THE BRIDGE

Masaru Ikeda

Masaru Ikeda

Masaru started his career as a programmer/engineer, and previously co-founded several system integration companies and consulting firms. He’s been traveling around Silicon Valley and Asia exploring the IT industry, and he also curates event updates for the Tokyo edition of Startup Digest.

Articles

Japanese robo-advisory startup WealthNavi files for IPO valued at over $470M

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based WealthNavi, the company offering a technology-based asset management service under the same name, announced that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on December 22 with plans to offer 2.5 million shares for public subscription and to sell 1,559,400 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 13,094,300 shares. The underwriting will be led by SBI securities while WealthNavi’s ticker code will be 7342. Based on the estimated issue price of 1,100 yen (about $10.5), the company will be valued at 49.5 billion yen (about $474.5 million). Its share price range will be released on December 3 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on December 7 and pricing on December 11. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2019, they posted revenue of 1.55 billion yen ($14.8 million) with an ordinary loss of 2.06 billion yen ($19.7 million). WealthNavi was founded back in April of 2015 by CEO Kazuhisa Shibayama who previously worked at finance ministries of Japan and UK respectively after graduating from the University of Tokyo. After leaving the public sector, he joined McKinsey to risk and…

Image credit: WealthNavi

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based WealthNavi, the company offering a technology-based asset management service under the same name, announced that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on December 22 with plans to offer 2.5 million shares for public subscription and to sell 1,559,400 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 13,094,300 shares. The underwriting will be led by SBI securities while WealthNavi’s ticker code will be 7342.

Based on the estimated issue price of 1,100 yen (about $10.5), the company will be valued at 49.5 billion yen (about $474.5 million). Its share price range will be released on December 3 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on December 7 and pricing on December 11. According to the consolidated statement as of December 2019, they posted revenue of 1.55 billion yen ($14.8 million) with an ordinary loss of 2.06 billion yen ($19.7 million).

WealthNavi was founded back in April of 2015 by CEO Kazuhisa Shibayama who previously worked at finance ministries of Japan and UK respectively after graduating from the University of Tokyo. After leaving the public sector, he joined McKinsey to risk and asset management projects for institutional investors.

The robo-advisory service provides a fully-automated asset management platform so that users can enjoy long-term and diversified investments. The company has now acquired 340,000 accounts and managed assets worth over 310 billion yen ($3.0 billion). The company was ranked in 10 of the most valued private companies in Japan by Nikkei last year.

WealthNavi is well known for having raised funds from more than 20 VC firms. Led by CEO Shibayama (24.84%), the company’s major shareholders include SBI Holdings and SBI Investment (13.5%), GREE Ventures (9.18%, now known as Strive), Infinity Venture Partners (6.39%, now known as Infinity Ventures), and Global Brain (5.96%, Global Brain also joins co-investment with Sony Financial Ventures), DBJ Capital (2.80%), and UTokyo Innovation Platform (2.40%).

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Japanese e-commerce analytics startup Plaid files for IPO

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Tokyo-based Plaid, the Japanese startup offering a real-time data analysis of website visitors and mobile app users called Karte, announced that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on December 17 with plans to offer 1,522,000 shares for public subscription and to sell about 716,000 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 12,817,000 shares. The underwriting will be led by Mizuho securities while Plaid’s ticker code will be 4165. Based on the estimated issue price of 1,400 and a total number of 14,339,000 shares in the market including public subscription, the company will be valued at 51.7 billion yen (about $500 million). Its share price range will be released on November 30 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on December 1 and pricing on December 4. According to the consolidated statement as of September 2020, they posted revenue of 2.94 billion yen (about $28.3 million) with an ordinary profit of 678.7 million yen (about $6.5 million). The company was founded in October of 2011 by Kenta Kurahashi who previously worked at Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. Having set e-commerce consulting and app development as their original business…

Plaid’s headquarters in Tokyo
Image credit: Plaid

Tokyo-based Plaid, the Japanese startup offering a real-time data analysis of website visitors and mobile app users called Karte, announced that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on December 17 with plans to offer 1,522,000 shares for public subscription and to sell about 716,000 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 12,817,000 shares. The underwriting will be led by Mizuho securities while Plaid’s ticker code will be 4165.

Based on the estimated issue price of 1,400 and a total number of 14,339,000 shares in the market including public subscription, the company will be valued at 51.7 billion yen (about $500 million). Its share price range will be released on November 30 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on December 1 and pricing on December 4. According to the consolidated statement as of September 2020, they posted revenue of 2.94 billion yen (about $28.3 million) with an ordinary profit of 678.7 million yen (about $6.5 million).

The company was founded in October of 2011 by Kenta Kurahashi who previously worked at Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. Having set e-commerce consulting and app development as their original business focus at first, the company launched the Karte analytics platform back in March of 2015 which has now become a main cash cow. The platform allows companies to collect and analyze behavioral data of their visitors and loyal users by integrating into websites and mobile apps. Using these collected and analyzed resources, companies can conduct personalized marketing strategy in communicating with users via website, mobile app, e-mail, Line and other chat tools.

Their SaaS business has been steadily growing, with a three-year average annual growth rate of 70.3% in sales from September of 2017 to September of 2020. In addition to e-retailers in the fashion and health beauty industry (5.9%), the Karte has attracted many other service owners from finance, insurance, settlement, human resources services, real estate, and media portal websites, which resulted in acquiring 710 websites and 474 companies as their users in total as of September.

Led by founder and CEO Kurahashi (29.65%), the company’s major shareholders include CPO Naoki Shibayama (19.78%), Eight Roads Capital Advisors (15.89%), Femto Growth Capital (14.9% through two different funds), Google (3.60%), CTO Yuki Makino (1.52%), operating officer Hiroyuki Shimizu, Mitsui & Co. (1.26%), and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital (1.26%).

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Japan’s handmade item C2C startup Creema files for IPO

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Tokyo-based Creema, the Japanese startup behind C2C (consumer-to-consumer) marketplace for handmade items under the same name, announced that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on November 27 with plans to offer 113,000 shares for public subscription and to sell about 167,200 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,559,700 shares. The underwriting will be led by SBI securities while Creema’s ticker code will be 4017. Based on the estimated IPO price of 3,250 yen (about $31) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 19.8 billion yen (about $189.1 million). Its share price range will be released on November 19 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on November 11 and pricing on November 18. According to the consolidated statement as of February 2020, they posted revenue of 1.49 billion yen (about $14.2 million) with an ordinary profit of 70.6 million yen (about $674,000). Creema was founded in 2009 by Kotaro Marubayashi, who worked as a manager for a subsidiary of Japanese Internet service company Septeni Holdings after engaging in the music industry when he was attending Keio University. The company launched the handmade item…

Creema Store in Sapporo
Image credit: Creema

Tokyo-based Creema, the Japanese startup behind C2C (consumer-to-consumer) marketplace for handmade items under the same name, announced that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved.

The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on November 27 with plans to offer 113,000 shares for public subscription and to sell about 167,200 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 1,559,700 shares. The underwriting will be led by SBI securities while Creema’s ticker code will be 4017.

Based on the estimated IPO price of 3,250 yen (about $31) a share, the company’s market valuation will be about 19.8 billion yen (about $189.1 million).

Its share price range will be released on November 19 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on November 11 and pricing on November 18. According to the consolidated statement as of February 2020, they posted revenue of 1.49 billion yen (about $14.2 million) with an ordinary profit of 70.6 million yen (about $674,000).

Creema was founded in 2009 by Kotaro Marubayashi, who worked as a manager for a subsidiary of Japanese Internet service company Septeni Holdings after engaging in the music industry when he was attending Keio University. The company launched the handmade item marketplace back in 2010.

It has over 200,000 professional and semi-professional creators selling over 10 million original craft items. In order to increase engagement with sellers and buyers, the company also hosts an annual large-scale showcase event and has flagship stores in several cities across Japan.

Led by founder and CEO Marubayashi (31.89%), the company’s major shareholders include Global Capital Partners (13.7% through two funds), KDDI (11.9% through two funds), Animarism Group (9.1%, Marubayashi’s asset management company), Global Brain (7.1%), and Yuki Ohashi (6.92%, Creema co-founder and managing director).

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Japan satellite startup Synspective launches ground deformation monitoring solution

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Synspective is building a constellation system for earth observation mini-satellites employing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and integrates SAR data with a variety of ground truth data. The Japanese startup launched today a new service called Land Displacement Monitoring, which enables millimeter-scale ground deformation monitoring over wide areas based on image analysis of SAR satellites. Traditionally, understanding the risk of land settlement and landslide risk over wide areas has required a lot of time and effort. The service can be used to reduce the cost and time involved in observing and managing the risk of ground deformation and can be used to manage risks associated with construction projects, airport maintenance and underground construction, the company said. Synspective has been conducting Proof-of-Concept (PoC) projects with several companies as well as the Singapore Land Authority. Based on the feedback from these early users, the service has been improved and its user-friendly web-based interface requires no installation of software and has now allowed even users who are less familiar with satellite data to intuitively understand the results of the analysis. Synspective was founded in February of 2018 by CEO Motoyuki Arai and co-founder/managing director Seiko Shirasaka (Shirasaka is a professor at System Design and…

Land Displacement Monitoring
Image credit: Synspective

Synspective is building a constellation system for earth observation mini-satellites employing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and integrates SAR data with a variety of ground truth data. The Japanese startup launched today a new service called Land Displacement Monitoring, which enables millimeter-scale ground deformation monitoring over wide areas based on image analysis of SAR satellites.

Traditionally, understanding the risk of land settlement and landslide risk over wide areas has required a lot of time and effort. The service can be used to reduce the cost and time involved in observing and managing the risk of ground deformation and can be used to manage risks associated with construction projects, airport maintenance and underground construction, the company said.

Synspective has been conducting Proof-of-Concept (PoC) projects with several companies as well as the Singapore Land Authority. Based on the feedback from these early users, the service has been improved and its user-friendly web-based interface requires no installation of software and has now allowed even users who are less familiar with satellite data to intuitively understand the results of the analysis.

Synspective was founded in February of 2018 by CEO Motoyuki Arai and co-founder/managing director Seiko Shirasaka (Shirasaka is a professor at System Design and Management, Keio University). The company announced about $80 million funding in a series A round last year, which let them make the fastest record in terms of securing such a large amount funds in such a short period since the launch of a company according to a report by Japanese space business consultancy CSP Japan.

Synspective signed agreements with Arianespace in April of 2019 and with RocketLab in April this year for the launch of its StriX-alpha SAR satellites, which is scheduled to be launched by the end of this year. The company plans to build a constellation of these satellites to offer high-frequency and stable monitoring service leveraging it.

Synspective plans to launch one small SAR satellite by 2020, six satellites by 2022, and 25 satellites after that. So far, the company has secured funds enough for six satellites in operation, which will enable on-demand earth observation at least one time a day for 99 cities with an over-one million population in Asia.

Japan’s powered prosthetic leg developer BionicM secures $5M in series A funding

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Tokyo-based BionicM, the Japanese startup developing powered prosthetic legs, announced today that it has secured 550 million yen (about $5 million US) in a Series A round. Participating investors are The University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC), Utokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyoIPC), and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). UTEC’s investment follows the startup’s seed round last year. UTokyoIPC financially backed BionicM by selecting for the third batch of the former’s entrepreneur support program in 2018. BionicM is developing a powered prosthetic leg that solves the challenges of traditional non-powered passive prostheses. Since the pre-foundation research stage, it has received high recognition from the public, such as winning the SXSW Interactive Innovation Award and the James Dyson Award in Japan. BionicM will represent Japan to participate in the Advanced Technology and Engineering Challenge (A-TEC), the global startup competition to be held later this month in Shenzhen by Leaguer Group, a Chinese startup support company. Founded by Xiaojun Sun who himself had to have his right leg amputated at the age of 9 due to osteosarcoma, BionicM began research and development in 2015 at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. Of the 10 million potential users…

Image credit: BionicM

Tokyo-based BionicM, the Japanese startup developing powered prosthetic legs, announced today that it has secured 550 million yen (about $5 million US) in a Series A round. Participating investors are The University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC), Utokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyoIPC), and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). UTEC’s investment follows the startup’s seed round last year. UTokyoIPC financially backed BionicM by selecting for the third batch of the former’s entrepreneur support program in 2018.

BionicM is developing a powered prosthetic leg that solves the challenges of traditional non-powered passive prostheses. Since the pre-foundation research stage, it has received high recognition from the public, such as winning the SXSW Interactive Innovation Award and the James Dyson Award in Japan. BionicM will represent Japan to participate in the Advanced Technology and Engineering Challenge (A-TEC), the global startup competition to be held later this month in Shenzhen by Leaguer Group, a Chinese startup support company.

Founded by Xiaojun Sun who himself had to have his right leg amputated at the age of 9 due to osteosarcoma, BionicM began research and development in 2015 at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. Of the 10 million potential users of prosthetic legs worldwide, only about 40% actually have access to them because they are expensive or have limited functionality. The company established a corporate entity in 2018 to commercialize the product in order to bring a high-performance prosthetic leg to all those who need it at a low price.

According to BionicM, more than 99% of the global prosthetic leg market deals with passive type, and has not benefited from the technological advancements that have taken place in recent years with the proliferation of robotic technology. Passive leg prostheses not only place a heavy physical burden on the user, but also place a mental burden on the user, as they are unable to walk naturally or take turns walking up and down stairs in both legs, making them uncomfortable to watch. Powered prostheses have the potential to solve this problem.

BionicM is preparing for the mass production of powered prosthetic legs with a view to commercial launch in 2021, and the financing at this time is intended to strengthen the company’s structure to achieve this goal. The company hopes to establish a B2B2C business model where powered leg modules are offered to artificial limb factories to be built into sockets for lower-limb amputees.

BionicM hopes to have its powered leg certified as a complete prosthetic component from the government by next year. Once certified, the company would generally be eligible for the government’s subsidies under the Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act, but powered prosthetic legs are high-end and expensive and may not be eligible for subsidies at the time of user purchase. The company is also looking to collaborate with other companies to introduce installment payments and leasing.

Sun says,

It is difficult to get subsidies for expensive prosthetic legs. BionicM will not only innovate in technology, but will also look to partner with other companies to provide services such as rentals and leases in a new way.

BionicM established a subsidiary in China in June where four employees have begun sales development. Due to the large population in China, the Chinese prosthetic market is larger than that of Japan. From a sales standpoint, there is a good chance that the company’s post-start-up growth will be greater in China than in Japan, Sun said.

In conjunction with the funding, BionicM also announced that Tao Cheng, founder and CEO of Japanese online ad startup popIn, has joined the company’s board of directors. Sun and Cheng are both from China and have similar backgrounds in that they were spun off from the University of Tokyo and were initially backed by UTEC. Looking up to Cheng as a predecessor who has completed an exit in Japan (popIn was acquired by Baidu in 2015), Sun said Cheng’s experience in running a software company will be of a great help of BionicM as a hardware company.

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Studist ties up with Docomo Asia to expand visual workflow management tool into Singapore, APAC

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Tokyo-based Studist announced today that it has partnered with NTT Docomo Asia to expand the former’s TeachMe Biz visual workflow management platform in Singapore and other Asia pacific regions. In Singapore, the Circuit Breaker measure has been forcing people to stay home for working and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studist wants to help companies digitize their employee training and adot e-learning programs through the platform. Founded in March of 2010, Studist learned about 90% of all jobs in the world do not rely on qualifications, experience, or sensory knowledge through a survey, which let them decide to develop the platform. Its official version was launched back in late 2012 September of 2013. The company has raised over $12 million US in total, including a series C round back in April of last year. At that time, the company said it would focus on strengthening marketing, targeting sales boost in Southeast Asia, integrating APIs with other various cloud-based platforms in addition to upgrading the platform into the one for managing standard operating procedures. The company has already set up a Thai subsidiary which are expanding sales to Thai companies in addition to having started serving the platform in Malaysia in…

Tokyo-based Studist announced today that it has partnered with NTT Docomo Asia to expand the former’s TeachMe Biz visual workflow management platform in Singapore and other Asia pacific regions. In Singapore, the Circuit Breaker measure has been forcing people to stay home for working and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studist wants to help companies digitize their employee training and adot e-learning programs through the platform.

Founded in March of 2010, Studist learned about 90% of all jobs in the world do not rely on qualifications, experience, or sensory knowledge through a survey, which let them decide to develop the platform. Its official version was launched back in late 2012 September of 2013. The company has raised over $12 million US in total, including a series C round back in April of last year. At that time, the company said it would focus on strengthening marketing, targeting sales boost in Southeast Asia, integrating APIs with other various cloud-based platforms in addition to upgrading the platform into the one for managing standard operating procedures.

The company has already set up a Thai subsidiary which are expanding sales to Thai companies in addition to having started serving the platform in Malaysia in partnership with TK International, a local IT service provider in Kuala Lumpur. Leveraging the partnership with Docomo Asia, Studist wants to boost the sales in Singapore and APAC to help companies in these regions solve their challenges over human resource development.

The platform is serving 2,600 companies in Japan (as of February 2020) and 66 companies in ASEAN countries as of today. The company aims to introduce it to 100 companies by the end of February 2021.

Daiz rolls out plant-based meat burger to nearly 180 fast-food restaurants in Japan

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Kumamoto-based Daiz, the Japanese startup developing plant-based substitutes for meat products, announced today that it is offering The Good Burger using the company’s proprietary meat alternative as a patty at all stores of the Freshness Burger fast-food restaurant chain all across Japan. The Good Burger has been offered at selected stores in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area on a trial basis since the middle of this month. In the burger, a patty made from soybeans is smothered in teriyaki sauce and sandwiched with low-carb buns and vegetables. Freshness Burger, the fast-food brand operated by Japanese restaurant chain giant Colowide (TSE:7616), has 183 locations nationwide and is ranked in the sixth place in Japan by number of outlets. The new product will be available from September 1 through the end of the month exclusively to Freshness Burger app members, and will be available to all customers after October 1. DAIZ adopts the patented Ochiai method in germinating soybeans, which activates enzymes and increases the amount of free amino acid contained by imparting stress such as lower oxygen level and higher temperature at the right timing of germination. This eventually contributes to bringing out the flavor of the raw ingredients and reproducing the…

The Good Burger ordered at Jiyugaoka store, the Freshness Burger fast-food chain restaurant.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Kumamoto-based Daiz, the Japanese startup developing plant-based substitutes for meat products, announced today that it is offering The Good Burger using the company’s proprietary meat alternative as a patty at all stores of the Freshness Burger fast-food restaurant chain all across Japan.

The Good Burger has been offered at selected stores in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area on a trial basis since the middle of this month. In the burger, a patty made from soybeans is smothered in teriyaki sauce and sandwiched with low-carb buns and vegetables.

Freshness Burger, the fast-food brand operated by Japanese restaurant chain giant Colowide (TSE:7616), has 183 locations nationwide and is ranked in the sixth place in Japan by number of outlets. The new product will be available from September 1 through the end of the month exclusively to Freshness Burger app members, and will be available to all customers after October 1.

DAIZ adopts the patented Ochiai method in germinating soybeans, which activates enzymes and increases the amount of free amino acid contained by imparting stress such as lower oxygen level and higher temperature at the right timing of germination. This eventually contributes to bringing out the flavor of the raw ingredients and reproducing the meat-like texture without adding any additives.

In May, the company secured about $6 million US in a series A round, which brought the total sum of funding to date up to about $11.4 million US.

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

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

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

See the original story in Japanese.

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

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

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

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

The PidPort functions.
Image credit: Medmain

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

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

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

PidPort viewer’s image
Image credit: Medmain

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

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

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

Japan’s Yenta, Tinder-inspired business networking app, expands into India

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Some of our readers may recall that Tokyo-based Atrae (TSE:6194) has introduced a mobile app called Yenta, an AI-powered professional matching app leveraging the Tinder-like Swipe UI (user interface). It was revealed today that the company has just launched the global edition ( iOS / Android ) and chosen India as the first destination of their global expansion effort. The app helps users connect with businesspersons upon widening their network through profile registration and repeated swipes on a screen. It recommends 10 persons the user may be interested in connecting with at noon daily. After choosing which persons the user wants to meet by swiping on it, the matching result with other users will be sent out later at 8pm on the same day. When both users confirm to meet (or e-meet) each other, they can start chatting via the app to make an appointment. The latest version of the app allows even Japanese users to have their English profile so that they can connect with Indian users. We have learned that the app has contributed to helping users build significant business relationships such as Japanese factoring startup Olta’s CEO having found his CSO as co-founder in addition to Japanese…

Some of our readers may recall that Tokyo-based Atrae (TSE:6194) has introduced a mobile app called Yenta, an AI-powered professional matching app leveraging the Tinder-like Swipe UI (user interface). It was revealed today that the company has just launched the global edition ( iOS / Android ) and chosen India as the first destination of their global expansion effort.

The app helps users connect with businesspersons upon widening their network through profile registration and repeated swipes on a screen. It recommends 10 persons the user may be interested in connecting with at noon daily. After choosing which persons the user wants to meet by swiping on it, the matching result with other users will be sent out later at 8pm on the same day. When both users confirm to meet (or e-meet) each other, they can start chatting via the app to make an appointment.

The latest version of the app allows even Japanese users to have their English profile so that they can connect with Indian users. We have learned that the app has contributed to helping users build significant business relationships such as Japanese factoring startup Olta’s CEO having found his CSO as co-founder in addition to Japanese satellite antenna-sharing startup Infostellar having succeeded in finding a new seed investor through it.

Since its launch back in 2016, the Yenta has not disclosed the size of its user base but it is estimated about hundreds of thousand of users in Japan. The company revealed that it has connected users each other over 3 million times to date.

To promote the India expansion, Atrae announced that it is hosting a data analysis competition in partnership with Tokyo-based DataGateway which boasts a local community of more than 20,000 data scientists in India. Based on the Open Innovation approach, the competition is aimed to encourage them to invent a new algorithm to create better matchmaking experience in the app. The competition winner can get 10,000 US dollars as a prize.

As for business matching apps with the Tinder-like swipe UI in the English-speaking market, New York/Paris-based Shapr, launched by a French entrepreneur, has secured US$16.5 million through a total of four rounds with over 2.5 million users as of May 2019 (according to The Independent’s sponsored article). In 2018, Tinder’s founders launched an app called Ripple with the back of the dating app’s parent company Match Group, but it is believed to be already in the deadpool given various situation.

TalentEx offers online course for Russian developers to work with Japanese IT firms

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Bangkok-based TalentEx, offering recruitment-focused online media and SaaS (software as a service) for human resource affairs, unveiled on Sunday that its Russian subsidiary has launched an online school business called CyberSamurai (КиберСамурае in Russian). The monthly subscription-based class is intended for Russian-speaking IT developers and engineers, helping them keep updated with IT industry and technology updates as well as business practices from Japan. It may also aim to allow them to enjoy commentary on Japanese anime and subculture in addition to giving them opportunities to e-meet up with CTOs from Japanese companies. TalentEx was launched back in 2013 by Yojiro Koshi who previously worked for Japanese ad network startup Nobot (Nobot was acquired by Japanese telco giant KDDI’s subsdiary Mediba in 2011). The company has several core businesses: the Wakuwaku online and offline recruiting service to find Japanese-speaking talents in Thailand, community management at the Monstar Hub Bangkok co-working space, and sales and marketing of the Michiru RPA software for Japanese companies in Thailand. See also: Meet Japanese entrepreneur trying to disrupt Thai recruitment market In July of 2018, the company founded a local subsidiary in Russia for a new project supplying Russian IT engineers to Japanese companies. After a…

Anatoli Kolbinov (left up), Dasha An (right up), and Ryosei Suginaka (left down) speak during the opening event on Sunday. All these TalentEx members can speak more than two languages including Japanese and Russian.

Bangkok-based TalentEx, offering recruitment-focused online media and SaaS (software as a service) for human resource affairs, unveiled on Sunday that its Russian subsidiary has launched an online school business called CyberSamurai (КиберСамурае in Russian). The monthly subscription-based class is intended for Russian-speaking IT developers and engineers, helping them keep updated with IT industry and technology updates as well as business practices from Japan. It may also aim to allow them to enjoy commentary on Japanese anime and subculture in addition to giving them opportunities to e-meet up with CTOs from Japanese companies.

TalentEx was launched back in 2013 by Yojiro Koshi who previously worked for Japanese ad network startup Nobot (Nobot was acquired by Japanese telco giant KDDI’s subsdiary Mediba in 2011). The company has several core businesses: the Wakuwaku online and offline recruiting service to find Japanese-speaking talents in Thailand, community management at the Monstar Hub Bangkok co-working space, and sales and marketing of the Michiru RPA software for Japanese companies in Thailand.

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In July of 2018, the company founded a local subsidiary in Russia for a new project supplying Russian IT engineers to Japanese companies. After a little more than a year after its launch, the Russian business had been outpacing other businesses in Thailand in terms of revenue, but the recent coronavirus pandemic has halted it. After several months of their efforts to keep the Russian operation alive leveraging the sales from their Thai business, their Russian team of young members decided to launch a new business called CyberSamurai at this time.

The service’s mascot looks like a fox but they told us it is modeled after Masaru, renowned Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova’s Japanese dog.
Image credit: TalentEx

Many startup businesses use a model that makes money by bridging the gap between the two sides of the transaction, such as information asymmetry and arbitrage. That’s something TalentEx is good at because of having presence in four markets – Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Russia. Coming up with moving talent from market to market, we may think the biggest challenge is language gap. According to Koshi, however, he turned to recognize that’s not true while work from home is more common in a huge country like Russia in addition to the fact that such a working style is becoming the global norm due to the pandemic.

When a Japanese company hires a Russian engineer, language gap is certainly a concern at first. Recently, however, these companies have been forced to shift to work from home, job instructions and other communication among colleagues are now often done through Slack and other online tools.

Koshi continued.

With more communication using tools than face-to-face meetings, the language barrier has been lowered for foreigners than in the past. In fact, we need to more focus on the cultural gap that cannot be fully verbalized but is often seen in business practices and work processes, which is more important when working with a Japanese company.

CyberSamurai’s Telegram group

Many of my foreign friends have learned the Japanese language as a result of watching Japanese TV drama series and anime titles in their country. Japanese anime was also a source of inspiration for Hong Kong Democracy Movement stalwart Agnes Chow to learn Japanese. Perhaps what makes her so popular in Japan may be our perception that she deeply understands Japanese culture and social customs rather than just her ability speaking the language.

That’s why the service is not just about language learning but rather giving opportunities to learn industry trends and subculture commentary which are not directly related to business operations or professional activities. The company charges membership fee but it may be hard for them to see significant revenue with the new business alone compared to their past human resources business in Russia. Perhaps the company sees the member base as kinda talent pool for the time when the demand of Japanese companies hiring Russian engineers recovers after the pandemic settle down.

Run by TalentEx’s team of a few young Japanese and Russian members in Russia, the service is wow focused on community building using Telegram which is one of the most popular messaging apps in the country. Going forward, they are expanding into other Russian-speaking markets including former CIS countries.