Japan’s TakeMe lands $1.8 million to expand restaurant reservation service

TakeMe, a Tokyo-based cross-border payments startup, has raised $1.8 million in funding as Japan opens up to international tourism. The round was led by Taiwan-based New Economy Ventures as well as individual investors.

Founded in 2015, TakeMe provides a restaurant reservation service between foreign tourists and restaurants in Japan. By connecting with online travel agencies and traffic platforms such as Klook, KKday, Meituan, Fliggy, Ctrip and Tripadvisor, TakeMe says it has linked millions of foreign tourists to more than 400 restaurants across Japan.

“Since COVID-19 hit the world, TakeMe has also been through ups and downs,” says Ory Rusli, the company’s director for Southeast Asia. “Fortunately we survived and, together with [all of] Japan, we are ready to welcome global visitors again.”

In 2019, TakeMe launched TakeMe Pay, which aggregates more than 100 payment brands from around the world, including WeChat Pay, Alipay, PayPay, LINE Pay, Merpay, and GrabPay, into a single QR code. TakeMe Pay has enabled more than 10,000 merchants in Japan to accept global mobile payment methods, helping them attract foreign customers, according to the company.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, TakeMe launched TakeMe Order, a restaurant order management system that supports contactless ordering. TakeMe Order has been implemented in more than 50 business categories, according to the company.

TakeMe, formerly known as Japan Foodie, was founded by Lu Dong, who grew up in China, spent 18 years in Japan, and earned an MBA from Stanford University in the United States.

Ethan Tsai, managing partner at New Economy Ventures, says the venture capital firm invests in “experienced entrepreneurs who can take advantage of cross-border opportunities and build high-growth businesses in Asia.”

Tsai says she has known Dong for more than 10 years, ever since Dong founded a couple of e-commerce companies in China. Tsai says that TakeMe is uniquely positioned to be the bridge between merchants in Japan and traffic platforms around the world.

“We believe that TakeMe’s services are valuable and essential for both merchants in Japan and international tourists,” says Tsai. “We look forward to supporting TakeMe’s growth in Japan and abroad.”

Japanese hotel tech startup Wayfarer raised $1 million in April for its mission to become “hotels’ Amazon web services.”

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