SoftBank Ventures Asia Leads $22M Funding In Sneaker Marketplace SODA
by DealStreetAsia 2021-01-14
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Japanese sneaker sales platform SODA has landed a $22-million Series B financing round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, bringing the total investment in the firm to $25 million.


The deal marks SoftBank Ventures Asia’s first investment in Japan.


Participating in the round were basepartners, Colopl Next, THE GUILD and other strategic investors, according to an announcement.


In 2018, SODA launched SNKRDUNK, which it claims is Japan’s largest sneaker C2C marketplace. SNKRDUNK’s number of monthly users is 2.5 million. Its monthly gross merchant value last month skyrocketed over 3,000% compared to 2019, the company said.


Proceeds from the Series B investment will be used to accelerate SODA’s global business expansion.


SODA CEO Yuta Uchiyama said the company will collaborate with SoftBank Ventures Asia’s network of AI companies for synergies in logistics, payments, customer support and authentication.


SODA has been applying AI to automate its operations including counterfeit inspection, supplies and customer services.


SoftBank Ventures Asia currently has $1.3 billion under management. The SoftBank Group’s early-stage venture arm launched its latest Growth Acceleration Fund in July 2019 with a $270 million first close and secured the second close of $341 million in December 2019.


In 2020, the fund invested in a spate of Asian companies such as South Korean payments startup CHAI, Chinese delivery robot developer KeenOn, Indian digital wallet True Balance, Indonesia’s cloud kitchen management company Yummy Corp and logistics startup Waresix, and Vietnamese proptech startup Propzy.


In total, it has backed more than 250 companies globally.


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