It has provided services in partnership with Visa since the launch of the company’s Kyash wallet app in April 2017.
“Kyash has created a platform that will take Japanese consumers into the cashless era and beyond,” said Shinichi Takatori, Founder & CEO of Kyash. “I am delighted that investors both in Japan and abroad have recognized our achievements over these past two years. We believe Goodwater will provide immensely valuable insight as we evolve our platform to provide more financial freedom and flexibility to the people, which will in turn have a positive global impact.”
With the company’s mission of creating infrastructure for value exchange, Kyash offers a prepaid-debit based mobile wallet app that allows consumers to make payments at Visa merchants and peer to peer transfers.
Both global investors and Japanese banks joined the round, including Japan Post Investment Corporation, Jack Dorsey’s Block, which was formerly known as Square, as well as Altos Ventures Goodwater Capital and StepStone Group in the United States. Additional investment came from Greyhound Capital in the United Kingdom, SMBC Nikko Securities, JAFCO Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital and others.
According to a report by Nikkei, Kyash is the first Asia-based company in which Block has invested.
Kyash has been named a payments provider for the initiative.
“The integration of finance with technology coupled with changes in the regulatory environment in Japan are leading to new conceptualizations of money and financial services for consumers,” said Eric Kim, managing partner at Goodwater Capital. “As Japan’s nearly $3 trillion retail market transitions to a cashless society, fresh approaches like those of Kyash will not only facilitate the move away from notes and coins but also allow greater flexibility in receiving salaries and compensation, among other innovations. We look forward to helping Kyash aggressively scale to reach its potential to fundamentally change financial transactions in Japan.”
Kyash is poised to become part of a powerful, growing class of challenger banks that offer an alternative to traditional banks and streamline the banking process.
Thursday that it had raised $41.2 million in a Series D funding round from investors, including payments company Block (formerly Square), Greyhound Capital, and Japan Post Investment Corporation, SMBC Nikko Securities, Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, StepStone Group, JAFCO Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital, and others.
The participation marked Block’s first investment in an Asia-based firm. Kyash said that it plans to use the latest funding to double the number of staff and expand its product growth. Shinichi Takatori, the founder and CEO of Kyash, disclosed how the company intends to use the financing.
Meanwhile, Takuma Baba, the Managing Director of Japan Post Investment Corporation, also revealed why they backed Kyash: “Challenger Bank is a core theme in fintech and unbundling of traditional banking has become an irreversible trend globally.
The company has obtained two licenses – a prepaid debit cards license in 2020 and a fund transfer license in 2017 – from the government to operate its financial services in Japan.
“We have achieved unit economics positive already, which is a very positive factor for investors to consider investment,” said Takatori, who did not provide the number of users and total addressable market.
With social distancing being enforced globally during the COVID pandemic, cashless payments are becoming the norm. Accordingly, the pandemic has impacted global challenger banks’ growth rates. Based ona reportby Fincog, Kyash grew about 22% from January to May 2020 like other competitors, including Robinhood and Starling Bank.
Kyash also raised $45 million Series C in March 2020 during the pandemic.)
“Challenger Bank is a core theme in fintech and unbundling of traditional banking has become an irreversible trend globally,” said Takuma Baba, managing director of Japan Post Investment Corporation. “We believe Kyash’s user-first and mobile-first philosophy and product architecture will allow it to evolve into a key platform upon rebundling the financial services with technology.”
“JAFCO made the first investment in Kyash before the service was launched, and this round marks its fifth investment,” said Atsushi Fujii, partner at JAFCO.
Shinichi Takatori, Kyash’s president and CEO, revealed that “it has been difficult to create a sustainable business model based solely on the payment and settlement business,” and that he hopes these funds will position the company for its “high capital efficiency.” He also expressed gratitude for the new investment from Block, which he called “a leader in financial innovation in the U.S. and other countries.”
Taikuma Baba, managing director of Japan Post Investment Corporation also offered a statement about his investment: “Kyash’s user-first, mobile-first philosophy and design is a key component of the global, irreversible trend toward unbundling traditional financial institutions and rebundling them with technology.”
Kyash can be considered a neobank, or online bank, similar to the likes of Robinhood, Chime, SoFi and Revolut.
Kyash, a Tokyo-based mobile financial app, has raised $41.2 million (4.9 billion JPY) in Series D funding.
The round comes from a number of investors, including Japan Post Investment Corporation, Block (formerly known as Square), Greyhound Capital, SMBC Nikko Securities, Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, StepStone Group, JAFCO Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital and others.
According to a report by Nikkei, this marks Block’s first investment in an Asia-based company. The Series D brings Kyash’s total funding to approximately $107.7 million (12.8 billion JPY) since its inception in 2015.
Kyash, a would-be challenger bank in Japan, raises $14M
The startup will use the proceeds to double its headcount and bolster product growth, Shinichi Takatori, chief executive officer of Kyash, told TechCrunch.
In March 2020, Kyash raised $45 million in Series C funding, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The fintech firm raised the capital in order to expand its digital banking offerings.
Founded in 2015, Kyash has developed a proprietary full-stack banking infrastructure to offer mobile-first consumer-facing digital wallets in Japan. The platform provides personal remittance apps and online payment under the Kyash service name and issues virtual and physical pre-paid debit cards that can be used at Visa merchants.
Founded by Takatori, who in the past worked in the banking and consulting industry, Kyash provides a mobile banking app that enables customers to make online and offline payments, remittances, and ATM withdrawal services.
Since October 2019, Japan has been shifting to a cashless society when the government began partially subsidizing digital payments.
“I am delighted to announce Kyash’s partnerships with these global investors as a result of the company’s progress in product development and significant user traction in Japan amid the uncertain market conditions resulting from the widespread effects of the pandemic,” said Shinichi Takatori, Founder & CEO of Kyash. “We are confident that our focus on developing proprietary payment technology and strategic merchant network partnerships continues to bring value to users and addresses the need for remote financial transactions in a digital economy.”
About Kyash Kyash is a Tokyo-based fast growing mobile financial startup that offers a mobile banking experience to consumers. Founded in 2015, the company’s mission is to create a new financial infrastructure to transform the Japanese banking landscape.