Dec 27, 2010

T.C.FACTORY raised 168M yen from KDDI and others

T.C.FACTORY revealed that it allocated new shares of 168 million yen to KDDI and Yasuda Enterprise Development.

T.C.FACTORY develops original data base in entertainment domain such as packages information of over 20 million of CD, movies, and DVD and over 4 million of artists, actors, and authors. Based on it, the company provides information service including licensing business by providing API. In May, it also released DrillSpinX, iPhone app allowing users to check persons or productions which is currently popular.

The company uses the capital for recruiting human resource to promote B2B2C/B2C business. In addition, it develops a new service linking with LISMO, music distribution service of KDDI for au mobile phone and PC.

Venture Now 12/24/2010

Rei-Frontier partners with Netprice to provide AR technology acquires new shares of Rei-Frontier to cooperate taking advantage of specialities each other.

Rei-Frontier is a technology company developing applications using its original AR technology. Among them, Lalacolle, communication application leveraging location information and avatar, has 5000 users since its launch on August. It aims to produce new services combining its AR and Netprice's e-commerce.

Netprice said it hopes to utilize Rei-Frontier's technology to strengthen their iPhone application.

Venture Now 12/27/2010

Dec 22, 2010

Butterfly forms capital alliance with Recruit, Koei Tecmo, and D2C /Second Times

In order to accelerate its business such as social games, smartphone apps, and global expansion, Butterfly announced that it partners with Recruit, Koei Tecmo Holdings, and D2 Communications. All of them acquires the company's shares from Ant Capital Partners, existing share holder.

With this alliance, Recruit holds 14.76%, Koei Tecmo and D2C have 4.33%. Butterfly also partnered with DeNA in this summer, which holds 14.99%.

The company plans to release iButterfly plus, location-based social game for smartphone, jointly with Dentsu.

Second Times 12/20/2010

Dec 21, 2010

Internet business market is predicted to become 18 trillion yen in 2015, 1.5 times larger than in 2010 /Venture Now

Nomura Research Institute released analysis and market prediction of three major IT markets; Internet business, mobile, and hardware.

Wireless broadband will increase from 240 billion yen in 2010 to 420 million yen in 2015 by penetration of high speed services such as WiMAX and HSPA as well as introduction of LTE.

Cumulative shipments of e-book devices, which gathers momentum centered around large device manufacturers, will be 14 million by 2015. E-book contents market is considered to reach 240 billion yen in 2015.

A whole Internet business including e-commerce and Internet advertisement will grow from 12 trillion yen in 2010 to 18 trillion yen mainly due to contribution of growing mobile market.

Venture Now 12/21/2010

CyberAgent sets up local corporation for venture investment in China to expand the fund size to 10B yen /Venture Now

CyberAgent Ventures transformed former representative office in Beijing, China to the corporation. In addition, the corporate VC launched an office in Shenzhen as a new branch for investment in China.

It plans to expand the size of CA-JAIC China Internet Fund II, L.P. jointly set up with Japan Asia Investment from current 1.2 billion yen (US$ 15 million) to 10 billion yen (US$ 125 million). It targets not only smartphone or social application developers, but also overall Internet related business including EC.

Venture Now 12/20/2010

Dec 20, 2010

e-book distribution system provider, Media Do partners with CCC /

Culture Convenience Club (CCC) and Nagoya-based e-book distribution platform operator, Media Do announced an alliance regarding e-book contents procurement and private brand contents development. Also CCC announced that it reached agreement on investment in Media Do.

CCC sells 90.7 billion yen of books and magazines at TSUTAYA, its franchised stores, and operates e-commerce site, TSUTAYA Online selling books or entertainment contents.

Media Do is a startup company providing contents distributors with services centered around its originally developed digital contents distribution platform, Contents Aggregation System (CAS). CAS allows users to unify management of  handling copyright, digitalizing contents, calculating, charging, and attracting customers. The system is adopted with Docomo Market Book Store of NTT Docomo and Softbank Book Store of Softbank Mobile as an e-book distribution system. 12/20/2010

Spacyz raised 45M yen from CyberAgent Ventures partnering in ads technology /Venture Now

Along with the fundraising, Spacyz accepts 3 external board members from CyberAgent. Spacyz provides adcloud, ASP of ad network development and operation for PC and mobile from the end of 2009. It has various matching algorithms such as category match or keyword match using Bayesian filtering and area match which matches viewers' area and ads.

CyberAgent is able to distribute ads utilizing contents targeting or re-targeting in advertising for Ameba. The company considers that it is possible to offer ads services based on more detailed data to clients by adding audience targeting distribution using Spacyz's ads technology to existing advertisement.

Venture Now 12/20/2010

Dec 16, 2010

mobage smartphone version is launched to go global partnering with Samsung /ITmedia

DeNA launched Mobage-town for Smartphone which is available with Web browser of iPhone/Android devices. Users can use community functions and a part of games. Also DeNA partners with Samsung Electronics which pre-installs mobage application on its Android smartphones sold in abroad.

Mobage-town for Smartphone allows users to use the same ID with Mobage-town for feature phones to use community services such as avatar, diary, and circle. A social game, Kaito Royale, is also provided.

It plans to align third parties' games from late February and launch mobage-town native application for iPhone/Android in April.

DeNA also accelerates global expansion. It renames "plus+ Network", a game community platform operated by ngmoco which was acquired by DeNA in October, to "mobage".

It provides social game providers with ngCore, ngmoco's development tool enabling game development efficient. At first, 50 game developers including large makers such as Koei Tecmo Games or Hudson participate as a preceding development partner.

ITmedia 12/15/2010

Dec 15, 2010

Minna no Wedding raised 153.6M yen by allocation of new shares to Globis /Venture Now

Minna no Wedding was founded by spin-off of wedding related information business from DeNA. It operates word-of-mouth site, Minna no Wedding, about preparation of wedding such as choosing place. Its main revenue comes from paid contents of about 4000 wedding places. A number of word-of-mouth is 60,000 as of October.

Venture Now 12/15/2010 

Digital Garage enters e-book business /Nikkei

Internet business incubator, Digital Garage invests in Media Do, Nagoya-based contents distributor to hold around 15% share. It provides manga, magazine, and books for Android smartphone and tablet devices. For sales promotion to consumers, it will utilize Twitter. Major targets are e-books distribution services operated by Softbank Mobile or NTT Docomo.

Media Do was founded on April 1999 and the revenue is about 3 billion yen. It distributes several tens of thousands of e-book titles, which is equivalent to Dainippon Printing or Toppan Printing.

Nikkei 12/15/2010

KDDI distributes music in Asia by acquiring KKBOX based in Taiwan /Nikkei

KDDI agreed on acquiring 76% share of KKBOX, Taiwanese music distribution service provider. KKBOX distributes music for devices such as smartphone and PC in Taiwan and Hong Kong. With the affiliation, it accelerates expanding Asia such as Japan, China, and Singapore from next spring.

The deal is considered to be around 5 billion yen. KKBOX has 7 million users in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It distributes popular music from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Korea for smartphone, mobile phone, tablet devices, and PC through Internet. Different from iTunes or LISMO of KDDI, which lets users to download music, it distributes music on servers by streaming using cloud computing technology. In Taiwan, it allows users listen to music as much as they like with 149 Taiwan dollar (415 yen) per month.

Nikkei 12/15/2010

Dec 14, 2010

au allows Groupon Japan to sell coupons on au portal site /TechCrunch Japan

A runaway leader in group coupon service, Groupon Japan announced that it partners with KDDI. KDDI launches "au one coupon", a portal site gathering discount coupon information of restaurants, beauty shops, and leisure shops on December 20. The portal site links with Groupon mobile site, which becomes official site of EZweb from today. The alliance allows users to buy coupons using au's billing service.

In addition, KDDI plans to pre-set  a short-cut of Groupon mobile native application on Android IS04.

TechCrunch Japan 12/14/2010

MSN and Han Game partner to provide social games on MSN Game /Mycom Journal

NHN Japan and Microsoft announced that they partner on online games. They launch co-operating site, MSN Game on planned MSN's renewal day, January 17th, 2011.

MSN Game provides contents on Han Game, online game site operated by NHN Japan. NHN Japan is in charge of developing and procuring game contents, operating game services and community services. Microsoft is in charge of attracting users and selling advertisement on the web site.

130 titles will be prepared for the launch at January 17. Among them, 10 social games, 20 role playing games,  and 10 sports/action games are included.

Mycom Journal 12/14/2010

Technical specifications of mixi Apuri for feature phones are officially adopted by OpenSocial /Internet Watch

mixi announced that its technical specifications of mixi apuri for feature phones are adopted as an official specifications, OpenSocial WAP Extension Specification.

mixi explained that Japanese mobile social technologies will be world's trend with the adoption and plans to disclose specifications to make them as standard.

Internet Watch 12/13/2010

Dec 10, 2010

Nekojarashi raised 60M yen from SBI Investment /Venture Now

Nekojarashi, cloud storage provider, announced that it allocates new shares to three funds operated by SBI Investment to raise 60 million yen.

Nekojarashi was founded on 2006 March providing cloud storage service called MacServer, file sharing service optimized for Mac. The service is used by around 1000 companies centered around creative sectors.

The company will spend the raised capital for R&D and facilities for cloud storage service. It plans to provide global service like Evernote.

Venture Now 12/9/2010

GREE releases iPhone app version of GREE and launches apps platform for smartphone /CNET

GREE launched GREE Platform for smartphone. Development partners are able to provide web apps, iOS apps, and Android apps for social networking service, GREE. Specifications for the platform is published on GREE Developer Center.

Applications using the platform can attract users through communications among GREE users or information on application portal such as new apps, ranking, and my apps. It is available for not only games, but also various category of social applications such as entertainment, lifestyle, commerce, and communication.

GREE has released basic functions of GREE for iPhone and Android as a web application. It added iOS native application on December 6 and Android native app is pre-installed on IS03 of au and plans to expand to other devices.

CNET 12/7/2010

Dec 9, 2010

milog releases AndFriends Beta allowing to share Android apps information /ITmedia

AndFriends is a service which lets Android smartphones users to share which applications they are using with each other. It also allows to see applications of recommended users, to disclose my recommended applications, to view apps ranking within friends, recent activities such as installed apps or run apps, and a widget listing apps in order of usage history.

AndFriends partners with au one Market of KDDI and andronavi of NEC Biglobe to get listed as a prioritized application.

ITmedia 12/7/2010

Dec 3, 2010

DeNA and CyberAgent jointly discover and support social game developers in China and Japan /DeNA Press Release

DeNA invests 500M yen respectively in CA-JAIC China Internet Fund II, which CyberAgent Ventures and Japan Asia Investment (China) jointly set up targeting Internet related startups in greater China, and CA Incubation I, which CyberAgent Ventures will set up targeting Internet startups in Japan. CyberAgent Ventures discovers and supports potential social game developers through these funds and aims to launch social games on Mobage-town, Yahoo! Mobage, and global platform for smartphone in the future.

DeNA 12/3/2010

Microsoft Innovation Award 2010; Innotech, medical software developer won the prize

Microsoft announced the winner of Microsoft Innovation Award 2010 at the event, Microsoft Innovation Day 2010. Innotech's KOACAD won the highest award. KOACAD is a software for medical field, which enables to diagnose knee osteoarthritis.

Four other startups are nominated for an award.
- e-typing by e-typing; typing training software on web, which already have 930 thousands users.
- MTCMS Enterprise by SkyArc System; large scale CMS for enterprises. Based on Movable Type, it can handle large scale web site with several tens of thousands pages and has other features such as workflow, editing on web browser, and migration from Word documents.
- Venta for Silverlight by Step Wise; Cloud sales management software using Windows Azure for backend, and Silverlight for frontend.
- XeBRaL ADDS by XeBRaL; Searching and analyzing solution for companies' disclosed documents provided by SaaS basis.

Cloud Watch 12/3/2010 

Group coupon buying service operator, Kiramex launches KAUPON STORES /TechCrunch jp

Since Piku's launch in April, Groupon clone services are increasing at breakneck speed in Japan. The industry has been more heating up with entry from large Internet media, Recruit, and Groupon itself. Those players increase sales force to expand areas and run a lot of TV commercials on air recently.

In this situation, Kiramex, which is the second launched group coupon buying service, launches KAUPON STORES. The service allows services or restaurants to have their own group buying site. The company charges monthly usage fee for the system and sales commissions. Groupon also announced Groupon Store as a new platform, but Kiramex takes a lead in Japan.

Tech Crunch Japan 12/3/2010

Dec 2, 2010

Group coupon service operator, Solad raises 50M yen from JAIC /Venture Now

Solado operates Minawari which provides group coupon service in and around Tokyo. It also provides a new service called Under 999 focusing on coupon under 999 yen. The startup provides system development service utilizing its know-how of operating coupon site. Pado, Benefit One, and Asatsu DK are customers for the service.

In addition to recruiting employees, Solado plans to develop alliance or acquire other coupon businesses using the capital. It already agreed on acquiring coupon service, "Iine! Gourmet" operated by Onlife.

Venture Now 12/2/2010

[Asiajin] Startups 2010: CyberAgent Ventures Announces To Invest In Five Tech Start-ups

Asiajin 12/1/2010
CyberAgent Ventures, an invest arm of Tokyo’s web business conglomerate CyberAgent, previously known as CyberAgent Investment, announced today the result of Startups 2010 or their program digging up hidden tech start-ups from Japanese market. Five teams were chosen to be financially and physically supported by CyberVentures in the program.
The teams chosen in the program are:
TechMonkey: develops “Loca-Tomo”, a location-based avatar training game app.
Food Foto: provides a service that allows you to share updates with your friends about what you’ve eaten at restaurants and what you’ve cooked.
Mind Palette: develops Snapeee, a picture-based social network having the feature of decorating user’s snapshots.
Tori ningen (meaning ‘bird man’): develops smartphone/tablet education apps for children.
Jipanglish: operates a language learning platform for allowing users to master English in a short time.
CyberAgent Ventures’ “Startup” program has been an annual opportunity for tech start-ups to apply, but there will be two periods a year since the next edition which is scheduled to due next March.

Dec 1, 2010

Infoteria invests in WaveMaker, US-based cloud application development tool vendor /

Infoteria takes 10.7% of WaveMaker Software with the investment to become the largest shareholder. WaveMaker is a development tools for cloud application with concept of "Non-coding" which is used by over 15,000 developers around the world. Its excellent GUI allows developers to reduce development hour drastically.

Infoteria partners with WaveMaker to combine its ASTERIA, data integration technology, with the WaveMaker's GUI. 12/1/2010

Nov 30, 2010

CyberAgent sets up development center of social applications in US /Venture Now

CyberAgent announced that it sets up development center for smartphone application and starts to launch applications for overseas from March 2011. The first applications are to be restaurant management game and puzzle game. It aims to provide eight titles until September of 2011. The company also plans to recruit mainly engineers from both Japan and US and increase its employees from current 30 to 100 until the end of September 2012.

Venture Now 11/30/2010

Rocketstart raised 330M yen from Globis Capital Partners /CNET

Rocketstart operates "nanapi" which let users to introduce and share how-to in categories such as love, work, and hobby. It is free for posting or viewing. A number of monthly posts are about 2300. It has 9.5 million accesses from PC and mobile combined.

CNET 11/29/2010

Nov 23, 2010

[Asiajin] Startup Weekend Tokyo 2010: Picture Crop Tool Kachop Wins 1st Prize Among Nine Teams

Asiajin 11/23/2010
It was Global Entrepreneurship Week between November 14 and 21 when a variety of business development events are scheduled to take place in Tokyo and Kyoto. In time with this opportunity, there was a three-day tech event called Startup Weekend Tokyo last weekend, which was the second edition here in Japan. At this event, people having a variety of skill sets came together and attempted to develop new services during the weekend.
Kachop, who won the first prize at Startup Weekend Tokyo, can move forward to the next step, Global Startup Battle, a global competition organized and supported by Startup Weekend. 
Kachop is a smartphone app (they actually developed an Android prototype) that allows you to crop favorite portrait and override it on your favorite background very easily without graphical technique nor Adobe Photoshop-like software.

Nov 22, 2010

China's major SNS starts group coupon buying service with Pado /Nikkei

Pado will start group coupon service jointly with Oak Pacific Interactive, the big SNS operator in China. It plans to launch the web site on the coming January. 70 - 80 shops in the Tokyo metropolitan area at launch and that will be extended  throughout the country. The company expects 1 billion yen annual sales.

Both set up the operating company at December 1. OPI invests 40% and Pado invests the rest. OPI and Pado prepares coupons available for virtual goods of social games which users of SNS play each other in order to differentiate from other competitors including Groupon.

Nikkei 11/19/2010

Group coupon site, Luxa raises 500M yen from JAFCO /CNET

LUXA sells discount coupons of services such as restaurants or relaxation services. Since it's launch at August, BizReach, recruiting service provider, has operated the service, but the company spun it off and set up Luxa on October.

CNET 11/22/2010

[Asiajin] Japan’s Itochu Invests In Hong Kong And Taiwanese E-Commerce Sites

Asiajin 11/22/2010
Major Japanese trading (and Fortune 500) company Itochu is making a foray into the Asian e-commerce space. According to The Nikkei, Itochu made two investments recently, having bought into Hong Kong-based online shopping company Fortune Link and Taiwan-based PChome.
About 10% of each of these sites have been acquired by Itochu, The Nikkei reports. ...

Nov 18, 2010

SBI Social Lending launches pre-site /Yomiuri Online

SBI Social Lending, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, launched a pre-site targeting for official launch at the next spring. As SBI Social Lending has been considering legal and economical aspects for launching its social lending service, it dissolves an alliance with US's Prosper Marketplace and changes the company name form SBI Prosper to SBI Social Lending.

The company was founded at January 24 of 2008.

Yomiuri Online 11/17/2010

Japan Medical Net Communications is approved to go public on Mothers /Venture Now

Japan Medical Net Communications, a group company of M3, will get IPO on Mothers of Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 21.

Major share holders are Toru Hayakawa, president (55.97%), M3 (16.68%), and other board members and their families. No other investors such as venture capital are involved.

Its business domain is operation of vertical portal site of dentistry and related services in the field such as web development and SEM.

The revenue of 2010 ending May is 1 billion yen, and the profit is 140 million yen.

Venture Now 11/17/2010

Nov 17, 2010

Verona, virtual communication network, launched /

Amiya starts to sell Verona, a new network communication service using virtual IP technology. Different from existing VPN service using IP-VPN to enable point-to-point connection, Verona allows users to have secure communication in a special virtual IP network using Internet. With the service, users do not need to pay static IP fee for providers when using Internet VPN, which drastically cuts cost maintaining VPN communication with high leveled security.

The use cases are such as building POS network between multi stores and headquarters cheaply, internal software developers and outsourcing companies, and monitoring cameras set on many different places from headquarters. 11/17/2010

Deloitte Japan Technology Fast 50 /

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu announced Deloitte Japan Technology Fast 50, a ranking based on growth rate of revenue for past three years in Technology, Media & Telecommunications industry.

Gree, social networking service operator, achieved 4,210% growth for three years to top the list for the second consecutive year. The second is Livesence operating Internet media centered around human resources and real estates. Phoeton ranked the third, which develops and sells razor process equipments. A record number of 20 unlisted companies won the prize.

2010 Fast50 Ranking - Top 10
1 Gree 4,210%
2 Livesence 695%
3 Phoeton 306%
4 Morpho 266%
5 Tella 262%
6 Oasis Solution 214%
7 NRL Pharma 190%
8 V-Technology 181%
9 Winlight 168%
10 AdWays 168% 11/17/2010
Deloitte News Release (PDF)

Nov 15, 2010

DeNA partners with HI and Interactive Brains to provide 3D contents /Venture Now

DeNA announced that it collaborates with HI, 3D rendering engine software developer, and Interactive Brains, 3D avatar creator, including capital alliance for developing a 3D platform for next generation.

The company plans to create development and usage environment of 3D contents for Flash in 2011 and HTML5 in 2012. In addition to PC, it provides the environment for smartphone in order for contents providers to develop contents for multi devices with single source.

DeNA will accept 1600 of new shares (102,111 yen per share) that HI issues on 29 November to acquire 5.2% and also plans to acquire a part of existing shares of Interactive Brains.

Venture Now 11/15/2010

[Asiajin] Nico Nico Douga Turns In The Black In Full-year Result And To Open New Office In Harajuku

Asiajin 11/14/2010
Dwango, the parent of the company running Japan’s largest video sharing site Nico Nico Douga, announced its full-year consolidated financial statements (Oct. 2009 thru Sep. 2010) last week, which showed us Nico Nico Douga had turned in the black for the first time in their full-year result. (In their monthly earnings, it already turned in the black last March.)
They unveiled the following financial results and their user attributes.
Financial results:
Net sales: JPY1.846B (=USD23.1M)
Premium membership: JPY1.457B (=USD18.2M)
Ad sales: JPY257M (=USD3.2M)
Affiliate sales: JPY48M (=USD0.6M)
Reward points sales and others: JPY84M (=USD1.1M)
Operating income: JPY115M (=USD1.4M)

Nov 12, 2010

Brand Dialog won an award at Tokyo Prefecture Venture Technology Award /

Brand Dialog announced that Knowledge Suite, its SaaS service using its original GRID technology, received a prize from Tokyo Prefecture Venture Technology Award 2010 organized by Tokyo Prefecture.

Screening criteria are novelty/creativity, completeness of technology, originality, marketability, and growth potential. Brand Dialog has its original grid technology, Promotional Grid, which reuses CPU/HDD resource of external PCs and servers to build virtual super computer (GRIDY Cloud) and provides its high processing capability and large scale of storage capacity with low price.

The company won the prize for providing Knowledge Suite, SaaS SFA/CRM business application, for safe and with low cost. 11/11/2010

Nov 11, 2010

GMO Group launches Groupon type service, Kumapon by GMO, aiming at top 3 /Venture Now

Kumapon by GMO adopts One Deal a Day policy to sell discount coupon of gourmet, hotel, esthetic clinic, and schools with less than a half price.

Among Groupon type services, it is very late to enter the market, but it will take advantage of GMO Group network with 35 million of active monthly users. It gives GMO Tokutoku Point for coupon buyers, which can be used at 13,000 venues with over 6 million goods and also at the group's EC shop.

Venture Now 11/10/2010 

PC-EGG launches Telne allowing to make telephone conference room /Venture Now

Telne allows any users to make a telephone conference room using any telephone devices with a phone number including fixed-line phones, IP phones and mobile phones.  If a user register his/her own number and call a dedicated number for Telne, the service recognizes a caller and direct the call to a conference room that he/she has set up.

Different from soft phones, any application software or head set is necessary. It is free to register or use.

The company also plans to provide Telne API which is used as a cloud service.

Venrture Now 11/10/2010

Nov 10, 2010

KDDI partners with Colopl, location-based game provider /ITpro

KDDI and Colopl announced that they jointly provide au one Colopl+, location-based game platform. The service starts November 11 for au feature phones, and also for Android smartphones from late November.

KDDI said au one Colopl + is a portal of location-based services, to which location-based advertising and other services than games will be considered to be added. At the launch, 3 games running on the platform are to be prepared. API of au one Colopl+ is open to third party developers which will provide games or utility applications.

Colopl has provided Colony na Seiaktsu PLUS since 2005, and the number of users surpasses 1.5 million as of November 10, 2010. The company announced that it will provide Colopl+ for NTT Docomo and Softbank as well as KDDI, including other Android devices and iPhone in late November.

ITpro 11/10/2010

Liveout develops instant search technology showing search result in typing / Venture Now

LIVEOUT Search is a instant search service which mash-up APIs such as Google, Bing, Amazon, and Twitter. Users can change search engines without page transitions. There are 38 APIs including, Google web, image, and books, Bing web and news, Hotpepper gourmet, Jaran hotel, Web R25 news, Yahoo category and auction, Amazon items, Rakuten items, Twittwer, and Youtube.

It also has functions tuned to the level that is capable for business use such as mapping of search results, clipping to Evernote, keywords suggestion, and cashing results to show quickly.

The company plans to provide business tools of LIVEOUT brand by making LIVEOUT portal site.

Venture Now 11/9/2010

[TechCrunch] NTT-IP Invests 1 Million In New Partner EnglishCentral

TechCrunch 11/10/2010
NTT Investment Partners and EnglishCentral have formed an alliance to further online English language training in Japan. The partnership also means a one million dollar investment from NTT Partners into the cloud-based ESL platform.
EnglishCentral users watch and interact with online videos and receive feedback based on their performance. The NTT Group’s primary business is as as broadband video carrier and it plans on taking advantage of its latest partnership to expand its Virtual English service, which is a prepackaged language training program for NTT’s broadband customers. ...

VC expands foreign investment

Venture Capitals expand investment in foreign companies, such as startups in Asia growing rapidly. IPO is so active in Asia that it is easier to get return on investment. Strong yen also accelerates overseas investment.

SBI Holdings agreed on establishing venture fund with Fudan University in China. It plans to set up US$ 80 million of fund within the first half of 2011 and invest in startups such as bio, green tech, and IT launched from Fudan University. The company also plans to set up a fund targeting for potential companies in Brazil or North Africa in the near future.

An amount of foreign investment of SBI in the first half of 2010 (April to September) was 37.1 billion yen increased by 50% on a year-over-year basis.

CyberAgent's subsidiary, CyberAgent Ventures will establish a fund to invest in Asian startups in the next spring. Total amount is expected to be 5 billion yen. Its target will be EC or Internet advertising in Vietnam or Indonesia. The corporate VC set up 1.2 billion yen of fund this month focusing on greater China jointly with Japan Asia Investment.

Jafco expands target segments from IT to green technology. Its foreign investment of the first half of 2010 increased by 61% to 5 billion yen. Especially investment in Asia increased three times. In October, it established a fund with $80 million investing in Asian startups.

Nikkei 11/10/2010

Nov 9, 2010

Phyzios raised 450 million yen

Phyzios announced that it raised 450 million yen from five venture capitals, including Globis Capital Partners, Daiwa Corporate Investment, Nissei Capital, Mizuho Capital, and University of Tokyo Edge Capital.

Phyzios is launched from University of Tokyo developing physical simulation technology which treats any materials as particles with different properties.  With the technology, the startup develops PHYZIOS Studio, game or art creation tool, and iPhone/iPad applications on its own or partnering with other companies.

The company won Innovation Winner Award competing among 35 startups from around the world at Plug and Play iEXPO 2010, presentation conference of technology ventures held at Plug and Play Tech Center, incubation center at Silicon Valley.

Phyzios plans to strengthen human resource with this capital. Also it aims to extend partnering activities such as providing upper grade version of Tomica Hyper Rescue Lite co-developing with Takara Tomy Entamedia.

CNET 11/9/2010

Top 10 services share 90% of total prepaid coupon sales

According to the result of research conducted by LUXA, prepaid coupon site operator, total number of Groupon-type services surpassed 100 for this seven months since the first service launched and total sales from April exceeds 1.2 billion yen.

Estimated sales drastically increased from 360 million yen in September to 560 million yen October. However 90% of total revenue is occupied by top 10 companies.

Venture Now 11/9/2010

Yahoo Japan and COMEL launches digital signage ads

Yahoo Japan and Softbank Group company, COMEL, started to provide digital signage advertising service tied-up with Yahoo! Japan contents. The service provides ads packaged with Yahoo contents customized for characteristics of a location where the signage is placed.

At the launch, it distributes Yahoo Uranai (fortune-telling) to AEON Channel which has 1000 displays set in 116 AEON shopping malls and JACLA Vision with 300 digital signage media deployed at driving schools that Japan Car Life Assist operates.

CNET 11/9/2010

CyberAgent and JAIC set up $15 million fund for greater China

CyberAgent Ventures and Japan Asia Investment jointly established a fund, CA-JAIC China Internet Fund II, L.P., investing in promising startups in greater China.

Total amount of the fund is US$15 million invested by CyberAgent, JAIC and others. The targets are Internet related business in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Both had set up US$22.8 million fund in 2006 April. In the past they invested in StarCloud Media, operating, Chinese largest video sharing service, or Sunfun Info, operating SNS, iPartment, which has over 25 million users in China and Taiwan.

Venture Now 11/8/2010

Nov 8, 2010

Recochoku partners with NTT Docomo launching a new music store

Recochoku and NTT Docomo jointly launches Docomo Market Music Store powerd by Recochoku from December 6. iMode users can buy music without registration and also it allows users to use Docomo Point for purchase.

The music store plans to provide about 1 million titles without ringtone features, which is the largest scale ever for music download service for mobile phones. All titles can be previewed and also it is possible to buy all titles in an album at one time. 11/8/2010

FoodLog analyzes meal with image analysis technology from University of Tokyo

foo.log announced that it renewed design and features of its food-focused lifelog service, FoodLog, including Twitter linkage.

FoodLog analyzes a meal by just posting photos of food. It tells you whether you take well balanced meal and allow you to manage your physical condition, diet, and improve your food life.

The image analysis technology is originally developed in University of Tokyo which licenses the patent to the company.

Venture Now 11/8/2010 

Nov 5, 2010

Netmile launches research service in China partnering with has video review about goods which 2.43 million users actually uses under their own names. When its users login to the site, questionnaire is displayed.

Target customers are government offices and consumer goods makers which are using research service of Netmile in Japan.

Venture Now 11/4/2010

Bilcom integrates operations with digital marketing company in China

Bilcom announced that it agreed on management integration with Shanghai YMG China. Bilcom sets up 100% subsidiary, BILCOM China in April 2011, and transfers digital marketing business unit of Shanghai YMG China to BILCOM China.

Bilcom is a PR agency with strength in digital marketing. The company said that the integration with Shanghai YMG China will allow them to provide digital solution utilizing social media in China. Also it plans to provide digital solutions to not only Japanese customers, but also Chinese or Western customers.

CyberAgent announced Ameba becomes a cash cow

CyberAgent announced its annual financial settlement ending September 2010. Ameba business including blog service, Ameblo, and virtual community, Ameba Pigg, made 2.48 billion yen of operating profit increased by 2.7 billion yen from the last year. A number of users are increasing by 300,000 to 400,000 per month, which reaches 11.66 million as of the end of October. A revenue of the business unit in the forth quarter of the fiscal term is 2.6 billion yen, 1.5 billion of which is advertising and the rest is from paid service such as mobile games.

ARPU per month is 1455 yen for PC service and 1043 yen for mobile service as of September. It has been rapidly increasing for the past three months, which is mainly due to casino game and fishing game on Ameba Pigg.

Ameba business unit is focusing on smartphone applications including social networking service as well as services for feature phones. The company aims to generate at least 4 billion yen of profit next fiscal year with Ameba business.

CNET 11/5/2010

Adways starts to provide AppDriver, the first CPI-based ads service in Japan

AppDriver is an ad service for smartphone apps developers, which allows them to attract customers with affiliate ads and to monetize with reward ads on a single dashboard at the same time.

The biggest characteristic is that it adopts CPI (Cost Per Install) which determines the commission based on number of installs for the first time in Japan. Another advantage is that it is easy to place reward ads by just embedding SDK.

Reward ads is a kind of affiliate ads which gives virtual goods or reward points when users view the ads and take actions such as buying goods or registering to services.

Venture Now 11/5/2010

Nov 4, 2010

DigiDock, social game developer, merges Ideallink

Ideallink was founded on May 2007 providing document sharing service, Hot.Docs. Several venture capitals including Corepeople Partners has invested in the startup. According to Mr. Yamamoto, president of Ideallink, the company started social application business from the end of the last year and sold Hot.Docs to Baidu.

DigiDock was founded on June 2008. Its flagship game on mixi, Mobatetsu has more than 200,000 users. On August 2010, it raised 50 million yen from IncubateFund.

Venture Now 11/4/2010 

Social lending service, AQUSH, raised capital from Silicon Valley based VC fund

Exchange Corporation, social lending service, AQUSH, operator announced that it accepted an investment from Silicon Valley based VC fund, 500Startups.

Borrowers and lenders on AQUSH can trade without other financial institutions, which allows borrowers to borrow with appropriate interest rate for their credit risk and renders to decide rate of return based on their acceptable risk. Since its launch on December 2009, the total amount of loan application surpasses 1.16 billion yen.

Dream News 11/4/2010

mixi announced "Social Phone" linking "my miku"(friends) data with address book of Android device

mixi announced to provide a new service, Social Phone, which allows users to view status update in mixi or to link friends' data in mixi with address book of a smartphone.

Social Phone will be available on smartphones with Android 2.2 or later. The service is only available for Softbank Mobile until the end of June of 2011. Users can download the application on Android Market. A part of mobile devices have the application pre-installed.

CNET 11/4/2010

Nov 2, 2010

Ameba Pigg Android app released using Adobe AIR

CyberAgent launched Android app of Ameba Pigg, avatar community, which was developed using Adobe AIR for Android. The app is free on Android Market.

It plans to sell the app on multi-stores including Docomo Market and also will release an app of AmebaPico, English version of Ameba Pigg in the next year.

ITmedia 11/1/2010

NTT Investment Partners invests in Nihon Gigei, cloud solution provider

NTT Investment Partners invests 38 million yen through its operating fund by an allocation of new shares of Nihon Gigei.

Nihon Gigei provides web services for business customers on cloud computing platform taking advantage of its original approach combining technology and art.

NTT Investment Partners press release 11/1/2010

DeNA announced Q2 earnings - Revenue tripled on a year-to-year basis to 27B yen

DeNA announced the financial statement of its second quarter (2010 July-September). The revenue is 27 billion yen and the operating profits is 13.6 billion yen.
The biggest contributor for the growth is social media business such as virtual goods sales of social games, which shares 23.2 billion yen.

The company's operating social networking service, Mobage-town reaches 21.67 million users. It has 241 of 3rd party game develops providing 567 game titles. Moba-coin, virtual money for social games, is consumed 18 times more than January of this year.

Yahoo! Mobage, social game service for PC launched on October 7th, has 840,000 users as of October 28th. 15% of users are 10s, 29% for 20s and 56% for over 30s. It has succeeded to acquire higher aged users than Mobage-town, which is aligned with its original intention.

CNET 11/1/2010 

Nov 1, 2010

GREE invests in mig33, Singapore based mobile SNS

The investment is the series C round for mig 33, which seems to use the capital for expanding the services to smartphones. Other investors are not disclosed. GREE invests several million dollars to obtain several percent.

mig33 is mobile SNS targeting for feature phones, which has 40 million users in total mainly in south east Asia expanding to India, Africa, Middle East and eastern Europe. Monthly active users are said to be around 4 million.

Before the series C, mig33 has got investment of $23.5 million from venture capitals such as Accel Partners, Redpoint and DCM.

TechCrunch 11/1/2010

Moshimo partners with Digital Garage Group to strengthen Twitter linkage

DG Strategic Partners, 100% subsidiary of Digital Garage in charge of strategic investment deals, buys all stocks which the existing shareholder, SBI Veritrance, posseses. This is the first deal for DG Strategic Partners.

Moshimo operates Moshifes, flash marketing type of affiliate service using Twitter launched on this August. Within this year, the company plans to allow to login its drop shipping or affiliate service with Twitter accounts and also Moshimo members (350,000) can post tweets for promotion with its dashboard.

Venture Now 10/29/2010

GREE acquires shares of istyle, cosmetics UGC site, @cosme, operator

GREE announced that it acquires 4.2% of share of istyle from an existing share holder. istyle operates @cosme which is popular in 20s and 30s females. With the acquisition, GREE develops partnership with the company.

CNET 10/29/2010

Oct 29, 2010

Kadokawa and Dwango partner to provide ebooks and contents on NicoNico Doga

With the partnership, users can view part of ebooks which they buy on Book Waker, contents distribution platform to be launched on 2011 April by Kadokawa Group, with Nico Nico Viewer, ebook viewer to be provided by Nico Nico Doga.

Also official channel of Kafokawa Group distributing its contents will be deployed in Nico Nico Doga.

Internet Watch 10/28/2010

Yahoo and StartToday partner in fashion related EC

Yahoo and StartToday announced on 28 that they agreed on partnership for the purpose of strengthening Yahoo Japan's fashion related services and increasing users of ZOZOTOWN.

Yahoo utilize a database of fashion brands and products which ZOZOTOWN, fashion shopping site operated by StartToday, to enhance fashion related services. While, users of ZOZOTOWN are allowed to use Yahoo Japan ID and Yahoo Point.

MarkeZine 10/29/2010

Celsys to go on Tokyo Stock Exchange Second Section

Celsys released that it was accepted by Tokyo Stock Exchange to go public on its Second Section market. The company has already listed on Nagoya Stock Exchange Centrex market.

Celsys develops viewer and producing software of animation and comics focusing on growing ebook market. Predicted annual revenue of this year is 2.7 billion yen.

The company explains that the merit of being listed on TSE Second Section is to increase name recognition which leads to make easier to recruit engineers.

Venture Now 10/29/2010 

eBookJapan bundles ebook reader with GALAXY S

eBook Initiative Japan announced that it bundles its ebook reader with GALAXY S, Android smartphone for NTT Docomo. The reader allows users to buy and read ebooks sold on the company's operating ebook download site, eBookJapan.

eBookJapan sells more than 20,000 titles for Android devices, which is the largest in Japan.

Mai Comi Journal 10/28/2010

[Asiajin] Facebook Adds Mixi Connector For Japanese

Asiajin 10/28/2010
Facebook has just released a new export tool to connect itself with Japanese competitor social networking service, Mixi. The tool on Facebook, named “Facebook to Mixi wo Rinku”(Link Facebook and Mixi), will take you to Mixi API’s approval page. ...

Oct 28, 2010

E-Guardian to go public on Mothers at December 1st

E-Guardian approved by Tokyo Stock Exchange to be listed on Mothers. Planned date is December 1st. This is the third IT related startup to get IPO this year following Voltage and Papyless.

Main investors are Dream Incubator (18.40%), the founder (12.81%), Technology Ventures Fund II (9.63%) and GREE (6.42%). E-Guardian was founded as Hot Pot in 1998.

The startup provides blog sites, SNS and message board services with posting monitoring, inquiry support, and reputation analysis services.

Annual revenue ending on September 2010 is 1.3 billion yen. Pretax profit is 213 million yen.

Venture Now 10/27/2010

Open Network Lab starts to recruit the second entrepreneur nurturing program

Open Network Lab, operated by Digital Garage,, and, started its second recruitment for Seed Acclerator, incubation program to support engineers start-up.

Seed Accelerator provides selected teams from applicants with servers, office space, and fund as well as mentoring from engineers, entrepreneurs, and business managers. After three months program, it gives opportunity to appeal their services to venture capitalists or entrepreneurs in Japan and abroad.

With the first program, seven teams selected from 41 participated. The second program starts from January 2011 ending on March. For the second program, Culture Convenience Club and Bit-isle will join as a partner. CCC will support linkage their service with web sites and shops and also sponsor monthly events organized by Open Network Lab. While, Bit-isle provides its cloud computing service, Server On-demand, for a year free.

CNET 10/27/2010

Oct 27, 2010

Koozyt provides AR technology for NHK's event renting iPhone to visitors

Koozyt announced to provide its AR technology to NHK Bunkasai Taiken Hiroba 2010, an event held by NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corporation. The event will be held from 30 October to 3 November at NHK Broadcasting Center in Shibuya, Tokyo.

The company provides GnG (GET and GO), mobile AR marketing service using GnG CyberCode. Visitors can enjoy Ikimono Sagashi (creature search) Game with AR. At the event site, special iPhone devices will be rented out to visitors, who can get points by catching "creatures" displayed on iPhone when shooting AR marker put in the event site. Users cannot participate with their own iPhone.

Maicomi Journal 10/27/2010

[Asiajin] Cybozu Aims At Business-oriented Social Network, And Something Different From Facebook

Asiajin 10/27/2010
Cybozu Inc., a Tokyo-based package vendor having developed a web-based groupware intended to Japanese SMEs for more than a decade, introduced their brand new SaaS edition of the groupware last November, which is called Cybozu Live.

This week, Mr. Yoshihisa Aono, the CEO of Cybozu Inc., unveiled the plan on how the service goes from now on, and it seems changing to a new one based on the concept of not a groupware but a business-oriented social network platform. It has engaged 41 thousand users since the service’s launch last November despite admission to the service is only by invitation only during the period. Finally it’s opened to everyone this week.

Cybird launches "+ Mobile Reward"", reward ad service for social applications

+Mobile Reward! is a pay per performance advertisement which gives mileages points or virtual money available in applications if users who views the ads take such actions as buying goods or registering to services. Also the service places ads optimized for each applications in order to improve effectiveness of the advertisement.

Cybird provides a total solution for business customers to change mobile phones into business tool and bring smile for both our customers and their end users. 10/26/2010

GREE launches tie-up ads package with social apps

GREE announced that it releases GREE Social Ad Apuri from this month. The service allows customers to place ads with their original contents such as social games. Companies can implement effective and efficient promotion by utilizing social aspects including communication between users.

The social network operator packages the service using its acquired know-how from plan, development to operation, which enables to launch promotions within five weeks  at earliest.

Venture Now 10/26/2010

Oct 26, 2010

[e27] Red Herring picks finalists for Asian awards

e27 10/26/2010
So Red Herring has released its list of finalists for the Red Herring 100 Asia award. There are a lot of companies on the list who we know quite well — check out the table below. A number of them also appear in our list of Asia’s 
The finalists get a shot at being selected as one of the Red Herring 100 Asia winners. The winners will be presented at an event in Shanghai next month. 

[Asiajin] Luna Luna – Mobile Menstruation Care Site, 2.7% Of Japanese Women Pay, Now Goes U.S.

Asiajin 10/25/2010
The service name is Luna Luna, which calls itself as a “mobile site for women”. The site takes information many women need, menstruation and contraception care with a lot of guides/Q&A/columns around women’s physiology.
The cellphone site, which is reachable from all major 3 Japanese cellphone carrier official portal, boasts 1.8 million registered users. Amazing thing is that all of the 1.8 million members are paid subscribers, who pay 180-189 yen(depends on carrier) each month.
Emboldened by the domestic triumph, Luna Luna company MTI Ltd. launched the English version of Luna Luna on iPhone for U.S. market on October 22nd. The price is $1.99

Oct 22, 2010

[Asiajin] IncubateFund To Hold A Boot Camp For Encouraging Entrepreneurs In Their 20s

Asiajin 10/21/2010 
IncubateFund, an investment team backed by DeNA and it’s known for having invested in Pokelabo and Istpika (both are social app providers), will have a two-day camp for encouraging potential entrepreneurs to develop and launch their Internet businesses. ...

Infoteria partners with Evernote releasing calender app for iPhone

The calender application, Snapcal, links with Evernote as well as Twitter and Google Calender to share schedule and information among those services. There are free and premium version for 115 yen with seven languages including Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Korean.

Yoichiro Hirano, CEO of Infoteria said that it would like to expand services linking users around the world through partnership with Evernote.

ITmedia 10/21/2010 

Oct 21, 2010

OKWave launches Facebook app, "ARIGATO" sharing Q&A

OKWave develops beta version of ARIGATO, international social Q&A service and launches in Facebook. ARIGATO allows users to post questions, answers and comments for users around the world.

The service has basically the same scheme as its existing Q&A service, OKWave. 13 languages including English, Spanish, and Chinese as well as Japanese are available. Translation is to be done by users themselves. Users can add "Arigato" for questions, answers, or translations which they think good to indicate gratitude.

Venture Now 10/20/2010 

CRI Middleware and Valup provides free PR distribution tool for iPhone apps

CRI Middleware and Valup Tehcnology starts to provide CLOUDIA Starter Plan, which is a basic service of CLOUDIA, in-apps PR engine for iPhone and iPad applications co-developed by those companies.

CLOUDIA is a marketing tool for publisher of iPhone/iPad applications, which consists of an engine displaying PR information in applications and server system for effect measurement and real-time contents distribution. Contents to distribute can be updated on servers, so it is not necessary to update application itself.

The starter plan allows users to use basic features such as catalog function in apps and contents distribution. In addition to basic features, effect measurement features such as analyzing end users' behavior and effect of PR will be available with CLOUDIA Premium Plan, which costs 50,000 yen per month.

CNET 10/20/2010

DeNA sells Mobakore to Senshukai to focus on social game

DeNA and Senshukai announced on October 20 that Mobakore, joint venture of them, is to be a 100% subsidiary of Senshukai by transferring stocks that DeNA possesses to Senshukai.

Mobakore is a mobile EC site of fashion items founded on February 2006. DeNA holds 51% and the rest of 49% is owned by Senshukai.

With the transfer, DeNA focuses on social game platform business centered around Mobage-town.

ITmedia 10/20/2010

Oct 20, 2010

Dentsu and Qoncept partner to provide AR service

Both companies co-develop AR platform service using "Scan it" and make it available for Android and feature phones as well as iOS devices.

"Scan it" is free iPhone application which recognize flat image like QR code and link to iPhone contents. The alliance aims to provide a new AR platform service by mounting Qoncept AR Engine, an AR technology developed by Qoncept, with "Scan it".

Dentsu, Qoncept and others provides advertisement on Yomiuri news paper allowing users to view AR with CG image.

MarkeZine 10/19/2010

Softsign enters Vietnam market with mobile SNS

Softsign sets up R&S Mobile JOINT STOCK COMPANY, joint venture with Vietnam's Runsystem Corporation at Hanoi launching mobile SNS service, MOBA.

The amount of capital of the startup is 4 million yen, 49% of which is invested by Softsign and the rest by Runsystem Corporation.

Runsystem Corporation provides mobile/Web system and game software development for Japan and Western countries. Softsign operates mobile contents distribution service in Vietnam by partnering with local companies. It aims to become like Mobage or Gree taking advantage of early entry with relatively less competition in immature market at this moment.

Venture Now 10/19/2010 

Excite launches Hyper Local News based on location information

Hyper Local News automatically displays news and tweets related to location which users set on a map. The service uses language analysis engine developed by Excite, which identifies places and estimates relation with areas from each information. Also, it obtains information near specified place based on latitude and longitude.

The contents displayed are exhaustively covered including news, events, sight-seeing spots, tweets of Twitter, and weather.

Venture Now 10/19/2010 

Rakuten launches shopping mall in China

Rakuten launched Internet shopping mall jointly with Baidu on 19th of October. The rent for opening store is free except deposit. In Japan, a business model of Rakuten is to take rent from online shops, but Rakuten China adopts commission base charging a certain percentage of a volume of transaction.

Venture Now 10/19/2010

Oct 15, 2010

Nobot raised 100M yen ($1.25M)

Nobot revealed that it raised about 100 million yen from JAFCO and Nissei Capital. Nobot was founded on April, 2009 and provide AdMaker, advertising optimization service for smartphone.

The startups has raised 30 million yen from ngi group and others after an angel round from Samurai Incubate. It plans to use the capital to improve AdMaker and to expand overseas centered around Asia.

Venture Now 10/15/2010

Istpika raised 200M yen ($2.5M) from DeNA-sponsored Incubate Fund

DeNA provides most of capital of Incubate Fund, which has also invested in Pokelabo recently. Including Istpika and Pokelabo, the fund has invested in around five social game studios.

Istpika provides Bistrante, social game co-developed with DeNA for Mobage-town, and Tomodachi Ichiba Zakkania for GREE. The company entered the social game market quite early providing games for Facebook before mixi was opened.

With this investment, it plans to develop social games for iPhone in addition to Mobage-town.

TechCrunch Japan 10/15/2010

GMO launches "Android Yarouze", the second apps developer support project

GMO Internet jointly with Acrodia launches the project. The project offers @GMO GameCenter to distribute games and various technical support such as application development tools and migration tool for iPhone applications.  As the project launch, Android game apps contest will be held.

CNET Japan 10/14/2010

V-cube sells V-CUBE Center packagng Web meeting and dedicated PC

V-cube announced that it starts to sell V-CUBE Center which packages touch panel PC with web camera (Lenovo M90Z), microphone, application, and two years of right to use in the beginning of November.

CNET Japan 10/13/2010

Oct 14, 2010

gumi, social apps provider, raises multimillion-dollar from GREE

According to Mr. Kunimitsu, CEO of gumi, the social game startup will execute an allocation of new shares to GREE soon. The precise amount is not revealed, but the CEO said that it will be multimillion-dollar.

The main use of the capital is to hire employees, aiming to increase to 120 within the year from the current 80.

gumi sees social applications for smartphones as their future target market. And it is web applications rather than native applications.

TechCrunch Japan 10/14/2010

Oct 13, 2010

"Q&A Now", Real-time Q&A service using Twitter, is incorporated

Q&A Now, launched on November 2009, surpassed 50,000 users, and then will be incorporated at 22 of this month. The service uses Twitter so that users get answers in a few minutes or sometimes a few seconds. Currently there are about 20,000 questions per day, and its sum total surpasses 2.5 million.

It also provides ASP for other services such as a large sports news site, Nikkan Sports, and mobile Twitter client, Mobatui. In addition, the company provides MobaQ, developed based on Q&A Now, to Mobatui Land, a one of contents of Twitter service, Mobatui, operated by Mindscope. Mobatui surpassed 1 million users which makes it one of the largest Twitter clients in Japan.

Venture Now 10/13/2010

Oct 12, 2010

[TechCrunch] “Done Deal” – DeNA To Announce Ngmoco Acquisition Very Soon

TechCrunch 10/12/2010 
An update to our post last week on Japan’s DeNA mulling over an acquisition of San Francisco based social gaming startup ngmoco. The deal is supposedly done and will be announced shortly, possibly on Tuesday.
The price we reported, $400 million or so, is in the ballpark, says a new source. And part of the reason ngmoco, with revenues in the $30 million range, can command such a high price is the relative strength of the yen v. the dollar. In 2007 the dollar was hovering in the 120 yen range. Today it’s worth just 81ish. ...

Cerevo starts to sell CEREVO LIVEBOX making video camera Ustream-enabled

CEREVO LIVEBOX allows an usual video camera to distribute video and audio on Ustream by just connecting it a with video camera. The price is 50,000 yen. The appliance has a battery with up to 2 hours of use and is available with both wireless and wired LAN. Smartphones or PC can be used as a remote control.

CNET 10/8/2010

Oct 8, 2010

[TechCrunch] Japan’s DeNA Mulling $400+ Million Acquisition of ngmoco

TechCrunch 10/8/2010
Japanese gaming company DeNA is considering an acquisition of San Francisco-based ngmoco, we’ve heard from multiple sources. The price, says one source, is north of $400 million, although that probably includes a very large earnout. ngmoco specializes in iPhone/iPad/iPod social games.

Oct 7, 2010

Yahoo! Mobage officialy launched

Yahoo! and DeNA announced to launch official version of Yahoo! Mobage, social game platform for PC. Yahoo! Mobage is a social game portal to allow users to use features of Mobage-town with Yahoo ID from PC. Users need to register both Yahoo ID and Mobage-town.

It was launched as a beta since September 21st, and then DeNA says that it has increased partner developers and game titles. With the official launch, 70 of developers from Japan and abroad including US and China provide 100 titles.

Venture Now 10/7/2010

[Trading Markets] Nexon Japan buys into Spanish online games firm BoomBang

Trading Markets 10/6/2010 
Gaming company Nexon Japan Co said on Tuesday it has taken 32% in Spanish online games developer BoomBang Games, in exchange for an undisclosed investment in the company. With this investment, BoomBang Games, currently expanding in the North and South Amercan markets, will be able to finance its growth, Nexon Japan said. Barcelona-based BoomBang Games develops online games for a Spanish-speaking audience globally. Nexon Japan will use its overseas network in 71 countries to further expand the servicing areas of BoomBang, it said. Agnitio Capital Limited advised BoomBang Games on the deal. Nexon Japan is a subsidiary of Korean gaming specialist Nexon.

Oct 6, 2010

Hatena launches Hatena Land, SNS for elementary and junior high school students

Hatena Land is an invitation only social networking service. In Hatena Land, users create their character, Happi, and enjoy talking with "friends" in the service. It is available with PC browser and Nintendo DSi browser.

CNET 10/5/2010

Synergy Marketing partners with

Synergy Marketing announced that it concludes capital and business alliance with Synergy Marketing runs CRM area providing cloud service and marketing support service.

Salesforce takes 2.7% of total number of stock issued with 64 million yen. The company plans to use the capital for developing its core cloud type communication platform, "Synergy!" and "Synergy! LEAD on", which conncets with Salesforce CRM.

Ventru Now 10/5/2010

Development Bank of Japan sets up 4B yen of venture fund

Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) sets up venture fund in this October and plans to start investments within this year. It focuses on growing domains such as new energy or cloud computing with upwards of 50 million yen for each startup and total of four billion yen to find high growth companies which bear Japan's future.

The bank also aims to invite other financial institutes' capital to the market with the creditworthy 100%-owned government bank entering into venture investments.

Yomiuri Online 10/4/2010

Oct 4, 2010

Sassor executes allocation of new shares to Samurai Incubate Fund

Sassor raised capital from Samurai Incubate Fund I, which is expected to be several million yen. The money will be mainly used for development. Along with the investment, Sakakibara, President of Samurai Incubate, becomes a director to support management, marketing, sales and human resource.

Sassor was just incorporated at September 30 by two postgraduate students from Keio University after 3 months in Seed Accelerator Program by Open Network Lab organized by Digital Garage and others. It develops Energy Literacy Platform, a management tool of electric power consumption at home.

Energy Literacy Platform allows to monitor power consumption and manage the data on the Internet by connecting an ELP module between outlet and electric appliances. 

The company aims to launch a service within an year.  

Oct 1, 2010

KAUPON raised 200 million yen from Globis

A coupon group buying service, KAUPON operator, Kiramex, released that it raised 200 million yen by allocation of new shares to Globis Capital Partners.

CNET 9/30/2010

Dentsu sets up 10 billion yen of Digital Fund

Dentsu Digital Holdings operates the fund. The main domains of investment are digital marketing platform and media, digital technology, social marketing, divice, and new business models utilizing digital technology. In addition to Japan, Asia centered on China, United States and Europe are target market to invest.

Markezine 10/1/2010

DeNA and Fringe81 codevelops automatic mobile ads generation system

DeNA and Fringe81 announced to launch mobile advertising system linking media data of DeNA and Fringe81's automatic ads generation and distribution platform, "iogous", in spring of 2011.

iogous automatically generates and distributes a large amount of pattern of advertisement with combination of advertisement elements such as visuals, copies, logos, formats and background colors.

CNET 9/30/2010

[TechCrunch] Tonchidot Raises $12 Million Round B, Expands Augmented Reality/Social Gaming Platform SoLAR Globally

TechCrunch 10/1/2010
Tokyo-based augmented reality startup Tonchidot has raised $12 million in Series B funding from various Japanese companies, including the country’s second biggest telco KDDI, major media conglomerate Recruit, ad agency SPiRE and venture capital firms DCM, Itochu Technology Ventures (ITV), and JAFCO.
Tonchidot closed a $4 million series A funding round led by DCM and with ITV participating back in December 2008. The $16 million raised in two rounds is an impressive chunk of money in Japan’s startup scene. ...

Sep 29, 2010

TSUNAMI, social apps developer, raised 40M yen from Adways and L'AVION Social

TSUNAMI spin-out from Faisunreve, advertising agency in April 2010, which provides Kyaba Wars for mixi mobile, Mobage-town, and GREE jointly with gumi, a social application developer. The social game has 1.3 million users in total.

The startup introduces Reward Plus, reward advertisement provided by Adways into its social apps. L'AVION social works together with TSUNAMI in development of social applications.

CNET 9/28/2010

Sep 28, 2010

[VentureBeat] MocoSpace raises $3.5M from SoftBank for browser-based mobile games

VentureBeat 9/23/2010
MocoSpace has made a big bet that browser-based games will take off on mobile phones as the mobile web comes of age. And now SoftBank Capital is making a bet that MocoSpace is right about that. Japan’s SoftBank is investing $3.5 million in MocoSpace in a strategic round.
Boston-based MocoSpace was founded in 2005 and has more than 14 million users for its browser-based games and entertainment on both feature phones and on smartphones, said Justin Siegel, chief executive of the company, in an interview. The company is already profitable, but Siegel said the investment will help it enjoy new support from SoftBank.  ...

Sep 27, 2010

[TechCrunch] Japanese Company DeNA Expands Footprint In U.S.; Invests In Social Game Studio Astro Ape

TechCrunch 9/24/2010
A week after announcing the acquisition of U.S. mobile social gaming studio, Gameview, Japanese gaming giant DeNA is making a strategic investment in another U.S. gaming company, social game studio Astro Ape. The investment amount was not disclosed by the companies.
Based in Edison, N.J., Astro Ape creates social game titles for the iOS platform, including Office Heroes, an iPhone app simulating a game within the corporate world. As part of the investment, Astro Ape will develop titles for DeNA’s MiniNation mobile platform, DeNA’s subsidiary in the smartphone market.

Garapon starts to sell the first Garapon TV recording TV program to view from iPhone

Garapon TV allows to record One Seg program of digital terrestrial television with up to 7 channels in the device at home, which users can search and view with iPhone, iPad, Android, or PC.

Garapon TV uses external USB enabled hard disc drive to record TV programs and connects with PC connected to the Internet. If the external HDD has 500GB, it is possible to record 24 hours / 30 days of 7 channels.

In addition to EPG information such as titles and descriptions, captions can be subject to search from iPhone, iPad, Android or PC. Garapon TV appends permanent URL to specify titles or scenes which allows users to share the same scene with others. Users have to watch the scenes stored on their own device to prevent sharing or copying of video data itself.

Garapon aims to diffuse Garapon TV as an open platform by providing open API for developers. A sample use cases is to play programs in which a certain talent appears on the talent's fan club site. 

The price is 30,000 yen. Currently the company is developing the next version which runs without PC aiming to provide in the winter.

Venture Now 9/21/2010

CyberAgent Investment invests in online payment service in Vietnam

CyberAgent Investment announced that it invested in Bao Kim E-Commerce JSC to take its 2.5% share. Bao Kim is a subsidiary of Vatgia, Vietnam's largest EC mall operator, in which CyberAgent Investment invests.

CNET 9/22/2010

[Asiajin] China’s Rekoo To Distribute Social Games In Japan Through Cell Phone Address Books

Asiajin 9/18/2010
Last summer, Beijing-based social games maker Rekoo launched “Sunshine Ranch” on Japan’s biggest social network, Mixi, and caused a sensation(with 5.1 million users today, it has basically become Japan’s “Farmville”).  ...
It closed a deal with Japan’s second biggest mobile carrier, KDDI, under which a social game called Sunshine Kingdom will be distributed with a pretty interesting built-in social hook: how can you leverage those social/viral, low-cost distribution channels without integrating your games into social networks (and having to pay fees to providers)?
Rekoo and KDDI say the answer lies in the “social graph” in one’s personal cell phone address book. When you play the game, you’ll be able to invite KDDI subscribers by selecting names in your phone’s address book (personal contacts on other carriers can be invited as well). It will also be possible to easily spot players who are already active by browsing through the address book.

Sep 15, 2010

Buzoo provides social game, Mobile Planet for, largest mobile SNS in China

Social application developer, Buzoo starts to provide its social game, Mobile Planet for China's largest mobile SNS, The game is provided for Moba-ge-town since last month.

Mobile Planet is a simulation RPG, which players belong to either of two groups to aim dominating a whole universe. was acquired by DeNA in July 2009.

The Second Times, 9/14/2009

Sep 14, 2010

Nico-ge, social game on Nico Nico Douga

Spike launched Nico-ge which allows users to create games easily on web using account of Niwango's operating Nico Nico Douga. Each game category has a creating tool such as action game generator, shooting generator, and quiz generator.

Users can create, upload and share materials such as sounds or characters needed for game creation. It also accelerates communication among users with comment posting and evaluating functions.

Nico-ge provides Nico Chara, original avatar service, which can be appeared on games. One user can have multiple Nico Chara and items for the avatar will be obtained with Nicoin, which users get through actions in Nico-ge and Nico Nico Point, which Niwango provides.

The service allows users to communicate each other through games and Nico Chara such as diary and messages.

MarkeZine 9/14/2010

Akinai Research Institute's operating "Startup support fund Katana I" invests in 3 startups

Katana fund targets startups within 3 years since establishment and with less than 50 million market cap or utilizing IT for their business. It sets 1 million yen as the first investment for each. After the first round, it makes additional investments of up to 5 million yen each time the startup achieves milestones.

The fund invests in Automatic Trade, automatic trade service of stocks and Nikkei 225 future, Groove-R, community service focusing on used apartment house, and Boarding Pass, book storage service.

CNET 9/13/2010

CyberAgent launches Ameba Comic selling e-books

CyberAgent started Ameba Comic to sell ebook such as popular comics for Ameba Mobile. Ameba Comic allows users to buy ebooks with virtual money, Ame Gold. Users can buy each episode from 30 Ame Gold and read episodes which they have bought anytime. Also it links with Ameba Guruppo, community service of Ameba so that users can enjoy communication with other users about ebooks they read.

At the launch, about 1,000 titles including Evangelion and Crayon Shin-chan are sold, and then new titles are to be added.

CNET 9/14/2010

Sep 13, 2010

DeNA acquires Gameview Studios, iPhone apps developer in US

DeNA's subsidiary, DeNA Global acquired 100% share of Gameview Studios. Gameview has developed and provided social games for iPhone/iPod touch as a game business unit of BayView Labs. It went independent on June 2010. The games of the company surpassed 10 million downloads and it plans to provide games on Android market as well.

DeNA deploys hit games of Gameview in MiniNation, a community platform which a subsidiary of DeNA operates.

CNET 9/13/2010

Nifty recruits developers for Social App Alliance Program

The program provides know-how and system infrastructure of Nifty and also absorbs  a part of initial development costs to lower a hurdle for developers to launch a new service. A revenue generated by the application will be shared by Nifty and a developer depending on their role.

Nifty holds presentation meeting for social application developers on Sep. 21 and aims to realize more than 10 cooperation within this year.

MarketZine 9/13/2010

GREE launches Social Feedback to share information on external web services

Social Feedback is a function that users can post and share information which they have interest or would like to recommend by one-click on a button in external web services.

The button can be placed by describing HTML elements following specifications of GREE Connect even in individual blogs.

At this moment, YouTube, Jalan net and MSN Beauty Style have placed the button. After middle of September, Nico Nico Doga, and Gurunavi will join.

CNET 9/13/2010

Mobile SNS market will be 260 billion yen in 2012

ICT market research firm, Info-Sharing Business Institute, published a research report, in which it predicts that mobile SNS market will grow dramatically.

In the report, the market size of mobile SNS represented by Moba-ge-town and GREE is estimated to be 68.4 billion yen. Advertising is 23.7 billion and paid service/contents is 44.7 billion. It grows to reach 257.7 billion yen in 2012, with 38.7 billion yen of advertising and 219 billion yen of paid service/contents.

Another interesting research is that iPhone related market (device, telecommunication service, and applications) is estimated to be 120 billion yen in 2009, which grows to be 880 billion yen.

WirelessWire News 9/13/2010

[Asiajin] Mixi Introduces New APIs; Enabling To Integrate Home Appliances With The Social Graph

Asiajin 9/10/2010
Mixi upgraded the interface that has been introduced for two years to those who have partnered, and introduced two APIs – mixi Plugin” and “mixi Graph APIs” on Friday.
mixi Graph APIs are designed for the third parties to integrate their social web services and apps with Mixi.   mixi Plugin is a set of HTML codes that allows you to integrate your website with Mixi. ...

[Asiajin] Mixi Launches Social App Platform For Smartphone Users, Too

Asiajin 9/10/2010
Mixi, needless to say, one of Japan’s largest social networks, had a briefing conference entitled Mixi Meetup 2010 today, announced they had launched a social app platform for their smartphone-optimized user interface called mixi Touch. ...

[Asiajin] Mixi Partners With Renren and CyWorld – 3 Asian Major Social Networks Cooperate

Asiajin 9/10/2010
Japanese Facebook Mixi announced today that they are shaking hands with China’s huge social networking service Renren and Korea’s massive social networking service CyWorld.
The initial project among the three is to standardize their social application platform, which enables third-party social application providers (SAP, Mixi calls) to run their applications over three social networks. Mixi is also thinking to make common basement for another social APIs.

Sep 10, 2010

Jinsei Game for GREE surpasses 1 million users within less than a month

IMJ and Takara Tomy announced that Jinse Game for GREE surpasses 1 million users for 25 days since its launch.

Dream News 9/9/2010

Sep 9, 2010

Razzle launches coupon group buying site, Wotapon targeting Otaku, geeks

Wotapon targets Otaku to provide coupons related to Akiba culture, maid, anime, electric devices, game, idle, military, train, history, and craft.

Venture Now 9/9/2010

AR+GPS iPhone app, AlienSweeper released

Land Ho released AlienSweeper, location based game combining AR and GPS for iPhone. AlienSweeper allows users to hunt alien with players throughout the country by using location information on Google Map. If players are on the same area of Map, they are displayed as cooperative players and if they attack the same alien within a certain time, they will get bonus point. Players can attack aliens by moving close to it on Google Map and shooting iPhone camera for the direction.

The Second Times 9/9/2010

Tabelog launched group buying service of restaurants discount ticket's operating gourmet site, Tabelog started Tabelog Ticket, a group buying service of restaurant's special discount ticket on September 9.

There launches similar services consistently, but the characteristic of the service is to allow users to buy tickets viewing word-of-mouth evaluations from other users who actually visited the restaurants.

At first, it starts from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Fukuoka. One ticket is offered in each area.

CNET 9/9/2010

eBookJapan launches download service for Android with 25,000 ebooks

eBook Initiative Japan started to provide Android ebook service on its operating ebook sales site, eBookJapan. The service allow users to buy 25,000 ebooks mainly of comics. Users read the ebooks they bought with book reader applications, ebiReader.

ITmedia 9/8/2010

Sep 8, 2010

CyberAgent Investment invests in the largest online game and SNS operator in Vietnam

CyberAgent Investment invests in VNG Corporation (former Vinagame Software Service JVC), which is the largest online game operator in Vietnam operating JX1 and JX World, online game with over 300,000 of simultaneous connections. The company is founded in 2004.

The company also runs Internet media called Zing which has social network, chat, video sharing and message board services taking advantage of the brand and user base of online games. Zing is the largest SNS in Vietnam with 5 million members which surpasses 1.2 million of Facebook users in Vietnam.

CNET 9/8/2010

Opt ties up with Silver Egg in business and capital

Opt and Silver Egg Technology announced that they had business and capital alliance to develop advertising products using real-time recommend engine and to promote a data platform (OpenDPF) business.

Silver Egg provides recommendation service with user behavior analysis based on artificial intelligence. Opt runs several businesses such as Internet advertising, EC business support, and OpenDPF development.

Opt acquires 1.3% of new shares that Silver Egg issues. 9/8/2010

[Asiajin] Japan Internet Tech Entrepreneur Event In San Francisco

Asiajin 9/7/2010
A first of its kind event is being held in San Francisco featuring Japanese Entrepreneurs on October 13, 2010. This event named SFNewTech Japan Night is the vision of Brandon K. Hill, President/CEO of btrax, Inc – a San Francisco based digital consultancy agency. ...
About six or so Internet venture companies from Japan will be presenting and discussing their web/mobile services or hardware in front of over 500 people. Which include venture capitalists, investors, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts. The following Japanese startups will be presenting at the event:
MyGengo (Social Translation Service)
SpySee (People Search Service)
GazoPa (Image Search Engine)
Drrop (Open SNS Platform)
Lang-8 (Social Language Translation Platform)
Yubizo (iPhone / iPad development Platform)

Sep 7, 2010

Japan's coupon group buying sites have sold 288M yen for 5 months

Bizreach, coupon group buying service, LUXA, operator announced the research result. According to the company, a number of coupon group buying services reached 39 for 5 months since the first service was launched in this April. The cumulative sales is more than 288 million yen with over 18 thousands of coupons issued.

3 services surpass 30 million yen per month. In September, more than 10 sites plan to  start the service, which will expands the market.

Internet Watch 9/7/2010

[Asiajin] Mochi Media “Scores” Hit Virtual World Ameba Pico From Japan’s CyberAgent

Asiajin 9/7/2010
Virtual world Ameba Pico (Ameba Pigu in Japan) is a success story. The service was launched by Tokyo-based web powerhouse CyberAgent in February 2009 and went on attracting four million members in Japan.
CyberAgent announced an English version in November 2009, which went online in March 2010. And if The Nikkei, Japan’s biggest business daily, is to be believed, that overseas version now has two million users (the Ameba Pico Facebook app boasts nearly 790,000 active users).
So it appears that CyberAgent has managed to replicate the success story overseas, which doesn’t happen too often in Japan’s web industry. But now The Nikkei reports that the Japanese Internet company has given the rights to market Ameba Pico to Silicon Valley-based Mochi Media. ...

Sep 6, 2010

mixi released "mixi check" sharing information with "My Miku", friends with 1 click

mixi check allows users to share information they have interest with their friends with one click. In addition to mixi news and mixi collection, mixi check buttons are deployed in external sites.

CNET 9/6/2010

mixi launched location-based service adding check-in function

mixi check-in allows users to share location where they are using GPS of mobile. At the moment, it is available from feature phones, but will be able to be accessed with smartphones.

Users can check-in spots already registered or make new spots to check-in. Checked-in information of friends are displayed on mixi top page and also users can post feedback such as comments or "Iine!" meaning "like" for friends' check-in.

CNET 9/6/2010

Sep 3, 2010

Allied Architects launches coupon group buying mall site, Sina Jina

Word of mouth marketing service, Monipla operator, Allied Architects launches Sina Jina, which is a shopping mall of coupon group buying service. The service differentiates with other Groupon-model services by introducing shopping mall system in which user companies open up their store.

At the launch, retailers dealing with such as beauty goods, house-hold goods, and foods open stores and after the end of September, a service categories such as restaurants and hotels will participate.

It has two types of services, one of which is called "premium time-sale" following usual group buying services, and the other is "premium coupon" which provides users who propagate coupons with new discount coupons. The system enables stores efficient promotion activity by targeting users with strong word-of-mouth influence to communicate coupon information by sending email letters.

Internet Watch  9/3/2010

Millmo develops music/video distribution platform for Android

Millmo announced that it developed music and video distribution platform jointly with Microsoft, Dentsu, Internet Initiative Japan, and PacketVideo.

Cooperating with contents providers, it plans to provide music and video distribution service with Windows DRM and PlayReady, which are copyright protection technology of Microsoft within this year. Earlier, the company provides millmo Media Player, application managing music and video contents in PC and Android devices.

CNET 9/3/2010

Insight Partners launches Groupon-model service, PREMINOW

PREMINOW focuses on segmentalized local areas in Tokyo. As a launch point, it offers in Tokyo as one area, but from the middle of October, it will be changed to offer for local areas focused on downtown between Tokyo city center and suburban areas. The company plans to take Ooimachi as a first local area.

Venture Now 9/2/2010

Sep 2, 2010

5 Large Internet companies invest 68b yen for M&A

Large Internet companies such as Rakuten and SoftBank are increasing investments for M&A. A total amount of capital for M&A or venture investment from dominant 5 companies until August is around 68 billion yen, which is more than triple of the last whole year. (2 billion yen)

Rakuten has spend 46 billion yen for online shopping services in US and Europe. It far exceeds 12 billion yen of last year. While, SoftBank invests over 16 billion yen for Zynga Network and Ustream in total. CyberAgent plans to invest in five startups including social networking services and mobile software developers. DeNA and GREE each set up a several dozen yen of fund to invest in startups.

Nikkei 9/1/2010

Sep 1, 2010

Sharecoto, coupon group buying service targeting for young women

Sharecoto is a coupon group buying service mainly targeting for women between 20 and 34. Coupons it sells are of restaurants or beauty salons.

CNET 9/1/2010

Rei-Frontier launches Rara Colle, AR based game for iPhone

Rara Colle is a location based game which allows users to view other users around as an avatar when checked-in a place and to communicate each other. In addition, it allows to communicate with friends far away using time-line displaying comments of friends.

Also users can share a location where they are going to with "Koko Iku" feature. When  users check-in, points and experience value are given, which allows users to buy cloths of an avatar.

CNET 8/31/2010

Social Game Startup, Pokelabo, Raised 1 billion Yen

Poke Labo, which provides Samurai Senki or Yakyu Tomo on Moba-ge-town, raised $12 million (1 billion Yen) from US based venture capital firm, DCM and Incubate Fund founded by DeNA, Moba-ge-town operator. DCM and Incubate Fund invests half amount respectively. This is the first investment for Incubate Fund.

As a startup founded in 2007 November, 1 billion yen is relatively a large scale. The company may be the first startup focusing on social game to raise such a large scale of capital.

Tech Crunch Japan, 9/1/2010

Aug 30, 2010

Digital Telopper EN-NL1068 displaying comments of NicoNico Jikkyo on TV

Entis starts to sell Digital Telopper EN-NL1068 on September, which superimposes text obtained through Internet on full HD TV images in real-time. By setting the device between recorder or CATV tuner and TV, connecting the Internet and selecting TV program, comments of NicoNico Jikkyo is to be displayed on TV.

The company plans to display other text sources such as RSS, 2 Channel, and Twitter. The price is 19,800 yen.

NicoNico Jikkyo is one of services of NicoNico Doga, in which users share feelings about TV programs. The service has Web version which users use with browser and NicoNico Jikkyo App which users use with TV tuner enabled PC superimposing TV display.

Yomiuri 8/29/2010 

Aug 27, 2010

[e27] Japan’s FlutterScape closes $177k seed round with Digital Garage

e27 8/27/2010
FlutterScape, the Tokyo-based social marketplace site, has closed a seed investment round worth 15 million yen (US$177,000) with JASDAQ-listed Digital Garage. This is FlutterScape’s second investment this month. We broke the news earlier this month that it took US$100,000 from Japanese auctions aggregator Aucfan. The latest deal closed on 26 Aug. ...

Drecom strengthen partnership with CrowdStar, US Social Game Provider

Drecom revealed to strengthen a partnership with CrowdStar to provide all social games of CrowdStar in Japan. In addition to mixi, GREE and HanGame which the company is already offering, Yahoo! Moba-ge to be planned to launch on October 1st is to be included.

Behind the partnership reinforcement, the world's largest social game maker, Zynga sets up joint venture with SoftBank. CrowdStar is the third largest social game maker only after Zynga and Playfish.

Game Watch 8/26/2010

CyberAgent Investment invests in Green Mobile, Vietnamese mobile game developer

CyberAgent Investment took 27% share of Green Mobile by this investment. Green Mobile is one of the few mobile game developer in Vietnam, where the investor believes that a mobile game market is promising area. 8/26/2010

Aug 26, 2010

Verci, coupon group buying service launched

Verci sells coupons the company selects from restaurants, hotels, and beauty salons. A coupon is sold in one area for up to 3 days. It starts from Tokyo area and plans to expand Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka area within this year.

Verci is a subsidiary of UL Systems, system integrator.

CNET 8/25/2010

Aug 24, 2010

Moba-ge-town started to lock-in open games

DeNA, Moba-ge-town operator, notified several social game providers that if they provide social games to its competitor, GREE, the Social Networking Service operator will not promote their games in Moba-ge-town. This is not an official revision of rules, but more than a dozen of vendors which TechCrunch interviews have received this explanation individually. DeNA does not disclose the matter.

TechCrunch 8/20/2010

Aug 23, 2010

Groupon model service, Shareee launched linking with Yahoo! ID

Shareee launched premium ticket group buying site, Shareee on August 23. As the form of service is same as other existing Groupon model services, one deal one day in one area is to be offered. It allows users to login with Yahoo! ID.

Shareee started business from this August. Major share holders are SBI Investment, Hikari Tsushin and e-Machi town. The company plans to provide various genres of services such as restaurants and beauty salons. In order to differentiate from competitors, it provides premium tickets that people would like to visit, but can not afford.

Venture Now 8/23/2010

Aug 20, 2010

Wagoon provides ASP of Groupon model group buying site

Wagoon starts to provide Flash Marketing ASP from August 20, which enables to develop group buying site. The company targets catalog sellers, manufacturers and advertising agencies which intends to launch flash marketing site.

Wagoon have launched Tokuten, group buying site for shops and restaurants, and Tokupin!, the similar site focusing on EC site.

Venture Now 8/19/2010

Nobot partners with BuzzCity in Singapore

BuzzCity, founded in 1999, operates mobile ad network in Singapore. With the alliance, developers and web site operators using AdMaker, Nobot's ad network for Smartphone. are able to display ads that BuzzCity is distributing on their web site or application and make revenue.

Nobot intermediates contract, registration or billing with foreign ad network. which allows developers using foreign ad network without regard for language or currency.

MarkeZine 8/20/2010

Sekai Camera Web launched

Tonchidot launched Sekai Camera Web which allows viewing Sekai Camera contents on a map of PC's web site. Sekai Camera Web displays air tags in sequence. Also users can view air tags list or post comments on air tags as well as find friends on Twitter, Facebook or foursquare to follow them on Sekai Life, social network on Sekai Camera.

ITmedia 8/19/2010

Aug 18, 2010

Hitomedia launches WePublish, ebook creating service

Hitomedia jointly with Obun Publishing starts to provide WePublish, ebook creating service for individuals. In addition to creating and publishing free ebook contents, it allows on-demand publishing of a real book starting from one copy.

The online service consists of WePublish, ebook sales site, native viewer application, and Online Editor, ebook creating site. Hitomedia runs WePublish and develops the viewer application, while Obun Publishing prvoides Online Editor and on-demand publishing service.

The viewer application is available only for iPad, planning to provide iPhone version until the end of August. CEO of Hitomedia says, "Web has a issue of illegal copy, and ePub format is optimized for horizontal writing, so we adopt original format so that vertical writing is possible to read and take the form of a native application.

Venture Now 8/17/2010 

COMEE, Web-based manga sharing community

Comee started to provide manga sharing community service on Web which allows both professionals and amateurs to post manga contents. It is viewable from only browsers and also available from iPhone and iPad.

Within this year, it plans to provide paid contents aiming to develop the service to market place where authors publish and sell their contents.

Venture Now 8/17/2010