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Startups

SoftBank unit leads funding for Japan online sneaker market

SODA eyes Asia expansion with second fundraising in a year

The SNKRDUNK website allows users to buy and sell rare sneakers. (Photos courtesy of SNKDUNK)

TOKYO -- SODA, an online Japanese marketplace for sneakers, said on Thursday it raised $22 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia amid the country's growing interest in sneaker resales.

The startup's SNKRDUNK site allows users to buy and sell rare sneakers that quickly sell out when they are released by the shoemaker. It differentiates from a general marketplace like eBay by certifying the authenticity of footwear, which can cost hundreds of dollars a pair. The company was founded in 2018 and has 2.5 million monthly users in Japan, according to SODA, which generates revenue by taking a cut from each transaction.

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