Apr 28, 2014

Creators Match Raises 192M Yen From Nissay Capital / MarkeZine

Creators Match provides crowd sourcing service focused on production of advertisement and also runs ADFlow, a business process management platform to support a workflow of the crowd sourcing service. With the finance, it hires staffs as well as spends for marketing to increase the brand awareness.

MarkeZine 4/21/2014 [jp]

  • Different from general crowd sourcing services, the company manages schedue and quality using ADFlow to increase satisfaction of both customers and creators. It might not be so scalable as general crowd sourcing services, but it may be able to have more profitable premium works.
  • http://c-m.co.jp/

Dentsu Digital Holdings Invests In Welby, Medical Cloud Service / Mynavi

Dentsu Digital Holdings announced investment in Welby through Dentsu Digital Fund. Welby provides cloud service to allow users to record blood glucose level and others necessary for self management of chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. ...

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Mynavi 4/22/2014 [jp]

  • It is interesting that an advertising agency's corporate venture fund invests in a medical related startup. 
  • http://www.welby.jp/

[Tech In Asia] Music startup Beatrobo gets $1.1 million funding to reinvent the mixtape

Japanese convenience store chain Lawson will announce its US$1.1 million series A investment in Tokyo-based startup Beatrobo later today, Tech in Asia has learned. 
Beatrobo is a global, social music service that uses customizable robot avatars as a conduit for sharing songs and discovering new artists. The company’s first attempt at hardware, PlugAir, may become the digital mixtape of the future. The tiny device plugs into a mobile device’s earphone jack and acts as a key for instantly downloading music. ..
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Tech In Asia 4/20/2014 [en]

  • It is rare that Lawson invests in startups. The convenience store chain may find great potential to collaborate with Beatrobo for distributing PlugAir.
  • https://www.beatrobo.com/

Cloud-based Reservation Management, Coubic Raises From DCM And Others For Seed Round / ITpro

Cloud reservation management service provider, Coubic announced fundraising 50 million yen as a seed round from Silicon Valley's venture capital, DCM and Gree Ventures.

Coubic allows users to launch and manage online reservation page. It was officially launched on April 10th. It mainly targets small business which do not need knowledge to build a web page to use the service. Web pages optimized for smartphones and tablets are also automatically made. ...

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ITpro 4/16/2014 [jp]

  • As O2O services are increasing, needs for the online reservation service is expected to grow. Usability and speed to acquire customers would be a key for the service, because similar service could appear from web developers and web site builder software companies.
  • https://coubic.com/

[The Bridge] Japanese startup Tokyo Otaku Mode raises $2.7M

Tokyo Otaku Mode, the startup behind the Japanese subculture site of the same name, announced today that it has raised series A funding worth 270 million yen. The round was led by Itochu Technogy Ventures, with Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Sun Eight Investment, GaiaX Global Marketing Ventures (GX), and 500 Startups also participating. Otaku Mode did not disclose the breakdown of the funding. 
Since first launching in the form of a Facebook fan page back in 2011, the startup has acquired over 14.7 million likes. They registered a company in Delaware in December of 2012, and subsequently joined Silicon valley accelerator 500 Startups. ...
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The Bridge 4/16/2014 [en]

  • Tokyo Otaku Mode looks steadily growing in terms of number of Facebook likes. Its ecommerce site sells various of Otaku-related items like figures and posters.
  • http://otakumode.com/ 

[The Bridge] Boasting over 200K Facebook likes, cosplay photo sharing platform secures funding

Ample, the Tokyo-based startup behind cosplay photo sharing platform of the same name, announced today that it has raised an undisclosed sum of funding from Japan’s online learning company Hitomedia and entrepreneur/investor Takafumi Horie. 
Since its launch back in October of 2012, the platform has acquired more than 40,000 photos and over 210,000 likes on Facebook, and has users from about 60 countries worldwide. ...
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The Bridge 4/14/2014 [en]

  • Photo sharing services are getting segmentalized and Ample is one of the services targeting very niche market. Still the numbers are not so big, but it is interesting to see if the service could grow like Tokyo Otaku Mode.
  • http://ample-cosplay.com/

Apr 11, 2014

[The Bridge] Japan’s Iemo secures funding from B Dash Ventures

Some of our readers may remember a few months back when we told you about the launch of Tokyo-based Iemo, a new curation media focused on interior decoration and housing. The company announced today it has secured an undisclosed sum of funding from B Dash Ventures. Iemo will use these funds to step up its engineering efforts. Coinciding with this news, Japanese search engine expert Yuji Kumagai has joined their management team as COO. 
The company was initially launched by well-known Japanese entrepreneur Mari Murata. In order to ensure quality content on their platform, they have established partnerships with interior manufacturers and architectural offices to collect high quality images, with the goal of helping users post curated articles more easily. ...
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The Bridge 4/9/2014 [en]

  • Iemo also starts business account allowing professionals such as makers, interior coordinators, and retailers to have their own portfolio in the site. Already over 30 accounts are added. The service can definitely takes a certain part of interior magazine market.
  • http://iemo.jp/

Docomo Ventures Invests In Eltes, Web Risk Management Service Provider / Mynavi

NTT Docomo Ventures announced investment in Eltes which provides services to prevent and countermeasure abuses on the web.

Eltes cloud is a service to detect negative information for a company on web sites. In addition, it provides countermeasures after crisis happens. ...

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Mynavi 4/7/2014 [jp]

  • Eltes is founded in April 2004. There have been similar services in many years, but along with penetration of social media and smart devices, needs for this kind of services may be increasing recently. 
  • https://eltes.co.jp/

[The Bridge] Japan’s EventRegist raises $1.6 million from Nikkei

Tokyo-based EventRegist provides a mobile app for event organizers. It lets you announce events, handle ticketing, and collect admission fees from guests. The startup announced today that it has raised 165 million yen (about $1.6 million) from Japanese newspaper company Nikkei. 
Since its launch back in November of 2011, EventRegist has been available to five markets, offering service in Japanese, English, Indonesian, Thai, and traditional Chinese. They will use these new funds to intensify product development and marketing efforts. ...
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The Bridge 4/1/2014 [en]

  • It is very rare for Nikkei to invest in a startup, but it is actually a good match for Nikkei because Nikkei group organizes lots of events. Also, EventRegist focuses more on large scaled events held by enterprises than C2C small events which several other startups target. The investment may bring benefit for both sides.
  • http://eventregist.com/

Recruit Establishes 5B Yen Venture Fund / Nikkei

Recruit Holdings established a new organization to invest in startups doing R&D of IT. It sets up 5 billion yen of fund to invest in 30 companies in and out of Japan within 2014. In addition to temporally staffing and print media, the company sets IT related business as growth area.

The new organization is called Recruit Technology Institute. Recruit upgrades existing IT related business development division to be directly under the president. It will be in charge of investment and application development. Two staffs will be located in the US office. ...

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Nikkei 4/1/2014 [jp]

  • Recruit is one of the large corporations with active corporate venture activities from the past. Since other traditional companies including mass media are activating CVC, Recruit may try to accelerate even more.

Apr 2, 2014

[The Bridge] Providing booking services for weekend leisure activities, Japanese startup secures $2M

Tokyo-based Catarizm, the startup behind online leisure booking site Asoview, announced today that it has raised about 200 million yen (or approximately $1.95 million) from Globis Capital Partners and Jafco. The startup will use the funds to enhance its booking management system and add call center representatives. 
Since its official launch back in April, the company has been providing booking services for weekend leisure activities like skydiving, rafting, and many others. The company secured a partnership with Yahoo Japan’s travel portal back in October, and we were told at that time that they had listed 1,500 excursion activities on site from over 460 companies. That figure has since grown to about 2,150 activities available from 775 companies. They also launched a finder app for sightseeing spot called Holipple back in December. ...
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The Bridge 3/31/2014[en]

  • A leisure booking service does not seem very new concept, but actually no dominant player as in travel or hotel booking exist. The number of activities is still not so huge, but there would be great potential.
  • http://www.asoview.com/ 

Specialist Consultation By 1 Hour, VisasQ Raises 70M Yen From 2 VCs And Others / Venture Now

walkntalk, a startup running a social service, visasQ allowing users to receive advice from experts by the hour, raised 70 million yen in total from Venture United, CyberAgent Ventures, and individual investors. It plans to have 10 thousands advisers within 2014 and 100,000 three years later. ...

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Venture Now 3/26/2014 [jp]

  • visasQ calls itself as a crowdsourcing for business knowledge. It is not an online Q&A, but allows users to talk with experts face-to-face or on a conference call. It may take time to increase awareness and generate trust in business users, but if it covers various knowledge related to any business, the market would be quite large.
  • https://service.visasq.com/

[The Bridge] Japanese mobile flea market app Mercari raises $14 million, will expand to US market

Tokyo-based Mercari, the startup behind the mobile flea market app of the same name, announced today it has raised 1.45 billion yen (approximately $14.1 million) from Global Brain, Globis Capital Partners, Itochu Technology Ventures, GMO Venture Partners, and other unnamed investors. 
Since the service’s launch back in July, the Mercari app has surpassed one million listed items, growing at a pace of 10,000 items every day (as of last December). Their daily submissions recently grew to tens of thousand of items, and total transactions on the platform also reached several million of US dollars. The app has seen 1.5 million downloads to date. ...
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The Bridge 3/31/2014 [en]

  • Penetration of smartphones is definitely enlarging the C2C commerce market. There are many players in this field from startups like Fril, Listor, or Smaoku to large Internet companies like Yahoo, LINE, and CyberAgent. But it seems Mercari is the top runner in the mobile C2C commerce. It may be able to keep on growing by focusing on only Japan market, but Mercari prepares entering into US market. It is interesting to see how they will compete in even more competitive market.
  • http://mercari.jp/ 

[The Bridge] Japanese growth hacking startup Kaizen Platform raises $5 million

Tokyo-based Kaizen Platform, the startup behind the user interface A/B testing platform PlanBCD, announced today that it has secured $5 million from Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Gree Ventures. With the funds, the company expects to add more engineers to help with platform development. 
Co-founder and CEO Kenji Sudo will be focused on launching the company’s international business, preparing to launch offices in San Francisco and New York. ...
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The Bridge 3/31/2014 [en]

  • Kaizen Platform raised $800,000 last summer from Gree Ventures and others when the startup launched PlanBCD. It seems the startup is growing rapidly to succeed raising $5.8m in total within just 7 months or so from the service launch.
  • https://planb.cd/

Apr 1, 2014

[The Bridge] Japanese travel log platform raises funds Incubate Fund, Recruit

Wunderlust, the startup behind the travel log platform Compathy, has allocated shares to Incubate Fund and Recruit. The amount of shares was not disclosed, but it expected that Compathy has raised tens of millions of yen (or hundreds of thousands of dollars). 
Compathy lets users upload their travel photos to a page (or pages) telling their travel story. They can easily create the online album pages by sorting uploaded photos based location and date information, arranging them in chronological order. The service was released at the end of last year, and within in three months about 1200 users have posted travel records, and 8,000 comments have been posted on the site. ...
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The Bridge 3/21/2014 [en]

  • There are several travel log services already, but Wunderlust may differentiate by focusing on social and mobile as in other categories such as restaurant search. Actually many people post photos on Facebook when they travel. But different from restaurant or recipe, travel is not a day-to-day activity, so a key would be how to let users keep on using the service.
  • http://www.wanderlust.co.jp/

Allied Architects Has Capital And Business Alliance With Growth Hack Tool, AppSocially / Markezine

AppSocially provides a platform service to optimize invitation and word-of-mouth features among users for smartphone apps. AppSocially is a growth hack tool to support total marketing activities by visualizing a social graph of app users with its highly accurate measuring and analyzing technology. It enables to automatically measure and analyze invitation and word-of-mouth effect of users such as who bring their friend to the app in what ways. ...

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Markezine 3/24/2014 [jp]

  • Allied Architect provides one-stop solution to support social medial marketing from planning to operation. AppScoially would be one of the important solutions for them because more and more companies are developing own mobile apps.
  • https://appsocial.ly/   

Bento Delivery Portal, Japan Food Delivery Raises 40M Yen From Mizuho Capital / Venture Now

With the capital and business alliance with Mizuho Capital, Japan Food Delivery aims to increase brand awareness in large corporations utilizing customer network of Mizuho Financial Group as well as to invest in system development and human resource.

Japan Food Delivery was founded on August 26 of 2010 running Kurumeshi Bento, bento delivery portal, and Kurumeshi Catering, catering portal. In 2012, it had a capital alliance of 28.5 million yen with Yume no Machi Sozo Iinkai, online food delivery service "Demaekan" operator. ...

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Venture Now 3/24/2014 [en]

  • Online catering and food delivery looks competitive market with several major players including Gurunavi and Rakuten and also growing startups like Gochikuru with different approach. In the competition, Japan Food Delivery focuses on business market.
  • http://www.jfd.co.jp/

[The Bridge] Japanese startup Translimit raises $100,000 to launch social quiz app

Tokyo-based startup Translimit announced today that it has raised 10 million yen (about $100,000) from Genuine Startups and Skyland Ventures. The funds will go towards launching a mobile quiz app with social competition features. The app will be called BrainWars, with an iOS version coming in mid-April, and an Android version to follow in June. 
BrainWars pits players against one another, playing three sets of mental exercise games (15 seconds each) to see which player performs better. Since these games require no verbal response, and users around the world can play and compete against each other regardless of language. The match is arranged to let you to play in real time, but if you can’t find anyone available to compete with, you can compete with someone you know according to their past results. ...
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The Bridge 3/17/2014 [en]

  • BrainWars's concept will be very similar to US's popular app, QuizUp. Since Colopl's Quiz based RPG has made great success with 22 million downloads mostly from Japan, BrainWars should have potential to become a smash hit. 
  • http://translimit.co.jp/

[The Bridge] Home design marketplace Suvaco raises $1.2 million

Tokyo-based Suvaco, a home design marketplace startup, announced yesterday that it has raised $120 million yen (or about $1.18 million) from Fuji Startup Ventures and Mobile Internet Capital. 
Since their launch back in July, Suvaco has been providing a market place focused on home designs, where you can easily find interior or exterior designers by browsing their portfolio photos. Through a partnership with 200 home construction companies, to date the marketplace has acquired more than 8,000 examples of home renovation. ...
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The Bridge 3/15/2014 [en]

  • It is an interesting combination of investors. Fuji is a giant media group which has invested mainly in media and contents including mobile gaming companies. While, Mobile Internet Capital rather focuses on mobile technology oriented startups. 
  • http://suvaco.jp/

[The Bridge] News curation startup Gunosy fundraises $12 million from KDDI

Japanese telco KDDI announced today that it has invested in Gunosy, the creator of a popular news curation app of the same name. Details of the investment were not disclosed but it’s likely worth somewhere from $12 million to $14 million according to certain sources. Coinciding with this funding, the startup is set to begin broadcast of a TV commercial in Japan tomorrow. 
Gunosy previously raised 31.6 million yen (about $300,000) back in February of 2013, and an undisclosed amount back in July of 2013. We have also confirmed they secured a seed round funding from several investors including B Dash Ventures. ...
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The Bridge 3/14/2014 [en]

  • News curation apps are one of the hottest area recently. It looks like a messaging apps in a few years ago. There still new comers entering into this field, but Gunosy is considered to be one of the most promising apps with the large amount of finance.
  • http://gunosy.com/