Top Startups / March 11, 2021
Avatar
Asaf Fybish

Asaf Fybish is a growth marketing professional. He likes all things organic, especially when it comes to growth. He's our Chief of Stash at StartupStash

Top Japanese Startups of 2021

Japan, known as one of the most innovative nations, is an attractive environment for startups. One of the reasons is that it has a long history of entrepreneurship and innovation. Japan punches above its weight owning 11% of the world’s largest companies, with less than 2% of the global population. Japan has science, basic trust and research and nowadays there are opportunities for the Japanese people to start their own businesses. They are at a turning point where Japanese are excited and interested to take risk and build something new.

The Japenese startup ecosystem is really evolving. Japan has some incredibly successful startups. Their market size is growing, they have a big entrepreneurial talent pool and the role of the government and large corporations is increasing. They have seen a number of exciting developments in their venture ecosystem during the past decade as the biggest SaaS and Cloud market in Asia and the second biggest IT market in the world.

Tokyo is the main startup hub of Japan. Based on the strength of its startup ecosystem it ranks 16 globally by StartupBlink. The ecosystem of Tokyo is valued at $25 billion, where the global average is $10.5 billion.

The government of Japan has a strong focus on the ecosystem development. They have laid out a 7 step strategy to increase he startup ecosystem. This strategy includes the creation of a startup city, giving entrepreneurship education, state procurement, improved accelerator programs and funding for startups. Early 2020 Tokyo created a Startup Ecosystem Consortium to support and incubate local startups via teamwork between government, research institutions/universities and the private sector. Foreign investors are also joining in. These initiatives really paves the road for startups in Japan.

The strengths of Japan are in Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics and Fintech. As the world’s predominant industrial robot manufacturer, Japan produces more than half of the universal supply. Tokyo is ranked third by The Global Financial Centers Index as most competitive financial center in the world. Also SaaS expands fast in Japan among the spread of digital transformation and AI.

Since we’re working on lists of the top startups to watch in 2021 all over the world, we’ve done some research and listed the top startups of Japan to watch in 2021.

 

1. Paidy

Year founded: 2008
HQ: Minato
Size: 101-250
Founders: Lee Smith and Russell Cummer

Paidy Website

Paidy is an online platform that enables consumers to pay at online stores without using a credit card, using only their name, phone number and email address. It is optimised for mobile and instant-checkout. Users can purchase online and pay for it each month in a consolidated bill. Paidy uses proprietary technology to get creditworthiness, guarantee payment to merchants and underwrite transactions. It’s solves the gap between de vendors and the consumers who don’t want to use credit card for online payments.

They introduced Japan’s first Buy Now Pay Later service for eCommerce customers in 2019. In November 2020 Paidy went live with 3-Pay, where users can split their purchases into three instalments, a first in Japan.

Paidy raised a total of $277.9 million in funding over 10 rounds and is funded by 24 investors. Investors include big names like PayPal, Goldman Sachs and ITOCHU Corporations.

Their latest round, in April 2020, raised $162 million. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese consumers who don’t want to pay with a credit card online, are growing interest in Paidy. So the startup will keep growing and we are curious to see where they will head. As one of the largest hauls in Japan’s tech sector, Paidy is a beautiful opener of our list.

2. MoneyTree

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 101-250
Founders: Jonathan Epstein, Mark Makdad, Paul Chapman and Ross Sharrott

Moneytree website

Moneytree is a fintech data platform that provides open banking and data management services to financial enterprises. With their personal finance app and cloud-based accounting service they bring people and institutions closer together, help them discover new opportunities to grow wealth and find balance.

The finance app won the App Store’s ‘Best of’ award for Iphone in Japan after being on the market for only 8 months. After it won many other awards.

They take information security serious and their Moneytree App and data aggregation platform Moneytree Link are internationally accredited and recognised with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certificate ISO/IEC 27001.

Moneytree raised a total of $23.6 million in funding by 20 investors over 7 rounds.

Moneytree has been a leader in the early development open banking and financial data aggregation and analysis since the start. Around 20 enterprise clients, including Japan’s two largest accounting software vedors, an SDK integration SMBC, an industry first inbound API with Muzuho Bank and various regional banks in Japan, are using Moneytree Link, their proprietary data aggregation platform. They switched 1.7 million consumers in the Japanese market from screen-scarping to APIs on behalf of over 60 data recipients, of which half were fintechs. A very healthy startup, with a strong start and kept rising since then. If we’re talking about the top Japanese startups, Moneytree is a name that must be mentioned.

3. Kyash

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51 -100
Founders: Shinichi Takatori

Kyash is a fast growing fintech startup that gives a mobile banking experience to consumers. Consumers have access to full-stack banking technology in the form of a digital wallet app. Under the Kyash name they have online payment and personal remittance apps and they issue prepaid cards that can be used at Visa retailers. It offers the first Visa card in Japan with a contactless payment function and a IC chip, that has no card number on the front side.

Kyash raised a total of $68.9 million in funding over 4 rounds and is funded by 17 investors. Investors in the company include all three major Japanese mega bank groups, as well as global venture capital firms. Their latest funding has raised $45 million in March 2020 and was co-led by Greenspring Associates and Goodwater Capital. Kyash is the first Japanese startup Greenspring Associates have invested in. Their previous investor JAFCO also participated and remains committed to supporting Kyash. They will use these funds for growing Kyash’s business domain expansion and their overall growth strategy. A thriving startup that can’t be missed in our list.

4. Yappli

Year founded: 2013
HQ: Roppongi, Tokyo
Size: 101-250
Founders: Koichi Tsunoda, Masafumi Sano, Masumi Kuroda and Yasufumi Ihara

Yappli is a business-to-business SaaS software company that offers an online platform to build, manage, and analyze enterprise-grade native mobile applications easy without coding skills. They changed the app development branche with their innovative solutions which allows users to construct a UI from nothing and keep full control over the way the app looks. Yappli also has multiple API relations and external services to bring an even better app experience. Yappli’s features together with a great support team helps companies easily design an app, without coding knowledge.

Yappli raised $44.5 million in funding over 5 rounds by 11 investors. Their latest funding was in June 2019 and was good for $27 million.

They won a few awards like the 5th place in CLOUD TOP10 Forbes Japan 2020, 7th place at Deloitte Fast 50 Japan 2018, 2nd place at SLUSH ASIA in 2015 and they won AWS award at Tech in Asia Tokyo 2015. With big clients like Levi’s, Toyota, GYAO, Cartoon Network and The North Face they are on a growth path. Yappli proved themselves and can be proud of what they created so far. With the app market size expected to further expand and different state-of-the-art technologies incorporating into app, we need creative minds like Yappli for support. A well deserved place in this list of top Japanese startups.

5. BitFlyer

Year founded: 2014
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 11-50
Founders: Masuda Rikiya, Takafumi Komiyama and Yuzo Kano

BitFlyer is a cryptocurrency exchange and marketplace. It allows its customers to buy, sell and spend cryptocurrencies. It also offers an API which allows clients to control and access their accounts. Besides that it offers e-commerce payment services that can transfer cryptocurrencies in order to give users the secure trading by high-end security as a comprehensive platform.
BitFlyer raised a total of $37.3 million over 8 rounds and is funded by 14 investors.

BitFlyer has more than 2 million users and entered the US and European market.

BitFlyer Europe has an integration with PayPal, which means that users can deposit euros using their PayPal accounts to buy cryptocurrencies. They are the only crypto exchange that allows depositing funds via PayPal accounts. With this integration they took away barriers to entry and gave users the opportunity to use their PayPal accounts to deposit funds for purchasing crypto. BitFlyer makes it easy and interesting for newcomers to buy and sell virtual currencies. They are a licensed a licensed financial institution and have the highest trade volume in Japan. A well deserved number 2 in our list of Japanese top startups.

6. SmartHR

Year founded: 2013
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 251 - 500
Founders: Kensuke Naito and Shoji Miyata

SmartHR is a SaaS company that gives cloud-sourced personnel management software for businesses. Their user-friendly online solution helps Japanese companies bring their HR activities into the digital age and make HR must simpler. They started working with startups and small businesses, but expanded their business to serve more enterprise customers.

SmartHR raised a total of $80.2 million over 5 rounds and is funded by 13 investors.

They want to push on into areas such as payroll and more. A very healthy and flourishing startup. And if you look ast their older rival, Freee, it looks like the only way for this Japanese startup is up. SmartHR is for sure a name that must be mentioned in our list.

7. BearTail

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51-200
Founders: Kenichi Kurosaki, Nishihira Motoshi and Yuki Harasawa

BearTail is a SaaS company which focus on FInTech and support to increase the benefit in social communication. It developed Dr. Wallet, a cloud-based, free accounting service tool for households. The tool lets you keep track of your finances by simply scanning your receipts. It is different from others as they don’t use optical character recognition, but depends on human data entry for ensuring accuracy. It also sorts and classifies the purchases automatically.

They also developed other tools like: Dr. Keihiseisan (expense management), Dr. Works and Dr. Travel.
BearTail is exploring monetising the accounting service with big data solutions, which drives the business. They collect purchase histories from users and they establish some behavior models. They are delivering marketing support and marketing program with a high security of their data. The second stage is, starting to deliver.

Beartail raised approximately $6.5 million in funding over 3 rounds. Their latest funding, in 2017, raised around $955,000 from three Japanese investment firms: Incubate Fund, Nissay Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital. With these funds they hope to develop a function to let the customer know the best products to buy from partnering supermarkets or groceries, based on the purchase history. It is an interesting company to watch as it continues to grow and it earned its spot on our list.

8. Finatext

Year founded: 2014
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 1-10
Founders: Masashi Toda, Ryota Hayashi and Watanabe Tsutomu

Finatext is a fintech startup that offers user-focus mobile financial services. Their goal is to raise financial literacy and unlock the potential of retail investment across the planet. To offer fine-tuned solutions for both local and global markets they partnered with various established financial institutions. Their strength is in development skills and strong emphasis on design.

They acquired two companies: Nowcast and Smart Plus. Finatext gives retail mobile services and investment-relates algorithms, Nowcast provides big data analysis services to institutional investors and Smart Plus is a securities platform centred around mobile devices.

Finatext raised a total of $67.2 million in funding over 4 rounds and is funded by 4 investors.

They marked their footprint in the fintech world and we’re excited to see how they will develop even more. A true top Japanese startup.

9. Aeronext

Year founded: 2007
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 1-10
Founders: -

Aeronext is a next generation drone company that developed a center of gravity control technology to enhance the basic performance of drone. They solve the issues drone manufacturers have and make the economics for the sky infrastructure operational with their technology.

Aeronext has redesigned the structure of the airframe and launched its own center of gravity control technology, 4D GRAVITY®, so they could develop the optimal design for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and multicopter airframes. They have built a strong patent portfolio to make their 4D GRAVITY® a standard technology in UAVs and they work on promoting global adoption of the technology. They won many awards with their cutting-edge technology.

They expanded to the Chinese market by opening an office in Shenzhen, China, which is a big step in their global expansion. As they gained support from Nanshan District People's Government of Shenzhen City, Shenzhen City Drone Industry Association, Shenzhen Tsinghua University Research Institute. They won the Intellectual Property Award and third overall place in the Shenzhen international “Nanshan Entrepreneurship Star Contest 2018” competition. Aeronext raised $6.3 million over 3 rounds and is funded by 5 investors. With their main investor being Drone Fund.

If you think about all the potential applications of using their technologies, you understand why we are so excited about this startup. Small delivery drones, VR shooting drones, bridge inspections models, flying robots for home delivery and many more are already offered by Aeronext. which is super cool, but they don't stop there. They have big dreams and working on being the first to offer the ‘flying car’ concept. They are developing an autonomous, single-seater passenger drone called the Flying Gondola.

The flying Gondola will represent a completely new concept in air mobility, with automatic navigation without the need for pilots, minimising swaying and making it easy to get on and off. It will be a comfortable flight experience that combines both safety and comfort. Next MOBILITY® is a newly developed vertical take-off and landing aircraft equipped with Aeronext’s 4D GRAVITY®” and rotary and fixed wings and will be the embodiment of the Flying Gondola.

A first prototype is already made and is also equipped with a center-of-gravity control technology “Tilt Body®”, which provides smooth transition from takeoff to horizontal flight and solves the problems of conventional air mobility. At the moment it is a single-passenger aircraft, but a multi-passengers aircraft will be announced in the future.

Even though it’s not consumer-ready yet, we’re sure it will be ground breaking for the next generation mobile service system MaaS. We can’t wait when Aeronext will reach their goals and we can fly to meet our friends in a bar. A true top start-up from Japan which we are very excited about!

10. Folio

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51-100
Founders: Shinichiro Kai

Folio offers an online security brokerage service in Japan and are specialised in thematic investing. On the platform users can arrange a diversified portfolio, managing their assets with a robot-advisor, but use theme-based stock investment where users can enjoy investment matching their interests or what they want to support. Their mission is to make investing barrier-free. In 2018 Folio won the title of 2018’s top 100 fintech innovators by KPMG and H2 Ventures.

Folio has raised $87.5 million over 4 rounds and is funded by 13 investors. The most recent investors, in January 2019, are Signifiant and Mitsui & Co.

We can’t wait to follow this interesting startup and see what 2021 will bring. A mighty name on our list of top Japanese startups.

11. Money Design

Year founded: 2013
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 11-50
Founders: Mamoru Taniya

Money Design offers online advisory services and automated investment management. Their main product is THEO, the first robo advisor that uses AI and algorithms. This used to be only available for professional investors, but because of Money Design now also individuals can invest in all the world currencies and thousands of different stocks from more than 60 countries.

Money Design has raised $94 million in funding, with 34 investors and in 9 rounds. The latest round being a $6 million funding round in October.

It’s super excited to see that Money Design transformed the existing asset management landscape with the use of technology and this way helps everyone to gain access to global assets. With answering just a few questions, THEO recommends customises portfolio from 6.000 ETF and your portfolio will be rebalanced periodically and monitored 24/7. Because of Money Design new relationships between people and money are easily created. A healthy flourishing startup from Japan, which can’t be missed in our list.

12. Synspective

Year founded: 2018
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51-200
Founders: Motoyuki Arai and Seiko Shirasaka

Synspective is a space technology firm that provides one-stop-solutions by satellite gathered geospatial data. Synspective’s SAR satellite technology was developed through the ‘ImPACT’ program led by the The Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, allowing periodic observation of areas of interest (AOI). Synspective uses its satellites to gather SAR data which can be used by both government and commercial customers as-is, as well as alter that data through AI solutions to get insights and user-friendly information across industries.

“StriX-α” is a product of this effort, further developed for commercial use and is now the company’s first demonstration satellite. It was launched by Rocket Lab’s Electron, on December 15th and it has been successfully operated since and the very first image was successfully obtained on February 8th.

The launch of the demonstration satellite “StriX-β (Strix Beta)” is planned in 2021. By 2022, Synspective will launch four more commercial satellites by 2023, seeking to build and operate a system that enables wide-area, high-frequency, ground observation with a constellation of 30 satellites by the end of the 2020s. By establishing its constellation, Synspective aims to contribute dramatical improvements in the world’s disaster response efforts.

They also developed two satellite data solution services. “Land Displacement Monitoring” and “Flood Damage Assessment”. Along with the development of their solutions, a full-scale business expansion will begin. Starting with this year’s success, they will move visibly closer towards the realisation of an advanced world, enlarge people’s possibilities with new data and technologies.

Synspective raised $99.9 million in funding in 2019. They were funded by 12 investors like the Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, Shimizu Corporation, a engineering and construction company with lunar aspiration), and the Keio Innovation Initiative 1-LPS, a venture fund that invests in businesses that use research accomplishments from the Keio University.

All in all an amazing Japanese start-up, with so much to offer. We can’t wait to see how they will change to world for the better with their solutions and constellation. A must mention in our list of op 20 startups from Japan.

13. Ubie

Year founded: 2017
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 11-50
Founders: Yoshinori Abe and Kota Kubo

Ubie is a health-tech startup and provides an AI-based assistant for triage, pre-diagnosis and decision-making support . They offer two products. The Hospital SaaS product “Ubie for Hospital”, also known as AI Monshin, is an AI-driven medical platform for medical facilities. It is designed to help doctors and medical workers with better and more efficient diagnosis. The system is introduced at more than 200 medical facilities and research shows that the working hours of of doctors have been reduced by 1000 hours per year.

Their consumer app, AI symptom checker “Ubie” is a symptom checking app supervised by physicians. Users have to answer questions asked by the AI and learn to understand and how to cope with the symptoms based on the information. They launched a new solution in 2020 aimed to prevent hospitals from being overloaded and nosocomial infections. Ubie’s COVID-19 symptom assessment is functioning on Ubie for Hospitals. It helps people to ‘self-triage’ with an online screening and triage tool, which keep people away from the hospital unless absolutely necessary.

Ubie raised $22M in funding over 4 round and is funded by 4 investors. Their latest funding, in June 2020, raised $18.7 million from SUZUKEN CO.,LTD, a Japanese pharmaceutical distributor that also entered into a strategic business partnership with Ubie.

With this new funding it will be possible to quickly scale their products and reach new partners and customers nation wide. In addition, Ubie also wants to use this money to expand its presence abroad in the near future. This ‘search engine’ for healthcare has full support of big steak holders and a fresh round of funding. Making healthcare accessible to everyone is crucial these times and technology supports every aspect of life nowadays. Ubie delivers products that combine medical expertise with the best technologies in the world and therefore is one of the top Japanese startups.

14. SORACOM

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51-100
Founders: Daichi Funato, Ken Tamagawa and Kenta Yasukawa

SORACOM is a startup which provides global IoT network cellular connectivity, offering cloud-native wireless services designed for the needs of connected devises. Basically it connect all the people and things in the society.

Their cellular connection to the cloud sets up businesses in over 110 countries to remotely manage devices. With their ‘pay as you go’ pricing it saves money. Amongst their 10.000 customers are some large multinational enterprises and are a platinum certified AWS Advanced Competency Partner.

SORCACOM raised $40.5 million over 4 rounds and is funded by 5 investors. They made 3 investments. The most recent investment was in April 2019 when they did a ‘substantial investment’ in Pebblebee, a Washington-based startup that makes a smart tracker to help people find missing keys etc. SORACOM previously invested $5 million in Seattle-based balena.io (formerly known as resin.io), who offers a complete set of tools for building, deploying, and managing fleets of connected IoT devices. Besides investing money they also partnered up with balena.io on products.

Acquired by KDDI, a multi-national telco, for an amount of $181 million in 2017, they can move and grow even faster around the world. SORACOM is a very strategic and smart startup, which now how to move within the Japanese startup scene. That’s why it deserved a spot in our list.

15. SmartNews

Year founded: 2012
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 101-250
Founders: Kaisei Hamamoto and Ken Suzuki

SmartNews has developed a news app. With machine-learning they help users find quality news from around the world beyond the filter bubble. They aim to give user the most unbiased, interesting and important information by using their algorithms to evaluate tens of millions articles, behaviours and social interactions from various sources that are considered conservatie, liberal and otherwise.

SmartNews raised $180.3M in funding over 5 rounds and is funded by 15 investors. The app has been downloaded over 35 million times and has more than 10 million active users. They won various ‘App of the Year’ awards. Besides Tokyo, they also have offices in San Fransisco and New York. Seven years ago they decided that their first international market would be the United States, while many Japanese startups focus on other Asian countries when expanding.

Not only because the US is home to some of the most influential media companies in the world, but also because the country has a big AI and machine learning talent pool. A good decision as they hit unicorn status in 2019. As one of the most internationally acknowledged Japanese startups, it can’t be missed in the list of top startups from Japan.

16. Campfire

Year founded: 2011
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51-100
Founder**s:** Kazuma Ieiri and Ohigashi Hirokatsu

Campfire is Japans largest rewards-based crowdfunding platform that helps small and upcoming businesses with alternative financing. People can submit a project by setting out the purpose, the amount of money it wants to collect and period of time to collect it. Users can support a project starting at $6.00 and can use Paypal. Campfire follows the ‘all or nothing’ model of crowdfunding.

If the project succeeded, the project owner can thank the supporters by giving them rewards like products or services. Campfire charges a service fee of 12% and an additional settlement fee of 5%.

Campfire has raised $39.9 million over 7 rounds and is funded by 33 investors. They made 10 investments themselves.

Since the launch about $355 million has been raised from over 4.3 million supporters within 45.000 projects. It looks like Campfire is on fire and will keep growing as Japan’s largest crowdfunding platform. A well deserved name in our list.

17. BitStar

Year founded: 2014
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 101-250
Founders: Taku Watanabe and Yazawa Takaaki

BitStar is a startup that offers a platform for social media influencers to connect with brands for content enlargement. On BitStar influencers and Youtubers can demonstrate their creativity and work by creating and transmitting engaging video content.

Bitstar raised $24.8 million over 7 rounds and is funded by 18 investors. They expanded their business to the Greater China and Souteast Asian markets by partnering with companies like Fun Japan Communications. Besides that they also collaborated with Asahi Broadcasting and Asahi Shimbun for the creation of next-generation media and have a partnership with WFLE, where WFLE will support the 3D conversion, recording and distributions of their influencers from 2D models produced by BitStar.

All in all a lot of development and growth for BitStar. With big clients like JTB, Square Enix and CyberAgent believing in them, they are a rising star themselves. A shining Japanese startup that we must mention in our list.

18. Spiber

Year founded: 2007
HQ: Tsyruoka
Size: 101-250
Founders: Kazuhide Sekiyama and Sugawara Junichi

Spiber is a biomaterials startup engaged in the research of synthetic spider silk and other protein-based materials. They developed QMONOS™, a synthetic spider silk fiber.

With this strong material they’ve created a jacket called the MOON PARKA™ together with GOLDWIN INC., distributor of The North Face brands in Japan and South Korea. The adventure with GOLDWIN is continuing with the announcement of a joint research and development collaboration with Loaded Boards to develop new bamboo and Brewed Protein™ composite materials for skateboard and longboard applications.

Brewed Protein is another trademark of Spiber Inc. Brewed Protein materials are the protein fibers, films, and other types of materials manufactured using Spiber’s proprietary fermentation process. The ability to design Brewed Protein™ at the molecular level means that there is enormous potential for customization.

The unique, customizable nature of Brewed Protein materials also shows potential to fulfill growing demand in the automotive and aerospace industries for lighter-weight materials.They are also partners with Kojima Press Industries, a tier-one Toyota supplier, helping them develop auto parts with their protein materials.

Spiber raised the most financing of any other startup in Japan in 2015. Spiber received a total of $300.5 million in funding over 13 rounds and is funded by 10 investors. They’ve invested themselves in Synplogen, a start-up company that brings together unique DNA synthesis technologies, in October 2018.

At the moment they’re working on more competitive pricing by scaling its production. Spiber is an amazing startup committed to create a more sustainable future for nature and humanity. That’s why they well deserve a spot in our list.

19. Groove X

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 51-100
Founders: Kaname Hayashi

GROOVE X is startup that designs and develops a new next-generation household robot that touches people's hearts and inspires real affection. A high-tech substitute for a dog or cat.

They created a relatable companion robot that provides emotional support through AI-driven interactions named LOVOT. The LOVOT is packed with sensors and autonomous vehicle tech and is designed to encourage you to feel love for it. Their goal is simple: create a robot that makes people happy. LOVOT will react to moods and will try to make you happy or re-energize you again. Emotional Robotics™ is a robot technology that was created to move people's feelings, through the ways that the robots look, feel and behave. It will warm your heart, even though it’s not a living creature.

GROOVE X raised a total of $83 million in funding over 4 rounds by 11 investors. Their latest funding was raised in June, 2019 and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Chubu Electric Power are the most recent investors.

They’ve received big support from many partners in Japan and other countries as well. This is a whole new relationship between humans and robots. It for sure is an innovative business. Something super cool and much needed in a world were we can’t hug people at the moment. I think this Japanese startup deserves a big shout out and a spot in our list.

20. PLANTIO

Year founded: 2015
HQ: Tokyo
Size: 1-10
Founders: Kentaro Fujimoto, Taizo Son and Takayoshi Serizawa

PLANTIO offers AI and IoT based plantation services, enabling customers to get sustainably harvested food. They created a vegetable cultivation system that translates the democratization concept into a distributed/modular type off-grid farming system eventually allowing people to be the more proactive in farm producing. With this new technology, farming is becoming accessible to anyone who has an interest. They offer IOT farm, IOT indoor farm or IOT planter, all in different sizes, so it will be suitable for every home.

Besides that, to save people from giving up, PLANTIO created a farming platform called ‘grow’ to help people gather useful information and communicate with others to tackle problems during farming. They build a community of urban farming, where people can share the culture of farming. They also have a farming system ‘Crowd’ which is designed by their own ‘grow’ community. In line with the number of ‘growers’ linked with various data such as a cultivation methods of participants, analysis performed on the cloud, location and outside temperature information etc., learning process and device development will continue.

The platform will give online diagnostics that will recommend the right tools and seeds to match the season and the user’s environment. Their ‘grow GO’ app will also advise users on when and procedures and provide recipes, and even consult experts on farming through the app. When it’s time for harvest, ‘grow’ plans to provide online workshops delivering interesting facts and trivia about their produce.

‘Grow’ will also sell seeds and tools online, such as soil, LED lights and planters. PLANTIO has developed the technology to containing microorganisms into capsules and embedding them in waste materials. They achieved mindful sustainability where it is natural to recycle the soil.

Because of PLANTIO growing food to consume at home is an ethical and sustainable production that now needs no professional knowledge or expensive facility, especially since you can get advice from experts at appropriate timings.

PLANTIO raised $350 million in funding over 3 rounds and by 5 investors like Genesia Ventures and Canal Ventures. Their latest round was in March 2020.

All together PLANTIO is creating a culture shift, to realize sustainable lifestyle and farming in Japan, to encourage people to grow their own produce, and to promote sustainable farming and consumption. A very interesting and humane start-up which I will proudly add to the list of top Japanese startups.

AvatarTop Japanese Startups of 2021
Avatar
Asaf Fybish

Asaf Fybish is a growth marketing professional. He likes all things organic, especially when it comes to growth. He's our Chief of Stash at StartupStash

🚀 Stay ahead of the game

Subscribe to our weekly stash newsletter to receive the best resources, products and discounts!