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How Japanese startups can help digital transformation efforts of Thai enterprises

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This guest post is authored by Hiroko Mamoto, Public Retalations at Bangkok-based recruiting platform startup TalentEx. Some of our coverage about TalentEx can be found here and there. See the originl story in Jaapnese. In partnership with Omise and Abeja – two outstanding and rapidly-growing startups in Southeast Asia led by Japanese entrepreneurs, the Japanese embassy in Thailand recently hosted a conference called Digital Transformation Summit (DX Summit for short) at the headquarters of Thai top property developer Ananda Development. The conference is a part of “Open Innovation Columbus (OIC)” through which the Japanese government and Thai conglomerates encourage strategic alliances between innovative Japanese startups and the Thai conglomerates. Approximately 50 representatives from 30 Thai conglomerates participated in the first summit, along with 30 representatives from 30 major companies from Japan. In addition to government officials and media from both countries, Global Brain CEO Yasuhiko Yurimoto and KK Fund General Partner Koichi Saito also participated. See also: Columbus charts course (Bangkok Post) Thailand, Japan join hands to develop local startups (Bangkok Post) เอกอัครราชทูตญี่ปุ่นประจำประเทศไทยสนับสนุน Start-up ญี่ปุ่น ลงทุนในไทย (Royal Thai Government) OIC was launched with the goal of developing successful Japanese startups around the world and to meet the demand for state-of-the-art…

Hiroko Mamoto

This guest post is authored by Hiroko Mamoto, Public Retalations at Bangkok-based recruiting platform startup TalentEx.

Some of our coverage about TalentEx can be found here and there.

The participants of the DX Summit. Japan’s Ambassador to Thailand Shiro Sadoshima stands in the center.
Image credit: Hiroko Mamoto

See the originl story in Jaapnese.

In partnership with Omise and Abeja – two outstanding and rapidly-growing startups in Southeast Asia led by Japanese entrepreneurs, the Japanese embassy in Thailand recently hosted a conference called Digital Transformation Summit (DX Summit for short) at the headquarters of Thai top property developer Ananda Development. The conference is a part of “Open Innovation Columbus (OIC)” through which the Japanese government and Thai conglomerates encourage strategic alliances between innovative Japanese startups and the Thai conglomerates.

Approximately 50 representatives from 30 Thai conglomerates participated in the first summit, along with 30 representatives from 30 major companies from Japan. In addition to government officials and media from both countries, Global Brain CEO Yasuhiko Yurimoto and KK Fund General Partner Koichi Saito also participated.

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OIC was launched with the goal of developing successful Japanese startups around the world and to meet the demand for state-of-the-art technology from the conglomerates lead by ASEAN. The Japanese government serves as mediator between the concerned parties, providing enriching support content such as matching and follow-ups, funds for expanding business in Thailand, and mentoring with Japanese entrepreneurs on the ground in Thailand.

Naoki Tonogi, CEO of Abeja Singapore
Image credit: Hiroko Mamoto

The theme of this year’s DX Summit was AI (artificial intelligence) and blockchain, and one aim was to have designated knowledgeable persons assist the representatives from Thai conglomerates in gaining a deeper understanding of digital technology. Abeja Singapore Representative Naoki Tonogi and Omise Holdings CEO Jun Hasegawa served as speakers during the seminar.

Tonogi spoke passionately about technology up to present day that did not yet have AI, and how AI is innovative by answering the straightforward question, “What is AI?” He also introduced practical examples of AI provided by Abeja, and based on those, he discussed the future of AI technology and market considerations.

Jun Hasegawa, CE of Omise Holdings
Image credit: Hiroko Mamoto

Hasegawa in turn used an explanation of products offered by Omise to showcase concrete examples of how blockchain can be used. His explanation included a basic outline, as well as the characteristics and merits of blockchain technology, and participants gains further understanding through question and answer time.

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Japan’s Ambassador to Thailand, Shiro Sadoshima, imparted these words following the DX Summit.

I anticipate positive results through the cooperation of the decidedly flexible Thai companies and the technology and speed of Japanese startups.

Omise’s Hasegawa, who also serves as Chairman of the Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network (JAIS) [1] , related the following.

Just through breaching language barriers/ culture barriers/ market barriers, the methods of doing business can be improved. This is why, even as an entrepreneur myself who can understand the pain of doing business abroad, I’d like to continue to support events such as this which provide a space to connect with local companies.

Prior to the OIC, Sadoshima meets with Thai Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakool to discuss cooperative relations

Prior to the OIC, Japanese Ambassador Sadoshima meets with Thai Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakool to discuss cooperative relations.
Image credit: Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand

Representatives from the Thai conglomerates also shared their positive impressions of the seminar.

Thanapong Na Ranong, First Senior Vice President of Kasikornbank / Managing Director of Kasikornbank’s investment arm Beacon Venture Capital, says,

I am very excited about this event and any future efforts. As the cultures of Japan and Thailand are very close, I expect good outcomes. After listening to today’s seminar, I’d like to try out the technologies with robots first.

Lena Ng, Chief Investment Officer at Amata Corporation, says,

We are developing a smart city in an industrial area, and there are many Japanese companies in the industrial area managed by our company. We believe we can use AI and blockchain technology to develop smart business in our industrial area, and this is why we’d like to incorporate it.

OIC plans to hold pitch events and arrange matching opportunities for Thai conglomerates and Japanese startups within the year.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda


  1. There are separate organizations for each country under JAIS: JTIS (Japan-Thailand), JMIS (Japan-Malaysia), JVIS (Japan-Vietnam), JIIS (Japan-Indonesia), JPIS (Japan-Philippines), JSIS (Japan-Singapore). For more information on the initiations of the first organization, JTIS, please see here.

Omise secures series B++ round funding from Global Brain, Mitsui Fudosan, SMDV

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  See the original story in Japanese. Bangkok- and Tokyo-based Omise Holdings, providing the Omise online payment services as well as the OmiseGo (OMG) token economy-powered initiative, announced today it has raised an undisclosed sum in a series B++ round from Global Brain, 31 Ventures (the investment arm of Mitsui Fudosan), and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures (SMDV for short, the investment arm of Indonesia’s leading conglomerate). With the latest funding, Omise wants to deliver their financial infrastructure services under development to more people through strategic partnerships with the participating investors. Omise’s previous equity based funding was a series B+ round back in October of 2017. As far as disclosed, the company has raised more than $45 million US including $25 million US funding via ICO (initial coin offering) as well as equity financing. Omise has been in cooperation with Global Brain, especially in managing Ethereum Community Fund (ECF) and the Neutrino blockchain-focused co-working space network. 31 Ventures currently runs a $270 million fund named 31 Ventures Global Brain Growth I, jointly managed by Global Brain and Mitsui Fudosan. SMDV participated in a series B round back in July of 2016, and will play a significant role in marketing OmiseGO in…

 

omise-global-brain-mitsui-fudosan
From the left in the back row: Takashi Sano (Partner in charge of Blockchain, Global Brain), Yasuhiko Yurimoto (CEO, Global Brain), Jun Hasegawa (CEO / Founder, Omise Holdings), Takeshi Matsuoka (Executive Manager, Mitsui Fudosan)
From the left in the front row: Shohei Ichimiya (Principal, Global Brain), Takeshi Kodama (Project Manager, Mitsui Fudosan), Masaharu Uno (Country Manager, Omise Japan)
Image credit: Omise Holdings

See the original story in Japanese.

Bangkok- and Tokyo-based Omise Holdings, providing the Omise online payment services as well as the OmiseGo (OMG) token economy-powered initiative, announced today it has raised an undisclosed sum in a series B++ round from Global Brain, 31 Ventures (the investment arm of Mitsui Fudosan), and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures (SMDV for short, the investment arm of Indonesia’s leading conglomerate).

With the latest funding, Omise wants to deliver their financial infrastructure services under development to more people through strategic partnerships with the participating investors.

Omise’s previous equity based funding was a series B+ round back in October of 2017. As far as disclosed, the company has raised more than $45 million US including $25 million US funding via ICO (initial coin offering) as well as equity financing.

Omise has been in cooperation with Global Brain, especially in managing Ethereum Community Fund (ECF) and the Neutrino blockchain-focused co-working space network. 31 Ventures currently runs a $270 million fund named 31 Ventures Global Brain Growth I, jointly managed by Global Brain and Mitsui Fudosan. SMDV participated in a series B round back in July of 2016, and will play a significant role in marketing OmiseGO in the Southeast Asian market. Omise is expected to launch within this year.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Omise, Global Brain to build global network of co-working spaces for blockchain startups

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See the original story in Japanese. OmiseGo (abbreviated as OMG), the token economy-centric initiative by Bangkok-headquartered payment startup Omise and Tokyo-based VC firm Global Brain, held a joint press briefing/meetup in Tokyo today and announced that they will start building a global network of blockchain-focused co-working spaces called Neutrino (named after a fermion) together. The first venue will be set up in Shibuya of Tokyo (with a seating capacity of 40 developers), the largest startup hub in Japan, followed by other locations in Bangkok and Singapore. Jun Hasegawa, OMG CEO, gave his presentation at Global Brain Alliance Forum held in December in Tokyo and emphasized that Ethereum-related business is in the earliest stage and overwhelmingly lacks information plus engineers to build up the ecosystem. To cover for this, Omise has revealed it would build co-working spaces in several cities around the world to gather blockchain startups, foster engineers and create open innovation opportunities including encouraging enterprises to discover blockchain use cases in their business. Global Brain also revealed last year that it would establish a fund focusing on blockchain tech in partnership with Omise, the amount of which is estimated to be several tens of billions of yen (several hundred…

From left: OmiseGO CEO Jun Hasegawa, Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin, Global Brain CEO Yasuhiko Yurimoto
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

OmiseGo (abbreviated as OMG), the token economy-centric initiative by Bangkok-headquartered payment startup Omise and Tokyo-based VC firm Global Brain, held a joint press briefing/meetup in Tokyo today and announced that they will start building a global network of blockchain-focused co-working spaces called Neutrino (named after a fermion) together. The first venue will be set up in Shibuya of Tokyo (with a seating capacity of 40 developers), the largest startup hub in Japan, followed by other locations in Bangkok and Singapore.

Jun Hasegawa, OMG CEO, gave his presentation at Global Brain Alliance Forum held in December in Tokyo and emphasized that Ethereum-related business is in the earliest stage and overwhelmingly lacks information plus engineers to build up the ecosystem. To cover for this, Omise has revealed it would build co-working spaces in several cities around the world to gather blockchain startups, foster engineers and create open innovation opportunities including encouraging enterprises to discover blockchain use cases in their business.

Global Brain also revealed last year that it would establish a fund focusing on blockchain tech in partnership with Omise, the amount of which is estimated to be several tens of billions of yen (several hundred millions of dollars).

In addition, OMG and Global Brain Blockchain Labs (GBBL), the blockchain-focused initiative of the Tokyo VC firm, have announced the launch of Ethereum Community Fund (ECF) in partnership with Cosmos, Golem, Maker and Raiden, aiming to help developers improve Ethereum infrastructure and build dApps (decentralized apps).

In a recent post of Coinsquare, a crypto-centric news website in Canada, OMG’s Hasegawa was introduced as one of the most influential people behind leading digital currencies, alongside with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.

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Neutrino co-working space in Shibuya (For illustrative purposes only, may differ from the actual photoshoot.)
© TRAILHEADS

This is a developing story and may be updated for further details.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s Global Brain establishing fund to invest in blockchain tech, jointly with Omise

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See the original story in Japanese. This article is part of the coverage of Global Brain Alliance Forum 2017 held in Tokyo Tokyo-based VC firm Global Brain held its annual conference called Global Brain Alliance Forum (GBAF) 2017 earlier this month. At a press conference at GBAF, the firm announced that it would establish a fund focusing on blockchain tech in partnership with Omise, the Bangkok-based fintech startup providing the OmiseGo cryptocurrency. The amount of investments is estimated to be several tens of billions of yen (several hundred millions of dollars). This September, Global Brain had established a new subsidiary called GB Blockchain Labs (GBBL) with the aim of fostering the blockchain ecosystem along with Jun Hasegawa (Founder / CEO, OmiseGo) and Thomas Greco (Special Advisor to OmiseGo / ex-advisor to Ethereum Foundation). Omise had raised $25 million by ICO (Initial Coin Offering) this July, exceeding the $20 million total invested from VCs. At the press conference, Yasuhiko Yurimoto (CEO, Global Brain) commented on the current status of its funds under operation. He explained that KDDI Open Innovation Fund, jointly operated by KDDI, has been strengthening investment into Korean startups while 31 VENTURES Global Venture Fund, jointly operated by Mitsui…

L to R: Sayoko Kaji (Venture Partner, Global Brain), Ayako Miyaguchi (Advisor, OmiseGo / ex-Managing Director Japan, Kraken), Yasuhiko Yurimoto (CEO, Global Brain), Jun Hasegawa (Founder / CEO, Omise / OmiseGo), Thomas Greco (Special Advisor, OmiseGo / ex-Advisor, Ethereum Foundation), Hisashi Sano (Venture Partner, Global Brain)
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

See the original story in Japanese.

This article is part of the coverage of Global Brain Alliance Forum 2017 held in Tokyo

Tokyo-based VC firm Global Brain held its annual conference called Global Brain Alliance Forum (GBAF) 2017 earlier this month. At a press conference at GBAF, the firm announced that it would establish a fund focusing on blockchain tech in partnership with Omise, the Bangkok-based fintech startup providing the OmiseGo cryptocurrency. The amount of investments is estimated to be several tens of billions of yen (several hundred millions of dollars).

This September, Global Brain had established a new subsidiary called GB Blockchain Labs (GBBL) with the aim of fostering the blockchain ecosystem along with Jun Hasegawa (Founder / CEO, OmiseGo) and Thomas Greco (Special Advisor to OmiseGo / ex-advisor to Ethereum Foundation). Omise had raised $25 million by ICO (Initial Coin Offering) this July, exceeding the $20 million total invested from VCs.

Hidetaka Aoki (Global Brain; left) and Kan Notoya (Venture Co-creation Dept. of Mitsui Fudosan; right) speaks about PoC (proof of concept) for drone platform developed by Israeli startup SiteAware at Nihombashi, Tokyo
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

At the press conference, Yasuhiko Yurimoto (CEO, Global Brain) commented on the current status of its funds under operation. He explained that KDDI Open Innovation Fund, jointly operated by KDDI, has been strengthening investment into Korean startups while 31 VENTURES Global Venture Fund, jointly operated by Mitsui Fudosan, had invested into Israel-based SiteAware (previously nown as Dronomy), developing drone software for the construction industry. Regarding GB-VI Fund formed last year, he said it had secured 20 billion yen (about $177 million US) in total from 12 limited partners (LPs) and closed funding this June.

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Among their past portfolio companies, 11 firms including Loco Partners (acquired by KDDI), Kabuku (acquired by Futaba), Fluenty (acquired by Samsung) and August (purchased by Assa Abloy) succeeded in exiting during 2017. The cumulative exit success rate of Global Brain since its foundation reached 42% including IPO (initial public offering) and M&A (merger and acquisition).

Global Brain’s fund update 2017
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

During a presentation in the same day given by Hasegawa who is also involved in managing GBBL, he emphasized that Ethereum-related business is in the earliest stage and overwhelmingly lacks information plus engineers to construct the ecosystem. To make up for this, Omise will focus on incubation in this field and revealed it will develop co-working space business for blockchain technology jointly with Global Brain. The first co-working space will be established next spring in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Hasegawa said:

We want to make it the place where top global experts can meet up. […]

Of course, we welcome support from major enterprises, but we really want them to use blockchain for business positively themselves. We intend to bring Japan-born projects to the world, such as Berlin or Poland as well as to Bangkok.

Hasegawa’s presentation implied that the purpose of the co-working space is not only co-working but also a context of open innovation which intends to promote blockchain usein large companies.

Hasegawa emphasizes the firm is aiming to make OmiseGo’s performance to be at 1 million transactions per sec.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

The story about how Hasegawa became motivated to incorporate Ethereum into business is detailed in his recent blog post. As a side note, we will have him at The Bridge’s conference The Coin, to be held in Tokyo next January, as a keynote speaker.

Global Brain’s blockchain-related portfolio companies include Bluzelle, Coins.ph, Digix and Korea-based Dunamu dealing with mobile stock trading services.

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Details of blockchain-focused co-working space business
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Looking at the global trend of blockchain tech-focused VCs, NextBlock Global, the Toronto-based VC investing in blockchain technology, founded by Alex Tapscott (who is the son of prominent futurologist Don Tapscott and is co-author of ‘Blockchain Revolution’ as well), plans an IPO on Toronto Stock Exchange within this year. New York-based ConsenSys, the startup studio that focuses on Ethereum, announced earlier this month that it had established a $50 million fund. Mark Cuban, the investor also known as a millionaire, revealed he has invested into 1confirmation, the $20 million-scale cryptocurrency tech-focused fund established by Nick Tomaino who formerly served Coinbase as Business Development Manager. Furthermore, San Francisco-based Pantera Capital set up a $100 million-scale ICO fund this June.

Within Japan, B Dash Ventures recently launched an ICO-focused fund called B Cryptos jointly with Quoine, the blockchain startup which had raised about $15 million by ICO. Further announcement of fund formation related to cryptocurrency, ICO or blockchain from VCs in and out of Japan can be expected.

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Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Think about community not ICO.

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The article was authored by Jun Hasegawa, CEO of Bangkok-based FinTech startup Omise, and was first appeared on his own Medium feed. It has been reproduced by The Bridge with the approval of him. See also: Omise acquires dtac’s payment services provider Paysbuy to accelerate growth in SEA (e27) Omise Supplements VC Funding Through Abstemious Token Offering (ETHNews) Japan, Thai startups unite to support younger selves; Inaugural meeting held with ministers Omise secures $17.5M to become Southeast Asia’s largest online payments gateway While ICOs have been around for a number of years, only until 2016–2017 did we start to the a whole hosts of ICOs and ICO funded projects entering the mainstream world. I for one have made the decision to step into the center of the ICO activities with hopes that through this unprecedented experience I would challenge myself to learn and grow, while also contributing back to strengthen the blockchain ecosystem in the long run. How did I get here? In 2013 I founded Omise as an e-commerce platform based out of Thailand. Though the efforts to grow out this business I experienced first hand how outdated payment processors, gateways and financial institutions impeded e-commerce growth across the…

Omise CEO Jun Hasegawa

The article was authored by Jun Hasegawa, CEO of Bangkok-based FinTech startup Omise, and was first appeared on his own Medium feed. It has been reproduced by The Bridge with the approval of him.

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While ICOs have been around for a number of years, only until 2016–2017 did we start to the a whole hosts of ICOs and ICO funded projects entering the mainstream world. I for one have made the decision to step into the center of the ICO activities with hopes that through this unprecedented experience I would challenge myself to learn and grow, while also contributing back to strengthen the blockchain ecosystem in the long run.

How did I get here?

The Omise team introduced their beta service at Echelon Thailand in 2014.

In 2013 I founded Omise as an e-commerce platform based out of Thailand. Though the efforts to grow out this business I experienced first hand how outdated payment processors, gateways and financial institutions impeded e-commerce growth across the Asia-Pacific region. In realizing this, my co-founder and I pivoted Omise to became a fully-devoted fintech company focused on providing the most reliable and secure online payments services.

About a year after we launched Omise payment I stumbled across this technology called blockchain, and more specifically Ethereum-based blockchain. This was back in early 2015 when ETH 1 was valued less than US$ 1. I immediately became fascinated by this technology and the promise it brings to scaling Omise’s business.

Since my introduction to the blockchain technology, Omise has committed itself to supporting and strengthening ways to bring this promising technology into mainstream business.

Blockchain community

There are several aspects of what makes blockchain technology so attractive to me personally. The first is, of course, the technological potential. However, there is also another very important aspect that often is glazed over by mainstream world but I feel deserves a greater spotlight: the blockchain community and its ecosystem.

Having submerged myself in the open source technology world both through OmiseGO blockchain and Omise payment, I am truly convinced the unique value of open source technology is its surrounding community. With this, I believe it is Omise and OmiseGO’s responsibility as a member of the wider community to help contribute to and grow it.

From the very beginning of OmiseGO (initially called Omise Blockchain Lab) Donnie and I took the approach of viewing community contribution, sustainability and scalability as a core part when benchmarking our “return on investment”. For instance, Omise provided funding to support the Ethereum’s DEVgrants as well as to DEVCON 1 and 2. Every time we decided to provide funding to support a community initiative,

I’m certain our board members were thinking to themselves “Crazy Jun, here we go again”. However, I fully believe in the community approach and I do believe our contribution, though modest, have provided us with the opportunity to build stronger network of relations amongst the blockchain and Ethereum community.

I would like to reaffirm that Omise and OmiseGO are committed to continuing it’s support to the blockchain and Ethereum community as we move forward into the future.

One example is our long-term supportee “Raiden network” which has been based on Ethereum (Git link). Heiko Hees, CEO at Raiden network, is a distinguished person who has been taking an approach, from an early stage, to the problem of transaction speed (known as “TPS”) that Ethereum will sooner or later be confronted with.

Subsequently, we continued to build more and more relationship with other members including founders of Ethereum and other leading roles in this community-crypto society.

Cryptocurrency for Society

Image credit: timbrk / 123RF

Have you ever attempted to take apart the field of finance? Today’s society employs cash, credit cards, points and other units which both express and alternate primary values in a real form. Thanks to a variety of units, it enables us to make an exchange from one unit to another. Because barter trade was often difficult to apply a measure properly to every single value, people were willing to make a common system that we all agree on.

Accordingly, community was born and currency as a common system was invented. (You can imagine a situation like “This chocolate is worth $1. Do you agree on a price?”) The idea of currency began to widely spread and the society admitted the use of currency as a measuring tool for measuring thousands of values.

Nevertheless, the political (“centralized”) orientation favoring some particular belief by each nation led to produce separate currencies which are in need of some form of administration. As it turned out, the society found a value-alternative method in a temporary sense but ended up with more complicated societies and stood too far from the establishment as a united world.

Furthermore, a form of cash advance into credit cards and other convenient figures. If you are ought to take apart credit cards, they project the amount of money he or she could afford for in advance and gather used-values into one place. In spite of this, due to the spread of the internet across the world, our societies were in search of more convenient methods.

After all, that is where cryptocurrencies came in. The cryptocurrencies were epoch-making architecture which remedies a problem caused by the centralized authority that human history has been facing for a long time. Thanks to its architecture, they make a progress of decentralized system in the true sense.

The other side of the coin is that, this unique system requires greater coordination amongst multilateral participants since participants could influence on the system itself. To put it shortly, participants in the community are really important. It has to be designed to ensure that decision-making is based on whether a majority of participants in the community agree on.

The standard practice is that we can hardly claim a majority of the population becomes the thief in our society, in the same way, wholesome and right decisions are almost surely made for the community.

Yet it is no longer the case with ICO; ICO could potentially demolish the ecosystem in the society & in the community. You might come up with the question “Why OmiseGO is associated with ICO then? We consider ICO as a revolutionary method to raise funds in the next generation and it has an unbelievable potential unless we mistake the method of investment.

Therefore, OmiseGO conducts ICO. In the meanwhile, we are aware of some points.

  1. Ensure many participants can participate.
  2. Raise funds only we need.
  3. “Giving without expectation in return” mindset.
  4. Always stay close to the community (pre & post ICO as well)
  5. Transparency.

We came to the conclusion with these elements in accordance with the active discussions in Slack, Twitter, Reddit, and so on. On the basis of the above, we have been updating our ICO, including a shift form Public ICO to Private ICO.

Image credit: lightboxx / 123RF

It is quite possible to raise xx M USD in 30 seconds from a viewpoint of a demand in the current market if we release the address to the public. Still, we cannot leave the theory “rich grow richer” in this manner. Therefore, we decided to take an opposite direction, departing from a conventional wisdom in terms of the ICO. Of course, we neither treat our approach as consensus -gaining among all, nor wish that will happen. However, after all things considered with a decent amount of time we spent on the discussion on how to wholesomely sustain the ecosystem, we arrived at such conclusion.

A method of ICO will keep progressing and come into common. It is not surprising that a government will engage into ICO one day. Yet until then, testifying whether ICO is a better solution over the conventional methods in terms of the fund raising will ultimately affect our society in the future. Moreover, it is essential for a new society of the cryptocurrencies too.

We don’t mean to mention their names, but if you are the member of the society, you should keep in mind that disruption only occurs in a state with “already-developed”, not with “under developed.” We are meant to raise the standard in order to develop an ecosystem by coexisting and less conflicting each other. Harmonization is the key success factor. Personally, I am not very pleased with the ICO that seemingly intends to raise a mint of money in one year or money with no upper limit because it might corrupt the ecosystem.

(I do not deny the projects. All projects seem interesting and splendid.)

Ecosystem by OmiseGO

OmiseGO has set a goal: Online payment for everyone. Throughout our experience as a business operator in the past two and a half years allows us to explore pain points of customers and infrastructure providers. In order to solve their problems, we kept running full speed. And then we realized that in order to achieve our goal in a true sense, we are in charge of building our ideal ecosystem. Some may say our proposals are quite unrealistic and other giant corporations with sufficient financial resource will eventually take actions instead.

But what is the most important is how fast to put it into practice.  It is certainly possible that only we cannot achieve that. But as stated above, if we work together in the society in full harmony, our idea is more likely to become reality.

Omise boosts to our full speed ahead in a true sense. Omise payment continues to provide business and individual customers an acceptance that can receive values. OmiseGO constructs a network as it will serve as a useful venue for exchanging values.
And above all, we are looking forward to making a more exciting announcement in Q3/2017.

Omise secures $17.5M to become Southeast Asia’s largest online payments gateway

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See the original story in Japanese. Bangkok-based Omise, providing online payment services for retailers in the Southeast Asian region, this week announced a successful fundraising effort. The secured amount is $17.5 million in its series B round led by SBI Investment and other companies whose details have not been disclosed. Some of the existing investors for the earlier round – namely Sinar Mas Digital Ventures, Ascend Money and Golden Gate Ventures – participated in this round as well. Therefore, the total fundraised amount has exceeded $25 million, corresponding to the largest scale among fintech players in the Southeast Asian region. Omise previously fundraised in its series A and an additional round in October of 2015. At that time, the company’s CEO and founder Jun Hasegawa had replied during The Bridge’s interview that his firm aimed to develop its services over 20 countries by the end of 2018 with the secured money. Coinciding with this fundraising, the firm announced that June Seah and Michael Bradley (as Chief Commercial Officer) will join as members of its advisory board. Seah had worked at Visa for 20 years in charge of the Asia-Pacific region while Bradley had worked at CyberSource providing payment solutions, in…

omise-team

See the original story in Japanese.

Bangkok-based Omise, providing online payment services for retailers in the Southeast Asian region, this week announced a successful fundraising effort. The secured amount is $17.5 million in its series B round led by SBI Investment and other companies whose details have not been disclosed.

Some of the existing investors for the earlier round – namely Sinar Mas Digital Ventures, Ascend Money and Golden Gate Ventures – participated in this round as well. Therefore, the total fundraised amount has exceeded $25 million, corresponding to the largest scale among fintech players in the Southeast Asian region.

Omise previously fundraised in its series A and an additional round in October of 2015. At that time, the company’s CEO and founder Jun Hasegawa had replied during The Bridge’s interview that his firm aimed to develop its services over 20 countries by the end of 2018 with the secured money.

Coinciding with this fundraising, the firm announced that June Seah and Michael Bradley (as Chief Commercial Officer) will join as members of its advisory board. Seah had worked at Visa for 20 years in charge of the Asia-Pacific region while Bradley had worked at CyberSource providing payment solutions, in charge of the same region.

So, now a challenge of this Japanese entrepreneur is about to take form.

You can check out the previous article as to details of Omise’s outline and its services. One of its strong points is the advantage in local regions, unlike other payment service players such as Stripe or Braintree.

Hasegawa explained thus:

The global players had expanded their services in one fell swoop in the European and US regions by focusing on credit cards. However, that approach was not available in the Southeast Asian region due to the rather lower ownership ratio of credit cards.

Currently, Omise is providing its services in four countries including Thailand where its base is located. The services adopted various payment methods that are popular in each country, for example in Thailand, local debit cards, net banking or bill payment (payment using bar codes) is available in addition to credit cards. That led to a differentiation from the global players.

On the other hand, the services had a problem in terms of profit ratio. As a lot of online payment services have been popping up both globally and locally, even though the commission charging model has low profitability as it could be further lowered due to excessive competition.

Hasegawa elaborates:

Profitability will be more important for the payment business in the future. There is a limit in the model based on the card brand of Visa / MasterCard as a common background. So, we have come to consider our own infrastructure. Like family credit cards in Japan, I think we could create a charging model eliminating commission fees for the card network through preparation of such proprietary infrastructure.

The reason behind engaging personnel who had been active in Visa is based on such a strategy. Through large-scale fundraising this time, the firm will work on development of deep learning in payment business, or fraud detector / recommendation utilizing machine learning.

Hasegawa concludes:

Although we had focused on payment business for small-sized business operators during 2015 and that resulted in obtaining thousands of accounts, currently we are shifting to a direction where we aim to acquire larger clients. For example, the largest telecom carrier in Thailand – True – or the airline company Nok Air have come to use Omise’s payment infrastructure.

In the Southeast Asian region, services which guarantee 99.999% safety for stable operation of infrastructure are rarely seen. Omise realized services like ‘even if banks fail, our system won’t’ by offering a cloud-based environment and card network connections, and that led to acquisition of large clients.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy