1. Secual (Season 5) fundraised 900K USD from LIXIL, housing equipment manufacturer and undisclosed amount from NHN Capital, CVC arm of NHN group
Secual provides home security devices and cloud service to manage the sensing data. Secual and LIXIL will jointly develop new generation products utilizing IoT for home market. Secual got Alliance Award at LIXIL accelerator program last year. Since then, both continued discussion about how to utilize IoT for housing equipment. As the first joint product, they started development of next generation of windows and related equipment for housing.
Secual also partners with NHN Group by receiving investment. It plans to realize higher level of analytics for sensing data and to drive data utilization including improvement of alert notification accuracy by collaboration with NHN Group.
http://thebridge.jp/2017/08/secual-lixil-partnership (in Japanese)
http://secual-inc.com/nhn_capital2017/ (in Japanese)
2. Aquabit Spirals (Season 3) started PoC of Sumapure Pay at beachside restaurant
Aqaubit Spirals develops Smart Plate, which connects user’s smartphone to a specific URL using QR code or NFC. The new service Sumapure Pay allows users to order and pay from the table by just passing their smartphone over menu, which eliminates them to call a waiter or stand in line for payment. Since Stripe is deployed on the server side, users can use Visa/Mastercard/American Express as well as Alipay/WeChat Pay/ApplePay.
3. Hatapro (Season 7) started PoC of ZUKKU, AI robot at two department stores
Hatapro developed ZUKKU, a robot with AI on-board. It started PoC at Urawa PARCO and Isetan Shinjuku. ZUKKU is a small robot with a camera to analyze customers, which acquires and analyzes data with secure format and give suggestions to help customers. At Urawa PARCO’s restaurant floor, it suggests the best food menu on digital signage based on age and gender of customers. Also, it counts number of customers to analyze how crowded the area is hourly.
4. NAIN (Season 3) announced partnership with Onkyo including fundraising
Onkyo group is actively developing next generation products for IoT such as a smart speaker including AI technology like voice recognition by combining its audio technology and external technologies. NAIN develops a smart earphone, APlay which allows users not only to enjoy music with high quality codec, but also to hear information with the voice assistant such as schedule, weather, train info, news, Twitter, LINE, and Facebook Messenger. Both agreed to jointly develop hearable products with AI. Onkyo also announced to invest in the startup with Convertible Bonds.
https://japan.cnet.com/article/35105738/ (in Japanese)
http://www.jp.onkyo.com/ir/ir_pdf/20170828_JQPR_Nain.pdf (in Japanese)