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Japanese accounting startup Freee raises $2.7 million from Infinity Venture Partners and DCM

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Tokyo-based cloud startup Freee announced today that it has raised 270 million yen (approximately $2.7 million) in a series A funding from Infinity Venture Partners and DCM. This follows the previous seed round where the company secured seed funding of 50 million yen (about $523,000) from DCM back in December. Coinciding with this new funding, the startup rebranded its company name to Freee from CFO K.K., coinciding with the name of its accounting service. At the time of its launch back in March, CEO Daisuke Sasaki stated his goal of acquiring at least 10,000 users in its first year. Surprisingly it is way ahead of that pace, acquiring 6,500 users in the last four and half months, 1.7 times faster than expected. The startup originally planned series A funding for the end of this year but moved up its timeline to accelerate service expansion and user growth. With these new funds, the startup is expecting to hire additional staff and intensify its system development. According to Mr. Sasaki, their users have given them a lot of feedback, and they have been adding features and refining user interface based on those responses. He believes these efforts have helped them acquire many…

freee_new_logo-c3970ad3866dd25fda6b1c27779b6173Tokyo-based cloud startup Freee announced today that it has raised 270 million yen (approximately $2.7 million) in a series A funding from Infinity Venture Partners and DCM. This follows the previous seed round where the company secured seed funding of 50 million yen (about $523,000) from DCM back in December. Coinciding with this new funding, the startup rebranded its company name to Freee from CFO K.K., coinciding with the name of its accounting service.

At the time of its launch back in March, CEO Daisuke Sasaki stated his goal of acquiring at least 10,000 users in its first year. Surprisingly it is way ahead of that pace, acquiring 6,500 users in the last four and half months, 1.7 times faster than expected. The startup originally planned series A funding for the end of this year but moved up its timeline to accelerate service expansion and user growth.

With these new funds, the startup is expecting to hire additional staff and intensify its system development. According to Mr. Sasaki, their users have given them a lot of feedback, and they have been adding features and refining user interface based on those responses. He believes these efforts have helped them acquire many new users, and now his first priority is to form a responsive team.

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Freee CEO Daisuke Sasaki

The company has three key topics that it will focus on moving forward: opening up to third-party services, easing collaborative work, and providing a better user experience. They plan to introduce an API that encourages third-party developers to connect with its platform, which should help the platform in terms of its collaborative capabilities. To improve user experience, they are expecting to introduce a native app for tablet devices to allow users to record and sort out their revenue and expenses regardless of where they are.

Some of our readers may recall that the company previously won the top prize at the Infinity Ventures Summit back in May, a conference hosted by Japan’s Infinity Ventures Partners. We’ve seen more than a few outstanding financial apps in the Japanese startup scene, and Freee can be considered to be among the best of them.

Japanese fashion startup Muse & Co raises $3.4 million

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See the original story in Japanese. Here’s more news from Japan’s fashion commerce space. Apparel-focused, flash marketing startup Muse & Co has announced that it has raised series B funding worth 350 million yen, or about $3.4 million. Investors include Itochu Technology Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Infinity Ventures Partners (IVP). According to IVP’s managing partner Masashi Kobayashi, this round brings the total money raised by the startup to a sum of approximately 500 million yen ($5 million). Previously, IVP invested in the startup back in May of 2012. Consumers love fashion startups To see a seed-stage startup fundraise such a huge amount, it reminds us that there’s a real trend emerging at the intersection of fashion, e-commerce, and smartphones. Some of our readers will remember, for example, mobile commerce startup Origami also raised about the same amount last month. Muse & Co is a members-only flash sale site that gives users a substantial discount off the market price for a limited time. In Japan, there are some similar sites in this space. Gilt Groupe has been operating a joint venture with Softbank since 2008. Other competitors include Glamour Sales, Brands for Friends, and Monoco. According to startup’s CEO Hirotake…

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See the original story in Japanese.

Here’s more news from Japan’s fashion commerce space. Apparel-focused, flash marketing startup Muse & Co has announced that it has raised series B funding worth 350 million yen, or about $3.4 million. Investors include Itochu Technology Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Infinity Ventures Partners (IVP).

According to IVP’s managing partner Masashi Kobayashi, this round brings the total money raised by the startup to a sum of approximately 500 million yen ($5 million). Previously, IVP invested in the startup back in May of 2012.

Consumers love fashion startups

To see a seed-stage startup fundraise such a huge amount, it reminds us that there’s a real trend emerging at the intersection of fashion, e-commerce, and smartphones. Some of our readers will remember, for example, mobile commerce startup Origami also raised about the same amount last month.

Muse & Co is a members-only flash sale site that gives users a substantial discount off the market price for a limited time. In Japan, there are some similar sites in this space. Gilt Groupe has been operating a joint venture with Softbank since 2008. Other competitors include Glamour Sales, Brands for Friends, and Monoco.

According to startup’s CEO Hirotake Kubo, Muse & Co targets the so-called ‘F1 layer’ in Japan (female users in their 20s and early 30s), thus differentiating from conventional competitors. In terms of differentiation from similar smartphones services, they expect to showcase items in the casual fashion category, which may be not so sophisticated but better suited to wearing on a day-to-day basis.

Over $500,000 in monthly sales, 70% traffic from mobile

Muse & Co sells merchandise on commission and has no inventory stocked at all. They showcase clothes from three brands every day, and in total about 30 new items are sold every day. The duration of the flash sale is usually about seven days, but most items sell out on the first day. Their flash marketing starts at 8pm every day, the peak time for user traffic.

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Kubo explains that the site’s monthly revenue has reached around 50 million yen, with 50% coming from mobile, and 20% from the smartphone app. They’ve never made any promotion efforts for smartphone users, so it’s not unlikely that these access metrics (in terms of mobile/desktop ratio) are common for most e-commerce sites in Japan.

A good start

Muse & Co was established back in February of 2012. The startup’s founder, Hirotake Kubo, previously worked at global consulting firm AT Kearney, where he has been conducting due diligence on the apparel industry for five years.

From my experience seeing the apparel industry, I wanted to help domestic fashion brands solve the problems they’re facing. Beyond that, I also want to contribute to the strengthening of our economy.

Currently Muse & Co is 20-person team including 5 merchandising staffers. They have acquired approximately 200,000 users since launch, and are hoping to surpass 1 million users in the near future.