Aug 30, 2012

Nissay Capital Invests 80M Yen In Nagisa, Messenger App Balloon Developer / Cnet Japan

Nissei Capital announced investment of 80 million yen in Nagisa.

Nagisa develops smartphone applications such as a communication app, Balloon as well as runs advertising agency. Balloon plans to get full renewal in design and features.

Cnet Japan 8/30/2012 [jp]

  • Balloon allows users to call for free, have group chat, share photos with their friends. Since LINE dominates the message app category in Japan, it seems not easy to survive. Also, different from other message apps like LINE, Kakao Talk, or Lounge, Balloon does not add friends from users' address book, which makes harder for users who downloaded the app to start actually using. It is interesting to see how Nagisa will improve Balloon with the capital to compete in the very difficult category. 

Aug 23, 2012

Food Delivery Site Gochikuru Operator, Star Festival Raises 250M Yen from Globis And Gree Ventures / Cnet Japan

Star Festival was founded in July 2009. The company runs Gochikuru, a search site for lunch box and catering. It has operated food delivery sites respectively and integrated them into the mall, Gochikuru launched in July 2012. There are several competitors in a food delivery service such as Rakuten Delivery, the CEO of the company actually started up when he was at Rakuten, and Demaekan. ...

Cnet Japan 8/23/2012 [jp]

  • Gochikuru differentiate from competitors by adding many popular restaurants which usually do not do delivery service.
  • Gree Ventures is a VC fund of Gree investing in Internet related business in Japan and Asia. It does not only invest in startups which has direct synergy with Gree's current business.

Aug 20, 2012

Social Classified, Zawatt Fundraises / Zawatt Press Release

The social classified service, WishScope operator conducted allocation of new shares to SMBC Venture Capital and Mizuho Capital.

Zawatt Press Release 8/16/2012 [jp]

  • WishScope matches users who have wishes such as want, help, buy, or look for something and users who can meet the wishes. The service is increasing users after launching the smartphone app.

Authense Group Raises Capital From Digital Garage / Nikkei

Authense Group, a free legal consultation service by lawyers operator, conducted allocation of new shares to Digital Garage Group. The amount is about 100 million yen to share nearly 10%.

Digital Garage supports acquiring advertisers for the web site of Authense aiming to increase commission as well as cooperates in system development., (meaning in English) the legal consultation service lets users to consult with lawyers for free by registration. Monthly users are 3 million. ...

Nikkei 8/20/2012 [jp]

  • provides other features such as search for lawyers, quotes and comparison and paid consultation service.

Aug 14, 2012

CloudStudy Raises 33M Yen / Venture Now

CloudStudy which operates social network for study, Studyplus, announced capital and business partnership with Amana Holdings to raise 30 million yen. Amana Holdings operates several businesses such as stock photo sales. In addition, it fundraises from individual investors. A total amount raised is 33 million yen. ...

Also, the company updates iPhone app of Studyplus. With the update, users can use most of all functions of web version.

CloudStudy was founded in May, 2010. It launched Studylog, progress management tool for learning based on knowledge of behavior analysis. From March, 2012, it starts social network for Studylog users, Studytnote. The both service was integrated as Studtyplus from July. ...

Venture Now 8/9/2012 [jp]

  • It is not so easy to presume how the social network for learning and the stock photo business collaborate each other. In other words, it will be interesting to see how the partnership make synergy in the future.

Event Management Service, everevo Operator, Netsket Raises Capital / Cnet Japan

Netsket announced allocation of new shares to Incubate Fund. The amount is not disclosed, but considered to be several tens of million yen.

Netsket operates everevo which provides event organizers with functions such as promotion and billing. Until this July, 1500 events have been registered and over 10,000 users used. ...

Cnet Japan 7/31/2012 [jp]

  • Several event ticket sales services operated by startups appeared in 2011, but it looks like everevo and PeaTix, which also raised capital this month, are taking a lead. Their competition including Recruit's ATND seems continuing for a while.

Aug 13, 2012

Locondo Raises Capital From Mizuho Capital and Neostella Capital / MSN Sankei News

Shoes and bag shopping site, Locondo allocates news shares to Mizuho Capital and Neostella Capital.

Locondo officially launched the service in February 2011. It offers free shipping and refund within 99 days. ...

MSN Sankei News 8/10/2012 [jp]

  • Locondo was founded in 2010 backed by Rocket Internet, German incubator. The annual revenue ending February 2012 was 860 million yen and the loss was 1.4 billion yen. Since the e-commerce business seems to require upfront investment, it may have other finance rounds.

NTT IP Invests 120M Yen In Agile Media Network / japan,

NTT Investment Partners announced to invest in blog network, Agile Media Network (AMN).

AMN possesses marketing know-how using social media. NTT IP sees growth potential of the company's social CRM service. 8/8/2012 [jp]

  • AMN provides professional services for social media marketing. It is interesting to see for what the company intends to use the money and what NTT IP expects with the investment.

Social Gift Service, giftee Fundraises From Digital Garage And Sunbridge Global Ventures / TechCrunch Japan

giftee is an online service to allow users to send small gift to friends online to express thank you or congratulations. It is one of the team from the first batch of Open Network Lab as well as KDDI's Mugen Labo. ...

giftee raised 10 million yen from KDDI at the end of the last year. It raised money from DG Incubation, a subsidiary of Digital Garage and Sunbridge Global Ventures by allocation of new shares and convertible notes. ...

It also revealed partnership with Family Mart, a national convenience store chain, which enables users to send coupon available at any Family Mart stores throughout the country. ...

TechCrunch Japan 8/1/2012 [jp]

  • giftee does not look growing so rapidly, but it has been moving forward step by step. The partnership with Family Mart may become a key factor to accelerate the growth rate.

Home and Timeline Function Comes On LINE For Android / TechCrunch Japan

NHN Japan announced that home and timeline functions become available on LINE for Android. It is launched before the iPhone app. With the addition, LINE becomes social network.

Home allows users to post status of yourself for which your friends can add mini-stamp of its popular character, Moon, to express feelings for the post. Timeline lets you to view your friends' posts. ...

TechCrunch Japan 8/6/2012 [jp]

  • LINE seems trying to compete with Facebook more and more seriously. It might be a big gamble for LINE because one of reasons that LINE has became so popular may be its simpleness. Adding social network functions could loose the simpleness. Actually LINE seems more popular in average users who do not often use or even not have a computer at home. While, Facebook is still more popular among early adopters in Japan. 

[Tech In Asia] GREE Teams Up with France-based Mobile Affiliate Network

Japanese mobile gaming company GREE, or more specifically, its subsidiary GREE Advertising, today is announcing a partnership with French mobile affiliate network MobPartner. 
For developers on the GREE Platform, this will bring new promotion tools and user acquisition services courtesy of MobPartner and its network of mobile affiliates. ...
Tech In Asia 8/2/2012 [en]

  • The partnership has benefit in two ways for Gree. As in the article, developers can access users overseas more easily, which will increase revenue for Gree from in-game sales of virtual items eventually. Also, more directly, Gree Advertising gets commission fee from the advertising deals.    

Sonix, Test Automation For Android Raise Capital Aiming Global Expansion / Cnet Japan

Sonix announced allocation of new shares to Dentsu Digital Holdings. It is the first fundraising for the company. The amount is not disclosed, but said to be several tens of million yen. With the capital, it plans to strengthen development and marketing to accelerate global expansion.

Sonix is well known in Android development community to provide open source software and library for Android. For the finance, UI test automation service for Android, Scirocco Cloud seems to be highly valued.

Scirocco Cloud has two advantages. One is to enable automatic UI testing using real devices, and the second is that real devices are on cloud. ...

Cnet Japan 8/2/2012 [jp]

  • Android devices are getting fragmented along with frequent updates and increasing devices. The solution would be very helpful for small and medium developers who cannot prepare large number of devices for testing. It is interesting that corporate venture fund of advertising agency, Dentsu invests in the company. What kind of synergy does Dentsu expect with the startup?

[Tech in Asia] Tokyo-based Messaging App Dev Quan Fundraises from and East Ventures

Quan Inc., a Tokyo-based startup known for having introduced the smartphone messaging app Lounge, announced today it had allocated new shares to Japan’s e-commerce giant and Singapore-/Tokyo-based investor East Ventures. 
With this fundraising, the startup intends to enhance features of the Lounge app and intensify further development of Sticker Maker, an iOS app allowing users to send their friends animated stickers via MMS. The Sticker Maker app reached top spot in the SNS category on the iTunes app store in Thailand with more than 100,000 active users. The Lounge app also got lots of attention from Thai consumers during the last several months as well. ...
Tech In Asia 8/2/2012 [en]

  • Group messaging application is one of the most competing and popular category recently in smartphone apps. LINE is definitely the leader in Japan. The company may focus on Sticker Maker rather than Lounge to avoid direct competition with LINE.

motionBEAT Invests In Small Bridge, Online Learning Service / Cnet Japan

motionBeat announced investment of 40 million yen in Small Bridge through its venture fund, ngi Venture Community Fund II.

Small Bridge was founded in 2010 to provide online learning service, Cafetalk, which lets users to have online lessons from teachers around the world using Skype. It has 2200 lessons including English conversation, discussion about US stock market, and cooking lesson in Italy. Over 10,000 students have registered the service. In addition, the company operates Brunch Style, media that teachers of Cafe Talk provides information.  ...

Cnet Japan 7/31/2012 [jp]

  • There are many English lesson services using Skype. Cafetalk seems to differentiate by providing wider variety of lessons. 

KDDI Invests 500M Yen In TOLOT, Photo Book Service / ITpro

KDDI announced investments through its fund, KDDI Open Innovation Fund and partnerships with startups through au Smart Pass service.

The new investment goes to TOLOT which provides photo book creation service using smartphone application. The amount is 500 million yen.

TOLOT sells photo book of 64 pages in A6 size for 500 yen. In addition to photo books, it prepares various templates such as drug note and disaster prevention note.

KDDI also announced partnership with JMTY, classified advertisement, Shimauma Print System, photo printing service, and 3rdKind, import of foreign games as well as TOLOT. ...

ITpro 7/31/2012 [jp]

  • KDDI is the most active telco in Japan for collaboration with startups. The recent activity includes the VC fund, an incubation program, and partnerships such as with LINE.