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Soracom, an IoT platform provider based in Japan, scores $22M to break into the U.S. market

TechCrunch TechCrunch 11/05/2016 Catherine Shu

Soracom, a Tokyo-based startup that provides a communication platform for developers of connected devices, announced today that it has raised a 2.4 billion yen (about $22 million) Series B from World Innovation Lab, Infinity Venture Partners, and other investors. The money will be used to enter the United States and other markets.

Soracom is a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), which means it doesn’t operate its own network infrastructure, but instead has a partnership with NTT Docomo, one of Japan’s largest telecoms, for its 3G and LTE.

Its services, like Soracom Air, a SIM card tailored for IoT devices that can be managed through an APIs dashboard, and Soracom Beam, which provides device encryption, are distributed through Amazon Web Services. This lets Soracom scale its software quickly, cut costs, and provide lower prices than competing IoT infrastructure providers. The company says its platform has signed over 2,000 clients since it launched in September 2015.

Soracom will use its new capital, which brings its total raised so far to about 3.1 billion yen ($28.5 million) to expand into the United States and other markets by signing deals with mobile operators.

“We’re providing self-service, programmable, pay-as-you-go cellular platform services. It’s AWS-like IoT cellular. In that sense, our target customers are broad, including enterprise, SMB, and startups,” said co-founder and CEO Ken Tamagawa in an email.

Soracom’s platform is currently used in products like Canon multifunction printers; Recruit Life Style, a tablet point-of-sale system; and Edy, a rechargeable contactless payment card made by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.

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