May 31, 2012

Social Trip Service, trippiece Partners With Opt Raising Several Tens of Millions Yen / Venture Now

The amount is not disclosed but is considered to be several tens of millions yen. ...
The startup plans to use natural language processing technology of Opt to improve usability and also to strengthen sales force. ...

trippiece was founded at Mar 31, 2011 to operate a platform which allows users to plan and share travel plan and experience. It fundraised seed money from Samurai Incubate Fund II on May, 2011. Also it raised 5 million yen from MOVIDA JAPAN in this January. ...

Venture Now 5/31/2012 [jp]

  • Opt is one of the largest Internet advertising agencies in Japan. It has acquired or invested in several startups, however these are mostly related advertising technology. It would be relatively rare case to invest in pure B2C services.

May 22, 2012

Ticket Marketplace, TicketStreet Raises 15M Yen From Incubate Fund /

TicketStreet announced 15 million yen of fundraising from Incubate Fund. With the capital, it aims to expand business such as last-minute deals using smartphone, linkage with SNS, and expansion into Asian market.

TicketStreet is a company to operate Internet service, TicketStreet which allows users to sell unneeded tickets or buy the tickets. It confirms identification of sellers to avoid trouble in C2C deals. It has always over 5,000 tickets placed. ... 5/22/2012 [jp]

  • C2C marketplace for tickets seems relatively traditional business model. Yahoo Auction would be the largest competitor. Three points mentioned for business expansion, smartphone, social network, and Asia, may add potential to accelerate the humble business. 

Mobile Game Developer, mobcast Goes IPO On Mothers At June 26th / Cent Japan

mobcast applied initial public offering on Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers market and accepted. ...

mobcast was founded in March, 2004, as Mobile Broadcasting to provide applications and video contents for mobile. Recently, it operates soccer team management game, Web Soccer, and baseball team management game, Mobapuro, on its own mobile game platform, mobcast.

The annual revenue of FY2011 ending December 2011 is 2 billion yen and the net profit is 484 million yen.

Cnet Japan 5/21/2012 [jp]

  • It is expected that there will be some mobile game developers to go public this year. Among them, what makes mobcast unique is that it operates own game platform which focuses on sports to differentiate from existing monster platforms, GREE and Mobage.

May 17, 2012

[AllThings D] Exclusive: Japan’s Rakuten Wins the Heart of Pinterest in $100M Funding Race With $1.5B Valuation

Rakuten, the largest e-commerce site in Japan, is expected to be the lead investor in the much-contested next round of funding for Silicon Valley’s hottest start-up, Pinterest. 
The funding is expected to be announced tomorrow morning. The Tokyo-based Internet giant will invest upwards of $50 million in a $100 million round that values the social bookmarking phenom at $1.5 billion. 
There are other investors in the new round, but those were still to be determined tonight by Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann. ...
AllThings D 5/16/2012 [en]

  • Rakuten has acquired many EC sites around the world including of US and PriceMinister of France, but it is not a usual case to invest to take minority share for non-EC service. Rakuten does not seem to take full advantage of social networking service so far. It would not be so easy to create its anticipated effective synergy with Pinterest.

Food Photo App, miil, Raises 240M Yen Aiming IPO / Cnet Japan

FrogApps, an iPhone app for food photo sharing developer, conducted allocation of new shares of around 200 million yen to Lead Capital Management's operating funds.  ...

Along with the announcement, it revealed that Dentsu Digital Holdings will also invest in the company at the end of May. The total amount of the series of fundraise is to be around 240 million yen.

miil, which FrogApps launched in October 2011, lets users to share photos of food and allows restaurants to attract customers based on information linked with the photos. It has 50,000 downloads and "Tabetai (want to eat) button" has been tapped 2.5 million times which shows rate of usage.

Cnet Japan 5/17/2012 [jp]

  • The deal size may look too large for photo sharing service with just 50,000 downloads. However, the investors probably place a high value on the potential as O2O service combining mobile users with real shops and restaurants. There are many more social enabled food related services including photo, recipe, and restaurant review. It is interesting to see whether just one or two of them will take whole market or many dedicated service in each small category will coexist.

May 9, 2012

Social Fashion Service, Youtfit Raises Capital From NetAge / Cnet Japan

Youtfit revealed fundraising from NetAge for allocation of new shares. The amount is not disclosed.

The startup was founded in November, 2011. Its social fashion iPhone application, Youtfit allows users to share photos of fashion coordinate. It has Japanese and English version. Over half of users come from abroad. ...

Cnet Japan 5/9/2012 [jp]

  • iQON may be the most popular in fashion coordinate sharing services with over 1 million monthly active users. It is important for the service category to have some competitors like photo decoration services in order to make the field popular. 

EC studio And KDDI Provide KDDI ChatWork, Social Communication Tool For Business Customers / Mynavi

EC studio and KDDI starts to provide KDDI ChatWork from June 18th. KDDI ChatWork is a service based on a business chat tool, ChatWork, which EC studio provides. ChatWork is mainly used by small and medium businesses with 700,000 users in Japan and abroad as of May. KDDI ChatWork strengthens security and system management functions of ChatWork targeting large enterprises as well.

ChatWork works on PC, smartphone, and tablet devices. In addition to basic functions such as group chat, task management, and file management, it has various security functions such as access control by IP address, smartphone authentication, and user settings by ID. ...

Mynavi News 5/9/2012 [jp]

  • EC studio was established in 2004 to provide IT related products and services to mainly small and medium business customers. ChatWork was launched on March, 2011.

May 8, 2012

Location & Point Service, Smapo Raises 150M Yen / TechCrunch Japan

Smapo is a smartphone application which allows users to get loyalty point for shopping and others by checking in real shops. The operator of the service, Spotlight announced to raise 150 million yen from Itochu Technology Ventures. It is the first fundraise from outside investors for Spotlight which was founded in September 2011. ...

What makes the service unique is the way to identify location of shops to check-in. Many of check-in services like foursquare use GPS, however it is not accurate and difficult to identify shops in the same building. Smapo lets shops place devices emitting ultrasonic waves people cannot hear. Smapo application picks up the ultrasonic waves to identify which shops the user is at. In addition, with the ultrasonic, it enables to change radius from a certain floor to whole floors of a department store. ...

TechCrunch Japan 5/8/2012 [jp]

  • Smapo charges shops based on number of users who check-in the shops.
  • A founder of Spotlight, Mr. Shibata has sold out his previous startup, Shoppi, to IMJ, web marketing agency in 2011.
  • Acquires Mobatwi Operator, Mindscope / Cnet Japan revealed that it acquired all stocks of Mindscope on May 1st to make the company a subsidiary. The amount is not disclosed, but it is considered to be several hundreds of million of yen.

Mindscope provides Mobatwi which is the first web-based Twitter client for mobile in Japan. A number of users reaches 1.6 million. ... aims to increase user base with the acquisition. The company's core product has been jig browser, browser application for feature phone. It is popular in users with high IT literacy, but lacks reach for average users. ...

Cnet Japan 5/7/2012 [jp]

  • has been very successful in web browser for feature phone, which conversely seems to make it difficult to adjust its brand image to smartphone application provider. Mobatwi also launched as Twitter client for feature phone, but the users smoothly transition into smartphone. It is expected that the acquisition will help change itself to more smartphone oriented company.

May 4, 2012

[Tech In Asia] Japan’s GREE Acquires Social Game Dev Funzio for $210 Million

It has been a big couple of days for GREE (TYO:3632) already with a couple of game dev partnerships yesterday, as well as the first Android title for its North American studio. But the company just dropped even bigger news moments ago, revealing via email that it has acquired San Francisco-based social/mobile game developer Funzio for no less than $210 million dollars. 
Funzio is the creator of titles like Crime City, Modern War, and Kingdom Age, the latter reaching more than a million downloads in its first five days in Apple’s App Store since its April 19th launch. ...

Tech In Asia 5/2/2012 [en]