THE BRIDGE

Startups

‘Virtual YouTuber’ startup Activ8 secures $9.3M series C funding for global expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Activ8 (pronounced ‘activate’), the Japanese startup behind the Upd8 (pronounced ‘update’) ‘Virtual YouTuber’ supporting project, announced on Wednesday that it has raised about 1 billion yen (about $9.3 million US) in a series C round. Participating investors include leading manga publisher Shogakukan, design-related solutions provider Too, talent agency Horipro, and others. No details on financial terms have been disclosed. For Activ8, this follows their previous $5.4 million funding from Makers Fund and Gumi back in 2018. The startup was founded back in September of 2016, subsequently graduated from the 3rd batch of the Tokyo XR Startups accelerator back in December of 2018. They have been focused on supporting and nurturing ‘Virtual YouTubers’ through the Upd8 project since then. Notable ‘Virtual YouTubers’ belonging to the project include Kizuna Ai (Love-chan), Kashikomari, and Fukuya Master. Active8 says that they will use the funds to accelerate developing content business centered on developing a virtual reality (VR) live performance system in addition to global business expansion. Based on the partnership with Too, one of the investors participating in this round, the startup will offer systems and services for VR live performance as well as developing new products…

Image credit: Activ8

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Activ8 (pronounced ‘activate’), the Japanese startup behind the Upd8 (pronounced ‘update’) ‘Virtual YouTuber’ supporting project, announced on Wednesday that it has raised about 1 billion yen (about $9.3 million US) in a series C round.

Participating investors include leading manga publisher Shogakukan, design-related solutions provider Too, talent agency Horipro, and others. No details on financial terms have been disclosed. For Activ8, this follows their previous $5.4 million funding from Makers Fund and Gumi back in 2018.

The startup was founded back in September of 2016, subsequently graduated from the 3rd batch of the Tokyo XR Startups accelerator back in December of 2018. They have been focused on supporting and nurturing ‘Virtual YouTubers’ through the Upd8 project since then. Notable ‘Virtual YouTubers’ belonging to the project include Kizuna Ai (Love-chan), Kashikomari, and Fukuya Master.

Active8 says that they will use the funds to accelerate developing content business centered on developing a virtual reality (VR) live performance system in addition to global business expansion. Based on the partnership with Too, one of the investors participating in this round, the startup will offer systems and services for VR live performance as well as developing new products in collaboration with virtual talents.

The new platform, tentatively named Spectacle, is still under development with an aim to offer next-gen VR content for multi-devices. Turning high-end graphics into VR live performance to be delivered via real-time streaming, it pursues offering users with the value experiencing music live performance with higher user experience even for VR users as well as YouTuber viewers.

Below is an example created using the platform:

Bangkok-based mobility data startup Flare raises $1.4M series A from Japanese investors

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Bangkok-based Flare, offering an ad-wrapping service for car owners as well as mobility data management and analytics services, announced today that it has raised 150 million yen (about $1.4 million) in a series A round from Spiral Ventures Asia, Chiba Dojo, Sun Asterisk, and Voyage Ventures. Sun Asterisk (previously called Framgia at the time) follows their participation in a seed round funding back in 2018 while Voyage Ventures follows a series A round back in 2019. Flare was launched back in August of 2017 by Japanese serial entrepreneur Kazuki Kamiya who moved to Thailand in November of 2013. Prior to Flare, he established a Skype-based Thai language school in May of 2014 and subsequently engaged in managing crowdsourced translation / interpretation and business portal website. Following the Flare ad-wrapping service, his company launched Flare Analytics and Flare Dash last year. Flare Analytics is a device-free cloud based platform analyzing driving data which can be applied for fleet management and telematics insurance while Flash Dash visualizes driver behavior so that their operation management can easily understand where their employee drivers are running and working. Flare says the new fund will be used to invest in further developing the aforementioned three services…

The Flare team. CEO Kazuki Kamiya stands second from the left.
Image credit: Flare

Bangkok-based Flare, offering an ad-wrapping service for car owners as well as mobility data management and analytics services, announced today that it has raised 150 million yen (about $1.4 million) in a series A round from Spiral Ventures Asia, Chiba Dojo, Sun Asterisk, and Voyage Ventures.

Sun Asterisk (previously called Framgia at the time) follows their participation in a seed round funding back in 2018 while Voyage Ventures follows a series A round back in 2019.

Flare was launched back in August of 2017 by Japanese serial entrepreneur Kazuki Kamiya who moved to Thailand in November of 2013. Prior to Flare, he established a Skype-based Thai language school in May of 2014 and subsequently engaged in managing crowdsourced translation / interpretation and business portal website.

Flare Analytics
Image credit: Flare

Following the Flare ad-wrapping service, his company launched Flare Analytics and Flare Dash last year. Flare Analytics is a device-free cloud based platform analyzing driving data which can be applied for fleet management and telematics insurance while Flash Dash visualizes driver behavior so that their operation management can easily understand where their employee drivers are running and working.

Flare says the new fund will be used to invest in further developing the aforementioned three services by strengthening hiring sales and engineering positions. Flare Ad serves 15,000 registered users as of April last year, is aimed to hit 100,000 user milestone in the future. The company recently partnered with Renet Japan Group (TSE:3556), microfinance and other solution provider serving Cambodia, to launch the Flare ad-wrapping service in the Indochina market earlier this year. Flare Dash was also recently launched in Myanmar after Thailand.

As part of Open Innovation Columbus (OIC) through which the Japanese government and Thai conglomerates encourage strategic alliances between innovative Japanese startups and the Thai conglomerates, Flare partnered with Toyota Tsusho (Thailand) to jointly conduct a proof-of-concept and develop a safety driving-focused product using Fire Analytics last year. Since the platform can also be provided in the form of an SDK (software development kit), it can be more easily integrated with other software so that it can target corporate users who are running their existing systems.

Meet 4real, Japan’s anime figure marketplace making sure you don’t get scammed

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Uridoki, an online shopping mall comprising of shops buying unused goods from owners, announced a cross-border character figure trading platform called 4real today. For individuals, it allows you to sell and buy character figures, principally unused ones only. The startup authenticates every item prior to listing it for sale and issues a certificate so that buyers don’t need to worry about being scammed with fake or pirate products. Product authenticity is a serious problem in the trading market of character figures. In Akihabara, the Tokyo district known for high-tech electronics and Japanese anime / manga culture, 8 out of 15 shops dedicated in buying figures said they have seen more than a few counterfeit items in response to Uridoki’s recent survey. In addition, some respondents said more people come sell fake or pirate ones while others say counterfeit items are distinguishable for professionals only but not for amateurs because of high reproducibility. Uridoki has been brokering deals of character figures with resale shops on the existing platform. Leveraging partnership with them, the company decided to launch the marketplace giving buyers authenticity guarantee as making themselves different from others. Authenticity judgements are primarily based…

From left: Nana Suzuki (4real dept., Uridoki), Yasuo Kogure (CEO, Uridoki), Kota Nojiri (4real dept.)
Image credit: Uridoki

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Uridoki, an online shopping mall comprising of shops buying unused goods from owners, announced a cross-border character figure trading platform called 4real today. For individuals, it allows you to sell and buy character figures, principally unused ones only. The startup authenticates every item prior to listing it for sale and issues a certificate so that buyers don’t need to worry about being scammed with fake or pirate products.

Product authenticity is a serious problem in the trading market of character figures. In Akihabara, the Tokyo district known for high-tech electronics and Japanese anime / manga culture, 8 out of 15 shops dedicated in buying figures said they have seen more than a few counterfeit items in response to Uridoki’s recent survey. In addition, some respondents said more people come sell fake or pirate ones while others say counterfeit items are distinguishable for professionals only but not for amateurs because of high reproducibility.

The 4real marketplace
Image credit: Uridoki

Uridoki has been brokering deals of character figures with resale shops on the existing platform. Leveraging partnership with them, the company decided to launch the marketplace giving buyers authenticity guarantee as making themselves different from others. Authenticity judgements are primarily based on copyright seal, facial expression of figure, color irregularity, what’s printed on a package, smell and elasticity. While Japan-made character figures are earning good reputation at home and abroad, the spillover impact of such popularity induces more piracy cases as we saw a large pirate factory in Shanghai exposed by the local police. In response to the potential global remand, the marketplace is available in multiple languages and can be checked out with PayPal (Users outside Japan can purchase listed items but are not yet allowed to submit their items for sale at the time of launch).

US-based StockX is best known as one of the startups giving an authenticity guarantee for secondhand purchasers. Their greatest strength is dealing with sneakers while they list many character figures in the Collectibles category. In addition, we’ve seen other startups like Goat (US), Monokabu (Japan), Kckc (pronounced as ‘kikcy’, Japan), Novelship (Southeast Asia) and Poizon (China) are being emerged but all of these mainly deal with sneakers. Focused on character figures, 4real can better promote themselves to the global market while emphasizing their competitiveness in the Cool Japan concept.

Image credit: Uridoki

Launched as a price comparison site allowing users to see how much they can sell their unused items to a series of reuse shops, Uridoki later pivoted to a shopping mall of reuse shops. In 2018, the company launched a mobile app called Picol, whiich allows users to sell their unused item just by scanning its barcode (the app already shut down). The company has raised 330 million yen to date, recently partnered with the Japanese subsidiary of eBay.com to share actual market prices of secondhand items in the overseas with reuse shops in Japan.

Berlin-based urban farming startup Infarm announces Japan expansion

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In Tokyo today, Japanese digital agency Infobahn is holding the TOA World Tour Tokyo meet-up as one of the stops introducing Berlin-based outstanding startup conference Tech Open Air to local communities. In the meet-up, Erez Galonska, fonuder and CEO of Berlin-based urban farming startup Infarm, was invited onstage to announced that his company has raised funding from JR East (TSE:9020), one of key local railway operators, to expand into the Japanese market. The Berlin startup is expected to launch the service this summer in the Kinokuniya premium supermarket, a subsidiary of JR East. Some of our readers may recall that Indoor Urban Farming, the German business entity behind Infarm, secured a total of $100 million dollars in a series B round led by London-based VC firm Atomico last year, which brought their total sum of funding to date up to $134 million US. The stage of the latest round is not defined because it’s specifically set up for partnering with JR East and its retailing arm Kinokuniya. In a response to Bridge’s asking, Infarm declined to disclose how much they have raised at this time. Infarm was founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and the Israeli-born brothers Erez and Guy…

From left: Erez Galonska (CEO, Infarm), Takako Tsutsumiguchi (President, Kinokuniya Supermarket Chain), Shun-ichiro Yamashita (President, Muroo), Teruyuki Omote (Executive Officer, Deputy Director General of Life-style Business, JR East), Ikuo Hiraishi (Managing Director, Infarm Japan)
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

In Tokyo today, Japanese digital agency Infobahn is holding the TOA World Tour Tokyo meet-up as one of the stops introducing Berlin-based outstanding startup conference Tech Open Air to local communities. In the meet-up, Erez Galonska, fonuder and CEO of Berlin-based urban farming startup Infarm, was invited onstage to announced that his company has raised funding from JR East (TSE:9020), one of key local railway operators, to expand into the Japanese market. The Berlin startup is expected to launch the service this summer in the Kinokuniya premium supermarket, a subsidiary of JR East.

Some of our readers may recall that Indoor Urban Farming, the German business entity behind Infarm, secured a total of $100 million dollars in a series B round led by London-based VC firm Atomico last year, which brought their total sum of funding to date up to $134 million US. The stage of the latest round is not defined because it’s specifically set up for partnering with JR East and its retailing arm Kinokuniya. In a response to Bridge’s asking, Infarm declined to disclose how much they have raised at this time.

Infarm was founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and the Israeli-born brothers Erez and Guy Galonska to cultivate greens in the dead of the German winter. We covered them for the first time when their team won the Innovation Weekend Grand Finale pitch competition, the startup showcase event hosted by Tokyo-based VC firm Sunbridge Global Ventures back in 2015.

Infarm founders: CMO Osnat Michaeli, CEO Erez Galonska, CTO Guy Galonska
Image credit: Robert Rieger, FvF Productions UG

With Infarm’s solution, its cloud constantly optimizes temperature, humidity, lighting, pH and other environmental factors so that leaf vegetables such as herbs and lettuce can be stably grown in it regardless of the climate. Just requiring power, water and WiFi to work, it is so flexible to fit any type of location. For the current model, seeding is performed at the Infarm hub facility while each plant piece will be semi-automatically exported out of the farming unit when it’s ready for shipping. The market-ready pieces are sent into the facility at a supermarket so that consumers can purchase them fresh while they are still growing and being stocked in the storefront.

Infarm has expanded into France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Denmark, Canada and the United States, as well as its home turf of Germany, partnering with local supermarkets such as Irma (Denmark), Kroger / QFC (US), Marks and Spencer (UK), Metro (Europe) and Edeka (Germany) to sell locally-grown vegetable products. With more than 600 Farming Units in stores and distribution centers around the world, they are shipping more than 250,000 plants a month. For Infarm, their sales at the Kinokuniya supermarket will be the first not only in Japan but also in the entire Asia region.

Infarm is establishing a local subsidiary called Infarm Japan in Tokyo to enable the expansion into the Japanese market. As Managing Director of the Japanese entity, Infarm appoints Ikuo Hiraishi, the organizer of the aforementioned startup pitch competition as well as CEO of DreamVision. DreamVision has taken over the fund management of Sunbridge Global Ventures which participated in the seed round of Infarm.

Inhub, Infarm’s farming solution
Image credit: Infarm

In addition, Japanese cold supply chain company Muroo, which boasts one of the largest chilled logistics networks in Japan, will partner with Infarm to help the latter roll out their facilities all across Japan. Muroo’s President Shun-ichiro Yamashita was a student of the MBA class that Hiraishi was teaching as a visiting professor at Hosei University Graduate School of Business in Tokyo.

Erez Galonska told Bridge in an interview:

We are excited about the expansion. Japan has unique problems to tackle, such as a large amount of food loss, challenging sustainable agriculture in hash natural environments including frequent typhoon attacks, and also aging farmers…So I believe our capability that requires less human operation to deliver fresh vegetables is significant. […]

Since JR East and Kinokuniya were looking for innovation, we thought synergies could be found by partnering with them. As expanding into Japan, we will adjust our product lineup to fit local consumer’s preference by adding Asian leaf vegetables.

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%).

See also:

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).

See also:

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

Curama, Japan’s answer to Thumbtack, secures $36M from Nissay Capital, others

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Minma (derived from ‘Minna no Market’ meaning ‘the market for everyone’ in Japanese), the Japanese startup behind an online service that matches customers with local professionals, announced today that it has raised 4 billion yen (about $36 million US) in the latest round. This comes from Nissay Capital, Globis Capital Partners, Innovation Growth Ventures (managed by Sony and Daiwa Capital Holdings), and Zenrin Datacom (a subsidiary of Japan’s largest map publisher) in funding as well as Japan Finance Corporation in loans. The startup has been matching customers with local professionals since its launch back in 2011, currently lists over 200 types of services in categories like house cleaning, housekeeping, on-location photo shooting, home appliance installation, and renovation. As of December end, over 33,000 stores are live on the Curama marketplace where users can compare these providers by user reviews and pricing to make a choice and book it online. The company disclosed Nissay Capital, one of the investors participating in the latest round, has poured funds in both series A and B (in 2017) rounds. The sum of funding in past rounds are undisclosed but the company shows 909.48 million yen (about $8.3…

Yusuke Hamano, CEO of Minma
Image credit: Takeshi Hirano, Bridge

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Minma (derived from ‘Minna no Market’ meaning ‘the market for everyone’ in Japanese), the Japanese startup behind an online service that matches customers with local professionals, announced today that it has raised 4 billion yen (about $36 million US) in the latest round. This comes from Nissay Capital, Globis Capital Partners, Innovation Growth Ventures (managed by Sony and Daiwa Capital Holdings), and Zenrin Datacom (a subsidiary of Japan’s largest map publisher) in funding as well as Japan Finance Corporation in loans.

The startup has been matching customers with local professionals since its launch back in 2011, currently lists over 200 types of services in categories like house cleaning, housekeeping, on-location photo shooting, home appliance installation, and renovation. As of December end, over 33,000 stores are live on the Curama marketplace where users can compare these providers by user reviews and pricing to make a choice and book it online.

Curama
Image credit: Minma

The company disclosed Nissay Capital, one of the investors participating in the latest round, has poured funds in both series A and B (in 2017) rounds. The sum of funding in past rounds are undisclosed but the company shows 909.48 million yen (about $8.3 million US) as capital stock and legal capital surplus in their corporate website as of this writing.

Minma uses the funds to increase brand awareness, develop new products, invest in relevant startups, as well as hiring and educating talents globally. The company says they have completed investing in an unnamed startup developing a chat service. Partnering with this round’s investor Zenrin Datacom, Minma plans to create a new category on the marketplace, improve functionality and user experience for store owners, and bring themselves to a higher level of marketing sophistication.

In an interview with Bridge back in 2018, Minma CEO Yusuke Hamano said he could see no noticeable competitor at that time. Looking at each of verticals close to what the marketplace lists in categories, we can find several potential competitors in a broad sense, such as Reform Guide graduating from Asahi Shimbun Media Lab’s accelerator, photographer client matchmaking startup aMi, P2P sharing economy startup Anytimes, memento disposer/pest-control firm matchmaking platform Ocomari, and recently-IPO’d Jimoty. US-based unicorn Thumbtack raised $120 million in a series H round last year.

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.

See also:

Translated by Masaru Ikeda

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

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

See the original story in Japanese.

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

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

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

Japanese exoskeleton developer Innophys raises $32.4M

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

Image credit: Innophys

See the original story in Japanese.

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

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

via PR Times