Early-stage venture firm East Ventures, which has its roots in Indonesia, has made a JPY 100 million ($889,187) investment in Japanese firm Nulab. This is the first external investment for the enterprise, which was founded in 2004.
Nulab, led by chief executive Masanori Hashimoto, offers three cloud services – Backlog, Cacoo and Typetalk – which are online collaboration tools. In 2013, it shifted away from the development of entrusted systems to focus on its SaaS (software as a service) business.
Investment proceeds will be used to expand its business operations with the launch of an office in Amsterdam, as well as the expansion of its business presence in Europe and North America. It will also be making additional hires at its offices in Japan, Singapore and the US.
The firm currently maintains a workforce of 80 staff operating out of Tokyo, New York City, Taiwan and Singapore, in addition to its headquarters in Fukuoka.
According to the company, its user base currently comprises 780,000 people across 50,000 companies in Japan using the Backlog project management and collaboration tool while 2.8 million people – 86.2 per cent of whom are outside Japan – make use of its Cacoo visual collaboration tool. Via its Nulab platform, users can access all the three web services with a single user account.
According to an interaction with The Bridge, the company is also looking at a public listing. Hashimoto elaborated: “Companies and businesses are different. Nulab is a company, and has three businesses (like three startups): Backlog, Cacoo and Typetalk. Now that these so-called startups have further grown up than I thought, I turned to think I need to focus on stabilizing our management base.”
The aim of the listing is both to raise capital and the firm’s brand profile, in order to enable the firm to focus on product and business development rather than fundraising.