RakSul Inc., a Japanese printing startup that’s seeking to go public, has raised about ¥2.1 billion from investors, including Fidelity.
FIL Investments (Japan) Ltd. mutual funds and five other investors including Development Bank of Japan Inc. and advertising agency OPT Holding Inc. bought new shares in the Tokyo-based company, RakSul Chief Executive Officer Yasukane Matsumoto said in an interview this week. It’s the first private-equity investment by Fidelity’s mutual funds in Japan, he said.
Seven-year-old RakSul, which connects clients with printing companies, was introduced to FIL Investments on referral from a Morgan Stanley banker, said Matsumoto, 31, a former A.T. Kearney consultant. His firm’s total revenue increased 50 times in the three years ended July, he said, declining to provide a total or comment on profit.
“Fidelity’s participation in this financing bodes well for our capital policy after the share listing,” Matsumoto said. “If the money flow from global institutional investors into ventures accelerates, that will help the business ecosystem for Japanese startups.”
It’s the fifth capital increase by RakSul. The company will use the proceeds to improve e-commerce and logistics for its printing and posting businesses and plans to double staff from 50 in the mid-term, the CEO said. Global Brain Corp., GMO VenturePartners and Global Catalyst Partners Japan also invested in RakSul.
RakSul now has about 300,000 clients, mainly small businesses and individuals that are seeking low-cost printing solutions, according to Matsumoto, who estimates the Japanese printing industry is worth ¥6 trillion. Rather than do the printing itself, it helps clients with designs using cloud computing and connects them with manufacturers.
RakSul has hired a brokerage to advise it on the possible IPO, Matsumoto said, without naming the firm. It hasn’t decided when it might list.
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