Netstars Co Ltd, the operator of Japan’s largest QR code payment gateway, has raised 6.6 billion yen ($60.6 million) in its latest funding round led by private equity giant KKR & Co, according to an announcement.
KKR made a 4 billion yen investment through funds it manages. Hong Kong-based investment firms SIG and LUN Partners also participated in the round, which was made through a combination of capital infusion and allotment of new shares.
Netstars, a payments aggregator and fintech company headquartered in Tokyo, operates StarPay, a payments aggregation solution that integrates payment providers into a single device or software platform.
StarPay is used by more than 280,000 merchants across Japan and has aggregated 37 payment providers into its platform. These providers include PayPay, LINE Pay, AliPay, WeChatPay, and VIA.
Netstars said it will use the fresh funding to attract more StarPay customers and expand the platform’s network to include more member stores that accept QR settlements in Japan. It plans to expand its footprint overseas beginning this year through partnerships with overseas financial institutions.
“Netstars is well-positioned to advance businesses’ digital transformation and their shift from offline to online, which has become increasingly important during COVID-19,” said Eiji Yatagawa, partner at KKR.
KKR said the investment was made from its Asian private equity fund and forms part of its Asia growth technology strategy.
The deal comes as the PE firm recently closed its fourth Asia-focused buyout fund at $15 billion, the largest PE fund dedicated to investing in the Asia Pacific region.
KKR Asian Fund IV exceeded its $12.5-billion target and surpassed the record $10.6 billion raised by Hillhouse Capital Group for Asia in 2018.
Fund IV will pursue opportunities stemming from rising consumption and urbanisation trends, as well as corporate carve-outs, spin-offs, and consolidation as companies look to optimise their portfolios.