Tokyo-based Uluru, the startup behind crowdsourcing platform using housewives called Shufti, recently announced that it has fundraised 630 million yen (about $5.8 million) from Japanese VC firm Nissay Capital and wedding-related buzz marketing site Minnano Wedding.
Uluru started its business providing business process outsourcing services in 2001, and subsequently launched crowdsourcing platform Shufti in 2007. The platform has acquired over 76,000 users to date. The company plans to use the funds to enhance human resources for further development and management of crowdsourcing business.
Shufti was one of the oldest platforms of this kind. While they launched the platform in 2007, there were another several crowdsourcing services launched in Japan at that time, such as Lancers and C-team. So they started the crowdsourcing platform almost five years before Crowdworks, one of the most popular services in this space.
According to Uluru’s vice president Yuhei Okeyama, the company still generates its primary revenue stream from their outsourcing services rather than the Shufti platform. They have a database called NJSS, showcasing tendering opportunities from governmental organizations around the country for their outsourcing needs; this DB has acquired nearly 1,500 corporate users to date and account for 60% or 70% of the market share.
To collect tender announcements from local governments, Uluru has been sending their people to governmental offices around the country. Hearing from Okeyama, we found that they have been using crowdsourced forces from Shufti to collect these announcements to build up the NJSS database.
Many of crowdsourced workers on the Shufti platform are married women. So it will be easy for the aforementioned buzz site Minnano Wedding to find synergy by driving potential users to the Shufti platform.