Jun 30, 2014

[The Bridge] Japan’s Moi fundraises $5 million for mobile live streaming app TwitCasting

Moi Corporation, the company behind Japanese mobile live streaming app TwitCasting, announced that it has fundraised $5 million from Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group leading and Japanese seed investor East Ventures also participating. 
Our readers may recall that the company raised $634,000 from East Ventures back in May 2013. ...
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The Bridge 6/27/2014 [en]

  • The most interesting thing about the service is that it has a large number of users in Brazil even though the company did not do any particular promotion in the country. TwitCasting may be one of few online services which have potential to go global market from Japan.
  • http://us.twitcasting.tv/

[The Bridge] Japan’s restaurant reservation platform company Toreta fundraises $2 million

Tokyo-based Toreta, the startup that provides the reservation management system for restaurants, announced today it has raised 200 million yen (about $2 million) from Silicon Valley-based investment company WiL (World Innovation Lab). 
Since its launch in December, the company has acquired more than 1,000 restaurants as users. The service’s monthly charge is 9,000 yen (about $90) a restaurant, so its easy to figure out how much money they are making every month.
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The Bridge 6/27/2014 [en]

  • As mentioned in the article, it would become interesting if the system integrates with restaurant search services like Tabelog. On the other hand, these services may be able to provide their own reservation system to thousands of restaurants which are already their customers. Solutions for restaurant industry are increasing along with smartphone (mainly for customer side) and tablet (mainly for restaurant side) penetration. It is very interesting to see who will win the fierce competition.
  • http://toreta.in/

[Tech In Asia] DeNA and Incubate Fund lead $500,000 investment into neighborhood crowdsourcing site

JPY 51 million (US$500,000) poured into social problem solving service Any+Times today. The startup announced the round of funding, noting that gaming giant DeNA (TSE:2432) and venture capital firm Incubate Fund led the financing. According to Entrepedia, This funding is the first for Any+Times. 
Any+Times allows users to crowdsource solutions to everyday problems from their neighbors. If you need someone to keep your goldfish alive while you sip bubbly in Rome or simply cannot figure out how to assemble the latest Snarfujor from Ikea, then you send out a request, name your price, and wait for one of your more enterprising neighbors to swing by to deliver a good deed. The service is currently accessible only via the web, but this new funding could finally bring the startup to smartphones. ...
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Tech In Asia 6/25/2014 [en]

  • Crowd sourcing for business has became as large as establishing an association. Any+Times more focuses on household tasks such as cleaning or assembling of furniture. The service prepares request form by the categories in order to make as easy as possible for users to ask the tasks, which is different from other general crowd sourcing services.
  • https://anytimes.co.jp/

[The Bridge] Japan’s Airbnb for parking spaces ‘Akippa’ fundraises from DeNA and angel investors

Osaka-based Galaxy Agency, the startup that operates online peer-to-peer parking lot sharing platform Akippa and several online job sites, announced today it has fundraised from DeNA (TSE:2432) and several angel investors including Shokei Suda, co-founder of Japanese internet service company Enigmo (TSE:3665). Details of the investment have not yet been disclosed but it’s likely be several hundred thousand US dollars. This follows their previous funding of 65 million yen (about $650,000) from Japanese investment firm Jafco back in September 2012. 
Akippa helps customers find an available parking space online. When you book a time slot for it using your desktop or smartphone, you will be allowed to park your car there by paying up to 500 yen ($5) a day. It also allows parking lot owners to easily manage their venues via the platform as well. ...
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The Bridge 6/23/2014 [en]

  • Online sharing services are expected to become huge business like Airbnb or Uber, but there are no such success story in Japan so far. One of the reasons that these services have difficulties may be due to regulation. Since there seems no such regulations for car parking, the service may be accepted easier.
  • https://www.akippa.com/

Jun 23, 2014

[The Bridge] News curation startup Gunosy secures $12M funding from three Japanese companies

Bloomberg reported earlier today that Tokyo-based Gunosy, the company behind the curation news app under the same name, has secured funds worth 1.2 billion yen ($12 million) from Japanese telco KDDI (TSE:9433), investment firm Jafco, and B Dash Ventures. This follows their previous funds worth $12 million from KDDI back in March. 
Regarding the money raised back in March, the company used over 80% of it to broadcast a TV commercial to increase penetration of their news app among Japanese consumers. They recently launched the app in the US and UK markets over the last few months, and it is told that they plan to use the funds raised at this time to intensify their global promotion efforts. ...
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The Bridge 6/23/2013 [en]

  • Gunosy expects to reach 4 million downloads by the end of June thanks to advertisement including TV commercial. But still 4 million is far from a number to secure leading position in news curation apps. It is interesting to see how Gunosy uses the additional capital to increase the user base in addition to TV commercial .
  • http://gunosy.com/ 

Jun 20, 2014

[PRWeb] Metaps Establishes UK Subsidiary as Regional Headquarters for European Operations

Metaps Inc. (HQ: Tokyo, CEO: Katsuaki Sato, hereafter "Metaps") announced the establishment of a UK subsidiary as the regional headquarters for their European operations. 
Metaps is headquartered in Tokyo and now has offices throughout Asia and in San Francisco, in addition to London. Their app monetization platform ‘metaps’ has expanded globally and offers a “gateway to Asia” for developers looking to succeed in Asia. 
London was selected for their first European office due to the large presence of app developers in Western Europe. By establishing a regional hub, the intent is to strengthen their relationship with local developers and expand the breadth of services offered to European clients looking to expand into Asia. ...
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PRWeb 6/16/2014 [en]

  • Metaps provides several solutions to support Android app developers to monetize such as reward ads, CPC ads, and traffic exchange among apps. Since Asia is the largest market for mobile apps, many of European developers probably think that they can increase sales there. The subsidiary would bring great value to them.
  • http://www.metaps.com/

Jun 19, 2014

[the Bridge] Japan’s crowdsourced housekeeping platform Casy fundraises from Beenos

Tokyo-based Casy, the startup offering crowdsourced housekeeping services under the same name, was officially launched today and also announced that it has raised an undisclosed sum of investment from Japanese startup incubator Beenos. 
Both husband and wife in more than 60% of all households in the country. This situation has led to an expansion of the Japanese housekeeping market, which surpassed $960 million in FY2012 and shows nearly a 20% annual growth. 
Despite the fact that more people think they have to keep a good balance between work and family, only high-income households are using housekeeping services since they can still be as expensive as $40 to $50 per hour. ...
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The Bridge 6/16/2014 [en]

  • Crowdsorucing or matching services using Internet are growing in various areas. Housekeeping service sounds quite old and traditional, but It is surprising that the market has 20% growth. It may be a good viewpoint to streamline old but growing industry with Internet technology.
  • https://casy.co.jp/

[The Bridge] CyberAgent Ventures forms $50 million fund to invest in more startups

Japan’s startup-focused investment firm CyberAgent Ventures announced today that it has formed a new fund worth 5 billion yen (about $50 million) called CA Startup Internet Fund No.2. This is because of closing their previous fund CA Startup Internet Fund No.1. 
Comparing to the previous one worth about $24 million, the new fund is almost double in size and is planned for investment of an amount ranging from $100,000 to $1 million in every single startup they choose. ...
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The Bridge 6/16/2014 [en]

  • 5 billion yen seems a standard size for early stage focused venture capital fund recently. Recruit and GREE also established the similar sized fund in May and April respectively. It is good to have more money for startups, but increasing number of startups or entrepreneurs takes more time than money. The gap makes venture capitals tougher to find good deals in the future.
  • http://www.cyberagentventures.com/en/

[The Bridge] Japan’s mobile app developer Ignis files for IPO

Tokyo-based mobile app developer Ignis announced yesterday that it has been approved for an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Market. The company will be listed on July 15th. 
Since its launch back in May of 2010, the company has surpassed over 50 million downloads by attracting users with more than 75 apps for iOS and Android. Their best selling apps include ‘AKB48 virtual phone’ ( iOS / Android ) which delivers new voice messages from the members of Japanese pop singer group AKB48 every month and allows you to enjoy listening to their messages in a way like talking over the phone with someone.
The Bridge 6/11/2014 [en]

  • The annual revenue ending September 2013 was about $9 million with $3 million operating profit. It looks relatively small IPO, but it may be a right timing to go listed this year.
  • http://1923.co.jp/

[The Bridge] Japan’s social media recruitment consultancy fundraises from Global Brain

Tokyo-based Social Recruiting, the startup that provides consultation about recruitment using social media services, announced today that it has fundraised from Japanese investment firm Global Brain. Details of the investment were not disclosed but it’s likely worth around several million US dollars. 
The company was launched back in 2011 and subsequently secured a seed funding from Tokyo-based seed startup incubator Samurai Incubate. They have been serving about 400 companies and helping their recruitment activities. In terms of the size of their user base, the company has acquired more than 200,000 annual users which accounts for about one-third of all new graduates looking for jobs in Japan. ...
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The Bridge 6/11/2014 [en]

  • It seems bit strange that Global Brain invests in consulting company for recruiting, but actually the startup seems to plan developing its own recruiting media with the capital raised. Its experience in supporting corporations of actual recruiting must be great asset to launch the service.
  • http://social-recruiting.asia/

[The Bridge] Japan’s handmade item marketplace Creema fundraises $1 million from KDDI

Tokyo-based Creema, the startup behind the C2C marketplace for handmade items, announced today that it has raised 100 million yen (about $1 million) from KDDI Open Innovation Fund. The company plans to use the funds for system development efforts to give users better experience. 
In this space, we’ve seen many startups like Etsy (US), Creatty (Japan), and Pinkoi (Taiwan). But Creema is one of the oldest companies among them. Since its launch back in June of 2010, the company has acquired 18,000 creators and they have submitted over 500,000 items on the platform. ...
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The Bridge 6/6/2014 [en]

  • It is free to place items on the marketplace and it takes 12% of the revenue when sold. The commission rate becomes less to 8% depending on the total sales. KDDI aims to let users to pay by KDDI's billing service on the platform.
  • http://www.creema.jp/

[The Bridge] Japan’s deli food delivery company Okan raises from CyberAgent Ventures and Oisix

Our readers may recall we told you that Tokyo-based startup Okan has launched delivery service for Japanese deli foods for corporate customers. The company announced today that it has raised an undisclosed sum from Japanese investment firm CyberAgent Ventures and food delivery company Oisix (TSE:3182). 
With the service Office Okan, corporate customers will receive Japanese deli once a month, since the deli lasts about a month. These can be refrigerated, and users can buy it by dropping coins to the collection box on the fridge and prepare it in about minutes. The service was launched in close beta back in November and subsequently officially launched back in March. ...
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The Bridge 6/5/2014 [en]

  • Oisix is one of the largest cooking ingredients delivery services in Japan, which went IPO last year. There must be synergy with the startup in terms of foods and delivery. It may be options to even acquire it.
  • http://okan.jp/

[The Bridge] Japan’s Metaps acquires app ranking and analytics site App Data Bank

Tokyo-based Metaps, the company behind the app monetization platform of the same name, announced yesterday that it has acquired app ranking and analytics site App Data Bank. 
Since its launch back in 2011, App Data Bank has been publishing reports about app ranking and market analytics for mobile app developers. Through the acquisition, Metaps expects to create synergy with their primary business that helps developers monetize their apps in over 200 countries worldwide.
The Bridge 6/3/2014 [en]

  • Applications with Metaps SDK integrated have been downloaded over 1 billion times. The company has offices in several countries in Asia and the US. In app ranking and market analytics services, App Annie may be the largest service provider. It is interesting to see how Metaps will compete with the giant by taking advantage of its existing services.
  • http://www.metaps.com/

Jun 6, 2014

[The Bridge] Japan’s English learning platform provider Rarejob files for IPO

Tokyo-based English learning platform Rarejob has been approved for an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers market today. 
Since its launch back in October of 2007, the company has hired native speakers (mainly students from high profile universities in the Philippines) as English conversation teachers who instruct Japanese students over Skype. As of last August, the company had provided over 10 million lessons to over 200,000 Japanese users. ...
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The Bridge 5/23/2014 [en]

  • There are many English lesson services using Skype, but Rarejob may be one of the first one in this field. It is interesting to see if the IPO makes Rarejob the runaway leader, or there are opportunities for the rest competitors to catch up and even overtake.
  • http://www.rarejob.com/

[The Bridge] Japanese internet company Voyage Group files for IPO

Tokyo-based Voyage Group, the internet company best known for the e-commerce and shopping portal EC Navi, has announced that it has been approved for an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers market today. The company will be listed on July 2nd. 
Formerly known as Axiv.com, the company was initially launched back in 1999 as the online marketing arm of Japanese internet giant CyberAgent. But CEO Shinsuke Usami bought the majority of their shares from CyberAgent and made the company an independent business entity. ...
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The Bridge  5/29/2014 [en]

  • Voyage Group runs some other businesses such as online research, mobile apps, ad technologies, and venture capital. So, it is somewhat like a small CyberAgent. 
  • http://voyagegroup.com/

Kaonavi Raises 100M Yen From Daiwa PI Partners And NVCC / Venture Now

Cloud-based human resource management service, Kaonavi announced about 100 million yen of fundraising from Daiwa PI Partners and an existing investor, Nippon Venture Capital. ...

Kaonavi is a human resource management system to allow placing the right people in the right jobs and also to train people. It uses face photos as an icon, which enables to recognize, evaluate, select, and place human resource intuitively. ...

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Venture Now 5/30/2014 [en]

  • Its customers include many Internet companies including startups from CyberAgent, Voyage Group, NHN to gumi and Sansan. There may be not a few cloud based HR management services, but the customer base is one of the great advantages of the startup because these Internet companies are increasing human resources rapidly.
  • http://www.kaonavi.jp/