Japanese fintech startup Folio raises $16m Series A from Jafco, Mitsui

Tokyo-based fintech startup Folio recently announced that it has received a fresh $16 million series A from JAFCO, Monex Ventures, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, and Rakuten Fintech Fund. Existing backers DCM Ventures and Draper Nexus also participated in the round, the company said in a press statement.

The investment follows a $2.7 million seed round back in March 2016, making the total money raised to 2.1 billion yen ($18.7 million).

The company said it will use the fresh capital to promote product development, marketing, and securing human resources.

Commenting on the investment, Rakuten FinTech Fund Managing partner Oscar Miel said: “The greatest attraction of FOLIO ‘s service is that everyone can start investing easily from a small amount of fun and enjoyable subject matter. Folio, led by a wonderful management team, designer, and engineer, is hoping to take a new step in the Japanese asset management market.”

Folio is an online asset management platform that offers bundle stocks around specific themes. Users new to the investing world can purchase a theme, while users with more advanced knowledge are allowed to manipulate the purchasing ratio and other aspects. Investments made in Folio start at around 100,000 yen ($887).

The platform also has a Robo-advisor function – algorithm-based service that acts as automated money managers. With these combined services, Folio aims to be the “next-generation securities company that everyone can easily invest in, which can fully utilize active operation and passive operation.”

Shinichiro Kai, CEO of Folio said, the majority of household financial assets of over 1,750 trillion yen in Japan are still held in the forms of cash and deposits. With public pension restrictions, coupled with declining birthrate and aging society, it is increasingly important for Japan to have more sophisticated asset management services.

“By providing highly novel asset management services that we have never seen before in Japan, we provide means for asset management that is easy to understand for a lot of people. I will continue to devote myself as much as I can to play a part in financing Japan,” he said.

Kai, who previously worked at Goldman Sachs as a trader, founded Folio in December 2015 with the aim of making asset management more accessible.

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