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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