Rakuten, JAFCO co-invest in Japanese fintech startup FOLIO’s US$16M Series A

By Sainul Abudheen K for e27

FOLIO, a startup offering an online security brokerage service in Japan, has announced that it has raised 1.8 billion yen (approximately US$16 million) in Series A round from a slew of investors, including JAFCO, Monex Ventures, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, and Rakuten Fintech Fund.

Existing investors DCM Ventures and Draper Nexus Ventures have also joined the round.

Having so far raised 2.1 billion yen since launch, FOLIO will continue service development, hiring and marketing in preparation for its planned service release in spring 2017.

FOLIO offers an online security brokerage service in Japan, specialising in thematic investing. With the mission to make investing barrier-free, FOLIO aims to develop a service to make asset management easy and efficient for everyone. In order to achieve this mission, it is planning to build a securities brokerage platform from scratch.

The service is aimed at those who are interested in investing but have never tried because they are short on time, have been put off by the complexities of financial products, or are afraid of the risks involved. FOLIO aims to solve such issues providing an easy-to-use thematic investing platform.

On the platform, users will be able to not only manage their assets through a robo-advisor, but also select what to invest in from various trends and technologies. Users do not have to decide exactly which companies they want to invest in. All they have to do is to choose their favourite themes, such as autonomous driving or the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This enables even complete beginners to start investing with ease.

All of the stocks included in the various thematic portfolios are selected using FOLIO’s independently-developed algorithm, and the ratios of stocks are optimally diversified. This enables performance with relatively lower risks and better returns compared to single stocks.

While investing in 10 regular single stocks would require upwards of 10 million yen, FOLIO enables users to start from just 100,000 yen through the use of partial stocks.

FOLIO has a function to tell users the appropriate timing to buy or sell, as well as the timing for rearranging the portfolio ratio (rebalancing). This resolves users’ potential distress when not knowing when to sell.

Shinichiro Kai, CEO of FOLIO, said: “Nowadays, almost half of household assets which is over US$17 trillion is saved in bank accounts. Taking it into consideration of anxiety on pension scheme caused by ageing population and lower interest rate, both public and private sectors have to tackle this issues and make the flow of “savings to investing. Now we are going to offer advanced service on asset management, which gives easy way of investing. We will revive this country with financial technology.”

Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, Managing Partner of Rakuten FinTech Fund, said: “FOLIO’s greatest strength is that anyone can quickly and easily start investing even small amounts in the field of their choice. With its top-notch management, engineers and designers, we believe FOLIO will make strides in the robo-advisory arena in Japan.”

First appeared at e27