Silicon-valley based Hapyrus, a Japanese startup focused on developing big data solutions, announced yesterday that it has raised $1.6 million from investors in Japan and the US, including 500startups. Coinciding with these funds, the startup will rebrand itself as FlyData and set up a local subsidiary in Japan.
The company is led by Japanese entrepreneur Koichi Fujikawa, who previously worked with a number of prominent Japanese startups like Dennotai (acquired by Yahoo Japan back in 2000), Simplex Technology (TSE:4340), and Sirius Technology (also acquired by Yahoo Japan, 2010).
They launched a new service called ‘FlyData for Amazon Redshift’ back in February, allowing automatic uploading and migration of data to Amazon Redshift, Amazon’s data-warehouse service. The decision to rebrand reflects the company’s intention to focus on providing and developing its FlyData service.
Fujikawa explained the rationale behind this change at a press briefing yesterday:
We’ve been originally developing middleware solutions for Hadoop, but I was so surprised when I saw Amazon Redshift for the first time. I thought that no other options besides Hadoop could deliver big data solutions that work, but in fact Amazon Redshift can do it for about $1,000 an year – extremely cheaper than conventional technology. When Amazon’s mentor team came to visit 500startups where we were residing, they gave us a complimentary account for Amazon Redshift. When we tried it, it yielded 10 to 100 times better performance than Hadoop. It was then that we were convinced that we could not win with Hadoop.
While an abundant of solutions for cloud data processing are available, many companies have difficulty in uploading their data, and for many, their data remains in an on-premises environment. We found that there will be a pressing need to solve this issue, which led us to focus on our FlyData business.
But it wasn’t easy reaching this conclusion. Fujikawa’s co-founders left the company because of a gap in their ideas about business strategy. But he believed in the potential of his business and raised $925,000 from investors in Japan and the US last summer. He succeeded in hiring competent workers through Japanese social recruiting platform Wantedly.
For companies, since FlyData technology uploads your data from an on-premise RDBMS (rational database management system) to cloud-based data warehouses like Amazon Redshift, you need to install a FlyData component on your RDBMS server. The component for MySQL is available for now, and components for PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server will follow soon.
Since the 2013 launch, FlyData for Amazon RedShift has acquired more than 40 corporate users and has over 40% growth in sales every month. They’ve seen a striking increase in the growth here in Japan, across sectors like social gaming, ad tech, and digital marketing. Fujikawa noted that they have prominent clients like Brightroll, Upworthy, Datalot, Enish, and Tokyo Otaku Mode.
FlyData is also a qualified member of the Amazon Redshift Partners program, where we can find a number of their competitors, including Informatica, Talend, Attunity, and SnapLogic. Fujikawa explained a little more about their advantage over these competitors:
From my perspective, Informatica and Talend has many problems in supporting cloud platforms. And Attunity and SnapLogic have not yet made an impact in the Japanese market. In terms of a presence in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, I believe we have an advantage.
Furthermore, Amazon is good at cloud computing but is not as good with data located that’s located in a client’s on-premise environment. But we can handle it, so that we think we’re a good complementary service to Amazon. For the time being, we are currently providing the service for Amazon, which is leading this space, but partnering with other platforms like Google Big Query might be a potential option for us in the future.
Along with the launch of their subsidiary in Japan, a number of notable individuals have joined their management team. Their vice president of sales and international growth Daniel Saito co-founded Rimnet (one of Japan’s oldest internet providers, later acquired by PSINet) and was involved in launching MySQL K.K. Kei Hareyama was appointed as the country manager for the Japanese market, bringing over 12 years experience in the data analytics sector to the table.
In Japan, we’ve seen quite a few startups providing business centric services for global markets. On a related note, Treasure Data, another notable Japanese startup focused on big data solutions, also received angel investment worth $2.75 million back in 2012, with funds coming from several investors including Jerry Yang (Yahoo co-founder) and Yukihiro ‘Matz’ Matsumoto (the inventor of the Ruby programming language).