Japan: Minimal Technologies raises $2.6m Series B; Kyash closes $8.5m Series A

Photo: Reuters

Minimal Technologies, the company behind WOVN.io, has raised $2.6 million in a Series B investment. Kyash has closed an $8.5 million Series A round.

WOVN.io closes $2.6m Series B in round led by SBI Investment

Minimal Technologies, which provides a multilingual support platform for websites called WOVN.io, has closed 300 million yen (~$2.6 million) in a Series B round.

The round, reported by The Bridge, was led by SBI Investment and saw participation from publicly listed firms Toppan Printing and Adways, as well as SMBC Venture Capital. Wovn will also be engaging in talent acquisition aimed at expanding their engineering team with the proceeds from their latest investment.

The company closed its last round of funding in September 2015, raising $1.1 million. This latest investment brings aggregate equity funding raised to 430 million yen (~$3.7 million US).

Wovn works with machine and human translation services, streamlining the multi-lingualisation of websites that only support one language. According to the company, as of November 2016, Wovn has provided multilingual support for a total of about 830,000 pages on 8,000 website domains, with a range of corporate clients.

With the investment, Minimal is expected to enter into business partnerships with SBI Investment, Toppan Printing, and Adways. The firms will leverage on Wovns’ capabilities to strengthen their own offerings.

Kyash secures $8.5m Series A

Tokyo-based startup Kyash, a startup venture focused on offering remittance and payments systems, has secured over 1 billion yen (over $8.5 million US) in a Series A round led by Tokyo-listed Jafco.

Kyash users can register their credit cards to their Kyash e-wallet app, charge their wallet with money from their credit cards, and then remit it to other Kyash users. This allows users to prompt other users for settlements, though it is not available and currently in beta testing.

The round also saw participation from Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG; TSE:8316), Itochu CorporationDentsu Digital Holdings (DDH), and Mizuho Financial Group. This transaction will also see Kyash enter into business partnerships with SMFG, Dentsu, and Itochu.

The Bridge reports that this transaction follows the firm raising 170 million yen (~$1.4 million) in seed funding back in July 2015. This specific round was led by Mitsui Sumitomo Venture Capital and another two undisclosed companies.

The investment will see Hiroshi Minoura, a former VP of Mitsui Sumitomo Bank (SMBC) and the current CEO of US-based Greenhill & Co.s Japanese subsidiary, appointed as an advisor to Kyash.

Since launching in January 2015, Kyash has been operating in stealth mode and working on developing their mobile app “Kyash” which enables peer to peer money transfers (or C2C settlements), while developing a real-time push notification/history browsing system for mobile regarding credit card usage.

Kyash has also forged a partnership with Visa, operating as its virtual credit card through an arrangement permitting Kyash to issue credit cards and using money pooled in the Kyash wallet app to shop at Visa merchants worldwide.

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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.