Japanese HR tech startup Grooves raises $3m in funding

Tokyo-based human resources tech startup Grooves on Wednesday announced that it has raised $3 million from travel agency JTB Corporation and the All-Japan Tourism National Fund.

Grooves is targeting to become the first HR tech startup in the ASEAN region to connect global hospitality and tourism talent with opportunities in Japan. It claims to work with a network of over 5,000 Japanese corporations, including local banks.

“Grooves is not just a one-way bridge for Malaysian talents to penetrate the Japanese job market. The idea here is to have the local talents learn deeper into the Japanese business ecosystem and share the knowledge as well as the experience back to their respective countries,” said Grooves chief executive officer Yukihiro Ikemi.

The Tokyo-based human resources tech startup had in January bagged $920,000 from PNB-INSPiRE Ethical Fund (PIEF) to expand its services into the ASEAN region, beginning with Malaysia. In total, it said it has raised over $12 million in external funding.

The recruitment startup is aiming to fulfil a workforce gap in the hospitality and tourism sectors in Japan as the country prepares for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Global Expo 2025. “The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) estimates that currently, the country hosts over 30 million tourists annually and these numbers are expected to increase with the Tokyo Olympics in July 2020,” Grooves said in its statement.

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Japanese HR startup Grooves snags $920k from PNB-INSPiRE Ethical Fund