Nov 30, 2012

[e27] CyberAgent Ventures funds Indonesian online baby product platform Bilna

CyberAgent Ventures has just announced their investment in Bilna, an Indonesian based e-commerce platform for baby products. 
Following the investment in the leading Indonesia’s online shopping marketplace, Tokopedia, the investment for Bilna is the second company that CyberAgent Ventures, Inc. has invested in Indonesia. ...
... Late last month, CyberAgent Ventures also invested in Taiwan’s food recipe social sharing network iCook. Last week, they invested in Vietnam food review site

e27 11/27/2012 [en]

[Tech In Asia] GMO VenturePartners Shifts Focus to Southeast Asia With $12M Fund

Japan’s GMO VenturePartners is today announcing the launch of a one billion yen (or about $12 million) venture fund that will see the firm focus on opportunities in the Southeast Asia region. The group is the VC arm of GMO Internet Group (TYO:9449), and its previous investments include China’s Qihoo 360, which the company invested in with its GMO VP Fund I. It notes that investment from existing funds in Japan and China will continue as well. ...
Tech In Asia  11/27/2012 [en]

  • Corporate VC of Internet companies like CyberAgent or GREE have been quite active in South East Asia. Recruit is another corporate VC committed. Compared to CVC, not many pure VCs from Japan invest in startups in these countries. It maybe because it is still not so easy for startups in the region to exit, which is risky for financial investor, but for corporate VCs, it can take advantage of the investments for its expansion. 

[Tech In Asia] Japan Overtakes US to Become Top Country for Google Play Revenues

The folks over at App Annie have released a pretty fascinating report that shows some interesting shifts that are happening in the mobile space. Perhaps the most surprising is the fact that Japan has overtaken the US in Google Play (Android’s app store) revenue, making this the first time that the US did not occupy the top spot in the country rankings. ...
Tech In Asia  11/30/2012 [en]

  • Mobile game developers in Japan have been successful to make money in feature phones. Japanese users are accustomed to pay for games on mobile more than in US. ARPU may be much higher. It is reasonable that along with the move that many of feature phone users switch to smartphone, Google Play apps in Japan starts to monetize very well. It is interesting to see if the growth is a specific trend only in Japan, or the revenue will go up like in Japan in other countries including US in the future.

Nov 27, 2012

Printing EC, Raksul Raises 120M Yen From YJ Capital And ANRI / TechCrunch Japan

Raksul provides price comparison and quotation request service for printings such as business card, shop card, catalog, pamphlet, and brochure on the Internet. It raised 110 million yen in this April, and for the latest round, it receives 120 million yen from Yahoo's venture fund, YJ Capital and ANRI. As far as we know, it is the first deal for YJ Capital. ...

Raksul is growing steadily with 250 thousands active users per month, on which 1300 printing companies registers. In addition, it started its own printing service from September, which provides low-priced printing service utilizing idle time of printing machine of contracted printing companies. The capital of the round will be used to accelerate the business. ...

TechCrunch Japan 11/26/2012 [jp]

  • Printing EC is not a trendy B2C service like social media or smartphone apps, but seems to be an industry which can become more efficient taking advantage of Internet. It is interesting that YJ Capital selected the relatively modest industry for its first deal comparing the fact that Yahoo itself has invested in or acquired trendy startups such as Kakao Talk or DECOPIC.

Nov 22, 2012

Recruit Takes Stake In Net Marketing, Omiai Operator / Cnet Japan

Net Marketing announced that Recruit Incubation Partners acquired capital of 112 million yen from existing investors. Other investors including founders continue to  possess the same number of shares.

Net Marketing launched Omiai, matching service for marriage hunters on Facebook this February. The number of users surpassed 100 thousands. With the capital participation of Recruit, it aims to increase brand value and awareness for Facebook users.

The company plans to launch smartphone app in December as well as establish 100% subsidiary in US to start providing the service for US users.

Cnet Japan 11/22/2012 [jp]

  • Net Marketing has been providing affiliate ad agency service since 2004. In addition to the existing service and Omiai, it operates Facebook Navi, a portal service for Facebook users such as Q&A, app ranking and review and reward add service for smartphone. Recruit runs Zexy, one of the largest marriage related portal sites. There could be various ways of collaboration with Omiai.

Marketplace Of Knowledge And Skills, Coconala Raises 30M Yen / Cnet Japan

WelSelf announced fundraising of 30 million yen from ImproVista.

The company operates a marketplace for knowledge and skills, Coconala, which allows individuals to provide services online which they are good at. It does not take initial fee or monthly fee for sellers and the every service price is 500 yen without exception. Users surpasses 20,000 since its launch on July 3rd. Transactions are over 5,500.

Cnet Japan 11/21/2012 [jp]

  • The current popular services are drawing a portrait for icon of Twitter or Facebook or fortune telling. Yahoo started a similar service in its Yahoo Auction, but Coconala seems doing better than Yahoo so far.

Enterprise Internet Service Provider, TeamSpirit Raises Over 100M Yen From VCs / ITpro

TeamSpirit develops and provides cloud-based human resource management service, Team Spirit, which announced series B finance with over 100 million yen. The investors include Nippon Venture Capital, Nissay Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital. Along with the series A round by and others, the company raises over 200 million yen.

Many consumer Internet startups are fundraising in Japan, but there has been few startups in enterprise Internet service providing on a specific platform which strengthen business by financing from VCs.

TeamSprit is developed on, PaaS of to provide features including time management, expense report, or project management. ...

ITpro 11/22/2012 [jp]

  • The series A was about a year ago, October, 2011. Along with penetration of, it is expected that more enterprise Internet service will grow. 

Sunbridge And Others Invest In Language Cloud, Learning Management System / Cnet Japan

Sunbridge Global Ventures announced that it invested in Language Cloud, which develops Learning management system (LMS) for language schools.

For the round, Digital Garage and 500 Startups invested as well. The deal is done by convertible note.

Language Cloud allows teachers and students to communicate about classes and homework as well as to see notes or to use various features useful for language learning on cloud. In addition, it enables schools to handle communication and management process easily.

Cnet Japan 11/21/2012 [jp]

  • The founders are alumni of an accelerator program, Open Network Lab, in the last year, in which they launched C2C English learning service. They pivoted this year to provide a solution for business customers, which seems doing much better. It might be one of trends this year that more startups look to stable services targeting business customers instead of trying to run social-related services focusing on consumers. 

Nov 21, 2012

Langrich Holdings Raise 50M Yen From KLab Ventures And Other / Cnet Japan

Langrich Holdings announced fundraising from KLab Ventures and three individual investors of about 50 million yen in total.

The company started Langrich, an online English learning service using Skype in 2010. At the launch, it established a corporation in Japan and Philippines, but currently it has a holding company in Singapore to subsidize the two companies. The finance is for the entity in Singapore.

There are many Skype based English learning services, however it has advantage in stable video chat with dedicate line by having office in Cebu in Philippines. ...

Cnet Japan 11/20/2012 [jp]

  • Some people say that education industry would be one of promising area for Internet startups citing several US startups like Khan Acadmy, but there are not very successful business model in Japan yet. Skype-based English learning will be the most potential one in terms of demands from users. But because the entry barrier for the service is not that high, the competition is getting fierce. It is interesting to see whether only a few players become dominant or many more players can exist.

Cookpad Invests 42M Yen In Zaim, Household Accounts App / ITmedia

Zaim, an operator of household accounting service for smartphone, announced allocation of new shares to Cookpad. The amount is 42 million yen. It aims to provide total service related to money by allowing to use from PC and tablet.

Zaim was launched by Takako Kansai individually. She launched iPhone app on July last year, and then Android app on this March. Zaim was incorporated in this September along with surpassing 10 million items of income and expense.

ITmedia 11/21/2012 [jp]

  • Cookpad is the largest recipe site in Japan with over 1.3 million recipes posted. It does not seem that the two services have instant synergy, but the main target users are common, housewives. Since Cookpad is expanding the business such as e-commerce of vegetable, it would have some ideas to take advantage of the investment.

Nov 20, 2012

[e27] Digital Garage invests in Japan’s social food sharing app SnapDish

SnapDish, one of Japan’s biggest social food sharing apps, has just received an investment from Digital Garage. 
SnapDish is an Echelon 2012 alumnus, and since exhibiting at our main event, SnapDish has grown to more than 600,000 downloads. As for the user breakdown, 70% of SnapDish users are female, and approximately a quarter of SnapDish users are international users. To date, there are more than 1.5 million photos uploaded onto the social food photo sharing app. ...
e27  11/19/2012 [en]

  • The amount is not disclosed. Since another food photo sharing service, miil raised 240 million yen in this May, it is expected to be similar size of finance. miil mainly has photos of dishes at restaurants, but SnapDish more focused on home cooking such as Bento.

LINE Provides Cheaper Version Of Official Account, LINE@ For 5,250 Yen Per Month / ITmedia

NHN Japan announced to launch LINE@ from early December, which allows businesses to communicate on LINE. Existing official account costs 2 million yen for initial cost and 1.5 million yen for monthly. LINE@ is a cheaper version of the service with 5,250 yen for both initial and monthly fee.

LINE@ allows businesses to send message, coupon, and sale information to users who adds the account for their friends. The difference with official account is 1) not displayed on official account list page in LINE, 2) not provided with consulting service regarding coupon issuing or others, 3) limitation of users up to 10,000.

According to the company, it has around 30 companies using the official accounts of mainly large corporations including makers, whole sellers, retailers, restaurants, and key TV stations. Lawson, a convenience store chain, has over 4 million subscribers and gets good result such as 100 thousands people come to their stores by issuing a coupon. ...

ITmedia 11/19/2012 [jp]

  • A number of users surpasses 75 million including 35 million in Japan. Along with the O2O service, LINE launched 5 titles of social games. The growth speed of user acquisition seems getting bit slower in Japan. LINE seriously starts monetization of the successful mobile app.

Nov 16, 2012

Online Used Good Marketplace, Shuppin Goes Public On Mothers / Venture Now

Shuppin was founded on August, 2005 by Kei Suzuki, a founder of Sofmap, mass retailer of PC and related products. Just after the establishment of the company, it bought camera EC business called MapCamera from Map Visual Presents, which Mr. Suzuki is a president. It expanded the category to watch and stationary goods, and in 2008, the company acquired MapSports to launch bicycle shop. ...

Venture Now 11/15/2012 [jp]

  • Internet auction such as Yahoo Auction is very popular for used goods. The company differentiates itself from the auction sites by securing products are real and have no trouble. 

Nov 14, 2012

[e27] GREE inks first partnership outside of Japan with SingTel

GREE today announced its exclusive partnership with Singapore Telecommunications, SingTel. The partnership enables direct carrier billing for GREE mobile social games distributed on SingTel’s network in Singapore, GREE’s first of such outside of Japan. 
This news comes after GREE their partnership with Yahoo! Japan last week. 
In the press release, SingTel’s Digital Life Head of Multimedia, Cheon Hai Thoo said, “We are delighted to be the first to offer web-based GREE games with direct billing to our customers on their smartphones. There has been a huge increase in the number of people playing games on their phones and the convenience of paying and receiving one bill while playing GREE’s great range of games is a definite selling point.” ...
e27 11/14/2012 [en]

  • Web-based games are still more popular than native apps on GREE in Japan even for smartphone. If it works as well in Singapore or other countries, it will be big opportunity for SingTel to let users use its billing system bypassing Apple or Google. GREE also announced a plan to support HTML5 on its gaming platform, which is expected to allow more developers to distribute their games for web browser.

Nov 13, 2012

Skyland Invests In Miew, E-book Platform, Viewstock Operator / Cnet Japan

Skyland Ventures announced that it invested in Miew in October for its second deal. Miew was founded in March 2011.

Miew runs Viewstock, e-book platform available on multi-devices including PC, smartphone, and tablet for a major part of its business. Currently it provides solutions with the system for medical related area aiming to become a next generation medical information platform. ...

Cnet Japan 11/12/2012 [jp]

  • Along with the launch of Kindle in Japan at last, e-book market is considered to start growing finally. The competition for general consumer market will become more fierce, but Viewstock seems to target different area. The company provides business customers with the platform. There are not more detailed information, but medical related documents would be one of the vertical industry.

Nov 12, 2012

Location-based Game, Colopl Goes Public On Mothers At December 13th / Cnet Japan

Colopl is approved for IPO on Mothers of Tokyo Stock Exchange. It plans to be listed on December 13th. ...

Colopl was founded in October, 2008 to provide Colony na Seikatsu, a game application using location information, which the founder, Mr. Baba was operating for his private business. It operates location-based gaming open platform, Colopl. ...

Cnet Japan 11/9/2012 [jp]

  • KDDI invested 500 million yen in the company in June, 2011 to take 5% of shares. Colopl provides O2O service collaborating with offline businesses such as shops, railways, hotels, travel companies and baseball teams. The company also runs many other types of mobile games including card games or action games.
  • Exit of mobile social game developers continues following acquisitions of gloops and Pokelabo, and IPO of enish. The competition in mobile social games are getting more capital intensive than ever.

Social Game, Boku no Restaurant Developer, enish Goes IPO On Mothers / VentureNow

Social app developer, enish is approved for IPO on Mothers market from Tokyo Stock Exchange. The date is December 11th. ...

enish was founded as synphonies 100% funded by Kii on February, 2009. The startup operate mobile social games such as Boku no Restaurant which links location information with restaurants nationwide. In July, 2010, it raised 80 million yen from GREE and had alliance with the company in a year later leading rapid growth. The transaction with GREE in 2011 reaches around 2 billion yen to share 80% of the total amount. ...

Venture Now 11/8/2012 [jp]

  • Although GREE has over 20% share of the company, enish provides games on other platforms including Mobage, mixi, and Han Game. It provides O2O service by tie-up with restaurant chains, hotels. and convenience stores for campaigns.

Nov 8, 2012

[Asiajin] Yahoo! Japan Makes Comprehensive Business Ties With Gree

Yahoo! Japan and Gree just (after the market close) announced that they have made a deal of “comprehensive business ties”. They are to discuss on co-development of social games, as well as establishment of company to promote it. 
They are also talking to set up an joint-investment company for digital video contents, and an entertainment joint-business, joint-CSR and engineers/creators development assistance activities.
Asiajin 11/8/2012 [en]

  • Yahoo Japan co-operates Yahoo Mobage with DeNA, social gaming service for PC. Large Internet companies are becoming active in alliance with other giants recently. DeNA yesterday announced capital and business partnership with CyberAgent's subsidary, Cygames, a developer of global hit social game, Rage of Bahamut. It is not impossible to see large scale of reorganization of the industry in the near future.

Nov 7, 2012

[The Next Web] Rakuten boosts its global retail business with undisclosed deal for French logistics firm ADS

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has made another European acquisition after it bought up French logistics firm Alpha Direct Services (ADS) in an undisclosed deal that it says will bolster its global Web retail businesses, which includes France-based PriceMinister – bought in 2010 for $255 million. 
The deal, which represents its first investment in a logistics firm outside of its native Japan, is its sixth European acquisition since 2010 and Rakuten says that benefits from ten-year-old ADS’s technologies will soon be felt across Europe, and even wider global markets like Japan. ...
The Next Web 11/6/2012 [en]

  • Rakuten has acquired local e-commerce sites in many countries in Europe, US, Asia, and South America. It is enhancing the area for acquisition or investment from EC to other related areas such as Kobo, e-book service and device in Canada, Wuaki, video-on-demand in Spain, and Pinterest, social networking. 

Nov 6, 2012

Test Automation For Android, Sonix Opens Office In North America And Singapore / Cnet Japan

Sonix announced establishment of branch offices in Silicon Valley and Singapore. The company provides Scirocco Cloud, test automation service for Android devices as well as open source software and library for Android.

Scirocco Cloud connects Android devices to its dedicated servers by USB to allow users to test their application through Internet. ...

Overseas offices run marketing activity respectively, and also develop testing environment in data center for devices sold locally. There are competitors such as Perfecto Mobile which covers North America, UK, and Israel, and Keynote Systems which focuses on North America. Sonix said it plans to operate services for Japan, North America, and South East Asia within one year and a half. ...

Sonix was founded in 2006 and raised 150 million yen from Dentsu Digital Holdings and Nissay Capital.

Cnet Japan 11/6/2012 [jp]

  • Smartphone applications are becoming boarder less, but still Japanese device market has many Japan-only models from local manufacturers. So, there may be strong needs for the service from foreign developers who want to succeed in Japan market. Also, some app developers from Japan are becoming successful in foreign market. It is very useful for them to be able to test with devices which are not sold in Japan. It is a good example to take advantage of Japanese so-called Galapagos mobile environment. 

Nov 5, 2012

Social "Konkatsu" Site, IBJ To Go Public On JASDAQ / Venture Now

Social Konkatsu, or marriage hunting service operator, IBJ is approved for IPO on JASDAQ from Osaka Securities Exchange, which is planned on December 6th.

IBJ was founded on February, 2006 running several matchmaking related services and life design media services centered on social marriage hunting support site, BridalNet and matchmaking party search site, RUSH. ...

The revenue ending December, 2011 is 1.8 billion yen with 181 million yen of pretax profit.

Venture Now 11/2/2012 [jp]

  • IBJ has a bit complicated history. BridalNet was launched in 2000 as the first marriage information service in Japan. In 2003, Yahoo Japan acquired 100% shares of the company. In 2006, the management became independent as IBJ. In 2009, IBJ merged BridalNet.
  • Operator, TORICO Fundraises To Accelerate Global Expansion / Cnet Japan

Online manga shopping site, operator, TORICO allocates its new shares to SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, and Sansei Capital.

Along with finance from Itochu Technology Ventures in this June, the total amount raised is 270 million yen. In addition to expanding existing service, it plans to develop e-book distribution service and global expansion including launching overseas offices. ...

Cnet Japan 11/2/2012 [jp]

  • TORICO was founded in 2005 and launched manga EC site in 2006 which allows users to buy whole collection of a manga title at once. It raised 200 million yen from Itochu, so this finance from the three investors is 70 million yen.

Nov 2, 2012

Skyland Ventures Invest In Music Community Site, CreoFuga / Cnet Japan

CreoFuga was founded in October, 2007 operating music community site, CreoFUGA which has around 6,000 sound creators of professionals as well as amateurs.

CreoFuga raises 9.5 million yen from Skyland Ventures and individual investors. With the capital, it will launch a new online community service connecting professional artists, sound creators and their fans. ...

Cnet Japan 11/2/2012 [en]

  • CreoFUGA is a SNS centered around music contest held on web. Since it is becoming more and more difficult to make money to sell CDs for musicians, reaching directly to fans to sell live tickets or any other goods would be one of alternatives. Also the community would become a good tool for professorial music performers to find a job from corporations for composition or performance of music.
  • Skyland Ventures is a new venture fund launched in this August focusing on seed startups.

[The Next Web] Cubie lands $1.1m to grow its Draw-Something-meets-WhatsApp service in the U.S. and Japan

Cubie, the mobile service that combines drawing features with messaging and chat, has landed $1.1 million in seed funding from a collection of investors across its native Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. The news is further proof of the potential of mobile-centric messaging industry in Asia, and the firm is now set to shift its focus to developing its reach in the U.S. and Japan. 
The fresh capital — which has been put together by B Dash Ventures, NTT Investment Partners, BIGLOBE Capital, Gumi Ventures, Pinehurst, 500 Startups and Andrew Chen — will be used to ramp up its visibility in the two markets and it comes as Cubie celebrates its inclusion in the latest 500 Startup accelerator program. ...
The Next Web 10/31/2012 [en]

  • One of the key elements of success of LINE is considered to be its unique stickers. Cubie advanced the non-text communication further by introducing drawing feature. Smartphone messaging apps seem to be more room for innovation.

Nov 1, 2012

[e27] CyberAgent Ventures invests in Taiwan food recipe social sharing network iCook

iCook, one of Taiwan’s largest recipe social sharing network site, has just announced their investment by CyberAgent Ventures. The amount of the investment is undisclosed. 
Launched 11 months ago, iCook allows anyone to easily share his or her food recipe into the online community. One can access these recipes through the online web app or through their mobile app. To date, iCook has more than 70,000 registered users, with more than 10,000 user generated food recipe on their platform. 
According to CyberAgent ventures, the food recipe social sharing community is slowing getting the attention of main stream population. The reason for this is that there is a demand for food recipes. In Japan, there are similar proven business models that revolves around user generated food recipe platforms. CyberAgent Ventures believes that has strong potential to become the leading player in Taiwan and will take advantage of CyberAgent Inc’s wide network of resources to enhance the company’s growth and value. With the investment, funds will be used primarily to facilitate further growth of users and content. ...
e27 10/30/2012 [en]

  • Cookpad is the leader of recipe sharing site in Japan, which has over 1.3 million recipes and 20 million active users. iCook still does not have so many traction but considering the success of Cookpad, it must have great potential.

CrowdWorks Raises 300M Yen From Itochu And Others / Cnet Japan

CrowdWorks announced allocation of new shares of 300 million yen to Itochu Technology Ventures, Digital Garage, and Suneight Investment.

CrowdWorks runs crowd sourcing service focused on engineers and web designers which allows matching contractees and contractors, executing the work, and paying compensation without meeting face to face. It is also possible to order work by the hour.

The service was launched on March 21 for closed beta. Over 2000 contractees have used it for seven months and the total amount of orders posted exceeds 660 million yen. ...

Cnet Japan 10/31/2012 [jp]

  • Crowd sourcing is one of the hottest areas for Internet related startups recently. Lancers is a direct competitor of CrowdWorks in terms of categories of works. There are also many crowd sourcing services focusing on more specific area such as MUGENUP which focuses on design for social game and Gengo or Conyac which are sourcing translation. Another interesting area would be testing mobile applications such as Launch App, UI Scope, or Mintest.