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Japanese founder-led employee benefit platform Venteny files for IPO in Indonesia

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Jakarta, Indonesia-based VENTENY Fortuna International announced on Thursday that its application to list on the Indonesia Stock Exchange has been approved. The company will be the first Japanese founder-led startup to be listed in the Southeast Asia region. It secured seed round funding back in February of 2017 followed by series A round funding from SV-FINTECH Fund managed by Voyage Group (now known as Carta Holdings, TSE:3688) and SV Frontier in December of 2017. It subsequently became an equity-method affiliate of Carta Holdings. In Southeast Asian countries, the lack of educational endowment insurance and health insurance systems means that many employees do not have the means to pay for their family’s higher education, medical care, or other needs. On the other hand, there are no financial services available for individuals to easily obtain loans, and corporate employees often tend to change jobs based simply on the amount of money they are paid, not on job content or job satisfaction. Financial inclusion, which aims to solve these money pains, is a bustling business area where fintech startups in the region are jostling for ideas. Venteny was founded in April of 2015 by Japanese entrepreneur Junichiro Waide, with headquarters in Singapore. Initially,…

Venteny founder and CEO Junichiro Waide

Jakarta, Indonesia-based VENTENY Fortuna International announced on Thursday that its application to list on the Indonesia Stock Exchange has been approved. The company will be the first Japanese founder-led startup to be listed in the Southeast Asia region. It secured seed round funding back in February of 2017 followed by series A round funding from SV-FINTECH Fund managed by Voyage Group (now known as Carta Holdings, TSE:3688) and SV Frontier in December of 2017. It subsequently became an equity-method affiliate of Carta Holdings.

In Southeast Asian countries, the lack of educational endowment insurance and health insurance systems means that many employees do not have the means to pay for their family’s higher education, medical care, or other needs. On the other hand, there are no financial services available for individuals to easily obtain loans, and corporate employees often tend to change jobs based simply on the amount of money they are paid, not on job content or job satisfaction. Financial inclusion, which aims to solve these money pains, is a bustling business area where fintech startups in the region are jostling for ideas.

Venteny was founded in April of 2015 by Japanese entrepreneur Junichiro Waide, with headquarters in Singapore. Initially, the company launched a corporate benefits outsourcing service business in the Philippines, which had grown to include more than 200 companies thanks to successful partnerships with major local banks and other organizations in the country. User companies allow their employees to receive benefits and discounts at city facilities and stores, as well as short-term loans in advance of their payday. Needless to say, this is an effective way for companies to motivate their employees to keep working as long as possible.

Venteny’s Super App
Image credit: Venteny

Just when all was going well, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic hit them. With all companies forced to either shut down or slow down thei business, Waide decided to close his Philippine operations out of sheer desperation, as he saw no growth potential. He rebuilt Venteny’s business from scratch in Indonesia and expanded the business by serving local companies. The company was eventually permitted to go public, approximately as early as three and a half years after taking the helm in the new market (the headquarters was officially moved to Indonesia in January of 2021).

This service was made possible by allowing Venteny’s client companies to provide loans to their employees as long as the company’s creditworthiness could be verified. In Indonesia, the company has launched an unsecured low-interest loan service not only for individuals, but also for small and micro businesses. Having four offices in Indonesia, the company plans to increase it to 15 next year as well as reactivating in the Philippines and expansion into Thailand and Vietnam.

Added at 6pm J.S.T., Nov.24.:

According to the prospectus, Venteny plans to sell 939 million shares, or a 15% stake, through the IPO at a price of Rp350-450 per share (about $0.022-0.029 US), with a target maximum raise of Rp423 billion ($27 million US). The company’s market cap, based on these values, is assumed to be Rp2.8 trillion rupiah (approximately $180 million US).

Revised at 6pm J.S.T., Nov. 25.:

Led by Carta Holdings (TSE:3688, 24.77%), the company’s main shareholders include CEO Waide (24.51%), Ocean Capital (13.06%), SBI Holdings (TSE:8473, 11.62%), KK Fund (10.37%), Relo Club (8.83%), SV-FINTECH (2.91%), Karya Bersama Bangsa (1.22%), Makoto Takano (0.39%), and Mamoru Taniya (0.39%).

Japan’s social publishing platform Note files for IPO

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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

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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%).

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Japan’s FinTech unicorn Opn acquires US payments startup MerchantE

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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.

Video translation, subtitling platform Auris secures $1.3M to add synthesized voice-over function

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Singapore-based AI Communis, the startup behind the platform integrating speech recognition and natural language processing technologies, announced on Monday that it has raised $1.3 million US in a seed round. Participating investors include UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC), DG Incubation, The Seed in addition to several unnamed angel investors. This follows their extended angel round back in April when The Seed previously invested in the company. The latest round brought their funding sum up to $2.1 million US. AI Communis was founded in April of 2020 by Nobuhiko Suzuki, who has been dealing with the business of translating, adding subtitles, and editing video clips. These multilingulization processes, especially needed for global marketing, had been handled manually for a long time, but the significantly improved accuracy of automation tools such as Amazon Transcribe, DeepL, Google Translate has recently made it possible to be mostly automated. The company launched a web app called Auris last year, which allows users to handle a series of tasks such as translation, subtitling, and video editing in a cloud environment. It currently supports 16 languages spoken across the Asian region, and has 87,000 users from 110 countries as of this month. Leveraging the app, the company…

Auris
Image credit AI Communis

Singapore-based AI Communis, the startup behind the platform integrating speech recognition and natural language processing technologies, announced on Monday that it has raised $1.3 million US in a seed round. Participating investors include UTokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC), DG Incubation, The Seed in addition to several unnamed angel investors. This follows their extended angel round back in April when The Seed previously invested in the company. The latest round brought their funding sum up to $2.1 million US.

AI Communis was founded in April of 2020 by Nobuhiko Suzuki, who has been dealing with the business of translating, adding subtitles, and editing video clips. These multilingulization processes, especially needed for global marketing, had been handled manually for a long time, but the significantly improved accuracy of automation tools such as Amazon Transcribe, DeepL, Google Translate has recently made it possible to be mostly automated.

The company launched a web app called Auris last year, which allows users to handle a series of tasks such as translation, subtitling, and video editing in a cloud environment. It currently supports 16 languages spoken across the Asian region, and has 87,000 users from 110 countries as of this month. Leveraging the app, the company launched a new business where crowdsourced gig workers help influencers and company marketers turn their video clips into any of these different languages.

With the academic guidance from speech synthesis researcher Dr. Shinnosuke Takamichi, the company started a new development this summer to add an interpreted voice-over function to the platform. Dr. Takamichi is Assistant Professor at Saruwatari & Koayama lab., Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo. If the implemntation comes true, this will enable interpreted voice dubbing as well as translation subtitling, which is expected to further expand its applications. It is unclear whether the phonemes of the dubbed synthetic voice will be based on on the original speaker’s audio.

AI Communis will use the funds to improve transcription and video editing functions for YouTubers and marketing video creators in aim to offer an easy localization experience when transmitting content in their non-native languages. The company aims to implement the voice-over function by next spring. Going forward, the company plans to expand its business in the markets having many heavy Auris users among Japan and Southeast Asian countries.

Japan’s carbon emissions management platform expands into Singapore

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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

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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

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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

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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

Postalk allows remote team ideation using sticky notes, launches global edition

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Fukuoka-based Postalk, the Japanese startup behind a card-based chat tool under the same name, launched the tool’s global edition supporting the English language on Thursday. The new edition was unveiled at the pitch competition at B Dash Camp 2022 Fall, one of Japan’s renowned semi-annual startup conference taking place in Fukuoka. This follows the launch of its original Japanese edition last year. Postalk was founded in May of 2018 by Yohei Kawano, co-founder of Technical Rockstars, as well as his former colleague developer Kiyohiko Hirama. Technical Rockstars was acquired by TSE-listed cloud service provider Uhuru and then shut down the Milkcocoa service in 2016. See also: Japan’s noBackend development platform Milkcocoa now eases IoT and M2M integration Japanese startup aims to eliminate database management drudgery for developers The platform was born out of their experience at Technical Rockstars where their team members were forced to work apart each other between Fukuoka and Tokyo. Although web apps such as Google Hangout and Google Docs existed at the time, they have many challenges in creating a team work environment in a distance. The platform allows sharing issues and to-dos within the team in a way like sticky notes being put on the…

Image credit: Postalk

Fukuoka-based Postalk, the Japanese startup behind a card-based chat tool under the same name, launched the tool’s global edition supporting the English language on Thursday. The new edition was unveiled at the pitch competition at B Dash Camp 2022 Fall, one of Japan’s renowned semi-annual startup conference taking place in Fukuoka. This follows the launch of its original Japanese edition last year.

Postalk was founded in May of 2018 by Yohei Kawano, co-founder of Technical Rockstars, as well as his former colleague developer Kiyohiko Hirama. Technical Rockstars was acquired by TSE-listed cloud service provider Uhuru and then shut down the Milkcocoa service in 2016.

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The platform was born out of their experience at Technical Rockstars where their team members were forced to work apart each other between Fukuoka and Tokyo. Although web apps such as Google Hangout and Google Docs existed at the time, they have many challenges in creating a team work environment in a distance. The platform allows sharing issues and to-dos within the team in a way like sticky notes being put on the whiteboard.

Various SaaS platforms have been created as remote work has become the norm. After his former company’s exit, Kawano, a tech geek himself, had the opportunity to staff a startup community in Fukuoka where he became acutely aware that the startup community is not necessarily composed solely of tech geeks.

Postalk CEO & Co-founder Yohei Kawano

Kawano says,

When you’re in Tokyo’s Shibuya, it’s commonplace to be able to use Zoom, Slack, and maybe even GitHub. But after coming back to Fukuoka, I found out that it’s quite different. It’s not good to have only people who like geeky things, and it’s hard to work with non-geeks if you only use existing tools. I realized that the tools need to be more open.

According to Kawano, there are many SaaS tools out there that are designed for tech geeks, such as drawing tools and Kanban-style task management tools, which are still difficult for less tech-savvy people to understand. The Postalk platform allows users to simply paste and arrange cards, and if there is a URL, the OGP image can be also displayed. It is used by universities and other organizations for gathering opinions and communicating plans during events.

Postalk reproduces an interesting pay-as-you-go model in which fees are determined by the size of the whiteboard shared. The company is still considering several issues to be addressed in order to have the plaform actively adopted by companies. In the future, they are considering developing a mobile app, linking it with Zoom and Slack, and adding a function that would allow voice input of in-person meetings and comm calls.

The Fukuoka company secured 22.5 million yen (about $210,000 in the exchange rate at the time) in a pre-seed round last year from two local Fukuoka VC firms – Dorgan Beta and FGN ABBALab