Category: Business

Japanese Fintech Company Money Forward Raises Another US$11 Million

Although MoneyForward did not find success in the Regional Startup WorldCup held on September 2016, instead this Japanese fintech company has gained success in its series D fundraising, gaining another US$11 million to add to its existing pool of US$13.3 million raised last year.

The funding round was led by Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and Mizuho Capital. Existing investors, Fenox Venture Capital and Toho Bank also participated in the round with the anticipation that the fund will be used for global expansion.

Founded in May, 2o12, Tokyo-based MoneyForward is a personal financial management and cloud-based accounting software service which aims to make financial management easy for the individual. Its app of the same name includes accounting functions, payroll service, statement collection, expense reporting, financial projections and the ability to send an invoice.

But, what sets it apart from other services offering financial management, local competitors such as Moneytree, Zaim and Freee is that MoneyForward is backed by several financial institutions, that is local banks including North Pacific Bank, Gunma Bank, Fukui Bank, and Shiga Bank. The company also has a deeper pocket compared to its competitors with its total funds from this and previous rounds accumulating up to US$48 million.

The service to date has over 4 million individual users as well as used by 500, 000 businesses in Japan.

According to Founder and CEO, Yosuke Tsuji, the startup is keen to invest in more Asian fintech services and encourage entrepreneurs to make themselves known. The company has already invested in a homegrown machine-learning advisor Money Design.

About MoneyForward:

Fintech startup MoneyForward offers online tools that allow individuals and SMEs to manage their finances and expenses. Users can link their various banking, credit purchase history, and securities account to a cloud-based platform.

For more information, please visit https://moneyforward.com/

Contact Info:
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

Finding Success In The Most Unlikeliest Place – Talking Toes

Spreading positivity with socks, Talking Toes found success in the most unlikeliest of place – yes, a pair of socks. Founded in April 2015, this company was started up by Singaporeans Nison Chan and Lucas Saw as the pair quit their jobs to pursue this startup dream.

The two has now found success with their socks being stocked in 17 stores both locally and worldwide, among which 14 are in Singapore and one international stockist each in South Korea, Myanmar, and San Francisco.

Looking back, founder Nison Chan says that he always had an affinity with socks since he was a teenager, his favorite being an international socks brand called Happy Socks. Since his first pair, his fancy socks collection has grown to now filled up three bags.

Placing what they love to work, the founders said that “Talking Toes aren’t simply socks, they sell inspiration.”

True to that, the pair of socks with vibrant colors and snippets of inspiration printed onto them can lift anyone’s spirit when they put it on and start their day.  Most of the quotes are short, sweet and concise such as “Celebrate Life”, “Be Yourself” and “Dream Big”.

It’s not just that, the socks are also of premium quality, woven from combed cotton, which is different from regular cotton, being finer, stronger and more compact. This material allows the socks to have a gentler and softer feel on the feet while maintaining durability and design quality.

Besides that, seeking to expand their business to more international audiences, Talking Toes has also placed a project on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter last month. Promoting itself as the world’s first inspirational label, Talking Toes to date, with 20 days to go has already achieved the support of 83 backers and also exceeded its goal of S$3000 with a surplus of $1366.

About Talking Toes
Talking Toes offer premium quality socks with inspirational quotes on them.  It currently has 9 inspiring designs with the most popular being, “Blessed”, “Be Yourself” and “Be Confident”. Their socks can be purchased online or bought from 14 stores in Singapore.

For more information, please visit https://talkingtoes.com.sg/

Contact Info
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

Singapore-based Digital Property Agency, Greyloft Concludes Seed Funding With US$1.1 Mil

When it comes to buying or renting a home, the process can be quite a hassle. Witnessing this, a Singaporean-based real estate startup, Greyloft seeks to bring the experience of house hunting online. In its most recent fundraising round, it secured an amount of US$1.1 million with the round led by DSG Consumer Partners and Wavemaker Partners.

Aiming to bring the whole realty journey online, Greyloft is a licensed real estate agency experimenting with the uses of technology to achieve the facilitation of house rental processes online. In other words, Greyloft aims to become a one-stop platform for users to make a smarter decision on deciding where to live.

Founded in September 2016, the story behind the company started when the founders, Mr. Narayanan and Mr. Agarwal experienced the troublesome house-hunting processes themselves when they came to Singapore to pursue their studies in the National University of Singapore.

Henceforth, the startup embodies their goals to bring transparency and simplification to the process as well as working towards the common goal of being “Asia’s preferred brokerage”. To accomplish this, the startup is working on a combination of software tools with its own in-house real estate agents who aid home seekers with paperwork, moving in and support after the customer moves into the new property.

Instead of going to multiple agents when you want to purchase or rent a house, Greyloft provides customers with as much information about the properties in their interested location sufficient enough to facilitate decision-making.

“A lot of the data that our customers need is already out there. However, it’s hard to make sense of it all, and they tend to refer to unreliable sources for information. We are building a team of data scientists and researchers to develop technology that will help cut through this clutter and present them with relevant information and data,” says Archit Agarwal, Greyloft co-founder

The startup also plans to extend it reaches from rentals to property sales. Greyloft will put funding toward product development, build data-driven online research tools for customers and tools that make the offline segment of real estate businesses easier for both the users and the agent. The funding will also be intended for recruitment purposes, building up its product team and agent staff as well as to boost the brand through various marketing efforts.

The company monetizes by charging a commission on successful transactions. Siddhesh doesn’t provide specific numbers but tells Tech in Asia that Greyloft’s revenue has grown 18 percent month-on-month since January 2016.

For more information, please visit https://www.greyloft.com/

Contact Info:
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

Singapore-based Startup, Refash Raises US$ 294K In Seed Funding Round

A startup enterprise based in Singapore, Refash has recently announced that it has raised S$400,000 (approximately US$294K) worth of fundings for its starting seed round. The funding round was led by Singapore’s Tri5 Ventures and Malaysia’s Tinkbig Ventures.

For those uninitiated, Refash was named after the concept of “refashioning” which means the reinvention of a new type of fashion trend where people can still spot a different outfit daily without burning a hole in their wallet.

The idea was also borne out of the alarming environmental consequences of trending fashion where 41.5 million kilogram of clothings were being disposed by Singaporeans annually.

Hence, Refash hopes to hone and grow the acceptance of Singaporeans in the practice of buying and using second-hand clothings by mediating the process and provide a solution to resell clothing surplus efficiently, easily and quickly.

In other words, Refash aims to help women clear their wardrobe through providing a retail platform for women to buy and sell their clothing items efficiently. The startup also look forward to refashion the concept of “buying” for shoppers, enforcing the idea that they do not have to hold on to the clothes forever.

“The disposing of so much clothing is a real waste, literally. Rather than just throwing away, I believe in the immense potential in the problems we are solving – bursting closets, clothes wastage and rising landfills to dispose these clothes”, said Refash CEO and Founder, Aloysius Sng in e27.

Hence, by creating a system which facilitates fashion resell, users who wish to clean out their closets just have to pack their unwanted items and the rest is handled by the Refash team where the team will then sell the items on their platform and outlets.

“People who want to clear their closets of unwanted clothes just need to pack and have them picked up by Refash. We will do the rest,” Aloysius Sng adds.

Since its launch in January 2016, the idea has been proven profitable as the six-months old enterprise has already earned a revenue of S$250,000. Selling more than half of the 40,000 “looking-brand new” clothing items which it has processed. Additionally, the startup has also successfully cashed out at least S$150,000 to its sellers.

Reportedly on e27, Refash plans to use the fundings on enhancing its technology, both on the front-end platform as well as their back-end inventory system. It also plans to build on its business networking group of resellers to facilitate quicker movement of the items.

Besides that, Refash with Tinkbig Venture on board. also has the ambition to expand its market to Malaysia by the end of the year.

About Refash:
Refash is a Singaporean-based fashion portal that sells second-hand fashion, helping women get rid of clothes they no longer want to keep. Refash collects clothes from sellers and processes them which includes taking snapshots of the item before listing them on the website for sale.

India-based SaaS firm, CloudCherry raises US$6 million In Series A Round Funding

After raising US$1 million in their seed funding round, CloudCherry, an enterprise startup based in Chennai, India has raised to new heights as they recently closed their Series A funding with a six-fold increase of US$6 million.

The funding was led by prominent venture capitals – Vertex Ventures and Cisco Investments plus existing investor IDG Ventures, which now only holds a minority stake in the corporation. This amount by far has made a record for the highest 2016 Series A funding raised by a SaaS startup.

Understanding that a quick, genuine response can always be a game changer to secure a happy customer, CloudCherry was established to help companies by providing a way to act fast on customer feedback.

Thus, CloudCherry set out to provide a platform for companies where companies can apply key metrics to gauge customer experience, capture customer feedback as well as get notified about customer insights in real-time to intervene and fix issues.

The startup enterprise currently works with companies in sectors of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), hospitality, healthcare, retail, manufacturing as well as e-commerce whereby their clients include brand names such as World of Titan, HDFC Bank, Caratlane and Central Voonik.

According to Deal Street Asia, CEO and co-founder of CloudCherry, Vinod Muthukrishnan said that “With this funding and their support, we are many steps closer to making our presence globally and becoming the name synonymous with Customer Experience.”

In a separate statement, the CloudCherry co-founder has also expressed his ambitions for the company, as they are looking to expand their business outside of India, targeting the markets of United States, Southeast Asia, and West Asia.

About CloudCherry:
Founded in 2013, CloudCherry is a SaaS firm formed with the coming together of a group of management gurus, business leaders and experts in mobility, analytics and technology sectors. The company based in Chennai, India specializes in customer analytics technology whereby it collaborates with brands to provide real-time analytics of the company’s products as well as to help them track, measure and improve user satisfaction.

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