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Panasonic Newsroom TOPPress ReleaseLinkwiz, Inc. Raises JPY 900M in Series B Funding

Jun 17, 2019

Linkwiz, Inc. Raises JPY 900M in Series B Funding

Company will focus on overseas expansion by establishing hubs to showcase smart production systems using industrial robots

Tokyo, June 17, 2019 - Linkwiz, Inc. (“Linkwiz"), a company engaged in the automation of industrial robots with 3D processing engines, raised JPY 900 million in Series B funding. The round, conducted through a third-party allocation of shares, was subscribed to by INCJ, Ltd. and 5 other companies*.

Established in 2015, Linkwiz develops and sells control system software with proprietary algorithms for industrial robots. Linkwiz's main products, L-ROBOT, a control software for robots that perform operations such as welding and coating, and L-QUALIFY, a production-line inspection software, have already been adopted by major companies such as auto manufacturers.

The software developed by Linkwiz is compatible with a wide variety of robots and sensors from any manufacturer, making it easy to integrate into existing production lines. In the future, Linkwiz plans to link L-ROBOT and L-QUALIFY data to drive the development of L-FACTORY, a platform designed to improve overall factory efficiency and quality.

The financing acquired in this round will be used for the following three initiatives:

  • 1. Accelerate overseas expansion by arranging personnel and demo equipment in China, the United States, and Europe in order to establish sales networks. Specifically, Linkwiz plans to focus on sales, market research, and marketing of its products in regions where there is a great need for automation and higher efficiency.
  • 2. Increase corporate value by accelerating collaboration with companies in relevant sectors and providing comprehensive solutions that go beyond a single process. Additionally, support the stable operation of client production lines through reliable solutions.
  • 3. Strengthen organizational structures in anticipation of further growth. Specifically, Linkwiz will strengthen system integrator training operations to ensure delivery commitments are met, enhance IP strategies to attract external partners, and to acquire talented personnel with expertise in software development for the manufacturing industry.

Through this round of financing, Linkwiz aims to pursue the automation of industrial robots and in turn address social issues such as labor shortages at factories.

*Comments from Series B investors

[Existing shareholders]

INCJ, Ltd.

Mikihide Katsumata, President and COO
“INCJ considers Linkwiz for continuing to scale up business through its open innovation with large companies. We hope they will contribute to Society 5.0 by solving social issues such as labor shortages at factories and raise productivity in the manufacturing industry."

SMBC Venture Capital Co., Ltd. SMBC

Hiroya Ota, Executive Officer, General Manager of investment sales division
“Linkwiz's product is technology thoroughly focused on the actual workplace made via its managers' deep familiarity with the manufacturing industry. We believe this has great potential for resolving social issues, not just in Japan, but globally."

[New investors]

Hamashin Lease, Co., Ltd./ Shinkin Capital Co., Ltd.

*Investment by a fund jointly operated by Hamashin Lease, Co., Ltd. and Shinkin Capital Co., Ltd.
Kazuo Yamaguchi, President, Shinkin Capital Co., Ltd.
“Amid strong interest in Linkwiz's technology from domestic and foreign industrial robot manufacturers, Linkwiz's collaboration with other companies gives a sense of its potential to grow. We look forward to its expansion from Hamamatsu City to the world."

Mitutoyo Corporation

Yoshiaki Numata, President
“Industrial robots have become widely used as a means of solving issues affecting manufacturing such as labor shortages and the passing on of skills. We think that by combining the measuring and inspection technology which we specialize in with the robotics technology which Linkwiz specializes in, we can further contribute to solving issues in manufacturing."

Panasonic Corporation

Yasuyuki Higuchi, Representative Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer and CEO of Connected Solutions Company
“Panasonic is highly impressed with Linkwiz's autonomous robot system software and are supportive of the process innovation that can help resolve the on-site issues facing our B-to-B customers. This investment and our joint business development agreement will enable us to build an even closer relationship with Linkwiz, through which we can provide new value to customers in the manufacturing industry."

GB-Ⅶ Growth Fund Investment Limited Partnership

General partner Global Brain Corporation
Yasuhiko Yurimoto, CEO
“We decided to invest in Linkwiz because of their advanced automation technology and global growth potential. We will fully support the company's business growth, and we expect them to keep promoting innovation in the manufacturing field by refining their own technologies."

Company Overview

About Linkwiz, Inc.

Established: March 2015
Headquarters: Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka
Representative: Go Fukino, President
Business outline: Development and sale of software for autonomous robotic systems, technical consulting
URL: https://Linkwiz.co.jp/en

About INCJ, Ltd.

Established: September 2018 (Split from Innovation Network Communication of Japan)
Headquarters: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
Representative: Mikihide Katsumata, President and COO
Business outline: Supports projects that combine technologies and varied expertise across industries and realize open innovation
URL: https://www.incj.co.jp/english/

About SMBC Venture Capital Co., Ltd.

Established: July 2010 (Split from Daiwa SMBC Capital Co., Ltd.)
Headquarters: Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Representative: Tatsufumi Ishibashi, President
Business outline: Private equity investment
URL: http://www.smbc-vc.co.jp/

About Hamashin Lease, Co., Ltd.

Established: April 1983
Headquarters: Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka
Representative: Kazumasa Yamada, President
Business outline: Leasing and installment sales, venture capital
URL: http://www.hamashin-lease.jp/

Shinkin Capital Co., Ltd.

Established: June 2001
Headquarters: Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Representative: Kazuo Yamaguchi, President
Business outline: Business succession M&A brokerage advisory, training support investments, venture capital business, restoration assistance investments, management of investment partnerships, public offerings and corporate finance consulting, management buyout structure affairs
URL: http://www.shinkin-vc.co.jp/

About Mitutoyo Corporation

Established: October 1934
Headquarters: Kawasaki City, Kanagawa
Representative: Yoshiaki Numata, President
Business outline: Manufacture and sales of precision measuring instruments
URL: https://www.mitutoyo.co.jp/eng/

About Panasonic Corporation

Established: March 7, 1918 (Founded) December 15, 1935 (Incorporated)
Headquarters: Kadoma City, Osaka
Representative: Kazuhiro Tsuga, President
Business outline: Comprehensive electronics manufacturer engaged in manufacturing, sales, and servicing of products and equipment ranging from machine parts to home appliances, industrial solutions and other consumer electronic products.
URL: https://www.panasonic.com/global.html

About Global Brain Corporation

Established: January 1998
Headquarters: Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Representative: Yasuhiko Yurimoto, Founder and CEO
Business outline: Venture Capital Business
URL: https://globalbrains.com/en/

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