Japanese start-ups fire up in force
The land of the rising sun is seeing a rising number of start-ups power up as they hunt for fintech glory.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, 46 tech companies have gone public in Japan so far in 2017, with the full-year total seen reaching 80 to 90. The highest tally in the last decade was 92 in 2015.
Not all of these new faces are fintech, but some of the relevant names are worth mentioning.
Parkshia (PKSHA) Technology, an artificial intelligence (AI) firm offering image recognition and other algorithms, is set to go public on 22 September. The non-fintech giant Toyota plans to invest in the company with a view of using its technology in its self-driving cars.
On its website, PKSHA points to its development of algorithm solutions using natural language processing and machine learning for smartphones and internet of things (IoT) devices. It has spoken at an Intel AI event, so it may be able to drum up a tasty deal with that firm. We’ll wait and see.
Meanwhile, Money Forward (formerly Money Book), which offers a budget-tracking platform, will hold its IPO on 29 September.
According to its website, it has more than five million users using the payments app. Some of the features it offers include automatically showing the flow of money by connecting banks and cards – such as the classification of food expenses and utilities.
The firm’s market capitalisation is predicted to be between JPY 10 billion ($90.4 million) to JPY 20 billion ($180.8 million). It says the capital raised will be used for sales offices and expanding operations.
It will be interesting to see how these firms fare and what other new fintech companies appear.
Flywire to finserv
In the Asia-Pacific area, China, Singapore and Hong Kong are all strong rivals to Japan in the fintech space. But away from these IPOs, there has been other recent activity – from domestic and international firms – in Japan.
Less than a year-and-a-half after entering the Japanese market, US cross-border payments and receivables platform Flywire (formerly peerTransfer) announced it had moved $60 million on behalf of Japanese schools and students.
Mizuho Financial Group, Mizuho Bank, trading and investment firm Marubeni Corporation, and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance all completed a trade transaction between Australia and Japan using blockchain.
While back in July, the Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA) revealed it was setting up a hub for fintech start-ups to test new services.
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