Accounting SaaS startup freee nets $8 million in funding, aims for one million SMBs in Japan

Daisuke Sasaki

Daisuke Sasaki, CEO and co-founder at freee.

Japan’s top accounting SaaS startup, freee, has netted US$8 million in series B funding from DCM and Infinity Venture Partners (IVP), Tech in Asia has learned. IVP previously invested in freee.

Freee is integrated with over 1,600 banks in Japan, making accounting easier to manage without too much data entry. A company accountant just has to approve the bills. Freee also helps small businesses generate tax reports in a few clicks for tax submissions to authorities.

(See: This Japanese entrepreneur is freeing small businesses from their accounting nightmares)

Founded by Daisuke Sasaki and Ryu Yokoji in July 2012, freee is currently used by over 70,000 small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In our last interview with Sasaki, he told Tech in Asia that freee is aiming for one million SMBs to use its product before expanding to other Asian markets next year.

We have reached out to Sasaki and will update if we hear back. Update: More from Sasaki, below.

“Basically, we will invest in product, customer support, and marketing. This means we will hire more engineers and customer support agents to accelerate it while we will spend more in marketing,” says Sasaki, pointing us to the English press release which listed out three main areas in which freee will invest in:

Automated back-office chores for SMBs: freee has been successful in automating accounting and bookkeeping for SMBs, and will invest further in product development to add features covering more types of back-office chores. The company plans to launch a payroll feature in the near future as the first of its new product initiatives.

Reinforcing customer support capabilities: freee has been a leader in providing innovative customer support in Japan. For example, by offering live chat support – a feature loved universally by its customers. freee will further invest in customer support to provide the best user experience possible as the company grows.

Accelerating marketing activities: freee will accelerate customer acquisition and user research to increase the number of delighted customers liberated from mundane back-office tasks.

Sasaki declined to disclose freee’s valuation but is happy with the company’s progress. “I think it is [a] good valuation. You can find a lot of smaller companies at Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers in terms of market cap,” he says.

Editing by Paul Bischoff
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