Some seriously cool stuff got funded in Japan last week. Here are our picks for the week.
Astroscale is a Japanese startup that deals with tracking and disposing of space debris. The company is based in Singapore, but after a successful US$7.7 million seed round in 2014 it established offices and manufacturing facilities in Japan.
Today, the startup provides satellite operators with solutions for tracking and monitoring debris in space. They are slated to start testing a spacecraft that can remove old satellites from orbit in 2019.
Last week, the company raised an astronomical US$24 million in a C round of investment from Japanese firms including All Nippon Airways and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital. This round comes three years after Astroscale’s participation at Tech in Asia Singapore 2014’s Arena startup pitch battle.
Open8 is a Japanese company that runs several advertising and video media services. These services include Native Tap, Video Tap, and Letronc.
Video Tap and Native Tap provide a mixture of advertising and lifestyle content aimed at women. Letronc is Open8’s newest service, a “video magazine” that shares information about places to shop, eat, or sightsee.
Open8 closed a round of investment last monday with over US$13 million in funds from Jafco and Globis Capital Partners.
Bitbank is a virtual currency exchange site. Users can keep track of the value of virtual currencies and make trades all through this online marketplace. The company is currently working to provide new services to smartphone users and provide a stronger cryptocurrency environment throughout Japan.
Bitbank’s received US$7.5 million in funding last week from internet marketing company Ceres early last week.
Theo by Money Design
Theo is a robo-adviser service run by Money Design. Theo is one solution for low interest rates and slow economic growth in Japan according to Money Design.
Theo uses an automated system to grow users’ savings by placing them in diversified savings accounts. The program asks users five simple questions about their risk preferences, and makes decisions about their account based on those user preferences.
Money Design received US$4.4 million in funding from Shinsei Bank last week. In addition to this investment, Shinsei Bank and Money Design announced a partnership that will allow Shinsei Bank’s clients to use Theo’s automated service for their personal accounts.
Idein is a startup that develops pattern recognition and deep learning technology. Their main product under development is Actbulb, a device that fits into a socket like a normal lightbulb, but can be used as a camera or microphone. Idein plans to make Actbulb into a powerful tool for video analysis, biometric scanning, and other applications as time goes on.
A group of three investors, including Global Brain’s new venture capital fund, decided to fund the company last week. The total amount invested was nearly US$1.6 million, reports the Bridge.
Tabi Labo is a web-media company that provides content including an online magazine, videos, and virtual reality software. Tabi Labo also produces and manages online advertising.
Big changes are anticipated in Tabi Labo’s business after they announced a partnership with the Discovery Channel and the Digital Advertising Consortium.
At the same time as announcing this partnership, the company revealed in a press release that it had received nearly US$5 million in funds from private investors.
Converted from Japanese Yen. Rate: US$1 = JPY 112.16
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Editor’s Note: These startups are featured because they have acquired funding, and are not necessarily attending Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017.
That’s all for this week’s startups. But there’s always more going on behind the scenes in Japan’s startup scene. Want to lift the veil and see what’s really going on in Japan? Then by all means check out Tech in Asia Tokyo 2017. We’ll have over 150 startups from across Asia showing their stuff at our famed Bootstrap Alley.
If that’s not enough for you, we’ve got keynote speakers from the top of the industry, and the Arena pitch battle where the best of the underdogs will come out on top. If this sounds like a good time to you, claim your conference tickets for 20 percent off until midnight on July 21 using the code tiatokyo20.
Want to get in on the action as an insider? Bootstrap Alley might be for you. We’ll slash 20 percent off your application cost, but only until July 21, 2359 hrs (GMT +9). Check out this page to apply or learn more .
We’ve been bringing you cool Japanese startups lately. Check out them out here.
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