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Japanese deep learning startup Abeja raises series C extension round from Google

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced on Tuesday that it has secured funding from Google in a series C extension round. The company says this brings their total equity funding to date to over 6 billion yen (approximately US$53 million US). The company hasn’t disclosed financial terms on the latest round from Google but it can be estimated worth 1 billion yen or 10 million US based on their past funding records. Abeja has provided their AI-powered analytics suite Abeja Platform to more than 150 companies while over 520 stores at more than 100 companies have adopted Abeja Insight for Retail, their retail industry store analysis solution. See also: Science fiction becomes reality? Abeja unveils futuristic ad at Tokyo’s busiest station Founded in September of 2012, followed by graduation from the 1st batch of the Orange Fab Asia acceleration program, Abeja has raised an undisclosed sum in an angel and a seed round. Subsequently, the company has raised six figures in US dollars from Salesforce in a series A round back in 2014, followed by securing…

Abeja CEO/CTO Yosuke Okada explains about Abeja Platform Partner Ecosystem
(Photographed at Docomo Innovation Village in November of 2016)
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced on Tuesday that it has secured funding from Google in a series C extension round. The company says this brings their total equity funding to date to over 6 billion yen (approximately US$53 million US). The company hasn’t disclosed financial terms on the latest round from Google but it can be estimated worth 1 billion yen or 10 million US based on their past funding records.

Abeja has provided their AI-powered analytics suite Abeja Platform to more than 150 companies while over 520 stores at more than 100 companies have adopted Abeja Insight for Retail, their retail industry store analysis solution.

See also:

Founded in September of 2012, followed by graduation from the 1st batch of the Orange Fab Asia acceleration program, Abeja has raised an undisclosed sum in an angel and a seed round. Subsequently, the company has raised six figures in US dollars from Salesforce in a series A round back in 2014, followed by securing 700 million yen (about $7 million at the exchange rate then) in a series B round from INCJ, Archetype, Inspire-PNB Partners back in 2016 as well as securing 4.25 billion yen ($38.4 million at the exchange rate then) in a series C round from 9 investors including VC firms and business companies back in June this year.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

How Japanese startups can help digital transformation efforts of Thai enterprises

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This guest post is authored by Hiroko Mamoto, Public Retalations at Bangkok-based recruiting platform startup TalentEx. Some of our coverage about TalentEx can be found here and there. See the originl story in Jaapnese. In partnership with Omise and Abeja – two outstanding and rapidly-growing startups in Southeast Asia led by Japanese entrepreneurs, the Japanese embassy in Thailand recently hosted a conference called Digital Transformation Summit (DX Summit for short) at the headquarters of Thai top property developer Ananda Development. The conference is a 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. Approximately 50 representatives from 30 Thai conglomerates participated in the first summit, along with 30 representatives from 30 major companies from Japan. In addition to government officials and media from both countries, Global Brain CEO Yasuhiko Yurimoto and KK Fund General Partner Koichi Saito also participated. See also: Columbus charts course (Bangkok Post) Thailand, Japan join hands to develop local startups (Bangkok Post) เอกอัครราชทูตญี่ปุ่นประจำประเทศไทยสนับสนุน Start-up ญี่ปุ่น ลงทุนในไทย (Royal Thai Government) OIC was launched with the goal of developing successful Japanese startups around the world and to meet the demand for state-of-the-art…

Hiroko Mamoto

This guest post is authored by Hiroko Mamoto, Public Retalations at Bangkok-based recruiting platform startup TalentEx.

Some of our coverage about TalentEx can be found here and there.

The participants of the DX Summit. Japan’s Ambassador to Thailand Shiro Sadoshima stands in the center.
Image credit: Hiroko Mamoto

See the originl story in Jaapnese.

In partnership with Omise and Abeja – two outstanding and rapidly-growing startups in Southeast Asia led by Japanese entrepreneurs, the Japanese embassy in Thailand recently hosted a conference called Digital Transformation Summit (DX Summit for short) at the headquarters of Thai top property developer Ananda Development. The conference is a 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.

Approximately 50 representatives from 30 Thai conglomerates participated in the first summit, along with 30 representatives from 30 major companies from Japan. In addition to government officials and media from both countries, Global Brain CEO Yasuhiko Yurimoto and KK Fund General Partner Koichi Saito also participated.

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OIC was launched with the goal of developing successful Japanese startups around the world and to meet the demand for state-of-the-art technology from the conglomerates lead by ASEAN. The Japanese government serves as mediator between the concerned parties, providing enriching support content such as matching and follow-ups, funds for expanding business in Thailand, and mentoring with Japanese entrepreneurs on the ground in Thailand.

Naoki Tonogi, CEO of Abeja Singapore
Image credit: Hiroko Mamoto

The theme of this year’s DX Summit was AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain, and one aim was to have designated knowledgeable persons assist the representatives from Thai conglomerates in gaining a deeper understanding of digital technology. Abeja Singapore Representative Naoki Tonogi and Omise Holdings CEO Jun Hasegawa served as speakers during the seminar.

Tonogi spoke passionately about technology up to present day that did not yet have AI, and how AI is innovative by answering the straightforward question, “What is AI?” He also introduced practical examples of AI provided by Abeja, and based on those, he discussed the future of AI technology and market considerations.

Jun Hasegawa, CE of Omise Holdings
Image credit: Hiroko Mamoto

Hasegawa in turn used an explanation of products offered by Omise to showcase concrete examples of how blockchain can be used. His explanation included a basic outline, as well as the characteristics and merits of blockchain technology, and participants gains further understanding through question and answer time.

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Japan’s Ambassador to Thailand, Shiro Sadoshima, imparted these words following the DX Summit.

I anticipate positive results through the cooperation of the decidedly flexible Thai companies and the technology and speed of Japanese startups.

Omise’s Hasegawa, who also serves as Chairman of the Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network (JAIS) [1] , related the following.

Just through breaching language barriers/ culture barriers/ market barriers, the methods of doing business can be improved. This is why, even as an entrepreneur myself who can understand the pain of doing business abroad, I’d like to continue to support events such as this which provide a space to connect with local companies.

Prior to the OIC, Sadoshima meets with Thai Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakool to discuss cooperative relations

Prior to the OIC, Japanese Ambassador Sadoshima meets with Thai Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakool to discuss cooperative relations.
Image credit: Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand

Representatives from the Thai conglomerates also shared their positive impressions of the seminar.

Thanapong Na Ranong, First Senior Vice President of Kasikornbank / Managing Director of Kasikornbank’s investment arm Beacon Venture Capital, says,

I am very excited about this event and any future efforts. As the cultures of Japan and Thailand are very close, I expect good outcomes. After listening to today’s seminar, I’d like to try out the technologies with robots first.

Lena Ng, Chief Investment Officer at Amata Corporation, says,

We are developing a smart city in an industrial area, and there are many Japanese companies in the industrial area managed by our company. We believe we can use AI and blockchain technology to develop smart business in our industrial area, and this is why we’d like to incorporate it.

OIC plans to hold pitch events and arrange matching opportunities for Thai conglomerates and Japanese startups within the year.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda


  1. There are separate organizations for each country under JAIS: JTIS (Japan-Thailand), JMIS (Japan-Malaysia), JVIS (Japan-Vietnam), JIIS (Japan-Indonesia), JPIS (Japan-Philippines), JSIS (Japan-Singapore). For more information on the initiations of the first organization, JTIS, please see here.

Japan’s Abeja, Google Analytics for retail stores, secures $38M series C round

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced today that it has raised 4.25 billion yen (about $38.4 million) in a series C round. Participating investors are SBI Investment, Daikin Industries, TBS Innovation Partners, Topcon, Japan Post Capital and Musashi Seimitsu Industry, in addition to existing investors including PNB-Inspire Ethical Fund, Nvidia and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ). The company uses the funds to set up AI (artificial intelligence) management locations in ASEAN countries and the US for their flagship cloud Abeja Platform, enhance their vertical-focused SaaS (Software as a Service) platform Abeja Insight, strengthen R&D efforts and improve intellectual property management, plus hire talented staffers in the deep learning space. Founded in September of 2012, followed by graduation from the 1st batch of the Orange Fab Asia acceleration program, Abeja has raised an undisclosed sum in an angel and a seed round. Subsequently, the company has raised six figures in US dollars from Salesforce in a series A round back in 2014, followed by securing 700 million yen (about $7 million at the exchange rate then)…

Abeja CEO/CTO Yosuke Okada explains about Abeja Platform Partner Ecosystem
(Photographed at Docomo Innovation Village in November of 2016)
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced today that it has raised 4.25 billion yen (about $38.4 million) in a series C round. Participating investors are SBI Investment, Daikin Industries, TBS Innovation Partners, Topcon, Japan Post Capital and Musashi Seimitsu Industry, in addition to existing investors including PNB-Inspire Ethical Fund, Nvidia and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ).

The company uses the funds to set up AI (artificial intelligence) management locations in ASEAN countries and the US for their flagship cloud Abeja Platform, enhance their vertical-focused SaaS (Software as a Service) platform Abeja Insight, strengthen R&D efforts and improve intellectual property management, plus hire talented staffers in the deep learning space.

Founded in September of 2012, followed by graduation from the 1st batch of the Orange Fab Asia acceleration program, Abeja has raised an undisclosed sum in an angel and a seed round. Subsequently, the company has raised six figures in US dollars from Salesforce in a series A round back in 2014, followed by securing 700 million yen (about $7 million at the exchange rate then) in a series B round from INCJ, Archetype, Inspire-PNB Partners. The funding at this time is seen making the amount raised to date total at 5 billion yen (about $45 million).

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Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s Abeja, analytics for retail stores, gets $2M funding for ASEAN expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced today that it has fundraised 200 million yen (about $2 million) from Inspire PNB Partners. Inspire PNB is the joint venture between Japanese investment firm Inspire and Malaysia’s state-run firm Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), managing a Sharia-compliant private equity fund called PNB-INSPiRE Ethical Fund 1 (formed in April of 2014, valued around 6 billion yen = $60 million). The fund recently invested in Japanese private cloud platform developer Keepdata. The fund was raised in a series B round, meaning that the company has secured approximately a total of $7 million in this round combined with their $5 million funding last month. The company obtained funding in a seed round from Inspire, the parent company of Inspire PNB. In Islamic countries, since Sharia (Islamic law) prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loaning money, hedge funds or other financing schemes common in Western countries are unlikely to be accepted. Meanwhile, Malaysia has now become an Islamic finance hub offering Sharia-compliant financing schemes. Startups receiving funds from such schemes can expand…

abeja-platform_featuredimage

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced today that it has fundraised 200 million yen (about $2 million) from Inspire PNB Partners. Inspire PNB is the joint venture between Japanese investment firm Inspire and Malaysia’s state-run firm Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), managing a Sharia-compliant private equity fund called PNB-INSPiRE Ethical Fund 1 (formed in April of 2014, valued around 6 billion yen = $60 million). The fund recently invested in Japanese private cloud platform developer Keepdata.

The fund was raised in a series B round, meaning that the company has secured approximately a total of $7 million in this round combined with their $5 million funding last month. The company obtained funding in a seed round from Inspire, the parent company of Inspire PNB.

In Islamic countries, since Sharia (Islamic law) prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loaning money, hedge funds or other financing schemes common in Western countries are unlikely to be accepted. Meanwhile, Malaysia has now become an Islamic finance hub offering Sharia-compliant financing schemes. Startups receiving funds from such schemes can expand their services into Islamic markets more smoothly, just as Halal-approved restaurants can.

Abeja claims that the company will use the funds to strengthen their ASEAN expansion effort and to gain competitive power in the market globally. They haven’t specified which market to target but huge Islamic markets in the ASEAN region include Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s Abeja, Google Analytics for retail stores, secures $5M in series B round

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced today that it has fundraised 530 million yen (about $5 million) from Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and Archetype Ventures in a series B round. This follows their 6-digit figure (in US dollars) series A funding from Salesforce Ventures in December of 2014. Founded in September of 2012, followed by graduation from the 1st batch of the Orange Fab Asia acceleration program, Abeja has fundraised an undislcosed sum of investment from Keisuke Tomimatsu in an angel round in addition to Archetype, Inspire, Mitsbishi UFJ Capital, Mizuho Capital, NTT Docomo Ventures and Sakura Internet in a seed round. Abeja offers a suite of data analytics solutions for retail stores to improve their business, such as Abeja Behavior for analyzing customer flow line and detention time in a real store, Abeja Demographics for detecting the gender and age of visiting customers in addition to Abeja DMP for analyzing data from both online and offline sales. Abeja Platform, the company’s flagship cloud platform comprising of these solutions, has been adopted by more…

abeja-platform_featuredimage

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Abeja, the company offering solutions for retail stores to improve customer path or traffic based on image analysis and machine learning technologies, announced today that it has fundraised 530 million yen (about $5 million) from Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and Archetype Ventures in a series B round. This follows their 6-digit figure (in US dollars) series A funding from Salesforce Ventures in December of 2014.

Founded in September of 2012, followed by graduation from the 1st batch of the Orange Fab Asia acceleration program, Abeja has fundraised an undislcosed sum of investment from Keisuke Tomimatsu in an angel round in addition to Archetype, Inspire, Mitsbishi UFJ Capital, Mizuho Capital, NTT Docomo Ventures and Sakura Internet in a seed round.

Abeja offers a suite of data analytics solutions for retail stores to improve their business, such as Abeja Behavior for analyzing customer flow line and detention time in a real store, Abeja Demographics for detecting the gender and age of visiting customers in addition to Abeja DMP for analyzing data from both online and offline sales. Abeja Platform, the company’s flagship cloud platform comprising of these solutions, has been adopted by more than 100 retail stores in Japan as this month. In other verticals, the company started a collaborative business with Japanese air-conditioning giant Daikin (TSE:6367) at its Technology Innovation Center last month.

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Upon funding, Abeja has invited Ken Yasunaga, Managing Director of Strategic Investment Group at INCJ, to the management board while the company expects Archetype to support business development for B2B (business-to-business) and B2B2C (business to business to consumer) verticals.

In the space of customer path improvement solutions leveraging image analytics, Taiwan-based SkyRec, the winning team at pitch competitions at events like Slush Asia 2016 and Fukuoka Night, is reportedly poised to enter the Japanese market soon, which may produce fierce competition for Abeja on their local turf.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Science fiction becomes reality? Abeja unveils futuristic ad at Tokyo’s busiest station

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based video recognition technology startup Abeja has installed a functional digital signage at Tokyo Metro’s Shinjuku station, the busiest subway station in Japan. This is to promote the movie from popular Japanese anime TV series Psycho-Pass, reproducing a system within the episodes that measures the populace’s mental states or vocational aptitudes using a “cymatic scan” of the brain, which is called the The Sibyl System.This system detects those looking at the ad and capture their faces with a camera. When captured, the captured face as well as the profile sheet stating your Psycho-Pass Coefficient index will be displayed on screen. If the Coefficient exceeds 100 points, you will be virtually executed on-screen by Public Safety Bureau officers carrying hand weapons called Dominators (see the video below). This signage is in place until next Sunday (11 January), so please check it out if there is any chance to use Shinjuku station by then. The presentation has conscientiously reproduced the world of the anime series, so not only ardent anime fans but also many passers-by of all ages can enjoy (possibly) being “blown away” by the experience. Abeja CEO Yousuke Okada explained that this can prove the possibility of a new advertising medium applying their video recognition…

abeja-the-sibyl-system

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based video recognition technology startup Abeja has installed a functional digital signage at Tokyo Metro’s Shinjuku station, the busiest subway station in Japan. This is to promote the movie from popular Japanese anime TV series Psycho-Pass, reproducing a system within the episodes that measures the populace’s mental states or vocational aptitudes using a “cymatic scan” of the brain, which is called the The Sibyl System.This system detects those looking at the ad and capture their faces with a camera. When captured, the captured face as well as the profile sheet stating your Psycho-Pass Coefficient index will be displayed on screen. If the Coefficient exceeds 100 points, you will be virtually executed on-screen by Public Safety Bureau officers carrying hand weapons called Dominators (see the video below).

This signage is in place until next Sunday (11 January), so please check it out if there is any chance to use Shinjuku station by then.

The presentation has conscientiously reproduced the world of the anime series, so not only ardent anime fans but also many passers-by of all ages can enjoy (possibly) being “blown away” by the experience. Abeja CEO Yousuke Okada explained that this can prove the possibility of a new advertising medium applying their video recognition technology. This is also considered remarkable because it is rare for a startup to leverage their core technology in collaboration with established companies or entertainment businesses.