We just learned that Japanese startup ChatBook, providing the automated marketing solution under the same name utilizing chatbot, has been acquired by Japan’s leading FinTech conglomerate Monex Group（TSE:8698). Monex acquired all stakes in ChatBook for an undisclosed sum.
Chatbook’s most recent funding was a pre-series A round in December of 2019 (securing 100 million yen, about $920,000 in the exchange rate at the time) where Monex Ventures, the VC arm of Monex Group, participated in the investment. Japanese startup database Initial reported ChatBook was valued at 712 million yen (about $6.6 million) at the time.
Chatbook was co-founded in September of 2016 (named Hect as its start) by Maiko Kojima who formerly worked for Prime Again (now known as Prime) as CFO/COO. The firm has been chosen for various accelerator programs so far; the first batch of the Code Public program in 2016, Accelerate course of FbStart which is a developer support program by Facebook in 2017 and the first batch of AI Accelerator organized by the major job information provider Dip (TSE:2379).
ChatBook uses chatbots compatible with social media like Facebook, Line, and Instagram to lure potential customers and link them to sales activities in conjunction with customer relation management tools. While there are several marketing solutions using chatbots in Japan, Chatbook has a high affinity with sales activities for long-legged and rigid business solutions for enterprises.
In this sector, some of our readers may recall that Japanese startup Zeals, developing and offering the Fanp chatbot-based solution for e-commerce retailers, had planned to list on the TSE Mothers market but subsequently decided postpone it due to negative factors such as changes in US monetary policy, IPO market trends, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company recently announced that it has secured 5 billion yen (about $38 million) in May.
Through this acquisition, Monex will invest its management resources in Chatbook, while promoting further business expansion by providing multifaceted support such as sales channel expansion and funding, and will return Chatbook’s human resources, mainly engineers, and the knowledge and know-how gained through business expansion to the Monex. The company will also aim to enhance the digital marketing capabilities of the Monex Group companies by returning to the Monex Group the human resources of Chatbook, mainly engineers, as well as the knowledge and expertise gained through business expansion.
Through this acquisition, Monex expects to invest its management resources in Chatbook while promoting further business expansion by providing support for cultivating sales channels and funding. In addition, the acquisition will also enable the FinTech group to enhance the digital marketing capabilities of each of its subsidiaries by incorporating ChatBook’s human resources, mainly engineers, as well as the knowledge and expertise.