SunBridge GV invests in WHILL who develops next generation personal mobility
(PRWEB) August 23, 2013
Global seed accelerator SunBridge Global Ventures Inc. (head office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan; President & CEO: Ikuo Hiraishi; henceforth “SunBridge GV”), via SunBridge Startups LLP (head office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan; Partner: Ikuo Hiraishi; henceforth “SunBridge Startups”) run by SunBridge GV affiliates, has invested in WHILL Inc. (head office: California, USA; CEO: Satoshi Sugie, henceforth “WHILL”) which is undertaking the development and sales of a next generation electrical personal mobility “WHILL”.
“WHILL” is a personal mobility which can be used on the sidewalk with both pleasing functionality and style. Not only can any ordinary people use it, people with mild disabliities or elderly people with difficulty walking can also ride it with ease and style allowing them to be mobile.
WHILL team members consist of young designers and engineers originating from major Japanese manufacturers which have supported the Japanese manufacturing industry such as Nissan/Sony/Olympus and they make use of the knowledge and the experinece gained there as well as attempting to realize new product development and manufacturing style which were hard to realize in the major manufacturers.
Amidst the "maker movement" in which anyone with an idea and a PC is able to make and sell products, by the move toward such as open source software, the changes in the parts production environment using 3D printers, and fabless manufacturing to outsource production to external cooperative companies, WHILL is quickly and effectively propelling development and production.
“With this financing not only has the capital been achieved for propelling the operation further, but by receiving investments from high added value investors, we have been able to utilize their advice and network. The next generation personal mobility “WHILL” which can be used on the sidewalk is aimed at a world in which healthy people, of course, but also mildly disabled or elderly people for whom walking may be difficult can go outside in a pleasant and smart fashion (CEO: Satoshi Sugie).”
WHILL is attempting to succeed in the electric wheelchair/senior car market which is estimated to become just short of 10 bilioon dollars in the world by 2020, and with this financing it will propel the development/production/sales of the mass production model of this first product. With mid-2014 as a target, they plan to sell 50 of them directly to the US market and after that they plan to expand into other countries including Japan sequentially. In this round, Itochu Technology Ventures, Inc., 500 Startups as well as WIngle Co., Ltd. have invested.
SunBridge Startups is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) established through investment from SunBridge GV affiliates in June 2011. With three themes - “Go Global”, “Global Cloud Platfom” and “Innovation Weekend Winner” – as its pillars, it discovers and develops global ventures originating in Japan.
[ About WHILL ]
Name of Company: WHILL, Inc . http://whill.jp/
Location: 120 Independence Dr., Suite 101, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
Established: May 2012 (establishment of WHILL group)
Representative: CEO: Satoshi Sugie
[ About SunBridge Global Ventures ]
SunBridge Global Ventures supports young entrepreneurs following the three major trends of smartphones, social media and cloud computing by providing them know-how cultivated in the past 10 years under the name of SunBridge Global Venture Habitat. Startups invested in so far include salesforce.com, Macromill, OKWave, ITMedia and istyle.
Name of Company: SunBridge Global Ventures Inc. http://en.sunbridge-gv.jp/
Location: 1-5-5, Ebisu-Minami, Tokyo, Japan
Established: January 5th 2012
Capital: 52,640,000 Yen（Paid-in capital 52,640,000 Yen)
Representative: President & CEO Ikuo Hiraishi
Business Field: Internet startup investment and overseas expansion support
Press Release URL: http://www.sunbridge-gv.jp/en/news/2013/08/221130.html