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[2/24-3/2] Noteworthy startup news and funding information

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Among the startup news and funding information announced from February 24, 2023 to March 2, 2023, we will pick up and deliver the projects that JP Startups (Japasta) is paying attention to.

Editor’s comments

This week has been a busy week of funding announcements. In addition to many medical and construction startups, it was also characterized by the procurement of startups that handle services for children, such as Torana, which provides subscriptions for educational toys, and Picture Book Ink, a personalized picture book using 3D avatars.

Also, the highlight of this week is, of course, large-scale funding by famous startups and notable startups. LayerX, CAMPFIRE, and Astroscale Holdings have each raised over 1 billion yen. Among noteworthy companies, BALLAS, a construction material procurement DX company, and Connected Robotics, a robot service company for the food industry, have also raised more than 1 billion yen and are expected to grow in the future.

This week, we will also focus on Sherpa & Co. and Asene in the ESG area, which we will introduce in this article.

Funding Information

[Seed] Sherpa & Company, which provides ESG information disclosure support cloud "SmartESG", raises a total of 260 million yen (announced on March 1, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

ESG information disclosure support cloud "Smart ESG" Sherpa & Company Co., Ltd., which develops and provides , has raised a total of 260 million yen through a third-party allocation of shares. With Global Brain as the lead investor, Norinchukin Innovation Investment Business Limited Liability Association, Genesia Ventures, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Mizuho Capital are the underwriters. With this procurement, the company's cumulative funding amount has reached approximately 320 million yen.

In May 2022, Sherpa & Company will start providing the cloud service "SmartESG" that streamlines ESG information disclosure operations. This service optimizes the collection and workflow of in-house ESG data, and enables centralized management of ESG data by building a database.

The funds raised this time will be used to invest in technology for new functions that enable more advanced data analysis, to strengthen recruitment in multiple occupations including executive candidates, and to develop advanced technologies based on AI and machine learning. “Smart ESG AI Lab” It is planned to be used for the launch of Here is the original release.

[Series A] BALLAS, challenging the DX of construction material procurement, raised 1.16 billion yen (announced on March 1, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

BALLAS Co., Ltd., which uses its own system to streamline the procurement of construction materials used in the construction of stores, commercial facilities, offices, hotels, and residences, has raised 1.16 billion yen through a third-party allotment. The lead investors are Global Brain and SBI Investment, and the other underwriters include ANOBAKA, mint, and SMBC Venture Capital.

Since its founding in February 2022, BALLAS has worked to optimize the operation of construction materials using its own system, and succeeded in reducing man-hours by one to two months. We have supplied more than 1,500 parts so far, centering on our strength in metal parts. In addition, we are working on alliances with players in the construction industry to solve problems such as labor shortages and procurement difficulties.

The funds raised this time will be used for the purpose of building a system as the company's business is expanding nationwide. In addition, in cooperation with partner companies, we will support finance, insurance, human resources, etc., and work to strengthen the supply chain of the entire construction industry. Here is the original release.

[Series A] LayerX, which provides spending management services such as “Bakuraku,” raises approximately 5.5 billion yen in the 1st closing of Series A (announced on February 28, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

Invoice processing, expense reimbursement, and expense management services centered on corporate cards "Bakrak" LayerX Co., Ltd., a SaaS + Fintech startup that operates such as, has raised a large amount of approximately 5.5 billion yen in the 1st close of Series A. With Mitsui as the lead investor, the underwriters are ANRI, GMO VenturePartners, JAFCO Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and five other companies.

The company's "Bakuraku" is a service that has been introduced by more than 3,000 companies to streamline operations related to spending. In addition, the company also provides asset management services using digital securities, Mitsui & Co. Digital Asset Management, and privacy protection technology. "Anonymous" We are also engaged in the Privacy Tech business aiming at cross-organizational data utilization.

This round of funding is aimed at growing Bakurak's business and improving customer experience. The company will continue to work on creating new products and new businesses. In conjunction with this fundraising, Mr. Chutaro Yamamoto of Mitsui & Co. will be appointed as an outside director. Here is the original release.

[Series B] Kiko Tech's Asene raises 150 million yen in the 3rd close of Series B. Cumulative procurement amount to 3.1 billion yen (announced on March 1, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

Asene Co., Ltd., which provides decarbonization and ESG management support for companies in the climate tech field, has completed financing of 150 million yen through a third-party allotment as the 3rd close of Series B. The new investor is Sony Innovation Fund, and the existing investors are GMO VenturePartners, GLIN Impact Capital, and Mr. Masayuki Mochida of Tybourne Capital Management. With this funding, the company has raised a total of 3.1 billion yen.

Asene is a cloud service "Aszero" supports calculation of CO2 emissions throughout the supply chain, which requires complex processing. In addition, an ESG evaluation cloud service that complies with international ESG frameworks "ECR" and supports the ESG evaluation of companies. Furthermore, renewable energy procurement consulting services that support decarbonization strategy formulation and execution "Asuene" also expanded. It is possible for the company as a whole to comprehensively support decarbonization and ESG management.

The funds raised this time will be used for recruiting personnel, strengthening overseas expansion, and developing new businesses. In addition, we will promote the expansion of functions and services specialized for supply chain CO2 in the manufacturing industry. Here is the original release.

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[Series B] Connected Robotics, which provides robot services for the food industry, has completed a total of 1.7 billion yen in funding centered on capital and business alliances (announced on February 28, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

Connected Robotics Co., Ltd., which conducts research, development and sales of robot services for the food industry, has raised funds centered on capital and business alliances. In this round, a total of 1.7 billion yen was raised with investments from six companies, including Mitsubishi HC Capital, and loans from five companies, including the Japan Finance Corporation.

Connected robotics has long promoted the automation of the food industry through industry-government-academia collaboration with major kitchen equipment manufacturers, universities, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The company started developing a cooking robot system for restaurants in 2017, and has developed and sold robots that are useful for cooking various menus such as soft serve ice cream, takoyaki, soba, and French fries. From 2021, we will also start a robot service for food factories, providing AI-based food inspection and serving robots.

The purpose of this funding is to develop robotics services specializing in the food industry, build a mass production system, establish a business structure through business alliances, and secure human resources for business growth. While looking ahead to the next growth, we aim to spread robotics services in the food industry. Here is the original release.

[Series C] Torana, an educational toy subscription service for preschoolers, raised about 930 million yen. New management system to strengthen governance (announced on February 28, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

Educational toy subscription service for preschoolers from November 2015 "Toy Sub!" Torana Co., Ltd., which operates The company has raised a total of approximately 930 million yen from multiple underwriters such as Mynavi and Japan Finance Corporation. As a result, the total procurement amount of the company is expected to reach about 1.5 billion yen.

"Toy Sub!" is a service operated under the corporate vision of "Let's increase happy parent-child time." The company's dedicated planners, who have been involved in the selection of numerous educational toys, select educational toys that match the development of each child and send them to each home. Toys can be returned or exchanged within a certain period of time. It is a sustainable system that does not generate waste.

With this funding, we would like to add further functions aimed at improving the customer experience and develop it into a "next-generation educational service in a recycling-oriented society." In addition, we have invited two new outside directors to realize this vision. The company aims to build a strong management and governance system. Here is the original release.

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[Series D] CAMPFIRE, a crowdfunding service, raises 1.06 billion yen (announced on March 1, 2023)

Credit:  Company press release

"CAMPFIRE" CAMPFIRE Co., Ltd., which provides crowdfunding services, raised 1.06 billion yen through a third-party allotment and borrowing from the Japan Finance Corporation. The lead investor is the SBI Group, an existing shareholder, and underwriters are RFI Advisors, Minerva Growth Partners, as well as giftee, Mizuho Securities, and Mizuho Capital. With this funding, the cumulative amount raised will be 8.72 billion yen.

The company's crowdfunding has seen a rapid increase in the number of service users due to the effects of the corona crisis. To date, the total number of projects posted has exceeded 74,000, and the circulation amount has reached 69 billion yen. Partly because of that, in the last three years, he has concentrated on generalizing crowdfunding while trying to solidify the organizational structure.

The funds raised this time will be used to strengthen the system in anticipation of future business growth and to promote the use of crowdfunding. Representative Director Kazuma Ieiri commented, "We aim to build a support system rooted in regions and industries by utilizing our internal and external partner networks while improving the convenience of our products for individuals and small businesses." ing. In addition, with this funding, we have formed a business alliance with giftee and Mizuho Securities. Together with the two companies, we plan to develop new initiatives to spread and expand crowdfunding. Here is the original release.

[Series G] Astroscale, which challenges the creation of a sustainable space environment, raises approximately 10.1 billion yen in funding (announced on February 27, 2023)

Astroscale Holdings Co., Ltd., which provides space debris removal services with the aim of creating a sustainable space environment, has become the first private citizen in Japan to join five companies, including Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, through a third-party allotment of new shares. A large-scale fund-raising of approximately 10.1 billion yen was carried out from Mr. Yusaku Maezawa, a businessman who experienced staying on the space station. This is the company's seventh fundraising, bringing the total amount raised to approximately 43.5 billion yen.

In addition to the space debris removal service, the company offers a removal service that prevents debris after the end of satellite operation, and a service that can contribute to extending the life of satellites. Technology demonstration with JAXA, debris removal program with the British Space Agency, life extension satellites in the United States and Israel “LEXI” We are expanding our business not only in Japan but also globally, such as leading the development of In 2023, we will open a new base in Tokyo. The funds raised this time will be used to accelerate the development of next-generation technologies and global business expansion, and to improve supply capacity. Here is the original release.

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