Money Forward, a Tokyo-based financial technology startup, announced on Friday the launch of its initial public offering (IPO), signaling a turning point for Japan’s fintech industry. After listing its shares on the Mothers Index Futures section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the company is currently valued at $505 million.
Formerly known as Money Book, the company has been offering asset management platform for both individuals and businesses since its opening in 2012. Users can easily monitor and control their expenses by integrating their credit cards, bank accounts, and virtual money. Money Forward’s personal app is now used by more than 5 million people, while its cloud-based software now serves over 2,400 accounting companies.
As reported by Nikkei Asian Review, Money Forward managed to quickly attract purchase orders during the first day of the IPO, which was closed at almost double the offer price. The trading began at 3,000 yen, 94% higher than the offer price of 1,550 yen, and closed at 3,085 yen, bringing the company’s value to 56 billion yen or $500 million.
“For the fintech industry in Japan, I think this is the first case” of going public, said Money Forward CEO, Yosuke Tsuji, during a press conference on Friday. As he noted, the price surge shows that expectations are high. “We will respond to that by offering services.”
The IPO raised nearly $25 million or 2,8 million yen, while Tsuji’s 19% stake is now estimated at $98 million. According to the company, the capital raised during the IPO will go on growing its customer base, expanding sales offices, and creating new services. Besides, it is going to expand abroad in the upcoming years. “Some money-related problems are common globally,” he added.
The company is also planning to help small and midsize enterprises manage their invoicing and collecting. “We will offer a service so that SMEs that lack personnel can concentrate on their core work,” Tsuji said.
Although becoming the first fintech company to launch an IPO in Tokyo, Money Forward is not the only Asian fintech startup to go public lately. Last week, a Chinese insurance platform, ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, debuted on Hong Kong stock exchange, registering high investor demand. The stock prices surged by 18% on the first day of the IPO, although the shares dropped by 2.7% the following day. The proceeds from the IPO will be used to strength its capital base and support the company’s business growth.
Founded by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, Tencent chairman Pony Ma and Ping An Insurance chairman Ma Mingzhe, ZhongAn is the leading insurer in China. Two years ago, it secured $1.19 billion from a group of investors, including Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corp.