KKR leads $60.6m funding in Japan’s largest QR code payment gateway Netstars

Image from Netstars website.

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.

The final close of Asian Fund IV builds on the momentum across the PE firm’s Asia Pacific platform. In January, KKR also announced the final closings of its inaugural pan-regional infrastructure and real estate funds – the $3.9 billion Asia Pacific Infrastructure Investors Funds and the $1.7-billion Asia Real Estate Partners Fund.

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.