Fukuoka-based Postalk, the Japanese startup behind a card-based chat tool under the same name, launched the tool’s global edition supporting the English language on Thursday. The new edition was unveiled at the pitch competition at B Dash Camp 2022 Fall, one of Japan’s renowned semi-annual startup conference taking place in Fukuoka. This follows the launch of its original Japanese edition last year.
Postalk was founded in May of 2018 by Yohei Kawano, co-founder of Technical Rockstars, as well as his former colleague developer Kiyohiko Hirama. Technical Rockstars was acquired by TSE-listed cloud service provider Uhuru and then shut down the Milkcocoa service in 2016.
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The platform was born out of their experience at Technical Rockstars where their team members were forced to work apart each other between Fukuoka and Tokyo. Although web apps such as Google Hangout and Google Docs existed at the time, they have many challenges in creating a team work environment in a distance. The platform allows sharing issues and to-dos within the team in a way like sticky notes being put on the whiteboard.
Various SaaS platforms have been created as remote work has become the norm. After his former company’s exit, Kawano, a tech geek himself, had the opportunity to staff a startup community in Fukuoka where he became acutely aware that the startup community is not necessarily composed solely of tech geeks.
When you’re in Tokyo’s Shibuya, it’s commonplace to be able to use Zoom, Slack, and maybe even GitHub. But after coming back to Fukuoka, I found out that it’s quite different. It’s not good to have only people who like geeky things, and it’s hard to work with non-geeks if you only use existing tools. I realized that the tools need to be more open.
According to Kawano, there are many SaaS tools out there that are designed for tech geeks, such as drawing tools and Kanban-style task management tools, which are still difficult for less tech-savvy people to understand. The Postalk platform allows users to simply paste and arrange cards, and if there is a URL, the OGP image can be also displayed. It is used by universities and other organizations for gathering opinions and communicating plans during events.
Postalk reproduces an interesting pay-as-you-go model in which fees are determined by the size of the whiteboard shared. The company is still considering several issues to be addressed in order to have the plaform actively adopted by companies. In the future, they are considering developing a mobile app, linking it with Zoom and Slack, and adding a function that would allow voice input of in-person meetings and comm calls.
The Fukuoka company secured 22.5 million yen (about $210,000 in the exchange rate at the time) in a pre-seed round last year from two local Fukuoka VC firms – Dorgan Beta and FGN ABBALab