#Asia 6 rising startups in Japan


This week’s roundup features the latest funding for a well-known biz card digitizing company and the newest in AR gaming. Big investors are also in the spotlight – Goldman, Draper Nexus, SMBC, and more.

Full details below:


Meleap has developed HADO, an AR gaming program. Teams are composed of three players and use an AR headset as well as an armband sensor to transport them into the game. Hado, which has 25 stores in nine countries, will hold the Hado World Cup at Tokyo Tower on December 3.

Meleap secured approximately US$2.6 million in its series A round from SMBC VC, Incubate Fund, and DBJ Capital. With these funds, the company is looking to expand into Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur. It’s also developing a new AR game that’s projected to be released next year.

Hideout Club

For US$13 a month, Hideout Club provides its members with one free drink a day from approximately 80 participating bars located in the heart of Tokyo. The site originally started out as a space for whiskey enthusiasts. An ios app was added in October 2017 to provide its 13,000 members with their free drinks.

Hideout Club recently secured approximately US$265,000 in its pre-seed/seed round. Investors include DG Incubation, Future Venture Capital, and Dai-ichi Kangyo Credit Cooperative, among others.


Sansan is a cloud-based business card digitization system that allows companies to store their contacts in a database that can be shared internally and accessed from anywhere. Sansan also has an app called Eight that is targeted towards individuals. Eight’s free service allows individuals to take photos of their business cards and create their own personal contact database.

Sansan received US$17.6 million from Goldman Sachs, bringing its total disclosed funding to US$98 million. Sansan is looking to use part of its new funding to expand into India.


Previously called Combinator, Refcome is a cloud-based reference hiring system that enables employees to recommend and refer friends and others to positions within their company. Within a year, Refcome has increased the amount of registered employees tenfold and now has 30,000 registered users. The company also recently developed Refcome Enable, a product that allows companies to track employee engagement through surveys.

Refcome received about US$1.8 million in funding from some of the biggest SaaS investors in Japan: DraperNexus, Beenext, ANRI, and Itochu Technology Ventures.

D Free

Triple W – the maker of D Free, a wearable device that gives users warnings about their bowel movements – has just raised a pre-series B round of approximately US$5 million from Nissei Capital and Hon Hai Investors partner fund. While a poop-alerting device is not exactly the sexiest gadget, it has a target market: the ageing Japanese population.

Triple W previously raised their series A of US$4 million in 2016.


Social recruiting platform Grooves recently launched SkillShift, a service that connects people looking for a side job or opportunities in non-urban areas. Grooves also offers Forkwell, an IT engineer recruiting platform, and Crowd Agent, a service that connects non-engineer job seekers to employers.

The company raised around US$500,000 from Gogin Capital and got an undisclosed amount of funding from Iwagin Jigyo Souzou Capital on November 8.

This post 6 rising startups in Japan appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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