Jul 11, 2014

[Tech In Asia] Hybrid cloud storage firm Cloudian receives $24 million funding fueled by Japanese investors

Cloudian, a California-based company with a major presence in Japan, announced a US$24 million financing round today. The firm received funds from existing investors like Intel Capital as well as newcomers Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and Fidelity Growth Partners Japan. The funding is earmarked for powering Cloudian’s global sales and marketing. Japan sales are already very healthy – seven of the 16 top clients listed on the company’s website are Japanese corporations. 
Cloudian calls its service “hybrid” because it facilitates the creation of private corporate clouds via third-party providers. The company often touts its compliance with Amazon Web Services’ Simple Storage System (Amazon S3). That compatibility means a private corporation can use Amazon S3 for general storage while preserving sensitive data on its own systems. ...
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Tech In Asia 7/8/2014 [en]

  • NTT group and ISP operator, Nifty are major customers of Cloudian. The market which Cloudian is targeting are very large from service providers including telecom to enterprises. It may be also true that there are many competitors. It is interesting to see how and when the startup choose its exit.
  • http://www.cloudian.com/

[The Bridge] Japan’s lunch delivery service Gochikuru.com raises $27M from office supply retailer Askul

Tokyo-based Star Festival, a startup behind bento box delivery and catering service Gochikuru.com, announced today that it has fundraised 2.8 billion yen (about $27.4 million) from and partnered with Japan’s largest office supply mail-order company Askul. 
Both companies serve corporate users, and will explore a synergy in this partnership by sharing their user bases and business resources. ...
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The Bridge 7/5/2014 [en]

  • There must be huge synergy between both companies from sales on web site to delivery. This kind of investment or acquisition by large corporation would be very important to improve startup ecosystem in Japan. This is a very good sign.
  • http://gochikuru.com/

[The Bridge] Japanese gaming company Gumi raises $50M, partners with Sega Networks for US market

Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported earlier today that Tokyo-based gaming company Gumi has fundraised 5 billion yen (approximately $49 million) from Silicon Valley-based investment firm WiL (World Innovation Lab) and other investors. The report says the funding will be completed on July 4th, and Sega Networks, which participated in this round, partnered with Gumi to market service the service in the US. ...
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The Bridge 7/4/2014 [en]

  • Gumi's mobile games are getting popular not only in Japan but also in many overseas markets. It is very rare or probably the first case for Internet related startup in Japan to raise about 50 million dollars before IPO. Gumi is said to go IPO within this year. There have been many successful exits of mobile game developers but Gumi will be the largest scale ever.
  • http://gu3.co.jp/

[Tech In Asia] Report: Japanese stealth investor ANRI announces new fund for young entrepreneurs, targets $20M

Anri Sama, a significant investor in the Japanese startup ecosystem, announced the opening of a new US$20 million fund today. The new fund will also focus on tech companies led by young entrepreneurs. It was reported that Anri will focus on seed and series A rounds. Companies can expect to receive between US$50,000 and US$1 million. ...
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Tech In Asia 7/3/2014 [en]

  • Larger sized funds are increasing recently in Japan and most of them may be mainly looking at series A or later rounds. But seed round investors have not so increased. There will be great opportunities for Anri's fund since he has already invested in several promising startups including Crowdworks and Raksul at seed stage.
  • http://anri.vc/

[Tech Crunch] Japanese E-Commerce Giant Rakuten Launches $100M Global Investment Fund

June is barely over, but Rakuten has already had a busy year. In addition to purchasing messaging app Viber for $900 million, the Japanese consumer Internet conglomerate also made investments in several companies based in Southeast Asia or Japan, including Carousell, Visenze, Coda Payments, and Send Anywhere, from its $10 million fund dedicated to the region. 
Now Rakuten is eyeing companies in the rest of the world with the launch of its new $100 million global investment fund, which will focus on startups in Israel, the U.S., and the Asia Pacific region. ...
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TechCrunch 6/30/2014 [en]

  • Rakuten has acquired many companies in the last several years. The new fund may enable it to find the targets broader and deeper. 

[The Bridge] Japan’s book abstract app Flier fundraises to enhance their web platform

Tokyo-based Flier, a startup that provides book abstract apps under the same name, announced yesterday that it has fundraised an undisclosed sum from East Ventures, Nishikawa Associates, and Nomad. 
Since its official launch back in October 2013, the company has acquired over 20,000 users, more than double the 9,000 users as of March 2014. According to the company’s CEO Yasushi Ohga (former CTO), Flier will use the funds to hire engineers and strengthen their in-house engineering capacity. ...
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The Bridge 7/3/2014 [en]

  • Flier provides freemium plan to consumers. Free users can read 20 abstracts which replaces 1 or 2 books every month. Premium users can read more other books. Making abstract of business books seems quite labor intensive and not anyone can do the task. It is interesting to see how the startup scale up with the capital raised.
  • http://biz.flierinc.com/

Jul 7, 2014

Sophia Holdings Enters Gene Analysis Business By Acquiring GeneQuest / Venture Now

A system developer, Sophia Holdings announced acquisition of 100% ownership of gene analysis service, Genequest. The company starts to provide gene analysis kit through PC and smartphone for consumers.

Genequest was launched back in June of 2013 mainly be researchers of University of Tokyo. It provides gene analysis service by analyzing gene in saliva for individuals to judge around 200 items including disease risks like cancer, cerebral accident, or diabetes and constitutions. ...

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Venture Now 7/2/2014 [jp]

  • Gene analysis service is getting popular recently. Internet giant like DeNA and Yahoo Japan also announced starting the service. Actually Yahoo partners with Genequest. It has been said that health care would be the next big area for Internet startups, but we have not seen the trend clearly yet. The acquisition may accelerate the trend?
  • https://genequest.jp/

[The Bridge] Japan’s e-commerce analytics startup Plaid raises $1.5M from Femto Growth Capital

Tokyo-based Plaid, a startup developing a real-time analytics platform for e-commerce sites, announced that it has raised 150 million yen (approximately $1.5 million) from Japanese investment funds Femto Growth Capital and Femto Startup. 
Corresponding with this announcement, Femto group’s general partner, Tetsuya Isozaki, joined the company’s management board. Plaid will use the funds to strengthen its engineering forces to accelerate system development. 
The company’s analytics platform is called Karte. By inserting a single line code into every page of an e-commerce site, users can gain insight into the demographics of typical e-commerce site customers by providing metrics, such as their conversion rates, number of visits, or category of products customers usually check out. ...
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The Bridge 7/2/2014 [en]

  • The service is still in closed beta. It seems like that any EC sites can easily integrate Amazon-like recommendation engine in their sites. Since the data of customers are to be accumulated in the platform, customers could not stop using the service.
  • http://plaid.co.jp/

[The Bridge] Japanese business reporting tool Gamba fundraises $400,000

Yokohama-based Gamba, the startup that provides business reporting tool under the same name, announced today it has raised 40 million yen (about $400,000) from two Japanese investment firms; East Ventures and Skyland Ventures. This follows their previous funding of $200,000 from Skyland Ventures back in October 2013. 
Gamba was launched back in December 2012 by Masahiro Morita, who previously worked for Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten as a business development producer. Gamba recently partnered with Japanese internet company Nifty, where Gamba’s cloud-based reporting tool was added to the series of Nifty’s business software packages called Hakokura, which is sold at more than 17,000 computer stores nationwide in Japan with the aim to give internet-unfamiliar SME owners more opportunities to learn and try a variety of cloud-based services. Gamba is in talks with other companies to create more sales channels to users they have not yet reached. ...
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The Bridge 7/1/2014 [en]

  • B2B applications generally need more time to grow than hit B2C apps. In addition, they sometimes have to deal with requests for features from large customers. But, it is also true that users keep using longer after adopted than consumer applications. There are several competitors in the field from startups to large software companies. It is interesting to see how Gamba will balance enhancing the product features and expanding customer base.
  • http://www.getgamba.com/top.html 

retro Fundraises 30M Yen From Incubate Fund And Others / Cnet Japan

retro, a used brand goods consignment service, announced 30 million yen of finance from Incubate Fund and others

retro.jp is a consignment site matching sellers and buyers of brand items. It connects users who want to sell goods with higher price and less effort if it takes some time and users who want to buy goods at ease with guarantee of genuine thing and returnable.  ...

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Cnet Japan 7/1/2014 [jp]

  • C2C commerce is becoming hot recently as smartphones penetrate in people who are not willing to sell items on PC. retro.jp focuses on relatively premium brands such as Chanel, Lui Vuitton, or Hermes. For these high price goods, consignment would be important factor for users. 
  • https://retro.jp/

Panda Graphics Raises 140M Yen From East Ventures And Opt / Venture Now

Panda Graphics announced fundraising of 140 million yen from East Ventures and Opt to strengthen management as well as to launch US office to accelerate global expansion.

Panda Graphics was founded in February of 2013. It utilizes parntered creators around the world to provide crowdsourcing platform for 2D/3D computer graphics contents targeting for mobile games and promotion videos.

Venture Now 7/1/2014 [jp]

  • We see finance news by crowdsourcing services almost every month. Panda Graphics targets vertical for graphics design in which MUGENUP may be a competitor. As mobile gaming continues growing, these two startups may be able to keep on the rapid growth for a while.
  • http://panda-graphics.net/