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