Japan Digest: Monstar Lab, GliaCloud and Nayuta raise funds

The Tokyo Tower, center, stands illuminated at night in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, July 3, 2015. Japan's regional power utilities have endured several years of mounting losses after turning off nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster of March 2011. Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In multiple deal updates from Japanese startups, Monstar Lab has closed a $6.4 million from YJ Capital while Infinity Venture Partners has invested in GliaCloud’s seed round and blockchain IoT startup Nayuta has secured seed funding.

Monstar Lab closes $6.4m led by YJ Capital

Tokyo-based Monstar Lab, which offers crowdsourced offshore app development service Sekai Lab, has closed a JPY 700 million ($6.4 million) in a fourth round fourth funding round led by YJ Capital, the investment arm of Yahoo Japan.

Other investors in the round include Shinsei Corporate Investment, Fenox Venture CapitalSan-in Chuo TV Broadcasting and Tanabe. This latest investment translates to aggregate equity funding of JPY 1.45 billion ($13.2 million).

Previous investments include $2.5 million raised from Shimane-based Gogin Capital and others in November 2016, $3.3 million raised from Pasonatech and DG Incubation in November 2015, an estimated $1 million raised from East Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital in 2014.

It recently acquired a Danish app agency, expanding its footprint to Europe and internationally. This latest investment will see it aid Japanese firms expand into Europe and US markets in the form of localisation and digital marketing.

Infinity Venture Partners backs GliaCloud

Taiwan-based AI startup GliaCloud has closed a $500,000 seed round led by Japanese VC Infinity Venture Partners (IVP). several angel investors also backed the round.

According to a report from The Bridge,  it was set up in July 2015 by Taiwanese Canadian entrepreneur David Chen, who previously founded Tagtoo. The startup supports English, Chinese and Japanese languages and primarily target e-commerce platforms and merchants as well as media companies in Greater China and Japan.

GliaCloud has been developing an AI-powered video creation and editing platform called GliaStudio which understands a topic users present in the form of a sentence.

The technologies that enable this functionality include content management, natural language processing, computer vision and video search. It has partnered 10 firms in Greater China and generates more than 1000 new video clips daily. One of its more notable partnerships is with Toutiao, a Chinese news curating app which recently raised $2 billion, as well as Taiwanese tech news media BusinessNext.

Nayuta raises $1.18m seed

Fukuoka-based blockchain startup Nayuta, which offers new technologies that combine IoT (Internet of Things) and blockchain, has closed a JPY 130 million investment.  The company announced on Thursday that it has raised 140 million yen ($1.18 million) in a seed round from Tokyo-based VC firm Jafco and an unnamed angel investor.

To date, the startup has been self-funded with the investment being the first financial injection from external investors. Investment proceeds will be used to further product and technological development.

Founded in March 2015 by CEO Kenichi Kurimoto, who had previously been working on the development of a SoC (System on Chip) and research of software algorithm for LSI (large-scale integration) circuits, it develops public-blockchain technologies for real-world operational deployments.

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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.