500 Startups leads $13.3m Series B in Tokyo startup SmartHR

SmartHR team

500 Startups, the prolific global seed stage investor, has led the $13.3 million Series B round in Tokyo-based Japanese HR automation service SmartHR, through its Japan-focused fund.

In a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, 500 Startups Japan confirmed that it led the round through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a special fund that invests only in Series B of SmartHR.

Other participants in the fundraising include Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Nikko Co Ltd, and CVC, which invested in SmartHR through 500 Startup Japan’s SPV.

James Riney, head, 500 Startups Japan, said, they have decided to introduce the SPV to participate in the fundraising without having to account for the entire amount raised.

The SPV allowed other investors to put in $1 million to $2 million, with SmartHR not having to communicate to each of the investors but to 500 Startups Japan alone.

“500 Startups Japan will continue to introduce various new initiatives like the SPV to support Japanese startups,” Riney said.

SmartHR Inc. develops the cloud-based software to automate the procedure of social insurance and employment insurance. Based in Tokyo, SmartHR was formerly known as KUFU, Inc. It was founded on January 23, 2013.

In 2015, SmartHR launched the cloud-based personnel and labor management platform for which clients do not need to install servers or other devices. Some 5,000 companies have adopted it.

It was not 500 Startup Japan’s first participation in SmartHR’s fundraising. According to a TechinAsia report, 500 Startups backed SmartHR’s Series A fundraiser in August 2016.

SmartHR said the funds raised will be used to further develop SmartHR and finance hiring and marketing activities, among others.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.