The idea of crowdfunding is simple. Entrepreneurs can use various online platforms, such as Kickstarter, to solicit funds. So rather than relying on large financial institutions, businesses can directly present their ideas to internet users and customers, as well as investors. This also allows them to have more freedom and create opportunities for start-up businesses.
Today, most Japanese start-ups and entrepreneurs heavily rely on crowdfunding for their business growth. As a result, many Japanese crowdfunding platforms have popped up. If you want your small business to grow in Japan’s vibrant economy, you need to understand what these different platforms can offer.
Green Funding was founded in 2011 and is owned by Tsutaya Group. It is one of the three biggest crowdfunding platforms in Japan.
They focus on creative tech gadgets. It is particularly popular with single men funders aged 40 and above.
They also help Japanese entrepreneurs fundraise globally. Since they have established a partnership with other kickstarts such as Kickstarters and Indiegogo, they can help Japanese projects featuring on those sites.
This platform takes the campaign success rate very seriously. Their success rate has been continuously improving over the years. In 2017, they managed to achieve a staggering 89% success rate which is significantly higher than their peers.
Normally, it can take 1 month for them to review a project. So funders can expect to receive funds within a month from the end of the 2 months campaign period.
Cost: 20 % commission
Makuake is a crowdfunding platform that was born from CyberAgent, a Japanese internet service group in 2013. Most Makuake funders are within the 30-50 age range and have a 60:40 male-to-female ratio.
As a crowdfunding platform, Makuake focuses itself on funding products made in Japan. This results in 90% of their funding going to Japanese products, while only 10% goes overseas. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, the majority of the funding goes to already finished products, such as general hardware, fashion products, etc.
This platform has two different options for their funding: ‘All/Nothing and ‘All In.’
- All/Nothing option: allows fundraisers will return funds to the funders if the target amount is not reached
- All In option: allows its fundraisers to keep whatever funds they gather, regardless of whether they reach their target goal or not.
The secret to the success of Makuake is the simplicity and reliability of the platform.
Makuake is NOT a good choice for International Startups.
CyberAgent is Makuake’s parent company which is a huge Japanese company. According to their vision mission and inner policy, it tends to help Japanese businesses and startups rather than international companies like us. Makuake requires too much paper works including TELEC certification as part of the review conditions for IT products. You can spend 2-month waiting for their review if your product hasn’t already been mass-produced.
Crowdfunding is a platform where entrepreneurs can list their products and concepts in a campaign. So, interested parties can buy or support them with a pre-order or donation. As such, Makuake is not a great choice for zero-to-one startups in Japan.
Campfire was founded by Kazuma Ieiri in 2011, and it has performed fantastically. With its activities tailored toward contributing to the growth of the Japanese economy, Campfire supports anyone who wants to start something new in Japan. They strongly support and encourage startups and aspiring entrepreneurs.
These are the top crowdfunding options in Japan. Provided you approach them with an impressive proposal of your idea, they can help you raise the funds you need to grow your business.
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