In its bid to ensure sustainable, high-quality products and companies that embody the Japanese character and assist them in growing and entering the worldwide market through the use of technology, Forest, a Japanese e-commerce aggregator, reported that a seed round headed by The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC) and Nordstar Partners had raised roughly $8 million.
It was revealed that the additional funding will be used to acquire more than 300 Japanese e-commerce firms, carefully vetted by entrepreneurs. Forest will implement large-scale digital marketing techniques, use data analytics to improve sales and inventory planning and promote cross-border e-commerce expansion.
Forest CEO, Shingi Yuhara said the company is set to complete its first acquisition and will continue to hunt for brands with sales between $1 million and $5 million, to acquire companies with more than $10 million in sales in the coming year. Adding that, the company hopes to raise $20 million to $30 million in Series A debt and equity capital in the first half of 2022.
Forest, which was established by Yuhara and COO Masa Mishizawa, is poised to compete in the global market with other e-commerce aggregators such as Rainforest, Una Brands, and Thrasio. According to the company, It is the first pure aggregator dedicated to the Japanese market and has its sight set on companies like Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo Japan, Shopify amongst others.
Japan’s e-commerce business was estimated to be worth $165 billion (19 trillion yen) by 2020 as stated by the projection of the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
Hiroyuki Sakamoto, a partner at UTEC expressed delight at the partnership with Forest, saying the company believes in the potentials of Forest in overcoming challenges and limitations experienced by small businesses with the use of technology, explaining why it was their largest investment in the IT sector.
Japan has been known for traditional art and craft and unique products stemming from Japan, such as ceramics, traditional attire, glassware, and washi, to mention a few. These skill sets pass down from one generation to the next with measured advancement in line with technology.
And with the shift in consumer demand from inexpensive, mass-produced things to varied products that match one’s specific demands, an increasing number of e-commerce entrepreneurs have begun to establish their products and brands, such as Forest with the hopes of contributing to people’s lifestyles.