Jun 24, 2013

KDDI Provides GAKUMO, Study Room On Palm, From July / ITmedia

GAKUMO is an education service optimized for mobile devices jointly provided by KDDI and Quipper. Quipper is a mobile app developed by a startup, Quipper, which allows users to learn by answering quizzes. The quizzes can be provided by users or any third parties including educational organizations. On GAKUMO, several education companies provide the contents for junior high and high school students. ...

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ITmedia 6/24/2013 [jp]

  • Quipper was founded in London by Masayuki Watanabe, who is a co-founder of DeNA. The startup had a series A round of 2.3M pounds in May 2012 from Globis Capital Partners, Atomico, and Benesse, which is one of the educational companies providing contents for GAKUMO.
  • http://www.quipper.com/

Credit Card Linked Coupon Service, "Saison Card Linked Offer" To Launch, The Operator, Kanmu Also Announces Fundraising / Sd

Credit card linked promotion service, Card Linked Offer operator, Kanmu announced to launch Saison Card Linked Offer jointly with Credit Saison. In addition, Kanmu fundraised about 43 million yen from East Ventures, ANRI, and an individual investor.

Card Linked Offer is a new way of sales promotion launched in the US which analyzes user data of the credit card and offers coupons and other benefit customized for the user. What is unique about the service is that by just indicating use of the coupon clicking a banner online, the user will receive the benefit by using the credit card at the shop. ...

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Sd 6/24/2013 [jp]

  • Kanmu was founded in January 2011. Credit Saison is quite positive to partner with startups compared with other financial companies. The credit card company announced a partnership with Coiney, credit card billing service using a smartphone, in back April. 
  • https://clo.kanmu.co.jp/

Jun 21, 2013

US-based Startup Founded By Japanese, Hapyrus Raises $925K From Famous Investors In Japan And US / TechWave

Silicon Valley-based startup, Hapyrus announced fundraising of $925,000 from angel investors and venture capital. Investors include William Lohse, who are former CEO of Ziff Davis and early investor of Pinterest.

Hapyrus provides a cloud solution to support handling big data.  It started to provide FlyData which transfers data on web sites or applications to the data warehouse, Amazon Redshift on February 2013. From June 5th, it provides add-on for Heroku as well. ...

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TechWave 6/21/2013 [jp]

  • Other investors in the round include CyberAgent Ventures, Nissay Capital, and angel investors from Japan. There are few startups which provide big data related technologies in Japan. Another popular startup in big data founded by Japanese entrepreneurs is Treasure Data which is also located in Silicon Valley.
  • http://www.hapyrus.com/

LINE Launches "LINE Free Coin", Reward Ads For Android To Partner With Metaps / Cnet Japan

LINE announced LINE Free Coin, incentive-based app promotion service, on June 20th to launch in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. When users download apps on Android which LINE selected, they will get LINE Coin, virtual money. Users can buy stickers with LINE Coin. At first, the advertised ads are apps by LINE including LINE Manga, LINE Bubble, and Line Uranai (fortune telling).

LINE partners with Metaps globally as a sales partner for Line Free Coin. Metaps has provided reward ads for Android in Japan and overseas. ...

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Cnet Japan 6/20/2013 [jp]

  • LINE never loosens up its business development taking advantage of rapidly increasing users which surpassed 160 million worldwide. LINE Game seems to make money most at this moment and LINE Manga which was launched back in April may contribute greatly to the monetization now. For Metaps, the partnership must be the huge step forward to add one of the largest publishers in the world to its network.
  • http://www.metaps.com/

Jun 20, 2013

[Sd] Japanese fashion-focused startup Youtfit raises $310,000 from Incubate Fund

Japanese fashion startup Youtfit today announced that it has raised 30 million yen (approximately $310,000) from Tokyo-based Incubate Fund. The startup is known for having started Japan Style, a magazine-like mobile app targeting the Asia region. 
In addition, the company launched a social fashion app (also called Youtfit) back in May of 2012, allowing users to post and share their outfits. Available in Japanese, Thai, and English, the app also allows you to evaluate other users’ posts with a five-step evaluation system, with cute, sexy, cool, elegant, and unique being the chosen criteria. ...
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Sd 6/20/2013 [en]

  • These two apps currently do not have monetization model. Similar type of social fashion service, iQON allows users to buy items by linking to other EC sites. It is interesting to see if Youtfit will adopt the same monetization model or has other strategy to make money.
  • http://company.youtfit.com/

Jun 19, 2013

[Sd] Japan’s Street Academy raises $420,000

IntheStreet, the startup behind private lesson marketplace Street Academy, announced today that it has raised 40 million yen (approximately $420,000) from CyberAgent Ventures, Genuine Startups , and other angel investors. 
The service gives users an opportunity to teach something to someone else. By listing the topic that you can teach, you can then easily create a page announcing your lecture. When you teach your lesson, you will receive a fee from the student, and pay 15% as a commission to the startup. ...
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Sd 6/18/2013 [en]


[Sd] Japanese online ticket startup EventRegist receives seed investment

EventRegist is a Tokyo-based startup providing an online ticket issuing and management system for organizers of events and meetups. The startup announced yesterday it has raised seed investment from East Ventures, Skyland Ventures, and Shinwa Agency (the latter being a marketing agency and subsidiary of home construction company Daiwa House). Detailed figures of the investment were not disclosed. ...
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Sd 6/13/2013 [en]

  • As mentioned later in the article, there are many competitors in this field from startups to Recruit, a large media company. Investors may find something unique in the company to differentiate from others.
  • http://eventregist.com/

[Sd] Japan’s e-commerce service Locondo raises $6.3 million from Excite Japan and VC firms

Locondo is a shoes and fashion e-commerce service that says it allows consumers to ‘buy first and than choose.’ Readers may recall that we recently featured the company after it partnered with Spanish brand Desigual. 
Locondo announced today it has just wrapped up series B funding worth 600 million yen (approximately $6.3 million) from leading Japanese web portal Excite Japan, Lead Capital Management (LCM), and Itochu Technology Ventures (ITV). LCM and ITV previously invested in the company in the series A round. ...
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Sd 6/13/2013 [en]

  • Locondo was launched backed by Rocket Internet having fundraised about 3 billion yen so far including the current round. 
  • http://www.locondo.jp/

[Sd] Japanese accounting solution provider, A-SaaS, raises $6.6 million

Accounting SaaS Japan, or A-SaaS for short, is a Tokyo-based startup providing solutions to Japanese accounting firms. The startup announced that today it has raised 625 million yen (approximately $6.6 million) from SalesForce.com, GREE Ventures, and Mobile Internet Capital. ...
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Sd 6/13/2013 [en]

  • The combination of investors is quite interesting. A-SaaS is a typical company that Salesforce.com invests. But, for Gree Ventures, it is a bit different from other portfolio which are mainly B2C or B2B2C even though it does not necessarily target synergy with its parent company, Gree. That is also true for Mobile Internet Capital which generally invests in startups in the mobile related area. 
  • http://www.a-saas.com/

Jun 17, 2013

Metaps Releases spike, Free Online Credit Payment Service / Cnet Japan

Metaps launched closed beta version of spike, free online payment service on June 17th. It is provided for invited users only at this moment. Since it is in the process of applying international patent, the service  is planned to be open to the public after the summer.

Usually, it needs a commission fee and a transaction fee to use a credit card payment solution online. For instance, PayPal charges 3.6% of commission and 40 yen of transaction fee for local transactions. spike allows users to use for totally free without any initial or fixed monthly cost as well as these commission fees and transaction fees. The company says it will not disclose how to monetize the service until it receives international patent. ...

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Cnet Japan 6/17/2013 [jp]

  • Online payment is a huge business and is expected to grow even more. The service is really disruptive. Metaps provides reward ads for mobile apps, so it is expected that the business model of spike could be related to advertising. Anyway it is very interesting to see the monetization model and also how quickly the service grows.
  • http://www.metaps.com/

Jun 7, 2013

Cookpad Has 950,000 Premium Users / Venture Now

Cookpad announced financial result ending April 2013. The current earnings increased by 41.6% from last year to have 2.71 billion yen. Premium users increase steadily to surpass 950,000. The revenue from premium users is 3.01 billion yen, while advertising revenue increased 24.7% to reach 1.98 billion yen.

The number of monthly active users is 32.67 million. Particularly users from smartphone browsers are rapidly increasing to reach 16.4 million.

Venture Now 6/7/2013 [jp]

  • The recipe sharing service is growing steadily. Needless to say, its main target users are housewives who use Smartphone much more than PC and Smartphone allows them to see the recipe at the kitchen. So, Smartphone definitely contributes to the growth and it is expected the growth will continue along with the penetration of tablet which is even more suitable to use when cooking.
  • http://cookpad.com/

Jun 6, 2013

[TechCrunch] Watch Out Amazon, Japan’s Rakuten Buys E-Commerce Fulfillment Company Webgistix To Expand Further In The US

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is acquiring Webgistix, a U.S.-based logistics and services company specializing in fulfillment technology for e-commerce retailers. The acquisition is Rakuten’s second logistics investment outside of Japan. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed at this time. ...
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Tech Crunch 6/5/2013 [en]

  • Rakuten acquired ADS, a French logistics company in last November. It has acquired several e-commerce services around the world, but it seems now focused on developing support functions to the commerce services.

[Tech In Asia] Property Marketplace UrbanIndo Raises Series A Round From GREE Ventures and IMJ Fenox

Indonesian online real estate marketplace UrbanIndo has concluded a series A financing round led by Japan-based GREE Ventures. IMJ Fenox, a new fund focusing on Southeast Asia markets has also participated. The sum of the financing round wasn’t disclosed. Prior to this financing round, UrbanIndo has also previously raised a round from East Ventures and other undisclosed angel investors. ...
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Tech In Asia 6/5/2013 [en]

  • IMJ Fenox was launched back in April. It may be the first deal from the fund. Japanese venture capitals mainly from Internet companies have been getting into South East Asia one after another including early entrants like CyberAgent and Gree and recent newcomers like Rakuten and GMO. These successful Japanese Internet companies will surely contribute to develop venture ecosystem in the region.

Jun 3, 2013

Skype English Lesson, Rarejob Raises 330M Yen From KDDI, YJ Capital, CyberAgent And Others / Cnet Japan

Online English lesson, Rarejob fundraised 330 million yen by allocation of new shares to KDDI Open Innovation Fund, YJ Capital, Cyber Agent, Cyber Agent Ventures, Global Brain, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

Rarejob provides English lesson from Philippine teachers using Skype. It has about 40 employees in Japan and 100 in the Philippines. A total number users is 170,000. ...

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Cnet Japan 6/3/2013 [jp]

  • There are many competitors which provide online English lessons using Skype in Japan such as Langrich, Cafe Talk, and more. There are even comparison portal sites for these services. Among them, Rarejob claims to be the largest services in terms of a number of lessons and teachers. With the fundraising, Rarejob will try to widen the gap. It will be tougher for its competitors.
  • http://www.rarejob.com/

Shinsei Bank Invests 10B Yen In Startups / Nikkei

Shinsei Bank plans to invest 10 billion yen within the next three years in startups through a subsidiary, Shinsei Corporate Investment which was established in last Novemeber. For the first deal, it invests 75 million yen in Smarteducation developing education apps for kids. The company was founded in 2011 and the annual revenue ending May 2013 is predicted to be 150 million yen. ...

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Nikkei 6/3/2013 [jp]