Wovn Technologies, Inc. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Takaharu Hayashi, CEO; hereinafter referred to as WOVN), the provider of the WOVN.io, website localization solution, is pleased to announced that it has raised approximately 3.6 billion yen through third-party allocation of new shares to Tybourne Capital Management, MPower Partners Fund L.P., Eight Roads Ventures Japan, Incubate Fund KK, Toppan Inc., SMBC Venture Capital Co., Ltd., and a U.S. long-only-type institutional investor (independent asset management company) (name not disclosed). This latest round of funding brings the total amount raised since the company’s inception to approximately 5.4 billion yen. This funding is mainly from crossover foreign institutional investors that invest in both unlisted and listed companies, an ESG investor and others.
These funds will be used to enhance the training and recruitment of employees in order to provide clients in unpredictable markets with high value-added website localization solutions, and to strengthen marketing and sales promotion activities such as the “GLOBALIZED” event hosted by WOVN. The funds will also be invested into the development of new businesses and services to allow expansion into new business domains besides just website and app localization. The potential for growth in the localization market is very high, and WOVN will work to increase its market share and further enhance its services and features to set the bar for the best localization practices for both domestic and overseas enterprises.
■Comments from Takaharu Hayashi, WOVN CEO
Our mission is to “create a world where all people can access all data in their native language” and our goal is to create new infrastructure on the internet that will allow that. To achieve this, we must invest in technology and market development. I am very excited to see more ambitious members join forces with us.
■WOVN features and its surrounding business environment
WOVN’s mission is to “create a world where all people can access all data in their native language,” and the company’s main products are WOVN.io and WOVN.app, localization solutions for websites and apps.
As the globalization and digitalization of corporate activities progresses, creating a multilingual environment for websites and apps for communicating with customers and employees is now of paramount importance. This includes global websites with effective brand governance, promotional websites that deliver the same information as in Japanese to fans abroad, dynamically updated cross-border EC sites, and intranet systems that disseminate information from Japan to employees working overseas. The improvement of multilingual experiences for overseas customers, foreign residents, and foreign employees, as well as the effective management and operation of these sites, will be vital for the long-term improvement of corporate brand value and sales.
WOVN can be retrofitted to existing websites, cutting the unnecessary costs of developing/maintaining a translated website and reducing the human resources and time needed for launch, thereby aiding with corporate globalization.
■Investors for this round
- Tybourne Capital Management: A crossover institutional investor based in Hong Kong and San Francisco that invests with a long-term view in listed and unlisted companies with structural growth potential around the world.
- MPower Partners Fund L.P.: Japan’s first ESG-focused global growth fund
- U.S. long-only-type institutional investor (independent asset management company): name not disclosed
- Eight Roads Ventures Japan
- Incubate Fund KK
- Toppan Inc.
- SMBC Venture Capital Co., Ltd.
■Comments from each investor
Masayuki Mochida, Tybourne Capital Management
We are honored to be a lead investor in WOVN for this round of funding. The demand for internet localization will continue to grow as the number of foreign residents and workers in Japan increases, inbound travel recovers post-COVID, inbound and outbound cross-border EC increases, Japanese companies expand abroad, and foreign companies make a move in Japan. In the midst of this major transition, we see tremendous growth opportunities for WOVN’s products in terms of delivering a more seamless internet localization experience. We at Tybourne believe that startups will be the leaders of innovation in Japan, and we are putting a lot of energy as an investor into supporting them in a long term. We look forward to working with WOVN’s management team for many years to come as we work to build up a company and service loved by all.
Miwa Seki, MPower Partners Fund L.P.
We are attracted to WOVN’s corporate philosophy of “Localize the Internet”, its competitive products and business model, its potential for global expansion, its healthy and friendly corporate culture, and its unique leadership. We at MPower Partners are committed to supporting WOVN to be a global software company from Japan that will lead the world in Internet localization. We are also very excited to help create a diverse world where anyone can easily connect to the internet in their native language with no one left behind.
Junichi Murata, Eight Roads Ventures Japan
COVID-19 has reminded us of the global nature of our society, and there is no doubt that people around the world must work together to surmount the coming challenges as economic upheaval circles the globe. We fully expect that WOVN will ride this wave to make its presence as an actor behind the scenes known and play a decisive role in the coming world. We are also confident that WOVN will attain even more growth with the support of new global-scale investors who can see the true nature of WOVN as a “Multilingualization SaaS” rather than just a translation service.
Masahiko Homma, Incubate Fund KK
It has been seven years since we invested in CEO Hayashi and WOVN at the time of its founding. This company stayed true to its mission and vision since its very inception. WOVN now has hundreds of clients, including some of Japan’s leading brands, infrastructure companies, and financial institutions, using the WOVN platform. I think that it is the uniqueness of its product, its high customer satisfaction, and the potential for expansion into overseas markets, that draws leading foreign investors to WOVN. We, Incubate Fund, will also be making an additional investment from our growth fund. We will continue to support WOVN so it will make leaps and bounds to become the first Japanese SaaS to take on the world.
※*You can read more what investors think about WOVN on the WOVN BLOG. Please have a look.
“Anticipating the Next Stage. WOVN as Seen by Overseas Institutional Investor Tybourne” ～ Tybourne Capital Management ～
▼We interviewed Masayuki Mochida, head of the Japan investment at the Hong Kong and San Francisco-based firm Tybourne, about WOVN as seen from a globally active overseas institutional investor.
“WOVN Helps Promote Corporate ESG. Localization and ESG as Seen by Investor MPower”
～ MPower Partners Fund L.P. ～
▼We interviewed Miwa Seki, translator of the best-selling book “Factfulness” and General Partner of MPower, about what ESG is and WOVN in light of ESG investment.
■About Wovn Technologies
Wovn Technologies created and operates the localization solution WOVN.io with a mission to “create a world where all people can access all data in their native language”. WOVN.io localizes websites and apps into 43 different languages and 76 locales (combination of region and language), helping businesses succeed abroad and support foreign residents, and has already been adopted by over 18,000 sites for leading companies. Forty percent of this tech company is comprised of foreign nationals, with over 100 employees from 23 countries and regions.
Company : Wovn Technologies Inc.
Location : FBR Mita Building 8F, 4-1-27, Mita Minato-ku, Tokyo
CEO : Takaharu Hayashi
Founded : March, 2014
Service : WOVN.io, WOVN.app, website localization services
URL : https://wovn.io/ja/
Wovn Technologies Inc.