Jan 31, 2012

IMJ Organizes Breakthrough Camp by IMJ / Cnet Japan

IMJ and IMJ Investment Partners will organize Breakthrough Camp by IMJ as a new initiative to invest in and support promising startups and pre-starups. It will be implemented by the cooperation of Yuji Akaba of Breakthrough Partners, who organized Breakthrough Camp 2011 held in the summer of 2011 to achieve great results.

In order to create global startups from Japan, the program invests five million yen in each team and provides support for service planning, management, fundraising, technology support, and 24 hours dedicated office for free. In addition, it provides a great deal of human resource, knowledge, and engineering resource which IMJ group possesses to support startups to succeed. ...

Cnet Japan 1/30/2011 [jp]

  • IMG provides various range of web marketing services such as development and operation of web and mobile sites and contents creation. It just formed IMJ Investment Partners in the last December.
  • The program seems similar to other incubation programs such as CyberAgent Ventures' Startups, Open Network Lab, Movida Japan, and NetAge. The main difference would be that it runs the one-month program for four times a year.  

co-meeting Raises Capital From Sunbridge Startups And Others To Aim Global Expansion / MarkeZine

co-meeting develops text-based discussion tool, "co-meeting", which allows to take a minute while real-time chatting. With the capital, it accelerates development of the service planned to be officially released in March to aim to expand overseas.

MarkeZine 1/31/2012 [jp]

  • co-meeting received an award at a pitch contest of Innovation Weekend in the last October, which is organized by Sunbridge. The group chat function displays characters one by one on real-time.
  • http://www.co-meeting.com/

Jan 27, 2012

Conversion Matching Ad Network "AD TUNE" Provides For Smartphone / Venture Now

A new player enters growing smartphone ad network market.  That is Logarhythm which has provided "AD TUNE" dealing monthly unique clicks based mobile ads for feature phone with over 3 billion impressions and 600 advertisers.

The most distinctive feature of AD TUNE is is patented conversion matching technology. It analyzes conversion data and if advertisers decide desired CPA, the system automatically selects only effective publishers. ...

Venture Now 1/27/2011 [jp]

  • Smartphone ad network is one of the hottest area last year. Gree acquired Atlantis, CyberAgent and DeNA set up joint venture, and mediba acquired Nobot. It is interesting to see to what extent the follower company can grab the competitive market.
  • https://sites.google.com/a/logarhythm.jp/logarhythm-jp/

LINE Surpasses 15M Downloads / TechCrunch Japan

According to announcement from NHN Japan, LINE achieved 15 million downloads. It  took seven months since its launch. It has 5.5 million users in Japan.

It is surprising that the app has around 1 million downloads a week this year. Outside of Japan, it was announced before that it has popularity in Middle East, but the app is also getting popular in Europe such as ranked for top in general ranking at AppStore in Switzerland and also highly ranked in Germany and Austria. ...

TechCrunch Japan 1/27/2011 [jp]


Jan 25, 2012

Best Teacher Fundraises To Reinvent English Lesson / @Press

Best Teacher is developing English conversation lesson service on web allowing users to have lessons from just five minutes. The startup announced to raise capital from CyberAgent Ventures.

With this capital, it plans to enhance developers for Best Teacher, which is planned to be released on May 2012. ...

@Press 1/25/2011 [jp]

  • There are many one-on-one English lesson services using Skype such as Rarejob and Cafetalk. The service is text-based conversation. 
  • http://www.best-teacher-inc.com/

Jan 20, 2012

trippiece Raises Capital From MOVIDA To Expand Overseas / Venture Now

Social trip service, trippiece revealed that it raised fund from MOVIDA, which runs venture investment and incubation service, with convertible notes. The amount is 5 million yen. It will uses the capital for recruiting and overseas expansion, but the main aim for the fundraise is to support the young management team.

trippiece was founded on March 31, 2011 and raised seed money of 3.5 million yen from Samurai Incubate Fund II. The service allows users to plan and share custom-made travel and experience from the travels. ...

Venture Now 1/20/2011 [jp]

  • There appear some startups to have two seed-sized fundraising. ONL alumni, Giftee raised 10 million yen from KDDI recently. Those are still doing quite well, but for some startups who came out of incubation programs launched in the last two years, the next round fundraising would be a big challenge this year.
  • http://trippiece.com/

Jan 18, 2012

[Penn Olson] DeNA Continues China Push, Partners with NetDragon

Japanese mobile gaming company DeNA is starting off 2012 with more overseas partnerships on top of its busy year in 2011. The company has just announced a partnership with Chinese online game developer NetDragon. The two come together in a joint venture to develop and operate mobile social games for China. 
This is not the first time that the two companies have done business, as the Mobage China app has previously been made available via NetDragon’s store. But this joint venture announced today, according to DeNA will “localize non-Chinese social games” for Chinese consumption. ...
Penn Olson  1/16/2011 [en]

  • DeNA and Gree has been aggressively developing partnerships with foreign companies, but they have not yet made big success from them. We may be able to see the outcome from those partnerships to some extent this year. 

Number Of New Venture Fund Gets Back But Size Becomes Smaller / Cnet Japan

Japan Venture Research released research report regarding venture fund established in 2011 in Japan. According to the report, a number of venture funds is 22, which has been increasing from the bottom of 8 in 2009 and is similar to 20 in 2008.

A total amount also increased to 45 billion yen but which is about 60% of 2008, 76 billion yen. An average size is 2 billion yen which is a half of that in 2008. ...

Cnet Japan 1/17/2011 [jp]

  • It is obvious that increasing seed accelerators contribute to the number and size. It would not be easy to predict if the trend continues in 2012. 

Jan 16, 2012

Giftee Raises Fund From KDDI / Cnet Japan

giftee was launched in March 2010 to allow users who wish to express thanks to send gift. The startup raised 10 million yen from KDDI by an allocation of new shares.

With the capital, it will accelerate development of iPhone/Android app of giftee. ...

giftee currently is available at around 60 shops mainly in Tokyo. It will cover cafe in five large cities in March.

Cnet Japan 1/16/2011 [jp]

  • Giftee has participated in two incubation programs by Open Network Lab in 2010 and KDDI Mugen Labo in 2011. Both organizers of the programs invests in the startup.
  • http://giftee.co/

Social Lunch Operator, SyncLunch Raises Capital /Cnet Japan

Social Lunch allows users to interact with each other using lunch time. An operator of the service, SyncLunch announced fundraising from NVCC, KDDI, and Industrial Growth Platform, Inc. The amount is about 32 million yen.

Social Lunch launched on 2011 October and it has about 20,000 members. ...

With this announcement, it also starts accepting a subscription for a new service, Social Lunch for University. The service is a University student only version of Social Lunch which plans to add authentication by email address from University in addition to current Facebook account. ...

  • Social Lunch is one of teams in the first batch of KDDI Mugen Labo and selected as the award winner of the program.
  • http://www.social-lunch.jp/

Jan 12, 2012

[TechCrunch] Mobile Media Platform Cinemacraft Extends Series A Round With Investment From 500 Startups

Tokyo- and Singapore-based mobile media platform Cinemacraft announced it has extended its Series A round by securing an investment from Dave McClure‘s 500 Startups. The fresh money from the US brings the total amount raised by the company so far to US$900,000. Previous investors include Singapore-based Jungle Ventures (background), Jayesh Pareikh (founder of Sony Entertainment TV), Jai Maroo (Shemaroo Entertinament), Takuro Wakayabashi (Xseed Partners), and Devesh Chetty (RGM Media). Cinemecraft founder and CEO Sandeep Casi says the investment will be used to create an interactive video ad network in Japan, US, India, and Indonesia, along with ad-supported consumer video apps. ...
TechCrunch 1/11/2011

  • Along with LTE penetration, mobile video market is expected to grow rapidly. However, it would be an challenge for Cinemacraft to differentiate from YouTube or other back-end solutions for video streaming such as Ooyala.
  • http://www.cinemacraft.com/

Realworld Announces GAYAP Allowing To Exchange Points With Android Apps / japan.internet.com

Realworld operates PointExchange which allows users to gather points by online shopping or answering to surveys and to exchange the points with electronic money or goods. The company will utilize the knowledge acquired by operating PointExchange to provide GAYAP with which users can exchange points they earned at various we services partnering with GAYAP with paid Android apps. ...

The company is currently recruiting apps developers and publishers. After gathering a certain number of the partners, it will launch the service for consumers and provide a dedicated app.

japan.internet.com 1/11/2011 [jp]

  • Android apps are more difficult to sell compared to iOS apps. Some service are appearring to support monetization of Android apps recently such as reward ads by Metaps. But it may be the first service to link with a loyalty program.
  • http://www.gayap.jp/

Jan 5, 2012

Richmedia Raises Fund From Recruit Incubation Partners / @Press

Richmedia conducted allocation of new shares to RIP II R&D Fund managed by Recruit Incubation Partners.

The startup is developing new mobile payment service which allows users to conclude payment using smartphone anywhere. It aims to launch the service from Singapore starting negotiations with local governmental and financial organizations.

@Press 1/5/2012 [jp]

  • Richmedia was founded in 2010 June providing various web solutions such as ebook development tool and CMS. The mobile payment service may be Square-like service.
  • http://www.rich.co.jp/

Vettl, Developer Of Picotube Has Seed Round Fundraising / TechCrunch Japan

Picotube won first prize at TechCrunch Tokyo in the last November. Vettl is a developer of the service. The startup concluded fundraising for a seed round of 31 million yen. Investors include Shogo Kawada, an adviser of DeNA who is actively investing as an angel investor, Kenji Kasahara, CEO of mixi, and two other individual investors. Hidetaka Yamashita, the CEO of Vettl, has worked for mixi before.

Picotube has been used by limited number of users for closed beta, and from December 27, users who receive invitation from existing users can use the service.

TechCrunch Japan 12/27/2011 [jp]

  • Picotube allows users to view YouTube video together with friends on real time showing their avatars. It also allows to put effect on video.
  • http://www.picotube.tv/