Monthly Update, August 2021 (Tokyo)

September 7, 2021

1. Alpaca (Season 2) Raises $50 Million Series B & Announces Crypto Offering

Alpaca, a commission-free stock brokerage platform that offers APIs for fintech apps to connect and trade in U.S. stocks, announced it has closed a $50 million Series B on the heels of driving 1500 percent year to date growth in brokerage accounts and expanding partnerships across Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, North and Latin Americas.

2. Bankguard (Season 4) raises capital through third-party allocation from Pasona Group to expand sales of two-step authentication system

Bankguard develops two-step authentication system, Super One Time Password (SuperOTP), which sends pictograms that change every time instead of numbers via SMS or e-mail. With conventional one-time passwords using numbers, if a fake screen is created that requires the user to enter the password, the user is tricked into entering the password, and the password is immediately used again. This can be prevented by using pictograms in the technology. Even elderly people can use this technology by simply looking at the picture and clicking on it. No installation or distribution of cards is required, and the technology can be used on any PC, smartphone, or feature phone as it uses ordinary SMS or e-mail. (in Japanese)

3. Satellite Image Analysis AI of HACARUS (Season 12) wins INNOspace Masters competition

HACARUS, an AI solutions company from Kyoto, Japan, participated in the infrastructure maintenance competition organized by DB Netz, a German railroad company, at the 6th INNOspace Masters conference and won the second prize.

In the competition, HACARUS proposed an AI system that can immediately analyze the condition of infrastructure facilities via satellite images and enable remote monitoring and maintenance. This system can flexibly respond to changing conditions even after it has been built, and provides a bird’s eye view of the current state of the facility. (in Japanese)

4. Chugoku Electric Power invests in Spectee (Season 2), an AI-based disaster and crisis management solution provider

Spectee Pro is a disaster prevention and crisis management solution that uses AI to analyze information posted on social networking sites to quickly identify disaster and risk information, leading to an appropriate initial response. In addition to real-time distribution of more than 100 categories of highly urgent information on natural disasters, fires, accidents, etc., the information can be categorized and displayed in combination with municipalities, commercial facilities, company facilities, etc., allowing users to confirm information such as “what is happening where” and “the extent of damage”.

Chugoku Electric Power decided to invest in this startup because we believe it will contribute to disaster prevention in the Chugoku region. In the future, we would like to introduce the system to local governments and companies in the Chugoku region, in addition to using it within our group. (in Japanese)