobile-app
Reclo
Image credit: Active Sonar

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Active Sonar, the startup behind luxury brand consignment app Reclo, announced on Thursday that it has raised 3.6 billion yen (about $33.8 million US) from CITIC Capital, SBI Investment, and SBI Securities with loans from Mizuho Bank. Using the funds, the company will strengthen its China expansion. CITIC Capital is the asset management arm of Chinese largest financial conglomerate CITIC Group. Other details, such as the investment ratio of each investor and market cap, payment dates, were not diclosed.

When you have a luxury brand item which is no longer needed, the Reclo platform allows you to ask experts for the appropriate value and price to sell it online. The platform will handle all other time-consuming processes such as selling the item, receiving payments from and shipping to the buyer so that all you have to do is just send the item to the platform.

reclo-on-taobao
Reclo’s Chinese version on Taobao

If you are not satisfied with the expert’s assessment, the platform would send you back your item for free. Unlike typical auction platforms or flea market apps, Reclo is not a C2C (consumer-to-consumer) marketplace and can prevent users from buying knock-off items which is often seen in the luxury second-hand market.

The company started the platform’s Chinese version last year, which greatly contributed to the growth of the transactions and doubling the company’s overall sales compared to last year. In addition, over half of the total transactions comes from outside Japan, with China accounting for 70%. With the further business expansion in China, the company set up a local subsidiary in Shanghai last year, planning to curating luxury items in addition to the consignment sales business.

See also:

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

Japan’s social gifting and e-voucher rewards platform Giftee files for IPO

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Giftee, the Japanese startup behind the platform allowing users to send friends an e-voucher which they can then redeem at selected retailers, announced on Friday that its IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on 20 September with plans to offer 800,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 658,000 shares in over-allotment options, for a total of 3.59 million shares. Nomura Securities will lead the underwriting. Its share price range will be released on 30 August with bookbuilding scheduled to start on 3 September and pricing on 9 September. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2018, they posted revenue of 1.12 billion yen (about $10.5 million) with an ordinary profit of 283 million yen ($2.7 million). Given that the tentative share price will be set at 1,250 yen and the company has issued a total of 24.03 million shares to date, their market cap is expected to be around 31 billion yen ($290 million). Founded in October of 2008, Giftee started the social gifting platform under the same name back in March of 2011. Subsequently the…

giftee-tealive-malaysia
In addition to its home turf of Japan, Giftee’s eGift system is now available in Malaysia.
Image credit: Giftee

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Giftee, the Japanese startup behind the platform allowing users to send friends an e-voucher which they can then redeem at selected retailers, announced on Friday that its IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on 20 September with plans to offer 800,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 658,000 shares in over-allotment options, for a total of 3.59 million shares. Nomura Securities will lead the underwriting.

Its share price range will be released on 30 August with bookbuilding scheduled to start on 3 September and pricing on 9 September. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2018, they posted revenue of 1.12 billion yen (about $10.5 million) with an ordinary profit of 283 million yen ($2.7 million). Given that the tentative share price will be set at 1,250 yen and the company has issued a total of 24.03 million shares to date, their market cap is expected to be around 31 billion yen ($290 million).

Founded in October of 2008, Giftee started the social gifting platform under the same name back in March of 2011. Subsequently the company launched a B2B service called Giftee for Business back in April of 2016, which allows companies to send an e-voucher to their clients and now accounts for 62% of the total revenue. They formed a capital and business tie-up with Japanese credit card giant JCB and department store operator Marui Group.

Gifttee had attracted a total of 1.1 million users with its original consumer-focused service since its launch to December of 2018, which eventually reached 1.25 million users back in June this year. Led by founder and CEO Mutsumi Ota (20.46%), the company’s major shareholders include telco giant KDDI (15.46%) and VC firm Jafco (15.05%).

See also:

Translated by Masaru Ikeda