Japan’s Credit Card Fintech Nudge Inc. Extends Pre-Series A Round with Capital from Sony Innovation Fund, Others

Nudge Inc., a “next-gen” credit-card provider and a future challenger bank based in Japan, announced that it has expanded its Pre-Series-A round with additional capital from Insignia Ventures Partners and the Sony Innovation Fund.

The firm’s investment round has reportedly been led by Spiral Capital and Headline Asia along with contributions from existing investor Genesia Ventures and founder Takashi Okita and brings “the total amount raised to $10 million.”

Established last year, Nudge Inc. says it’s on a mission to “create the future of financial services through collective action.” It aims to achieve financial inclusion in Japan by “becoming a challenger bank through open innovation with its equity partners.” It also “advocates a ‘free,’ ‘fair,’ and ‘flat’ organizational culture that constitutes its corporate philosophy,” the update noted.

Nudge Inc. introduced its next-gen credit card service, “Nudge,” in September 2021 after “registering as a small-amount comprehensive credit purchase intermediator.”

Nudge says it is “a safe and secure credit card service that provides its customers with the unique ability to support their favorite sport teams, artists, or creators.” With every purchase, “a portion of the transaction fee goes to a participating team, artist, or creator,” the announcement added. With a growing list of options, the varied list includes “a mixed martial arts champion, local basketball teams, and a Japanese music diva – just to name a few.” Nudge Inc. also offers “a simple onboarding process on its app and flexible repayment,” the announcement noted.

With the launch of its credit card service, Nudge Inc. intends to accelerate the expansion of the “Nudge” card service and its existing services as the firm “works towards becoming a challenger bank.”

To further develop its services, the firm has also been “aggressively recruiting new talent.” Subject to shareholders’ approval, Nudge Inc. will also “appoint two new external board members before the end of 2021 to enhance the company’s corporate governance as a responsible financial services provider,” the update revealed.

With the knowledge and experience of Insignia Ventures Partners and Sony Innovation Fund around the fan economy and challenger banks, Nudge Inc. is also “developing plans to expand into other domains including NFTs, BaaS and future expansion to overseas markets,” the announcement added.

Takashi Okita, CEO of Nudge Inc., stated:

“I am very pleased to welcome our two new investors Insignia Ventures Partners and Sony Innovation Fund. With their partnership, we will leverage their networks’ connections that help us accelerate the expansion of our business from the current credit card services to other types of products such as NFTs and expand to additional geographies. We look forward to partnering with all our investors as we continue to take an out-of-the-box approach to bring the future experience of financial services to consumers.”

Tan Yinglan, Founding Managing Partner of Insignia Ventures Partners, remarked:

“We’ve had the privilege of being early backers to some of the leading digital banks and neobanks in Southeast Asia, and now I’m excited to also be partnering with Takashi Okita-san and his team at Nudge as they build a challenger bank to reinvent financial services in Japan! Digital banking is still in its early days in Asia, and we’ve learned that a strong operator background and regulatory connections are key in a leader navigating the growth of a digital bank in this landscape.”

Tan added:

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Okita-san for a long time and witnessing his stellar entrepreneurial career across Hong Kong and Tokyo, from the private to the public markets. We believe he has been able to leverage these strengths in experience and connections to bring Nudge to life, being one of the first companies to secure the new Japanese credit card license, and take the company even further as we enter the digital banking chapter of financial services in Asia.”

In Japan, credit card issuers are required to register to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for handling credit card services. The small-amount comprehensive credit purchase intermediator is “a new license established in 2020 that requires a simpler registration process for new market entrants,” the update noted. Nudge Inc. may offer its clients with improved user experience with this license and “by utilizing digital technology.”

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