Sep 26, 2012

Sonix Raises 100M Yen From Nissay Capital / Venture Now

Sonix fundraised from Dentsu Digital Holdings in August as well. With the deal, its financing round is ended. Sonic mainly uses the money for launching offices abroad, global marketing and hiring to begin a full-scale global expansion. ...

Sonix focuses on providing Scirocco Cloud, a UI testing platform for Android applications, which allows users to remote control Android devices through web browser.

Along with rapid penetration of smartphone, new models of Android are appearing continuously, but UI test by devices is mandatory for developing new applications due to fragmentation of OS version, resolution, and performance. Scirocco Cloud automates the process. ...

Venture Now 9/25/2012 [jp]

  • Solutions targeting for application developers is one of the prominent trends in recent startups. There are several startups such as SHIFT providing test marketing platform for pre-launch applications. Another example would MUGENUP which recently fundraised provide crowd sourcing focused on design for social games developers.

Sep 24, 2012

ShareWiz Raises Seed Money From MOVIDA / Venture Now

ShareWiz revealed fundraise of 5 million yen from MOVIDA JAPAN.

ShareWiz was founded on February 2nd, 2012. Mr. Tsujikawa applied for Seed Acceleration Program of MOVIDA JAPAN in last October and then founded the company.

ShareWiz is a free learning site of contents within 5 to 30 minutes. Similar services include Udemy in US, but the largest selling point of ShareWiz is its interface which visualizes learned contents as knowledge map. It makes easier to see value of what users learned and to understand what they want to learn. ...

Contents are easy to make as if writing blog posts for teachers. It is also possible for a teacher to bring their students to own seminar or to use as a promotion of own books. ...

Venture Now 9/24/2012 [jp]

  • Currently, major category of contents are English, programming, and accounting. There are many e-learning services, but few startups are successful. It is interesting to see if the unique visualization map could bring success to the startup. 
  • Raises Seed Money From Samurai Fund Aiming IPO In 5 Years / Venture Now conducted allocation of new shares of 4.5 million yen to Samurai Incubate. ... was founded on July, 2012. Its current main service is Return Tag, which allows users to attach a tag with a phone number available for 24 hours a day on goods they do not want to lose, in order to make easier to find the goods when lost. It aims to meet needs of corporations to deal with the risk of personal information leaks and so on when goods belonging to corporations are lost. ...

The startup plans to provide total solution for lost items such as managing lost items on cloud using the tags with ID. ...

In addition, it operates which is for consumers to share lost and found information. ...

Venture Now 9/20/2012 [jp]

  • Samurai Incubate has invested in a lot of startups at seed stage operating Internet services. may be unique among them because it is not pure Internet service and targeting business market.

MUGENUP Raises 100M Yen From Nissay Capital / Venture Now

MUGENUP was founded on June, 2011. It fundraised from Incubate Fund on the last December. It is currently growing rapidly with Crowd Creative System, a platform to crowdsource design tasks such as card illustration for social games, which was launched in this February. ...

Venture Now 9/21/2012 [jp]

  • Crowd sourcing is one of hottest areas this year for startups. Several other startups doing quite well such as Crowdworks and Lancers have wider range of tasks to handle, but MUGENUP is currently focusing on very narrow area, design for card illustration of social games. It seems working very effectively and efficiently now because the card games are the most growing category in the successful mobile social games. The challenge for the startup would be how it can enhance the range of tasks.

Sep 21, 2012

[Tech In Asia] GREE Acquires Another US-based Mobile Games Developer

Japanese social gaming giant GREE has announced today that it has acquired San Francisco-based mobile game company App Ant. 
App Ant is the game developer behind Dino Life, which GREE launched back in May as the first Android title for its North American studio. The metrics for that game so far appear less than stellar. ...
Tech In Asia 9/18/2012 [en]

  • GREE seems to be doing trial and error to get into US market. It may think that it would be a shortcut to acquire local developers than localizing its original successful games in Japan. 

SNS Connecting People By Goods, Sumally Raises 150M Yen From Lead Capital And Opt / Venture Now

Sumally was founded in April, 2010. It raised 80 million yen for an angel round in spring of the last year. ...

Sumally is a social networking service allowing people to share what they have or what they want. The service was launched on September last year. Current registered users are around 70,000. A number of post of "have" and "want" reaches 8 million.

It has users from overseas including US and Europe which shares 15%. ...

It plans to add marketplace feature to let users not only communicate but also sell/buy. ...

Venture Now 9/18/2012 [jp]

  • It looks like Pinterest but focusing on goods. It has been said that Pinterest-like photo sharing service has high affinity with e-commerce, but any service has not been successful yet. It would be interesting if Sumally will be the first player to succeed in this field.

Sep 14, 2012

Photo Book Style EC Mall Operater, 1K Raises 6M Yen From Samurai And Skylight / Venture Now

1K was founded on December 15th, 2010. Two founders got the top prize at Kigyo Challenge 2010, a business plan contest organized by Skylight Consulting. With the award, they established the company.

The company's service, MONOBITO is a E-commerce mall targeting people who are strongly sensitive to fashion, especially from late 20's to 40's male and female working at fashion related industry and particular about clothing, food and housing. ...

Currently 30 shops, 10 models, and 7 photographers are operating their shops on the mall.

Venture Now 9/12/2012 [jp]

  • MONOBITO has Pinterest-like interface, which is becoming a standard for fashion related site. Fashion commerce is considered to be a hot category with various approaches including used goods, subscription-based, or import goods. It sounds too niche, but it could attract more people who are interested in fashion by saying that the service focuses on only people working at fashion industry.

Sep 11, 2012

istyle Establishes Local Corporation In Singapore Aiming South East Asia / Venture Now

cosmetics community site, @cosme operator, istyle announced establishment of 100% subsidiary in Singapore to make it operate as a headquarter for South East Asia.

The company plans to set up a local corporation in Indonesia as well for the first business development in South Ease Asia to provide digital marketing service. ...

Venture Now 9/11/2012 [jp]

  • It is not clear but it does not seem to expand @cosme service in South East Asia. Since few Japanese B2C Internet service has been successful in South East Asia, it will be interesting to see how istyle approach the market.

Yahoo Japan Acquires DECOPIC Developer, Community Factroy For 1B Yen / TechCrunch Japan

Community Factory is a startup catching attention by DECOPIC's big hit. Yahoo Japan acquired the startup with 1 billion yen according to informed sources. It is considered that Yahoo aims to get young female users of smartphone in its hand.

Community Factory was founded in 2006 and started to provide social application for mixi when it became open in 2009. ...

Community Factory is known to be the first startup to receive investment from mixi's operating "mixi fund". ...

TechCrunch Japan 9/11/2012 [jp]

  • Following the announcement of establishment of new venture fund a few days ago, Yahoo Japan again surprises the Internet industry. It is a very good thing for the ecosystem because there have been too few opportunities for exits by acquisition in Japan. Yahoo Japan's recent radical move will definitely give positive stimulus to people in the industry including entrepreneurs as well as venture capitals and seed accelerators.

Sep 10, 2012

Crowd Sourcing Moves To Consolidation; Lancers Acquires MILLION DESIGNS / Venture Now

Crowd sourcing service operator, Lancers revealed that it acquires and merges MILLION DESIGNS, design contest-based crowd sourcing service run by Eureka. The acquisition amount is not disclosed. ...

Lancers was established in April 2008 and launched "Lancers", a crowd sourcing service in December of the year. Current number of users is 88,000 with 5,500 job offers per month. ...

Venture Now 9/10/2012 [en]

  • Crowd sourcing service is increasing particularly for design and programming. Other services include Crowdworks, which allows companies to find engineers and creators, and MUGENUP which focuses on illustration of games. Lancers have more various types of sourcing including web development, programming, and design as well as writing, simple tasks like text input, and research. It may be too early to say that the industry goes to consolidation, or several vertical niche will survive.

Yahoo Japan Establishes Venture Fund / Nikkei

Yahoo enters into venture capital business. Through the VC subsidiary launched recently, it invests in startups mainly of smartphone-related business, Internet advertising, and cloud computing. ...

The VC subsidiary, YJ Capital operates 1 billion yen of fund which is contributed by Yahoo entirely. ...

Nikkei 9/9/2012 [jp]

  • Since Yahoo Japan refreshed the management team in this April, it has taken many important actions including partnership with CCC, DVD rental store chain, Tabelog, restaurant review, and CookPad, recipe site much more rapidly than before with a slogan, "Bakusoku", or detonating velocity. The amount is not so large, but it is interesting to see what kind of startups it will invest.

Sep 6, 2012

With 6.3M "Like", Tokyo Otaku Mode Fundraises From Digital Garage, 500 Startups, And Others / TechCrunch Japan

Tokyo Otaku Mode is known as a startup promoting Japanese otaku culture to the world, but it has only existed on Facebook Page boasting over 6.3 million "Like". ...
It is still active mostly on Facebook Page, but its original web site was launched for beta.

The startup, Tokyo Otaku Mode announced fundraising from Digital Garage's investing arm, DG Incubation as well as GaiaX Global Marketing & Ventures, angel investors including William Lohse, Christine Herro, and 500 Startups, which invested before as well. ...

The investment is done with convertible note and the amount is not disclosed.

TechCrunch Japan 9/6/2012 [jp]

  • On its Facebook Page, Tokyo Otaku Mode posts photos and illustrations related to Japanese anime and manga. It is interesting to see how they monetize the popularity on Facebook in the world.

NTT IP Invests In Digital Signage Startup Newphoria / ITpro

NTT group's venture investment arm, NTT Investment Partners announced that it invests in Newphoria, providing contents delivery system for digital signage and mobile contents by acquiring new shares. The amount and investment ratio are not disclosed.

Newphoria develops web technology with HTML5 and services linking smartphone, digital signage, and television. ...

ITpro 9/5/2012 [jp]

  • Digital Signage seems one of the focused area for NTT IP. It invests in PDC, Panasonic's subsidiary providing total solution for digital signage from hardware to software to contents. Newphoria focuses on software and services such as system development and consulting.

Transfer Guide Service, Jorudan Acquires Gourmet PIA For 330M Yen / Venture Now

Jorudan, a company operating path search for public transportation, revealed to acquire all share of Gourmet PIA Network running Gourmet PIA, restaurant search service.

Gourmet PIA was founded in 1999. In addition to Gourmet PIA which introduces around 25,000 restaurants, it has tabels, recipe site by food professionals. ...

Venture Now 9/5/2012 [jp]

  • Jorudan went IPO on MOTHERS market in March, 2011. It already has a restaurant search service partnering with Gurunavi, the largest gourmet service in Japan. It may terminate the partnership to replace with it Gourmet PIA.

Sep 4, 2012

Hapyrus Raises 50M Yen From Investors In US And Japan / Cnet Japan

Hapyrus announced fundraising about 680 thousands US dollars from 500 Startups and others.

Investors include Archetype, CyberAgent Ventures, and individual investors such as Shogo Kawada (co-founder of DeNA), Kiyoshi Nishikawa (CEO of NetAge), Gen Miyazawa (Yahoo Japan).

Hapyrus is a technology startup providing browser-based analysis platform for large scale distributed data on cloud. With this capital, it plans to accelerate development of the current service, Hapyrus, as well as to invest in a new service development.

Cnet Japan 9/3/2012 [jp]

  • Big Data is becoming one of the hot topics in Internet industry, however there seems few startups in Japan providing Big Data related service. The founder team is Japanese, but they established Hapyrus in the US. It may be faster to launch the service in the US than in Japan. 

Sep 3, 2012

Rakuten Enters Into Group Coupon Deals Service By Acquiring Shareee / Internet Watch

Rakuten announced to acquire 70% of shares of Shareee. From now on, Rakuten operates the service jointly with an existing share holder, Hikari Tsushin.

Shareee offers over 1600 coupons monthly including restaurants, hotels, and relaxation facilities. According to Coupon JP, a search site for group coupon deals, the sales amount is 190.8 million yen, which is ranked third following Ponpare's 1.12 billion yen and Groupon's 1.07 billion yen.  ...

Internet Watch 9/3/2012 [jp]

  • Many group coupon services were launched in 2010, but it seems the two players dominate the market now. However, Rakuten has huge customer base for online shopping, which would make the competition more interesting.

Geniee, SSP Operator, Raises 100M Yen From Gree Ventures / Venture Now

Geniie raises 100 million yen for allocation of new shares for hiring, system development, and overseas expansion in Asia and North America.

Geniee is an ad technology company founded in April, 2010 by Mr. Kudo (CEO) and other members who worked on Recruit's ad network. It raised 72.6 million yen from Global Brain in the last September.

It operates Supply Side Platform called Geniee SSP which maximizes revenue for Internet media. The service was launched as trial operation in April, 2010 and currently over 1000 media are using to display around 10 billion ad impressions per month. ...

Venture Now 9/3/2012 [jp]

  • There are several SSP in Japan, but mostly these services are operated by a subsidiary of relatively large Internet companies like CyberAgent or Voyage Group. Kauli is another startup running SSP, which D2 Communications owns 33.4% share. Ad tech startups have been acquired by big players such as Nobot by Mediba(KDDI) or Atlantis by Gree. It is interesting to see what Gree aims with the investment.