Japan’s Digital Banking Startup Kyash Rakes In US$45M

Japan's Digital Banking Startup Kyash Rakes In US$45M

With the latest round of investments, Kyash’s total funding amount has reached US$73 million

Tokyo-based mobile banking startup Kyash has raised US$45 million in a Series C funding round co-led by Greenspring Associates and existing investor Goodwater Capital, according to a statement issued by the company on March 30. With the latest round of financing, the total funding raised by Kyash till date has reached $73 million. The startup aims to utilize the latest funding to further Kyash’s overall growth strategy and business domain expansion plans, particularly in the banking sector.

Other investors who participated in this round include Greyhound Capital, Altos Ventures, Partech Partners, Broadhaven Ventures, Tekton Ventures, JAFCO, and others.

“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 and 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,” he added.

Curiously, the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has forced technology into the lives of all those affected by nationwide lockdowns and travel restrictions, and propelled Japan towards a cashless economy with greater need for online payment solutions and digital transformation of enterprises. The government began partially subsidizing digital payments in October 2019, encouraging cashless transactions. With social distancing mandates around the world, cashless payments are becoming the new normal.

Founded in 2015, this fintech startup claims to have more than 6 million users in its customer base with its systems currently processing around one transaction per second. It competes with Mercari and Line Corp in mobile payments.

Kyash is often referred to as a ‘challenger bank’ or neo bank, which are online operators who leverage technology and reduced costs to lure customers away from traditional financial institutions. Kyash’s proprietary payment system connects directly with VISA, allowing it to issue cards to consumers and customized services to businesses.

Kyash has applied for licenses in Japan that could enable the startup to offer banking features like money remittance, ATM withdrawals and checking accounts.

Header image courtesy of Kyash.

Updated April 8, 2020: A previous version of this article noted that Kyash had acquired QR payment startup Origami (acquired by Mercari). 

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