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Freee:C轮融资再获千万 领跑日本金融科技市场

日本金融科技领域的竞争愈演愈烈。一款由前谷歌员工Daisuke Sasaki开发的财务软件Freee,C轮融资就获得35亿日元(2870万美元)。瑞可利(日本)集团及之前的投资方、位于硅谷的DCM都参与了此次融资。

随着软件办公逐渐取代纸质办公,Freee在日本也越来越受欢迎。自2012年7月面世以来,它的基础会计服务已经吸引了38万多家公司。到2014年9月使用该软件的公司飞速增长,已突破了12万。在这个过渡期间,Freee还开发了云端财务软件,目前的市场覆盖率达到40%。

目前Freee正致力于开发行政一站式服务,并且已经在工资发放、税务申报以及公司建立等方面取得了进展。此外,Freee将从10月份开始为新施行的“我的数字”提供服务,通过它人们可以查询社保和赋税情况。今后的电子收据追踪功能和日本会计法的重大变革相辅相成。现在日本的税务机关只接受纸质收据。Freee希望这项期待已久的改革能促进日本繁荣,也希望能得到更多人支持。

这次融资也让Freee的企业地位达到了一个新的高度。因为自2004年以来,日本只有三家新创公司单次融资超过2500万美元。它们分别是:新闻聚合公司SmartNews(3600万美元),印刷解决方案公司Raksul(3400万美元)以及经营APP货币、在线支付、机器人技术的Metaps(3600万美元)。

尽管Sasaki的目标并不限于日本本土,但近期Freee暂时还不考虑向海外拓展。 Freee的目标是要在日本获得100万个中小企业客户,所以发展空间很大。目前市场上也有一些和Freee类似的财务新创公司,比如同样成立于2012年的MoneyForward,该公司有望将使其个人财务APP的180万用户成功转换成新开发的为中小企业解决方案软件的使用者。

如果MoneyForward能够在中小企业方面延续它在个人财务应用上的辉煌,那么它和Freee的必定会上演一场精彩的市场大战。不过目前来看,Freee已经获得了比拼的资金,并且也有了不错的领导人,应该算是抢得了先机。

Japan's fintech battleground won't be cooling down anytime soon. Freee, an accounting software as a service startup led by ex-Googler Daisuke Sasaki, just confirmed a windfall of JPY 3.5 billion (US$28.7 million) in a series C round. Recruit Holdings, Japan Co-Invest, and a previous investor, Silicon Valley-based DCM, all participated.

Freee is gaining steam in Japan as software slowly eats paper-based administrative tasks. Its basic accounting service attracted 380,000 companies since launching in July 2012. That's a massive jump from September 2014 when it was servicing 120,000 firms. In the interim, Freee also nabbed the leadamong cloud accounting software, with over 40 percent of the market share.

Now the company is positioning itself as a one-stop-shop for administrative needs. It already added services for handling salaries, tax filings, and company establishment. In October it will expand its offerings to encompass administrative work related to "My Number," Japan's newly approved national system for tracking social security and taxes. Also on the horizon is a digital receipt tracking tool, which will coincide with a major change in Japanese accounting law. Until now, only paper receipts were considered valid by tax authorities. Freee is hoping that the national exuberance over this long-awaited reform will result in a legion of new fans.

With this funding, Freee elevates to some rarified air. Since 2014, only three other Japanese startups have broken US$25 million in a single funding round. It joins news aggregator SmartNews (US$36 million), printing solutions firm Raksul (US$34 million), and app monetizer/online payments/robotics startup Metaps (US$36 million).

Though Sasaki is far from a domestic-minded entrepreneur, don't count on seeing Freee overseas anytime soon. There is still plenty of room to run in Japan as his company tries to reach its goal of 1 million SMB clients. The firm is not running alone, however. MoneyForward, another accounting SaaS startup also founded in 2012, is looking to slide the 1.8 million people using its personal finance app into its new SMB-focused software solutions.

If MoneyForward can replicate its success in personal finance on the SMB front this race could get interesting. For now, Freee has the war chest and the lead.


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