Japan Post Capital, a fund managed by the national mail conglomerate in Japan, led the $28 million investment in this news aggregation app.
SmartNews is established in 2012 by its co-founders, Mr. Suzuki, and Mr. Hamamoto. They started with the Japanese app in 2012 and then launched its US version in 2014. They have 40 million active users.
They have recently added Ken Kutaragi, known as the father of the PlayStation®, as an Outside Board Director.
They focus on growth in the U.S. market showing 500% year over year user base and revenue growth. To support the growth, they hired two global talents including Youlin Li, who previously served as Head of News Feed Infrastructure at Facebook, and Yi Ren, previously CEO of DeNA China.
It is encouraging to see Japanese start-ups expanding its global presence and joining the Unicorn clubs.