Jul 25, 2012

Aiming Raises 600M Yen From Jafco / Aiming Press Release

Aiming develops Lord of Knights, iOS application, Ken to Maho No Logres, a browser game as well as many applications for PC and smartphone jointly with partner companies.

With this fundraising, it aims to build development capability to compete for smartphone and PC game market in the world and business development network.

Aiming Press Release 7/24/2012 [jp]


  • Aiming was founded just a year ago and raised 1.2 billion yen in September 2011, just after 3 months of the establishment. The company has mainly developed RPG for PC. It is interesting to see whether it more focuses on more growing market, mobile, which would require different capability than RPG for PC. 
  • http://aiming-inc.com

Photo Cloud Service guPix Operator, Ripplex Raises 800M Yen From INCJ And Others / TechCrunch Japan

Ripplex announced allocation of new shares to Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Lead Capital Management to raise 800 million yen. Ripplex currently focuses on photo platform, guPix and it plans to use the money for development and marketing of guPix.

guPix is currently available on Windows and Android. The application enables to manage photos stored in digital camera, smartphone, PC, and memory card on cloud. It seems competing with flicker, Picasa, or iCloud, but actually it complements those cloud services.

To be more precise, guPix application reduces size of original photos and stores the smaller photos on guPix cloud. Since the photo data links with guPix application on Windows or Android, users can see where the original photos are stored. The reduced size is large enough to view on Android device or share on social networking services. It also links with Dropbox which allows to search photos on Dropbox. ...

TechCrunch Japan 7/25/2012 [jp]

  • The amount is relatively large. Recently such scale of investment seems gradually increasing. Another photo cloud service, Bitcellar raised 420 million yen in this April. 
  • http://www.ripplex.com

Jul 24, 2012

Venture Investment In 2011 Surpasses 100B Yen For The First Time In Three Years / Nikkei

Nikkei conducted survey for 20 major VCs in Japan. The total amount is 101.3 billion yen increasing 16% from the last year. 11 firms answered their plan in 2012, which shows 6% increase becoming nearly double of the amount in 2009 when it drastically decreased due to financial crisis. ...

IT related industry serves as an engine of the growth. In 2011, the amount became 29.1 billion yen, an increase of 30% from the previous year. Along with penetration of smartphone and tablet computer and user growth of social networking services, investment in related services such as ebooks and games development is increasing. IT shares 29% among the total amount, 4 points going up. ...

Nikkei 7/24/2012

Jul 17, 2012

Salesforce.com Invests in POS system developer, Ubiregi / Nikkei

Salesforce.com invests in Ubiregi. Tablet computer based POS system of Ubiregi will be implemented on the cloud of Salesforce to jointly provide new services such as customer analysis.

It is the ninth startups for Salesforce to invest in Japan. It does not disclose the amount.

Nikkei 7/16/2012 [jp]

  • Ubiregi lets small shops and restaurants to use POS system to manage sales and customers with only iPad. It has raised around 20 million yen from Voyage Ventures and Kronos Fund.
  • https://ubiregi.com/ja

Jul 13, 2012

[Tech In Asia] LINE and Telkomsel Add Special Stickers for Indonesian Users

Line, Naver Japan’s popular mobile messenger app, has worked together with Telkomsel to make a special, localized sticker pack. While Line has been popular all over Asia ever since it launched over a year ago, this making local partnerships like this one should mean increased attention in Indonesia among smartphone users. 
The free sticker pack is labeled as “Telkomsel Blob & MyAppsMall,” and contains cute emojis/emoticons you can use while chatting with your friends or family, just as with other sticker packs. But in this pack, Blob, the Telkomsel character, is being used as the main selling point. ...

Tech In Asia 7/13/2012 

  • NHN Japan announced a partnership with KDDI last week. It also plans to provide original stickers for KDDI. Messenger applications have been considered trouble for mobile operators, but it seems some telcos are trying to figure out the way to cooperate with OTTs.

Jul 12, 2012

CyberAgent Ventures Invest In Piece of Cake to Launch Contents Distribution Platform In Summer / Cnet Japan

Piece of Cake is founded on December, 2011. Femto Startup, a seed investment fund, has supported from the foundation.

Piece of Cake develops digital contents distribution platform, cakes, which is planned to be released in this summer.

cakes plans to distribute various types of contents with subscription base. Readers can enjoy contents freely with 150 yen per month. ...

Cnet Japan 7/11/2012 [jp]

  • Subscription-based free access service seems finally getting popular this year in Japan. Sony just launched Music Unlimited and KDDI also started subscription based services for application, Smart Pass, video, Video Pass, and music, Uta Pass targeting for its users. cakes seems to focus on ebooks, or contents for reading. It may be competing or collaborating with big players like Amazon or Rakuten, both launch ebook reader from this year in Japan.
  • http://www.pieceofcake.co.jp/

Student Startup, Prosbee Raises Seed Money From Incubate Fund / Venture Now

Prosbee conducted allocation of new shares of 3 million yen to Incubate Fund. It plans to use the money for human resource.

Prosbee was founded in May 28 this year. It participated in Incubate Camp on March, an incubation program organized by Incubate Fund. ...

Prosbee develops Booklap, which is a service to allow users to share phrases of books. It aims to provide users with opportunities to meet new books from phrases. A web version of the service is to be released on July 18th and then a smartphone version to follow within August. ...

Venture Now 7/10/2012

  • Seed acceleration programs increase startups of students. An unique point of Incubate Camp is that even students have to gather the same amount of money, 3 million yen in this case, by themselves to receive investment, aiming to choose only serious entrepreneurs.
  • http://booklap.com/

Jul 10, 2012

Coffee Meeting Operator, Le-Le-Le Raises 3M Yen From Incubate Fund / Venture Now

Coffee Meeting allows users to set up a meeting with a bit of spare time. Mr. Yamamoto, a founder of Le-Le-Le, launched Coffee Meeting in this February when working at Recruit Media Communications. Since it was highly evaluated at Incubate Camp in the beginning of the year in addition to the growth of users after the launch and high matching rate, he founded the company in May.

A characteristic of Coffee Meeting is that it does not need arrangement of time and place beforehand. It lets users to post time and place for a meeting, and other users apply for the meeting, which makes meetings take place smoothly. A total number of meetings which actually happened is 3,900. ...

Venture Now 7/10/2012 [jp]

  • Similar social matching services with food or drink have been hot from last year, but Coffee Meeting looks one of the most popular services. It may be because having coffee is more casual than eating dinner or lunch. However, different from social dining, which can monetize from restaurants, it would be more difficult to make money. It is interesting to see how it will develop a business model.
  • http://coffeemeeting.jp/

Jul 4, 2012

[Press Release] CyberAgent Ventures, Inc. Establishes the New Office in Korea

CyberAgent Ventures, Inc., a subsidiary of CyberAgent, Inc., announces to establish its new office in Seoul, Korea in August 2012. 
CyberAgent Ventures, Inc. (CAV) has invested in over 30 Internet-related start-ups in Mainland China,Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia and Korea. In Korea, CAV invested in Kakao Corp in 2011, which runs a messaging application named KAKAO TALK with over 40 million registered users. CAV believes that the extremely high Internet and smartphone penetration as well as the abundant numbers of entrepreneurs make Korea very promising market for CAV. ...
CyberAgent Ventures Press Release 7/4/2012 [en]

  • Some Japanese Internet companies or venture capitals invest in startups in South East Asia, but few in Korea. It may be considered to be more difficult market for venture investment. CAV has already had a portfolio in Korea, from which it may get confidence to succeed in Korea as well as other Asian countries. 

CyberAgent Ventures Invests In A-STAR, Engineer Recruiting Platform / CyberAgent Ventures Press Release

A-STAR operates A-STAR.com, a web platform allowing to recruit any type of employment pattern focusing on engineers. Employers can reduce cost and time for recruiting. It aims to network around 10,000 software companies who provides engineers for dispatch to enable companies to directly access to 610,000 engineers in Japan. ...

CyberAgent Ventures Press Release 7/2/2012 [jp]

  • Employers can post any type of employment from permanent staff, temporally staff, dispatch, to subcontracting. Recruiting or temporally job posting seems a traditional area for web services, but recently services in the area are increasing such as CrowdWorks, garbs, Wantedly, or Social Recruiting. Interestingly, CyberAgent invests in CrowdWorks and garbs as well.
  • http://agency-star.com/

KDDI Partners With LINE Releasing au Version / ITmedia

On July 2nd, KDDI announced a partnership with NHN Japan regarding LINE. It will launch LINE for au smartphone as well as cooperate for protecting minors.

KDDI will use LINE for promotion of au Smart Pass, which allows users unlimited use of applications with fixed charge. In September, KDDI will release LINE dedicated for au Smart Pass and provide stickers limited for the version with original characters. Also, it will co-promote LINE for au Smart Pass users such as distributing news and information about au Smart Pass with a LINE official account. ...

ITmedia 7/3/2012 [jp]

  • NHN Japan announced a new road map of LINE at LINE Conference on July 3rd. It aims to evolve LINE from a simple communication tool to a social networking platform. It plans to add time-line similar to Facebook as well as providing API to third party developers to offer games, fortune telling, and coupons. NHN Japan also revealed that LINE has 45 million users world wide among whom 20 million in Japan.
  • http://line.naver.jp/en/

Jul 3, 2012

[Tech In Asia] Rakuten’s Kobo E-Reader to Hit Japan July 19, Priced at 7980 Yen (or $100)

At a press conference in Tokyo this afternoon, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten announced that its e-reading service will launch in Japan on July 19 for the price of 7,980 yen (or about $100 dollars), with a ‘fully localized’ experience. On that day, you will be able to access kobo.rakuten.co.jp, which will feature local content and authors, available for purchase in local currency. Readers may recall that Rakuten acquired Kobo for $315 million late last year.
Tech In Asia 7/2/2012 [en]

  • Kindle is expected to be released soon in Japan. Rakuten got a head against  Amazon with the competitive pricing. But e-book reader's success mostly depends on a number of contents. Since Rakuten has not revealed contents selection, it is difficult to say how much Rakuten is taking a lead.

[Tech In Asia] Gumi and Shinsei Bank Launch Fund for Game Devs in China and Singapore

Tokyo-based social game developer Gumi announced Monday that it has partnered with Shinsei Bank and set up a fund for investing in game developers in mainland China and Singapore. Japan’s economic daily Nikkei reports the fund is expected to invest in developers who are aiming at developing apps and games for consumers in North America. During the next two years, the two companies intend to invest in 10 to 15 companies, with about 10-30 million yen ($125,000 to $375,000) for each investment. Gumi is investing 50 million yen and Shinsei contributes 300 million yen ($3.75 million) to the fund. ...

Tech In Asia  7/2/2012 [en]

  • It is not a common case that a game developer and a bank establish a joint venture fund. Many other Japanese banks have a subsidiary of venture capital, but Shinsei Bank does not have and has not been often appeared in topics of venture investment.
  • http://gu3.co.jp/  

Social Ticket Service, Peatix Raises $1M With Convertible Note / ValuePress

Peatix announced that it raised US$1 million from 500 Startups, DG Incubation, Itochu Technology Ventures, Mr. Dave Goldberg and others.

Peatix is a service to allow users to easily create and advertise an event as well as sell and manage e-ticket. Since its launch on May 2011, around it has been used for around 2,500 events such as regional activation, sport, entertainment, and seminar.

The fundraising aims to focus on mobile which shares 30% of access and is expected to grow rapidly, to expand global mainly in Asia and North America, and to increase users in Japan. ...

ValuePress 7/3/2012 [jp]

  • Peatix raised US$700,000 in December 2011 from 500 Startups and others. Several startups operating ticket sales service were launched in 2011, among which Peatix seems to be most successful in fundraising. It is interesting to see how Peatix would take advantage of the money to make the business most successful as well. 
  • http://peatix.com/