Author: vivian

Tokyo-Based Toreta Secures US$12 Million In Series

Toreta sets out to solve the dining industry’s biggest problem of customer management. That is by offering a reservation management platform for restaurants. Many have shared its vision as well as the startup concluded its fundraising round with funds 1.2 billion yen (estimated US$12 million).

The startup made its announcement on October 2, 2016, The round was led by Eight Roads Ventures Japan with participation from NTT Docomo Ventures and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital. Four existing shareholders has also participated, that is including Femto Growth Capital, World Innovation Lab (Wil), iSGS Investment Works and Salesforce Ventures.

David Milstein, the Head of Eight Road Ventures Japan has been appointed to join the board as an external director.

Founded in December 2013 and based in Tokyo, the company offers an application of the same name which functions as a reservation and customer management platform for restaurants. Additionally, the system also allows businesses to access services from detailed table and seat management to making online reservations for restaurants.

The business has accumulated more users throughout the years, growing exponentially. On September 2016, Toreta said that it has increasingly acquired more than 7000 restaurants.

“We originally developed our service to solve the problem of managing numerous reservations for extremely busy restaurants but turns out we have acquired many contracts with thriving businesses concentrating on reservations,” says Nakamura, the founder of Toreta in an interview with the Bridge, “We concentrate on the aspects of usability, functionality, and support, we believe that it is through optimizing these aspects in Toreta that has drive businesses and expansions.”

Subsequently, the company aims to use the funds secured this round to enhance their development system and to strengthen their sales and support marketing system.

About Toreta:
Working to become “The Future of Reservation Book”, Toreta is the only reception system available in Japan which acts as a system that facilitates reservation managements for restaurants. From improving the efficiency of seating management to allowing the management of seat inventory at the restaurant side as well as reservations from customers.

For more information, please visit http://en.toreta.in/

Contact Info
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

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

UniFa Wins Japan Regional Championship And Is Now On Road To Startup World Cup For US$1 Million

Ten Japanese startups go head-to-head in the regional round of Startup World Cup, participating in a series of pitch contest as they fight for the chance to be their national representative in order to participate in the grand finale which will be held in Silicon Valley, San Francisco next year.

In the end, the regional champion turned out to be UniFa, a startup enterprise providing  an Internet of Things (IoT) solution for parenting and child development which has won the judges’ votes amidst other competition. The panel of well-known judges was from Japan’s own technology and startup’s system, that is SNS founder Takafumi Horie, ABBA Lab CEO Osamu Ogasahara, and Gumi CE0 Hironao Kunimitsu.

Some of the competition that UniFa has headed up against includes Alpaca, a fintech startup based in Japan and US which leverages on artificial intelligence to create an automated trading platform, and D Free, a medical wearable that detects the user’s intestinal tract activity and alerts the user that it’s time for them to use the restroom.

UniFa, on the other hand,  offers the solution of a small robot called Meebo, an application that is designed to track kindergarteners’ physical and mental growth. It functions as a smart thermometer, and a smart bed collecting data from kindergarteners in order to provide parents with a better idea of their child’s feelings and experiences. The robot is also  said to be able to cut down the unnecessary workload of handling paperwork for kindergarten teachers, which thus would allow  them to concentrate on the child’s education.

With this, UniFa will be able to bring their company mission, that is to lessen the communication gap between children and their parents to the global platform as UniFa has withheld a place as one of the top 16 startups from 14 countries that will go head-to-head on March 24, 2017, in San Francisco where the next wave of entrepreneurs will be born and the winner takes all.

About Startup World Cup:

Looking for the world’s brightest mind across the globe and groundbreaking solutions that will move ecosystems forward, Startup World Cup is an event organized by Fenox Venture Capital  that is dedicated to launching and advising the world’s next wave of leading entrepreneurs.

For more information, please visit: http://www.startupworldcup.io/

Contact Info:
Name: Vivian
Organization: Unicorn Media

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