SoftBank Ventures Asia leads $22m funding in sneaker marketplace SODA

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.

Japanese sneaker sales platform SODA has landed a $22-million Series B financing round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, bringing the total investment in the firm to $25 million.

The deal marks SoftBank Ventures Asia’s first investment in Japan.

Participating in the round were basepartners, Colopl Next, THE GUILD and other strategic investors, according to an announcement.

In 2018, SODA launched SNKRDUNK, which it claims is Japan’s largest sneaker C2C marketplace. SNKRDUNK’s number of monthly users is 2.5 million. Its monthly gross merchant value last month skyrocketed over 3,000% compared to 2019, the company said.

Proceeds from the Series B investment will be used to accelerate SODA’s global business expansion.

SODA CEO Yuta Uchiyama said the company will collaborate with SoftBank Ventures Asia’s network of AI companies for synergies in logistics, payments, customer support and authentication.

SODA has been applying AI to automate its operations including counterfeit inspection, supplies and customer services.

SoftBank Ventures Asia currently has $1.3 billion under management. The SoftBank Group’s early-stage venture arm launched its latest Growth Acceleration Fund in July 2019 with a $270 million first close and secured the second close of $341 million in December 2019.

In 2020, the fund invested in a spate of Asian companies such as South Korean payments startup CHAI, Chinese delivery robot developer KeenOn, Indian digital wallet True Balance, Indonesia’s cloud kitchen management company Yummy Corp and logistics startup Waresix, and Vietnamese proptech startup Propzy.

In total, it has backed more than 250 companies globally.

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.