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By Sam Nussey and Miho Uranaka

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese startup Timee, which runs a platform that matches workers looking for a side job with companies with labor shortages, is aiming for an initial public offering in Tokyo in July, two people familiar with the matter said.

The startup, founded in 2017, is aiming for a valuation of around one billion dollars. Joint global coordinators are Daiwa Securities and Morgan Stanley, the people said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange could approve the listing as early as the end of next week, one of the people said. All asked not to remain anonymous because the information is not public.

Timee did not respond to requests for comment. The Tokyo Stock Exchange and Daiwa said they would not comment on individual cases. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Timee’s app allows users to work shifts of just one hour in restaurants, supermarkets and hotels and get paid quickly. The company says it has 7 million registered users.

Part-time jobs are becoming more common in Japan as companies seek flexible workers and employees seek to supplement their income in their free time.

Timee’s growth reflects a changing labor market driven by worsening demographics, inflationary pressures and a transition to flexible working styles since the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a forecast by the Recruit Works Institute, Japan will face a labor shortage of 11 million people by 2040 as labor supply shrinks but demand remains robust.

Timee competes with flea market app operator Mercari, which launched a spin-off service in March.

Major staffing agencies Recruit and Dip, which operate the part-time job platform Baitoru, are both planning new on-demand work services later this year.

According to data from Japan’s spot labor market, its size will quintuple to 100 billion yen ($636 million) in the five years to the fiscal year ending March 2028.

Timee’s backers include trading firm Itochu and digital advertiser CyberAgent. Investors including venture capital firm Jafco plan to sell stakes, one of the people said.

Jafco declined to comment.

Thirty-two companies, including discount retailer Trial and space debris disposal service provider Astroscale, have gone public in Japan so far this year, raising more than $800 million.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Employees of a seafood restaurant work in their kitchen at the Tsukiji Outer Market in Tokyo, Japan, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

In comparison, according to LSEG data, there were 29 IPOs during the same period last year, raising more than $1.6 billion.

(1 US dollar = 157.1200 yen)

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