Arches Corporation, a Japan-based provider of knowledge-sharing services, announced last Friday that it has raised an additional 410 million yen ($2.6 million) in funding.

The firm said in a statement that the funding comes from KUSABI, VISIONAL Corporation, SMBC Venture Capital, Grove Advisors Ventures, and seven angel investors from Japan and abroad, bringing the total funds raised to 640 million yen ($4.06 million).

The company will use the funds to expand its existing “Expert Matching” service and develop new businesses, such as the “Expert Knowledge Bank”, a database service for transcribing interviews with experts.

The funds raised will be used to expand the expert network that realizes “expert matching” and to develop an “expert knowledge bank” that converts the experts’ knowledge into assets.

Arches will realize the “democratization of knowledge” by building a platform of reliable, highly specialized knowledge, expanding our client base to corporates and financial institutions.

In addition, Arches is also considering entering the human resource field, from knowledge sharing to resource sharing by utilizing the human resource database, aiming to become a global human resource sharing platform that transcends regions/industries in the mid- to long-term.

In the future, Arches plans to increase the amount of contents, especially interviews, and expand functions such as article summaries and trend analysis using ChatGPT.

“While the recent revitalization of the artificial intelligence (AI) market has made it possible for anyone to easily access a wide range of information, highly specialized and rare knowledge and experience are still accumulated in specific individuals without being visualized, making it difficult for companies to utilize them,

“In addition, in many cases, the data sources of information provided by AI-related services are weak, and we feel that the need for atypical knowledge with guaranteed reliability, which cannot be obtained from open sources, is rather increasing,” Arches Chief Executive Officer Hiroki Kato said.

“We have a one-stop service lineup that can provide individual expertise in the form of article databases, interviews, research/consulting, and talent dispatch/introduction, starting with our database of experts,

“Using the funds raised this time, we will deepen each of these services and expand our geographic coverage, aiming to become a ‘comprehensive platform of global knowledge,” he added.

With the mission of “Share knowledge, Empower Asia,” Arches operates in five locations around the world, including Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

To date, the firm has developed a “knowledge-sharing business” that provides companies seeking specific expertise to invest in new areas or resolve issues in existing businesses with the opportunity to recruit experts and access their knowledge.

In particular, the company’s “Expert Matching” service, in which experts are interviewed on an hourly basis, is favored by more than 300 clients worldwide, mainly consulting firms and investment companies that wish to gather highly specialized knowledge in a pinpoint manner quickly.

The firm has a database of over 100,000 experts, mainly in Asia, and a robust recruiting system and team built at offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) centers in Vietnam and other countries.

Arches has launched a new business, the “Expert Knowledge Bank,” which provides expert knowledge not only on a one-to-one basis through hourly interviews but also on a one-to-many basis by transcribing the interviews into a database.

By accumulating interview transcriptions with experts from around the world matched by Arches, the firm hopes to make it easier and less expensive for more customers to search for and view expert knowledge at any time.

The service was launched in beta in 2023 and is used mainly by investment firms investing in listed stocks.

“Expert network services have gradually become popular in Japan over the past few years, but they have yet to really take off, especially in Japan and the rest of Asia,

“Although there are similar and competing companies, we believe that we are approaching a sufficiently attractive market,” said Yuki Watanabe, Representative Partner, KUSABI.

According to him, Arches is also a rare startup that, despite being in its early phase, has a winning edge globally at this stage.

In addition, he said Arches is adjacent to a vast market of consulting, BPO, and human resources businesses, which allows for significant expansion of technology acceptance model (TAM),

Furthermore, he see thes potential for business development not only by solving issues for corporate clients but also by evolving value-added services for experts.

“In response to the above opportunities, I had no choice but not to invest in the company, as it has a talented team that reminds me of Userbase, a company I once invested in myself,

“As a lead investor, I look forward to a slow and significant return in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, Wataru Iizuka from SMBC Venture Capital, said that the challenges facing companies these days are becoming more and more complex, and external knowledge is essential to survive in the highly competitive international marketplace.

“Arches has successfully implemented a unique business model that benefits from low-cost operations in Vietnam and maintains high profit margins and excellent service quality,

“Based on its expert network services, Arches can expand into information database provision, recruiting, and BPO services, and its global growth is expected to be significant,” he said.

He also said that the management team will bring their experience and track record to this international success.

“We are committed to supporting Arches in its future endeavors,” he added.

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