6 rising startups in Japan

6 rising startups in Japan

This week, a funding record was broken in Japan. For more details and other news, read on!

 

Space exploration startup Ispace just broke the record for a series A investment in Japan after it amassed US$90 million from 12 investors. The startup is behind the team Hakuto, a competitor in Google’s Lunar Xprizerace. Five teams are vying to win  the grand prize of US$20 million: it will go to the first group to place a spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 meters, and send high-definition videos and images back to Earth. The Hakuto team is scheduled to launch on December 28.

Apart from this venture, Ispace is also planning two lunar launches in 2019 and 2020. They are looking to search the moon for resources and explore the possibilities of expanding life beyond Earth.

Mago Chaneru: Grandchildren Channel

Developed by ChikakuMago Chaneru – which means “grandchildren channel” in Japanese – enables grandparents to watch  videos and images of their grandchildren. The US$1,700 box device is designed to be installed to a TV.  When the latest pictures or videos arrive, a notification light turns on to alert users.

The company just raised US$1.3 million from Incubate Fund. This comes after it got US$900 thousand from 500 Startups from a round raised in December 2016. Total funding now is over US$2.5 million.

 

Kaizen Platform

Kaizen Platform, which appeared in TIA’s first-ever Tokyo pitch battle, is a Japanese startup that developed Kaizen Ad – a solution for optimizing Facebook video advertisements. The word “kaizen” refers to the philosophy of continuous improvement, and this marketing tool  is designed to track the performance of ads made by Kaizen and improves upon them once KPIs show signs of decline. By simply sharing ideas and concepts, Kaizen Ad will develop a variety of options for ads and continue to monitor and alter them. Customers include several well-known Japanese corporations like Yahoo Japan, JAL, and Rakuten.

Kaizen Platform has just raised US$4.7 million in their series C from Mizuho Capital, YJ Capital, SBI Investment, and Dentsu. With this new infusion, total funding for Kaizen Platform rounds out to about US$23 million.

Candee

Candee, a media startup focused on livestreaming and talent management, just received US$21.5 million from seven investors, including Eight Roads Ventures Japan, YJ Capital, NTT Docomo, Opt Ventures, Gree, Daiichi Shokai, and Mizuho Capital. Candee produces advertisements as well as general video content, but it’s looking to use the raised funds to strengthen and expand its Live Shop! app.

Released in June 2016, Live Shop! is targeted at young women. The app allows popular Instagrammers and other social media influencers to post livestreams with a maximum running time of an hour. Viewers can write comments and send heart emojis as well as  purchase interesting products presented throughout the videos.

Aside from developing media, Candee  has also invested in early-stage Instagram media company LUTE. This puts Candee in a position to be a leader in digital-first marketing and talent management, disrupting the traditional leaders that are lagging behind.

Pear

Fukuoka-based Pear has developed Omni Core, an ecommerce support service site. The service will help users manage sales that are spread over multiple ecommerce sites like  Rakuten, Amazon, and Yahoo Japan, among others.  The startup is in the process of opening the beta version of Omni Core and plans to initially use a freemium model after its official release. Pear is also looking to charge customers who sell over approximately US$270,000 a month for consulting services.

The company has just raised its seed round of approximately US$311 thousandfrom BEENEXT, Daiwa, and FVentures.

With companies like Hamee and Item Robot sharing the market, Pear is operating in a competitive landscape. But Pear says that its ease of use and understandability will help it edge out rivals.

Rexit

Wedding services company Rexit has secured US$490 thousand from angel investors Shinichiro Sugiyama of Valetudo and Arai Motoki of Happy Elements. Rexit plans to use the money to expand their wedding-location selection platform, Gensen Wedding.

Apart from giving couples options for wedding venues, Gensen Wedding offers counseling and wedding plan ideas. According to Rexit, over 100 couples have used the service since it was rolled out.