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Engawa

engawa.global

Stage

Acquired | Acquired

About Engawa

Engawa is a Tokyo-based marketing firm in the direct-to-consumer space.On January 24th, 2021, Engawa was acquired by AnyMind. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquarters Location

2F OSK Catherina

Tokyo, 160-0022,

Japan

+81(0)3-6432-9948

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Latest Engawa News

Japan’s Uncovered Fund forms $14M+ Africa-focused seed fund, unveils 5 investments

Feb 15, 2021

The parts colored in red were updated on 4:30pm, Feb 12th based on our additional coverage. We just learned that Tokyo-based Clear , the Japanese startup behind a study notes organizer app under the same name, has been acquired by Japanese stationery giant Kokuyo (TSE:7984). Since its launch back in 2010, the startup has secured about 400 million yen (about $3.8 million) from investors to date. According to Japanese startup database Initial , they were estimated to be valued at 1.938 billion yen (about $18.5 million) after securing the series C round back in 2018. Clear secured a series D round last year, which brought the company’s funding sum up to 516,748,113 yen (about $4.9 million) according to their website. Initial has not shared Clear’s post series D round valuation. (Not to be confused with Clear , another Japanese startup developing brands and online media portal focused on Japanese sake products.) Clear was founded in October of 2010 under its previous name of Arcterus by Goichiro Arai (CEO) who has held various posts including Resort Business Manager at Japanese resort development / management major Hoshino Resort together with Yoshiki Shiraishi (COO/CFO) who was Arai’s classmate at Keio Business School. The Clear app, launched in December of 2013, allows notebooks sorted by subject or educational unit to be shared with other users and is available for Android, iOS and web. Started in Japan, the app has expanded into several markets including Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, China, and Hong Kong. It has acquired 2.3 million (Arai says it has already reached 2.5 million) active users (MAUs) in Japan and 3.5 million MAUs worldwide, suggesting that one out of four middle and high school students in Japan is using the app. Image credit: Clear Aiming to help cram schools attract their potential customers and better market themselves in addition to developing learning content, the company has partnered with several companies such as: Zoshinkai Publishing (Z-kai Group), Japanese major in offering online or distance learning for students Asahi Gakusei Shimbun, Japanese major news company’s subsidiary for publication for students Sprix (TSE:7030), developing content for cram schools Lacicu, developing web services and educational video apps for cram schools Manabi Aid, offering online video classes for students Rakuten (TSE:4755), Japanese leading e-commerce giant In an interview with Bridge, Arai shared how his company has reached the agreement: In fall of 2019, we had a chance to meet Kokuyo CEO Hidekuni Kuroda and we decided to work together. Kokuyo has a large market share with the paper notebook brand Campus while we do so with the digital notebook brand Clear. We thought it would be a good partnership to utilize the respective brand power each other. In terms of overseas development, for example, Kokuyo has expanded into Mainland China, while Clear has about 800,000 users of their app in Thailand alone. By sending customers to each other’s strong geographical markets, there would be a possibility of increasing the market share of both brands in respective markets. Having not yet decided on the specifics, Clear may be able to add new functions to the app by bridging the paper and digital gap. In addition to the notebook mobile app, Clear offers two other key services: Meets – helps cram schools in recruiting students, jointly operated with Education Network and Sprix. Educatiional Network is a subsidiary of aforementioned Zoshinkai Publishing. Shinro Erabi (career choice) – helps high school students find their best career path with resources on universities, jointly operated with Shoei Koho, a subsidiary of after-mentioned CHIeru. Arai says the partnership with these companies will continue even after his company was acquired. In March of last year, Clear partnered with CHIeru (TSE:3933), the classroom management solutions provider for schools. CHIeru has a subsidiary focused on helping universities promote, and the partnership helps universities market their entrance exam briefing even in a virtual format during the pandemic with the help of Clear. See also: Tokyo-based Coconala , the startup behind an online platform under the same name where you can buy and sell knowledge, skills and, experience from users who are willing to teach, announced on Wedneday that that IPO application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been approved. The company will be listed on the TSE Mothers Market on March 19 of 2021 with plans to offer 100,000 shares for public subscription and to sell 1,813,000 shares in over-allotment options for a total of 11,092,900 shares. The underwriting will be co-led by Mizuho Securities and Credit Suisse while Coconala’s ticker code will be 4176. Based on the estimated issue price of 1,000 yen (about $9.56) and total number of issued shares (21,474,000), the company will be valued at 21.7 billion yen (about $207 million). Its share price range will be released on March 3 with bookbuilding scheduled to start on march 4 and pricing on March 10. According to the consolidated statement as of August 2020 , they posted revenue of 1,775.6 million yen ($17 million) with an ordinary loss of 83.8 million yen ($800,000). Coconala was established under its previous name of Welself in February 2012 by Akiyuki Minami who formerly worked at Sumitomo Mitsui Bank and Japanese private equity fund Advantage Partners. Our readers may recall that he shared his story behind launching the startup at a lecture event for entrepreneurs we previously covered. After graduating from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, he was involved in launchiing two NPOs in Japan, which led him to the experience that offering his skills and abilities to someone else can lead to self-confidence and growth for himself as well. More than 1.8 million users have been registered by last year while the number is likely to hit 2 million some time this year. With the increase in the number of registered users, the percentage of paying users has been gradually decreasing to around 5-6% for the past one to two years. Their Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) is on the rise, indicating that users who recognize the value of Coconala are paying more than before. Aiming to upsell, the company launched derivative services such as Coconala Legal Advice in 2016 and Coconala Meets in 2019. Led by Jafco (15.34%), the company’s main shareholders include Jafco (15.34%), CEO Akiyuki Minami (13.13%), co-founder and director Sato Shinmyo (11.70%), Nissay Capital (11.39% from multiple funds combined), Fidelity (9.72% from multiple funds combined), Mistletoe Japan (7.72%), ImproVista (4.18%), COO Ayumu Suzuki (3.82%), employee Akie Sawayama (2.70%), Environment and Energy Investment (2.34%), and DBJ Capital (2.34%). Tokyo-based Nyle , the company behind a car subscription service called Carmo , announced on Monday that it has secured about 3.7 billion yen (about $35.7 million) in the latest funding round. Participating investors are Dimension (investment arm of Dream Incubator), JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI), Environmental Energy Investment, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, SBI Group, Nippon Venture Capital, Gree Ventures, Digital Advertising Consortium, and unnamed individual investors. The company also announced that it has signed loan agreements with several financial institutions for a total of up to 1.3 billion yen (about $12.5 million). Prior to this round, the company raised about 1.5 billion yen from several investors including Sparks Group (TSE:8739), SBI Group, and Aoki Group back in April of 2019. The latest round raied the company’s cum of funding (without loans) to date up to 5.57 billion yen (about $53.7 million) Carmo is completely offered online and allows users to use a new car for as little as the 10,000 yen-range (starting at $96 approx.) per month. It has received 45,000 applications from users for three years since its launch back in January of 2018. Using the funds, Nile plans to strengthen its marketing activities, strengthen alliances with auto repair shops, auto dealers, and gas stations while considering merge and acquire companies with potential synergies. Tokyo-based Rocket Staff , known for its “all-you-can-read for free manga” app called Manga King ( iOS / Android ), was confirmed that it has been acquired by Japanese largest anime retail chain Animate . The amount of the acquisition has not been disclosed but we learned that Animate will take a 70% stake of Rocket Staff’s Japanese and South Korean business entities, making Rocket Staff a consolidated subsidiary of Animate. Following this acquisition, Animate CEO Ryu Takahashiand several of its directors are expected to join the board of directors at Rocket Staff’s Japanese and South Korean companies. Kou Youngwook,the founder of Rocket Staff, will continue serving his company as theCEO, and there will be no major changes in their business. Animate made 65 billion yen in an annual group sales and accounted for a third of the entire Japanese anime market which is estimated to be worth 240 billion yen. Having about 30 group companies under their wing, the anime giant is considered active in corporate acquisitions. As one residing in the Japanese startup community, it is still fresh in our minds that Pixiv, the Japanese startup behind a social illustration service under the same name, was acquired by the Animate group in 2015. CEO and Founder Kou Yongwook (left and front) and some of his team at Rocket Staff. Image credit: Rocket Staff Kou came to Japan alone from South Korea 20 years ago at his age of 20. After working at a TV station based out of Tokyo, he established Rocket Staff in November of 2010. Making the most of his Korean background, he developed apps across Japan and South Korea, coordinated app marketing for both markets, and served as a correspondent reporting on the state of technology in Japan for an IT-focused TV channel in South Korea. Some of his notable apps include Peppermeet, which allows users to chat and share photos with others nearby , and Ad&Joy, which allows users to earn points by watching ads. In 2018, Rocket Staff launched a blockchain-powered decentralized ad network called ACA Network , but this did not work out and was subsequently forced to shut down. The company’s core business is currently Manga King, which turns manga titles published in a printed form in the past into the mobile app format so that they can share revenue from ads placed alongside manga episodes with manga publishers. There are more than 50,000 manga episodes available on the mobile app now, and users have downloaded these episodes over 300 million times to date. RocketStaff’s joining the Animate group is expected to help accelerate thelatter’s digital transformation initiative. In our previous interviewwith Kou, he revealed his vision such as partnering with popular mangaartist teams in Taiwan and South Korea, building a new distributionsystem for manga using blockchain, and working with publishers and other organizations to create a unique ecosystem where fans’ evaluations canlead to creators’ motivation and income. Stay tuned for our further coverage reporting their business development details after the acquisition. Related news AnyMind Group (previously known as AdAsia Holdings) , the startup developing and offering AI-based marketing solutions in Japan and other Asian countries, announced on Friday that it will take a full stake in cross-border marketing company Engawa , a subsidiary of Japanese PR and marketing firm Sunny Side Up (TSE: 2180). The price of the acquisition is not disclosed. Upon this, Engawa’s president and CEO Takanobu Ushiyama join the board of directors of AnyMind’s Japanese subsidiary AnyMind Japan. For Anymind, this will be the seven startup acquisition. Engawa was established in 2015 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunny Side Up, and then secured funding form Japanese ad production company TYO (subsequently merged with other ad production company AOI Pro. back in 2017). Engawa has been consisted of the team of Tokyo Weekender , an English-language news publication founded back in 1970, and the members from Sunny Side Up. The company has been helping SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) rooted in local regions through partnership with local governments across Japan. According to Japanese company database Initial , Engawa was valued at 680 million yen (about $6 million) as of the post-series A round back in September of 2018. In August 2019, AnyMind established a joint venture and Asia-focused influencer marketing agency called AnyUp with Sunny Side Up’s subsidiary Sunny Side Partners. AnyMind says potential synergies in business and human resources encouraged them to acquire Engawa. For the time being, it is expected that the acquisition will help AnyMind better reach their solutions to Engawa’s more than 700 clients such as small manufacturers and local producers across the country. In an interview with Bridge, Engawa’s Ushiyama says, When we think about how to maximize the potential for business growth in cross-border marketing, we believe that AnyMind is an ideal partner because of its huge digital assets. Since the further growth of Engawa is beneficial to our former parent company Sunny Side Up, the acquisition talks went went smoothly. Kosuke Sogo, CEO of AnyMind, added, AnyMind has a growing client base among large enterprises, but we have not yet been able to reach out to local governments and manufacturers in Japan where you will typically need a long-term and face-to-face-based sales effort. Engawa has many clients from small manufacturers and local producers across the country, which is extremely attractive for us. In the field of influencer marketing, both AnyMind and Engawa have theirown influencer network in Southeast Asia and China, respectively, andwill be able to operate them in an integrated manner and addthem to each other’s client proposal menus. AnyMind Japan, the Japanesesubsidiary of AnyMind, has more than 100 employees, and Ushiyama’s addition to AnyMind Japan’s board of two managing directors (CEO Sogo plus Junki Kitajima, CEO of Grove, whose company was acquired by AnyMind earlier last year) isexpected to strengthen the management structure. Last year, AnyMind launched its out-of-home (OOH) ad business by rolling out digital signage across Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport , which will be the first milestone to build a network of digital signage in regional airports across the country. In view of helping strengthen the promotion and marketing solutions for local companies through Engawa, the expansion of this digital signage ad network all across regional airports in Japan will be also a tail wind for both companies.

Engawa Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Where is Engawa's headquarters?

    Engawa's headquarters is located at 2F OSK Catherina, Tokyo.

  • What is Engawa's latest funding round?

    Engawa's latest funding round is Acquired.

  • Who are the investors of Engawa?

    Investors of Engawa include AnyMind Group.

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