Tokyo-based mobile payment platform TakeMe Pay is targeting to raise $10 million in a Series B funding round in March this year even as it prepares a roadmap for a 2022 initial public offering, a top company executive told DealStreetAsia.
Japan’s oldest and largest travel agent JTB will be one of the investors in the Series B round.
TakeMe Pay, previously known as Japan Foodie or Nihon Bishoku in Japanese, initially operated as a restaurant directory, promotion and reservation platform. It now offers an O2O, cross-border multi-payment gateway for tourists visiting Japan.
The platform connects with global payment services, including MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, AliPay, ApplePay, UnionPay, among others. Visitors need to scan the QR code to choose the payment provider for the transactions.
“The proceeds from the funding will be used to acquire more merchants in Japan because the more merchants we have, the higher the GMV,” TakeMe Pay Head of Southeast Asia Ory Rusli said.
TakeMe Pay CEO Lu Dong said the Series B funding would be the last round before the company’s proposed IPO in Japan by 2022.
“This fundraising would be our pre-IPO series. Because we are based in Japan [and going for IPO in Japan] it requires two years of auditing by law. Now, we are entering the two-year mandatory pre-appeal auditing. After that, we don’t think we need more funding in these two years. I think we’re enough after this round,” Lu said.
The investment will be allocated to beef up its engineering department and to enhance operations in Southeast Asia by recruiting more employees to support the business.
The startup raised a total of $18 million since its inception in 2015. It raised $9.2 million in Series A round in July 2018 led by Japanese-state lender focused on agriculture and forestry sector Norinchukin Bank.
In June 2018, it raised 130 million yen ($1.2 million) in a pre-series A round from several investors including Ikuo Nishioka (former Chairman of Intel Japan), Xiaohang Yuan (Partner at MS Capital), Yusuke Tanaka (Executive Officer at Yahoo Japan), and Legend Partners.
Since TakeMe Pay made inroads into Indonesia in the last quarter of 2018, the startup has been identifying partners for its business, especially in O2O travel industry and payment, as well as targeting tourists from Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia who visit Japan.
Going forward, TakeMe Pay is looking to partner with a host of Indonesian payment issuers. “For our O2O travel business, we have identified a few partners who can help us sell our travel products on their platforms. It is a great opportunity since Tokyo 2020 Olympics is coming this summer,” Rusli said. The company also plans to forge collaboration with retail merchants to cater to growing Japanese tourists visiting SEA.
According to the Japan Tourism Agency data, the number of foreign tourists rose by 2.2 percent to 31.882 million last year, who spent a total of $44 billion in the country.
China tops the number of foreign tourists in Japan, up 14.5 per cent with 9.594 million tourists, while Southeast Asian tourist numbers were up 15.2 percent. Europe, North America, and Australia tourist numbers rose 13.9 percent.
“In Japan, you find that 80 per cent of retail outlets in Japan were still using cash and the remainder accepted credit cards. Four years ago, when we started [our business] in Japan, it was really, really hard. Now more and more merchants accept our payment system,” Lu said.
TakeMe Pay counts NetStars and Tokyo-based e-wallet service AirPay – that operate as payment aggregators in Japan – as its direct competitors.