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Thai startup TalentEx secures funds to help get Russian univ tech grads hired by Japan firms

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See the original story in Japanese. Bangkok-based TalentEx, offering recruitment-focused online media and SaaS (software as a service) for human resource affairs, announced last week that it has fundraised from Tokyo-based Monstar Lab,  the Japanese company sourcing app developments around the world, as well as Japanese consulting firm Skylight Consulting. The fundraising round and amount have not been released, however based on materials published by the company it appears to be tens of millions Japanese yen making it equivalent to the seed round. This follows an angel round (amount and investor names undisclosed). TalentEx will use the funds to advance into the Russian market in order to supply engineer talent to Japanese companies. TalentEx’s expansion into the Russian market is stemmed from the Japan-Russia Digital Sector Cooperation Seminar, which was conducted in February of this year by Rotobo (The Japan Association for Trade with Russia & NIS), based on an agreement between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Vladimir Putin for business cooperation to accelerate the digital economy between the two countries. Around ten startup experts from Japan were invited to the startup scenes in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan) where they  exchanged information with local entrepreneurs…

Human Holdings, Kazan Federal University, and TalentEx signed an MoU to support employment in Japan for Russian students (June 2017)
Image credit: Human Holdings

See the original story in Japanese.

Bangkok-based TalentEx, offering recruitment-focused online media and SaaS (software as a service) for human resource affairs, announced last week that it has fundraised from Tokyo-based Monstar Lab the Japanese company sourcing app developments around the world, as well as Japanese consulting firm Skylight Consulting. The fundraising round and amount have not been released, however based on materials published by the company it appears to be tens of millions Japanese yen making it equivalent to the seed round. This follows an angel round (amount and investor names undisclosed).

TalentEx will use the funds to advance into the Russian market in order to supply engineer talent to Japanese companies.

TalentEx’s expansion into the Russian market is stemmed from the Japan-Russia Digital Sector Cooperation Seminar, which was conducted in February of this year by Rotobo (The Japan Association for Trade with Russia & NIS), based on an agreement between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Vladimir Putin for business cooperation to accelerate the digital economy between the two countries. Around ten startup experts from Japan were invited to the startup scenes in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan) where they  exchanged information with local entrepreneurs and investors.

During this visit, TalentEx Founder and CEO Yojiro Koshi was surprised by Russia’s overwhelming supply of engineers and became convinced that human resource exchanges, joint research, and joint business development will be important in the field of IT development in Japan, Russia, and Europe. With the support of Human Holdings (TSE:2415), the company started a project to teach Japanese to IT engineering students at Kazan Federal University. Trained students are expected to work as engineers at Japanese companies as arranged by Human Holdings in the future.

Of the two companies that contributed funds this time around, Monstar Lab is cooperating with TalentEx through the operation of its recently launched co-working space Monstar Hub Bangkok. Additionally, due to the business alliance formed from this investment, TalentEx will expand the use of Copell, an IT human resource search and screening platform for talent in Asia launched in beta by Monstar Lab in June, to its headquarters in Thailand as well as in Russia.

The other investor, Skylight Consulting, is planning and cooperating with the previously mentioned Japan-Russia Digital Sector Cooperation Seminar and will conduct cross-border open innovation by identifying and introducing promising startups from Russia and Asia to Japanese companies.

The following is a comment from Toshiki Habutsu, CEO of Skylight Consulting.

We believe that the importance of Japanese companies securing adequate people for global expansion will increase more and more in the future. Through our backing of TalentEx, we will collaborate on the human resource aspect of supporting the global development of Japanese companies and in the business of global open innovation.

See also:

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda

Japan’s Monstar Lab ties up with aid agency, empowers refugees with IT in Jordan, Gaza

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-headquartered Monstar Lab, the Japanese company sourcing app developments around the world,  announced on Monday that it has agreed with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) regarding on-site survey of business potential based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). JICA announced five companies including Monstar Lab as being selected for the program in July of last year. This survey is aimed at creating employment opportunities for refugees in Jordan affected by the Syrian Civil War that began in 2011. In order to help their economic independence, Monstar Lab will explore hiring software developers from among the Syrian refugees in Jordan as well as young people from the Palestinian autonomous territory of Gaza to connect them to digital product development work for Japan and the Middle East region. From the SDGs perspective, Monstar Lab says their proposed project is categorized in No. 8: Decent Work and Ecoonmic Growth as well as No. 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure while JICA is aiming to contribute through this survey especially to No. 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure as well as No. 10: Reduced Inequalities. Monstar Lab has opened multiple overseas bases, including in Bangladesh, and has the knowledge and experience…

From the left: Eiji Kubo (Director of the Private Sector Partnership Division, Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department, JICA), Hiroki Inagawa (CEO of Monstar Lab), Eyad Al-hindi (Councilor, the Permanent General Mission of Palestine in Japan), Rami Alkharabsheh (Second Secretary, the Embassy of Jordan in Japan)

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-headquartered Monstar Lab, the Japanese company sourcing app developments around the world,  announced on Monday that it has agreed with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) regarding on-site survey of business potential based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). JICA announced five companies including Monstar Lab as being selected for the program in July of last year.

This survey is aimed at creating employment opportunities for refugees in Jordan affected by the Syrian Civil War that began in 2011. In order to help their economic independence, Monstar Lab will explore hiring software developers from among the Syrian refugees in Jordan as well as young people from the Palestinian autonomous territory of Gaza to connect them to digital product development work for Japan and the Middle East region.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (click to enlarge)

From the SDGs perspective, Monstar Lab says their proposed project is categorized in No. 8: Decent Work and Ecoonmic Growth as well as No. 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure while JICA is aiming to contribute through this survey especially to No. 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure as well as No. 10: Reduced Inequalities.

Monstar Lab has opened multiple overseas bases, including in Bangladesh, and has the knowledge and experience of maintaining local employment and expanding business in developing countries. Based on these points and the high demand for the creation of employment opportunities due to high unemployment in the Jordan/State of Palestine regions, Monstar Labs will make the refugee problems known to Japanese companies and provide opportunities to use them as CSR (corporate social responsibility) through this project, while keeping the acquisition of the Middle East market in mind.

Eiji Kubo, Director of the Private Sector Partnership Division, Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department, JICA, gave his comment in a statement:

The IT industry has the advantage of being able to do business with the outside world without having to move people and goods. As Monstar Lab seeks to make use of this feature and create employment for the local youth including Syrian and Palestinian refugees and aims for their economic independence, we would like to cooperate with the company and its business plan through this survey.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda

Japan’s Monstar Lab sets up coworking space in Bangkok to engage with startups

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Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service under the same name, announced today that it is foraying into a coworking space business by kicking off its first branch in Bangkok. The business is called Monstar Hub, and is planned to expand coworking spaces into major cities all across Southeast Asia. Monstar Hub Bangkok, the first one, will be set up near Asok Station on the Bangkok BTS railway system. The Bangkok location is slightly different from other offices that the company has set up in 21 cities of 12 countries for system development and sales but is intended to specifically serve startups, entrepreneurs and engineers. Takeshi Heta, who had been running his own coworking space called Asiarna Business Center in Bangkok, has been appointed as the head for the new business. Since Heta and Hiroki Inagawa, founder and CEO of Monstar Lab, have known each other for a long time, they have been pledging to work together if the opportunity arises. Heta decided to hand over his existing coworking space business to his co-founder to commit himself to managing the Monstar Hub business. Monstar Lab has recently moved their headquarters from Nakameguro to Ebisu in Tokyo,…

Monstar Lab’s first coworking space in Bangkok (For illustrative purposes only, may differ from the actual photoshoot.)
© FLOOAT

Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service under the same name, announced today that it is foraying into a coworking space business by kicking off its first branch in Bangkok. The business is called Monstar Hub, and is planned to expand coworking spaces into major cities all across Southeast Asia. Monstar Hub Bangkok, the first one, will be set up near Asok Station on the Bangkok BTS railway system.

The Bangkok location is slightly different from other offices that the company has set up in 21 cities of 12 countries for system development and sales but is intended to specifically serve startups, entrepreneurs and engineers. Takeshi Heta, who had been running his own coworking space called Asiarna Business Center in Bangkok, has been appointed as the head for the new business.

Since Heta and Hiroki Inagawa, founder and CEO of Monstar Lab, have known each other for a long time, they have been pledging to work together if the opportunity arises. Heta decided to hand over his existing coworking space business to his co-founder to commit himself to managing the Monstar Hub business.

Monstar Lab has recently moved their headquarters from Nakameguro to Ebisu in Tokyo, and their new office interior was supervised by renowned office design firm Flooat using furniture from Swiss Vitra. Flooat and Vitra are expected to design and furnish the Bangkok location. In addition, Yojiro Koshi, a Japanese entrepreneur running his human resource business JobTalents in Bangkok, will help them arrange meet-ups and foster an entrepreneurial community there.

In a recent interview with The Bridge, Heta spoke of his aspiration about the new space:

I would like to build a community so fulfilling that anybody would want to choose us when they launch an IT business or a startup in Thailand.

Monstar Lab’s first coworking space in Bangkok (For illustrative purposes only, may differ from the actual photoshoot.)
© FLOOAT

Actually, the coworking space sector in Bangkok is getting somewhat saturated in many aspects. But we can see an interesting trend in Thailand that owners of a condominium or other shared use real estate can feel social status when their property has an in-house coworking space regardless of whether or not it is operated. You can easily find several coworking spaces even in shopping malls in Central Bangkok.

More interestingly, when we talk about the Thai startup scene, it doesn’t always mean a community consisting of local people. In recent years, many entrepreneurs and engineers coming from outside Thailand have been forming a big expat community in Thailand because of many positive reasons such as relatively lower living expense, easy access to weekend attractions from the city and generally good public safety. Neutrino, a Blockchain-focused coworking space, is setting up a new location in Bangkok while True Digital Park, dubbed the Thai version of the world’s largest startup campus Station F, is scheduled to be launched this fall.

Monstar Lab intends to explore the possibilities in finding good startups to partner with or even acquire in the future. Beyond Bangkok, they are planning to establish coworking spaces in Manila, Dhaka, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and other major cities in the region.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Sekai Lab secures $6.4M in 4th round led by Yahoo Japan’s VC to boost global expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced on Thursday that it has fundraised 700 million yen (about $6.4 million US) in the fourth round. This round was led by YJ Capital, the investment arm of Yahoo Japan (TSE:4689), with participatin from VC firms including Shinsei Corporate Investment and Fenox Venture Capital, in addition to Shimane-based local businesses like San-in Chuo TV Broadcasting and Tanabe. This round follows their previous $2.5 million funding from Shimane-based Gogin capital and others back in November of 2016, $3.3 million funding from Pasonatech and DG Incubation back in November of 2015, and about $1 million funding from East Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital back in 2014. With the latest funding, the company has raised at least a total of 1.45 billion yen (about $13.2 million) from investors to date. Similar to the reason why Gogin Capital participated in the previous round, getting companies like San-in Chuo TV Broadcasting and Tanabe as a shareholder may have something to do with the fact that Monstar Lab has a development location in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. While offering existing offshore app development services…

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced on Thursday that it has fundraised 700 million yen (about $6.4 million US) in the fourth round. This round was led by YJ Capital, the investment arm of Yahoo Japan (TSE:4689), with participatin from VC firms including Shinsei Corporate Investment and Fenox Venture Capital, in addition to Shimane-based local businesses like San-in Chuo TV Broadcasting and Tanabe.

This round follows their previous $2.5 million funding from Shimane-based Gogin capital and others back in November of 2016, $3.3 million funding from Pasonatech and DG Incubation back in November of 2015, and about $1 million funding from East Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital back in 2014. With the latest funding, the company has raised at least a total of 1.45 billion yen (about $13.2 million) from investors to date.

Similar to the reason why Gogin Capital participated in the previous round, getting companies like San-in Chuo TV Broadcasting and Tanabe as a shareholder may have something to do with the fact that Monstar Lab has a development location in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. While offering existing offshore app development services as well, the company plans to invite more engineers from overseas to these locations within Japan, looking to help improve the situation in and around Shimane where companies still struggle with lack of system engineers.

With the recent acquisition of Danish app agency Nodes, the Tokyo company now has 17 locations worldwide for sales and app development efforts. With the latest funding, the company says it will aim to help Japanese companies expand into the Europe and US markets (localization and digital marketing), curate cutting-edge technologies and products from the global market, as well as expecting to receive more orders of outsourced app development work in the Europe and US markets.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s Sekai Lab buys Danish agency Nodes to scale up outsourced app devs in Europe

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Copenhagen-headquartered app agency Nodes ( English / Danish ) for Europe Expansion. This acquisition makes Monstar Lab secure three Nodes’ office locations: Copenhagen (Denmark), Aarhus (Denmark) and London (UK), meaning that the Tokyo company now has 17 locations worldwide for sales and app development efforts. Financial details of the deal such as the investment ratio and the payment date have not been disclosed. When Monstar Lab acquired Manila-based Ideyatech, the former rebranded the latter into Monstar Lab Manila. It is still unclear if the Tokyo company intends to unify its brand with Nodes because the Danish company has a certain level of strong brand presence in the European market where it has clients of globally renowned companies like Samsung, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline. With the acquisition at this time around, Monstar Lab has their presence in three major economies: North America, Asia and Europe. The company claims that it will collect around half of all revenue from outside Japan in 2019. Node is a mobile app development agency founded back in 2008, employing 75 people…

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Copenhagen-headquartered app agency Nodes ( English / Danish ) for Europe Expansion. This acquisition makes Monstar Lab secure three Nodes’ office locations: Copenhagen (Denmark), Aarhus (Denmark) and London (UK), meaning that the Tokyo company now has 17 locations worldwide for sales and app development efforts. Financial details of the deal such as the investment ratio and the payment date have not been disclosed.

When Monstar Lab acquired Manila-based Ideyatech, the former rebranded the latter into Monstar Lab Manila. It is still unclear if the Tokyo company intends to unify its brand with Nodes because the Danish company has a certain level of strong brand presence in the European market where it has clients of globally renowned companies like Samsung, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline. With the acquisition at this time around, Monstar Lab has their presence in three major economies: North America, Asia and Europe. The company claims that it will collect around half of all revenue from outside Japan in 2019.

Node is a mobile app development agency founded back in 2008, employing 75 people consisting of developers, designers and mobile consultants in three locations in Denmark and UK. Carnival.io, the mobile marketing-focused subsidiary of cloud-based customer relationship management platform developer Sailthru, has chosen Nodes as one of the top 12 European Mobile Agencies in 2017.

Regarding the reasons why Monstar Lab has chosen Nodes for acquisition, the Tokyo company answered that:

  1. Nodes has established its brand in multiple countries in Europe
  2. Nodes has talented engineers and designers
  3. Nodes has a cultural background which may create synergy with Monstar Lab

Hiroki Inagawa, CEO of Monstar Lab, gave us a comment on the acquisition:

Nodes has excellent engineering skills and design capabilities, and is also one of the few companies that has successfully established a high position in the UK market. Our decisive factor was their young founders and management teams with high motivation for growth.

Going forward, we will aim to be Europe’s No.1 digital product developer with Nodes as our regional headquarters, and also aim to be the world’s No.1 digital product developer with all Monstar Lab group companies.

Japan’s crowdsourced app development service Sekai Lab gets $2.5M for further expansion

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced on Friday that it has secured 250 million yen (about $2.5 million) from Gogin Capital (investment arm of San-in Gogo Bank headquartered in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture) and Resona Capital in addition to existing shareholders. This follows their previous $3.3 million funding from Pasonatech and DG Incubation. We have not confirmed which funding round this is. Monstar Lab now offers app development in 17 countries worldwide including China, Bangladesh and Vietnam but still busies themselves in further expanding markets. The company’s CEO Hiroki Inagawa visited Jordan in October, which hints at the possibility of expansion into the Middle East from Asia where they now have multiple development locations. The funds raised this time will be used for such market expansion efforts. Getting Gogin Capital onboard as a shareholder may have something to do with the fact that Monstar Lab has a development location in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. While offering existing offshore app development services as well, the company plans to invite more engineers from overseas to these locations within Japan, looking to help improve the situation in and around Shimane where…

sekailab-bangladesh
Sekai Lab Bangladesh Team (Image credit: Sekai Lab)

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company providing crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced on Friday that it has secured 250 million yen (about $2.5 million) from Gogin Capital (investment arm of San-in Gogo Bank headquartered in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture) and Resona Capital in addition to existing shareholders. This follows their previous $3.3 million funding from Pasonatech and DG Incubation. We have not confirmed which funding round this is.

Monstar Lab now offers app development in 17 countries worldwide including China, Bangladesh and Vietnam but still busies themselves in further expanding markets. The company’s CEO Hiroki Inagawa visited Jordan in October, which hints at the possibility of expansion into the Middle East from Asia where they now have multiple development locations. The funds raised this time will be used for such market expansion efforts.

Getting Gogin Capital onboard as a shareholder may have something to do with the fact that Monstar Lab has a development location in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. While offering existing offshore app development services as well, the company plans to invite more engineers from overseas to these locations within Japan, looking to help improve the situation in and around Shimane where companies still struggle with lack of system engineers.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

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Japan’s crowdsourced app development service Sekai Lab raises $1.2M

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Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company that provides crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced last week that it has fundraised 120 million yen (approximately $1.2 million) from East Ventures, SMBC Venture Capital, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital. See also: Sekai Lab: Crowdsourcing platform lets Japanese companies find developer teams around Asia The company launched Sekai Lab in March, where Japanese companies can crowdsource their app development tasks at affordable rates from over 300 teams comprising 3,000 crowdsourced engineers from 10 countries. The company will use the funds to boost business expansion through their subsidiary in Singapore, aiming to transact more than $10 million in deals, as well as acquire 100,000 crowdsourced engineers in three years. Monstar Lab also provides Monstar Channel, an online music distribution service for merchants and consumers.

sekai-labo

Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, the company that provides crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, announced last week that it has fundraised 120 million yen (approximately $1.2 million) from East Ventures, SMBC Venture Capital, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

See also:

The company launched Sekai Lab in March, where Japanese companies can crowdsource their app development tasks at affordable rates from over 300 teams comprising 3,000 crowdsourced engineers from 10 countries. The company will use the funds to boost business expansion through their subsidiary in Singapore, aiming to transact more than $10 million in deals, as well as acquire 100,000 crowdsourced engineers in three years.

Monstar Lab also provides Monstar Channel, an online music distribution service for merchants and consumers.

Sekai Lab: Crowdsourcing platform lets Japanese companies find developer teams around Asia

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See the original article in Japanese Sekai Lab, a company under Singapore-based music/game company Monstar Lab, has launched a crowdsourcing platform. It lets companies in Japan find engineers from all around the world, but still using Japanese. With the rapid spread of smartphones in Japan, more and more app developers are needed these days. Sekai Lab COO Ikkei Okuma thought that the company could provide a solution to match Japanese companies with skilled engineers in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. Okuma explains: There are many great engineers in Asia. But there is no platform in Japanese to match them with companies in Japan, making it very difficult for companies to outsource their work. Workers registered on most crowdsourcing platforms are individuals, which makes it hard to outsource a big project using crowdsourcing platforms. Sekai Lab aims to address these issues. The cost of human resources on Sekai Lab are relatively low. And by providing Asian engineers with high skill sets, the company hopes to alleviate the shortage of engineers currently plaguing Japan. So how does it work? Development processes are executed through communication between the developer team and the company that outsourced the work. And depending on the…

sekai labo

See the original article in Japanese

Sekai Lab, a company under Singapore-based music/game company Monstar Lab, has launched a crowdsourcing platform. It lets companies in Japan find engineers from all around the world, but still using Japanese.

With the rapid spread of smartphones in Japan, more and more app developers are needed these days. Sekai Lab COO Ikkei Okuma thought that the company could provide a solution to match Japanese companies with skilled engineers in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. Okuma explains:

There are many great engineers in Asia. But there is no platform in Japanese to match them with companies in Japan, making it very difficult for companies to outsource their work. Workers registered on most crowdsourcing platforms are individuals, which makes it hard to outsource a big project using crowdsourcing platforms. Sekai Lab aims to address these issues.

The cost of human resources on Sekai Lab are relatively low. And by providing Asian engineers with high skill sets, the company hopes to alleviate the shortage of engineers currently plaguing Japan.

So how does it work? Development processes are executed through communication between the developer team and the company that outsourced the work. And depending on the project, Monstar Lab can provide support as well.

On the Sekai Lab website, you can find engineers across many different categories, such as the type of app required, cost, and the past experience of the team.

sekailabo team

Okuma also told us a little about how they screen teams for registration.

For the time being, we only register companies who have an office in Japan, in addition to their developer base outside Japan. We meet the team face-to-face and confirm their past experience. We gather information about the team leader and put it on our website.

In Japan, crowdsourcing service is getting lots of attention these days, with Lancers and Crowdworks showing remarkable growth. Can crowdsourcing beyond Japan’s borders be successful as well? We’ll keep watching Sekai Lab, so stay tuned.