Dec 26, 2011

[Penn Olson] Smartphone Monetization Platform, Metaps, Announces $4.2 Million in Funding

Having only just formed this past summer, Japan-based Metaps Inc. is a reward advertisement network that allows smartphone developers to create ads that reward users based on actions like installs or registrations. And today it is announcing that the company has raised $4.2 million from a number of venture capital firms. 
A Metaps representative tells me that the company has over 1000 advertisers publishing ads, and over 100 participating developers. The network enables advertising in 25 countries, and has ambitions to become the largest reward advertising network in the Asia region by the end of next year. ...
Penn Olson 12/22/2011 [en]

  • Investors are Intec IT Capital, Neostella Capital, ngi group, Nippon Venture Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital.

IMJ Establishes Venture Capital Arm / Markezine

IMJ establishes a 100% subsidiary, IMJ Investment Partners with 300 million yen in capital, to invest and support product development and management for startups in digital marketing related area in Japan and abroad. The new company will start the business in next January.

Markezine 12/22/2011 [jp]

  • IMJ provides digital marketing services such as web and mobile site development, sales promotion, and consulting. The company was founded in 1996 and went public in 2001.

Dec 21, 2011

SBI Investment and Klab Ventures Jointly Set Up VC / Cnet Japan

SBI Investment and Klab Ventures announced that they jointly establish Startup Laboratory, a venture capital firm.

SBI Investment and Klab Ventures hold 50% respectively of Startup Laboratory. It invests and supports startups in early stage. ...

Cnet Japan 12/21/2011 [jp]

  • Klab Ventures is a VC arm of Klab, social game developer which went public this September. It is not clear how Klab Ventures and Startup Laboratory divide investment deals.

Grow! Inc. Completes $485,000 Convertible Notes Financing For Seed Round / Grow! press release

Grow! Inc. (a Delaware company, CEO/Co-Founder TAKAYUKI Hitotsugi), a developing and managing company of ‘Grow! -Social Tipping Platform-, completed a $485,000 financing to support its overseas expansion and development on Dec.15, 2011. Grow! Inc. will release official version of Grow! -Social Tipping Platform- on Jan.10, 2012
Investors include ngi group, CYBRiDGE Ventures, SunBridge, MOVIDA Japan and others.

  • Grow! lets users to buy points to tip $1 to creators of web contents. Publishers can place Growbutton on their web site like Facebook like! or Tweet button.

Dec 16, 2011

Brainsync Raises 60M Yen From Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital / Venture Now

It is the second fundraising this year from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital for Brainsync following 100M yen in this January.

The company will use the capital for enhancement of syncl, a web service to connect creators and fans, which was launched in February, 2007. ...

Venture Now 12/16/2011 [jp]

  • Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital is actively investing in startups this month including NEXTBOOK and

CyberAgent Ventures Opens Japan's Largest Incubation Office / Cnet Japan

CyberAgent Ventures (CA Ventures) opens Startup Base Camp, an incubation office focused on Internet related startups at February 22, 2012.

Startups in which CA Ventures invests or partners will move in. CA Ventures also moves to the office. It simulates around 100 companies to be located in the future and supports them to find partners or hiring.

Startup Base Camp has 1200 square meters at 2 or 3 minutes from Aoyama Ichome station. The VC says it is the largest scale in Japan. ...

Cnet Japan 12/16/2011 [jp]

  • Along with increasing incubators or accelerators, incubation office and co-working spaces are increasing such as Samurai Startup Island, NOMAD NEW'S BASE, Lightningspot, and B Dash Lab.

Oh My Glasses Raises Seed Round Aiming Zappos For Glasses / TechCrunch Japan

Mr Taddy launched closed beta of Oh My Glasses, EC sites for glasses. Also it revealed that it raised capital from B Dash Ventures, ImproVista and individual investors. The amount is not disclosed, but it is considered to be several dozen million yen. ...

TechCrunch Japan 12/15/2011 [jp]

  • Vertical EC is appearing recently in Japan as well following success of Zappos. The recent fundraising case of such EC is by The Jade Group operating, a shoes online store, which raised 700 million yen in this November.

Event Ticket Platfrom, PeaTix Moves To Silicon Valley Raising Fund From 500 Startups And Others / TechCrunch Japan

PeaTix is one of startups which provide a service to manage ticket sales and participants entry. The startup revealed that it moves its development base to Silicon Valley. In addition, it will soon close a fundraising of around US$700,000 from 500 Startups, DFJ JAIC, Zenshin Capital and some others.

PeaTix is one of business units of Orinoco which was founded by an ex-Amazon team.   It establishes PeaTix as a holding company in US and Orinoco Peatix as a subsidiary in Tokyo. PeaTix in Silicon Valley is mainly in charge of service development, while Orinoco Peatix handles sales and marketing for Japan. ...

TechCrunch Japan 12/15/2011 [jp]

  • Other major event platforms in Japan include Everevo, in which Samurai Incubate invests, Wazoo, in which Recruit Incubation Partners invests, Zusaar, and ATND operated by Recruit.

Dec 15, 2011

Eyeland Operator, Oceans Raises 100M Yen /

Local graph iPhone application, Eyeland operator, Oceans conducted allocation of new shares to JAFCO and GMO Ventures. The amount is around 100 million yen. The company plans to uses the capital for development of Eyeland and hiring.

Oceans raised capital from NetAge on October 2011 as well. It was founded at September 16, 2010. Eyeland is a communication platform using local graph which connects users loosely based on location information. The service was launched at July 6, 2011. It does not require real name registration. Currently it is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. 12/14/2011 [jp]


Dec 14, 2011

[Penn Olson] Baidu Japan Acquires Simeiji Mobile App Team, For Added Japanese Typing Fun

The Japanese subsidiary of Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant, has acquired the small startup team behind the Simeiji input method editor (IME) app for Android. The free app has been downloaded over a million times already from the Android Market. ...
Penn Olson 12/13/2011 [en]

Dec 13, 2011

Social Translation, Conyac Operator, Anydoor Raised Capital From ngi And Others / Cnet Japan

Anydoor announced that it allocates new shares to ngi Venture Community Fund and Skylight Consulting. The amount is about 32 million yen. ...

Anydoor was founded after winning the top prize at Kigyo Challenge 2009 organized by Skylight Consulting. ...

Conyac allows users to request translation to translators around the world. As of the end of November, the number of users is over 10 thousands. ...

Cnet Japan 12/13/2011 [jp]

  • Tokyo-based similar crowd sourcing translation service, myGengo raised $5M in this September. Along with recent fundraising of Crowdworks, which provides crowd-sourcing of  engineering, crowd-sourcing is expected to be more popular.

NEXTBOOK Raised 121M Yen For Series A Round / Venture Now

An ebook publisher, NEXTBOOK, announced that it conducted allocation of new shares to three VCs and seven individiual investors to raise 121 million yen for its series A round.

VCs include Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and SMBC Venture Capital.

NEXTBOOK was founded in 2010 July. Its main business is ebook publishing. It focuses on creating unique social publishing platform which crowdsources writers, editors and desiners. It targets developing countries for the main market. ...

Venture Now 12/12/2011 [jp]

  •  eBook has not been popular yet in Japan except Manga, but some ebook related  startups succeeded to raise capital from VC. Another example is a social reading service provider, SpinningWorks which raised 41M yen in this October.

Dec 12, 2011

Social Scheduling, Droppy Fundraised From Samurai / Venture Now

Aetel announced that it raised 4.5 million yen from Samurai Incubate Fund III by allocation of new shares.

Aetel was founded by Yohei Isobe, student of Wased University, in this June. It has an office in Waseda University Incubation Center where Livesense, a recently listed startup, used to be based.

Other eight members are university students. All of them are involved with development of social scheduiling service, Droppy to be launched at the beginning of 2012. ...

Droppy allows users to follow (drop) calender on Droppy to fill their own schedule. There are various types of calenders such as event schedule of IT companies, CD sales date of artists, and program of sports games. With both human resoruce and crowling, it gathers and registers calenders. ...

Venture Now 12/9/2011 [jp]

  • Students startups are recently increasing more rapidly than ever, including Wondershake (ONL and Teclosion winner), Labit (IVS 2011 Fall winner), and Facematch (SF Japan Night winner)

Dec 9, 2011

[TechCrunch] TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing Winner OrderWithMe Raises $3 Million From Infinity Venture Partners, SOSventures

The winner of the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing 2011, group buying platform OrderWithMe, today announced it has raised a US$3 million A round. The fresh money comes from Japan- and China-based Infinity Venture Partners as the lead investor and existing (seed) investor SOSventures, barely a month after the China-based startup walked away with the Disrupt Beijing Cup and a US$50,000 check. 
The service wants to solve a difficult problem for US merchants that are interested in purchasing goods – in bulk and at discounted prices – in China. The (mainly) American team handpicks daily inventory deals from Chinese companies – if a sufficient number of merchants indicates interest in the deal, it happens (if not, the offer is canceled – just like with Groupon). OrderWithMe handles payment, shipping, etc. in China for its customers.

  • Infinity Venture Partners has invested in many startups in China, which might be even more than in Japan. It also invests in Groupon Japan.

KDDI and Colopl Launches au Jimotalk, Location-based Word-of-moth Service / Mynavi

KDDI and Colopl announced to start to provide jointly au Jimotalk for au feature phones and au's Android smartphone.

au Jimotalk is one of location-based services on au one Colopl, a location-based service platform jointly operated by KDDI and Colopl.

Based on location of users, it allows to share word-of-mouth about events at the place around or they live. Users can search by location where they are or they select. Information of shops and restaurants and rankings are shown as well.

Mynavi 12/8/2011 [jp]

  • Colopl operates Colony na Seikatsu Plus, a location-based game for feature phone and smartphone, which has been successful to partner with over a hundred of local venues.

FookyZ Fundraises From Samurai Fund To Develop Social Friend Introduction / Venture Now

FookyZ announced that it conducted allocation of new shares of around 4.5 million yen to Samurai Incubate Fund III.

FookyZ was founded in 2010 July. ... It has mainly provided consulting service, but it plans to shift to development and operation of its own product. The first product is Tomomatome, social friend introduction service planned to launch at the end of next February. ...

It consists of self introduction to share what you like or want to recommend and introduction by your friends, which allows you to connect with others. ...

Venture Now 12/8/2011 [jp]


Dec 6, 2011

Aiming To Improve Way Of Working, Crowdworks Raises Capital From CyberAgent /Cnet Japan

Crowdworks announced to conduct allocation of new shares to CyberAgent Ventures and individual investors. It does not disclose the amount.  With the capital, in addition to strengthen business base, it will hire engineers for closed beta version of CrowdWorks, a crowd sourcing service for creators planned to release on February 2012.

Crowdworks was founded at November 11th. CrowdWorks allows engineers and creators to accept orders of development of smartphone applications or web sites from customers on the web. It also aims to allow creators to make proposal to customers. ...

Cnet Japan 12/6/2011 [jp]

  • There are some translation services such as MyGengo and Anydoor for crowd sourcing startups. It may be the first crowd sourcing startup for engineers in Japan.

Dec 5, 2011

[Penn Olson] Japan’s Mobile Giant I-Freek Opens First International Office in Singapore

I-Freek is a listed company that business revolves around the mobile Internet sector in Japan, including everything from content to games, consulting to marketing. 
Eyeing opportunities outside of Japan, I-Freek took its first step outward and planted its flag in sunny Singapore. The official launch of the office was held last Friday.
Penn Olson 12/5/2011 [en]

  • There are several other Japanese Internet companies than Gree and DeNA which set up an office in Singapore such as Vega, EC operator which set up Nubee, game developer, e-factor, reward ads for mobile which set up a subsidiary, Metaps, and Mediba, mobile ad agency.

Social Game Developer, gumi Raises 2B Yen /TechCrunch Japan

There are some large scale of fundraising of game developer recently. It is one of the largest one. Investors include Jafco, DBJ Capital, Shinsei Bank, Nissei Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and Tecmo Koei Holdings. The valuation at post money is 12 billion yen. ...

gumi seems doing very well recently. It released FIFA World Class Soccer jointly with EA last month, which becomes popular on Gree. According to CEO, Kunimitsu, a monthly revenue on November was 600 million yen, which will be double in December.


gumi aims IPO next year. It has raised 700 million yen before from several investors including ngi group, NTT Investment Partners, and Gree.

TechCrunch Japan 12/5/2011 [jp]

  • Recent large amount of fundraising of game developers include Vega (1B yen), One Of Them (300M yen), UEI (500M yen), and Aiming (1.2B yen).

Nokisaki Raises 50.1M Yen From Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital /Venture Now

Rental space search and booking service, operator, Nokisaki announced to raise 50.1 million yen from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital's operating fund.

With the fundraising, the company will strengthen sales force to increase rental spaces. ... was launched in 2008 April, which allows users to search and book rental spaces for a week, a day, or a certain time slot. Main users are food vans and sellers which does not have brick and mortar stores.

Venture Now 12/2/2011 [jp]

  • Samurai Incubate invested in Nokisaki in 2010 January.

Dec 1, 2011

CyberAgent Ventures Invests In Social Recruiting Service, garbs /Nikkei Press Release

garbs was founded at January 12, 2011 to provide social recruiting service. Its main service, Social Job Posting is an Facebook application allowing anyone to post recruiting info on Facebook Page easily, which has been used for over 1300 Facebook pages in 19 countries. ...

Nikkei Press Release 11/30/2011 [jp]


Nov 29, 2011

Klab Sets Up Klab Ventures To Invest In Internet Startups /Venture Now

Klab revealed that it will establish 100% subsidiary to enter into venture incubation business. It will set up a venture fund. ...

Venture Now 11/28/2011 [jp]

  • Klab went IPO in this September. The company develops mobile social games.

mlab Raises 100M Yen From IVP Fund II /Venture Now

An avatar communication service for smartphone, "baboo" operator, mlab revealed that it raised 100 million from IVP Fund II, which Infinity Ventures LLP manages.

This is the second fundraising from IVP Fund following 100 million yen in this April.

mlab was founded by spin-out of smartphone application division of Blau which focuses operating official sites for feature phones.

mlab launched baboo in this September, which is a chat application for smartphone with "kawaii" or cute characters. ...

Venture Now 11/28/2011 [jp]

  • Different from the recent incubators copying Y-Combinator, Infinity Ventures invests relatively large amount in selected seed/early stage startups. It invested 300 million yen in mobile social game developer, One Of Them in this October. 

Nov 25, 2011

Celsys And HI Agreed On Merger /Venture Now

Celsys and HI will set up a joint holding company to integrate management in April 2012. Both will be delisting on March 28th and the holding company will be listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Celsys operates creator support business and ebook publishing support business. It has 2.7 billion yen of revenue and 450 million yen of operating profit ending October 2011. HI develops and sells license of middleware for 3D drawing and also develops 3D contents for smartphone.  It has 2.2 billion yen of revenue and 110 million yen of operating profit ending March 2011. ...

Venture Now 11/25/2011

  • Both company seemed to have advantages in technologies and services for feature phone in particular. The merger may be aiming to adapt for smartphone era.

Nov 22, 2011

[WSJ] NTT DOCOMO Subsidiary net mobile Partners with DeNA Subsidiary ngmoco to Expand Social Mobile Games Network Mobage

Social mobile games leader DeNA and Western subsidiary ngmoco have extended a significant business alliance with NTT DOCOMO through its division net mobile AG. 
net mobile will help place Mobage, DeNA Group's worldwide social mobile games network, with mobile carriers and serve as a sales conduit in key markets across Europe and Asia. In addition, net mobile will help conduct business development services on behalf of ngmoco, to support content acquisition for Mobage. 

The Wall Street Journal Market Watch 11/17/2011 [en]


  • NTT Docomo acquired net mobile in 2009.

[Penn Olson] DeNA Taps Vietnamese Game Studio VNG to Make Mobile Social Games for Mobage

The Japanese company DeNA (TYO:2432) has announced this afternoon that it is tapping a Vietnamese games studio called VNG to bring new social games onto Mobage, DeNA’s global social gaming platform.VNG is one of Vietnam’s largest web companies, with 1,500 employees at present. 
With this tie-up, DeNA will provide support for VNG in its production of new games that will be distributed on the Mobage platform. The aim is to create at least three new social games for smartphones on Mobage in 2012. It has not been revealed how much an investment and/or renumeration this entails. 

Penn Olson 11/22/2011 [en]

  • Just a few games from foreign developers are successful in mobile social game market in Japan. Even Zynga has not been doing well. It is interesting how VNG will be by getting support from DeNA.

Nov 16, 2011

Student Startup, Labit's Time Schedule App Surpasses 12,000 Users /Venture Now

A social application allowing students to share time schedule of classes on Facebook to visualize who attends the same class and white spaces of other students is popular in universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The app is called Sugoi Jikanwari (awesome time table). Users use it from smartphone (iPhone or Android) or Facebook. It was officially launched at October 20th. As of November 11th, it surpasses 12,000 users and 50,000 classes registered.

Student startup, Labit developed it. Soon after founded by four founders on 2011 April, it raised capital from NetAge and in August, it raised 25 million yen from six angel investors. ...

Venture Now 11/15/2011 [jp]

  • Hiroyuki Tsuruda, a CEO of Labit, launched a web site, just two hours after the earthquake in Tohoku, which delivers messages of support from all around the world.

[TechCrunch] Enterprise SEO Platform Ginzametrics Raises US$1.3 Million From 500 Startups, Venture51, And A Group Of Star Investors

Y-Combinator graduate and 500 Startups company Ginzamarkets announced it has raised US$1.3 million in seed funding for Ginzametrics, its SEO management and analytics platform for enterprises. The fresh money comes from 500 Startups, Venture51, and a group of angel investors, namely Jeff Miller, Ullas Naik, Shogo Kawada (Co-Founder of Japanese social gaming giant DeNA), Ryota Matsuzaki (former Head of Strategic Planning at Rakuten, Japan’s biggest e-commerce company), Jay Weintraub, Aman Thapar and Stephen Culp. 
This capital injection follows the US$400,000 Ginzamarkets raised from 500 Startups and a group of individual investors late last year. According to Ginzamarkets CEO Ray Grieselhuber, the new money will be used to expand the team, improve on the product, and bolster business development and marketing (the company says the growth so far has been entirely organic). ...

TechCrunch 11/15/2011 [en]

  • The founder of Ginzamarkets founded a startup before in Japan, and then moved to Silicon Valley to start Ginzamarkets. 

Intel Capital Invests $40M In 10 Asian Companies /Cnet Japan

Intel Capital announced investments of $40 million in 10 Asian companies including 2 Japanese companies, 6 in China, India, and Korea, and 2 in Taiwan planned in the near future.

One of Japanese company is G Cluster Global which provides interactive cloud service using its patent technology, G Cluster. The company plans to use the money for R&D and expansion for new markets.

Another is security software vendor, OneBe which provides remote data erasure solution for smartphone. The company said that with the capital, it develops products for Intel AT and security solution for cloud computing. ...

Cnet Japan 11/15/2011 [jp]

  • Intel Capital seems to have rarely invested in Japan for a few years, but it would become more active.

Nov 15, 2011 To Invest Japanese Startups /Nikkei

Cloud service vendor, enhances investment in Japanese IT startups. It invests two companies by mid November to increase the total portfolio to five. It aims to extend customer base including small and medium companies by co-developing cloud services with them to increase service offerings.

The cloud company invests in event management software developer, Shanon on mid November. The amount is considered to be several dozen million yen.

On the end of October, it invested in Digital Coast, enterprise software developer. The amount is around 90 million yen, which is joint investment with three others. ...

Nikkei 11/15/2011

  • Both develop enterprise application software. targets those application developers to let them provide their applications on Salesforce's platform.

Art Review Site, Atokore Raises 4.5M Yen From Samurai Fund /Venture Now

Atokore, an operator of user-generated art review site, "Minna no Bijutsukan Atkore", revealed that it conducted an allocation of new shares of 4.5 million yen to Samurai Incubate Fund III.

Atokore was seed venture founded in this September. The founder, Mr. Narita started working for intellectual property database company, PatentBureau, while in Keio University and still is enrolled at the university. ...

Minna no Bijutsukan Atokore was released as alpha at November 10th. The service is a social service allowing users to share features, value, or amusingness  of art such as paintings or buildings. ...

Venture Now 11/14/2011 [jp]

  • It is an art version of Bukupe, book review sharing service, in which Samurai Incubate invests as well.

Nov 11, 2011

[Penn Olson] The “Office Race” Continues… GREE Looks To Set Up Shop in Dubai

Whenever DeNA has a new office or overseas partnership, GREE seems to have one too (and vice versa). It’s like an “Office race” where both companies are racing to see who has more offices outside of Japan. 
The new office in Dubai will start its operation in January 2012 and will focus on building relationships with game developers and providing support in the Middle East region. ...
Penn Olson 11/11/2011 [en]

  • Gree has announced to set up local office in US, China, Korea, Singapore, UK, The Netherlands, and Brazil.

Nov 9, 2011

[DeNA Press Release] DeNA Seoul and Daum Sign MOU on Bringing Mobage to South Korea

TOKYO, JAPAN – November 8, 2011 — DeNA Co., Ltd. (DeNA), today announced that its Seoul-based wholly owned subsidiary, DeNA Seoul Co., Ltd, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Daum Communications Corp. on bringing DeNA’s Mobage social gaming platform to South Korea through Daum’s popular Web portal and mobile apps. This Mobage Korea service will be focused primarily on smartphone users in South Korea and is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2012. 
By leveraging Daum’s existing 38 million registered users, social graphs and AD@m, South Korea’s largest mobile advertisement network with over 10 billion monthly page views, DeNA Seoul will be able to bring Mobage Korea to millions of new consumers. The two companies will also collaborate to promote Mobage Korea on Daum’s websites and apps. ...

DeNA Press Release 11/8/2011 [en]

  • DeNA is said to slow down for revenue growth in its local market, Japan and also global expansion compared to the rival, Gree. Actually, in terms of market cap, Gree surpassed DeNA in September and the gap has been increasing. It is interesting to see how DeNA tries to fight against the rival.

[PCWorld] Japan's Rakuten to Acquire E-book Retailer Kobo

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten said on Tuesday that it plans to acquire Canadian e-book and e-reader company Kobo in a bid to expand in the area of media downloads for consumers. 
Rakuten in Tokyo said it has entered into a definitive agreement by which it intends to acquire 100 percent of the total issued and outstanding shares of Kobo for US$315 million in cash. 
Spun out of Indigo, a book, gift, and specialty toy retailer in December, 2009, Kobo offers e-readers, e-reader apps and an e-book catalog. An acquisition by Rakuten will give Kobo access to Rakuten e-commerce businesses in a number of countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. ...

 PCWorld 11/9/2011 [en]

  • Rakuten has been aggressively acquired EC sites around the world, but it is the first acquisition of e-reader company. Rakuten seems to go head-to-head with Amazon.

Nov 8, 2011

[Penn Olson] File-sending Service Kicksend Gets Funding from Japan-based Digital Garage

Japan-based investment and incubation firm Digital Garage announced today that it has invested in file-sharing service Kicksend, a start-up based in Mountain View, California. Kicksend was incubated in Y Combinator this past summer, and launched in beta in August. ...
Penn Olson 11/7/2011 [en]

  • Digital Garage announced a week ago that it invested in US-based startup, Memolane a week ago. Digital Garage has helped localization of foreign startups including Twitter and Linkedin recently. Also it is one of parent companies of an incubator, Opent Network Lab.  

[FT] Games developer Nexon lines up IPO in Japan

Nexon, a South Korean online games developer, aims to raise up to Y100bn ($1.3bn) in an initial public offering in Tokyo, which would be the largest Japanese IPO this year, according to a person close to the plans.
The group, which has operations in Japan and China and is expanding into Indonesia, India and the Middle East, is likely to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in mid-December with a market value of about Y600bn. ... 
Financial Times 11/7/2011 [en]

  • It is very rare for Korean startup going IPO on Japanese stock market. The market value is the same level as Gree.

Nov 7, 2011

Photo Decoration And Sharing, Snapeee Raises 100M Yen From Itochu Technology Ventures And Gree /Venture Now

The amount of capital is considered to be around 100 million yen, but it has not been disclosed.

Snapeee is operated by Mind Pallete, which allows users to disseminate "Kawaii" to the world through decorated photos to share emotion and feeling casually. It is currently available on iOS4.1 and later. It also plans to release Android app from au one Market in November.

After just two months of launch on May, it surpassed 500,000 downloads. It has been popular centered around Asian regions such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore reaching to 800,000 downloads. Foreign users share over 80%. ...

Venture Now 11/7/2011 [jp]


Nov 3, 2011

Gree Acquires Mars/FEYNMAN, Smartphone App Developer /Venture Now

Gree will acquire 70% of shares of Mars within this month, and plans to buy the rest until the mid next year.

Mars started multimedia business such as CD-ROM authoring in 1995. In 2008, it launched a subsidiary, FEYNMAN developing smartphone applications.

FEYNMAN provides dodaii, a platform enabling access log analysis and in-app billing for smartphone applications. It also develops and runs smartphone application, Yurufuwa Ikusei Game MEGU, which has had over 800,000 downloads. ...

Venture Now 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • M&A of mobile application developers by social networking service, Gree, mixi, and DeNA, are increasing recently. Mobile apps startups have more opportunity of exit than ever.

Nov 2, 2011

Livesense Goes IPO On Mothers At Dec. 7 /Venture Now

Livesense's current share holders are mostly directors and employees and no venture capital is included. The company was founded in 2006 February when the founder, Murakami was a student at Waseda University. Since its foundation, he said he would aim to become the youngest CEO to go IPO, which he realizes at 25 years old.

Livesense operates Job Sense, success fee based part-time job recruiting service, Job Sense Link, job recruiting service, and Job Sense Haken, temporally staff recruiting service. With the know-how from operation of the services, it enhances its business to intermediary services of real estate and used cars based on success fee model. ...

Venture Now 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • It is not common for student-launched Internet startup to go IPO without any VC money. It is interesting to see how the company will grow with the capital.

Conit Becomes 100% Subsidiary Of Mixi /

Conit develops applications for smartphone. From 2010 May, it has provided SamuraiPuerchase, which enables to integrate paid-contents billing function into a smartphone application, to support monetizing smartphone apps. ... 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • It is the second acquisition of mobile application developer by mixi recently following Naked Technology in September. Both develop applications targeting for application developers. mixi seems to enhance offerings to application developers as a platform operator.

Gree Sets Up Venture Fund Of 2B Yen Aiming At Asia /Cnet Japan

Gree announced to establish Gree Venture, corporate venture capital. Although Gree has invested in funds such as A-Fund, a venture fund focusing on Android, it is the first own fund with a form of corporate venture capital. The first fund has around 2 billion yen, 100 % invested by Gree. It targets IT startups in early stage. ...

The head of the CVC, Tsutsumi said that the fund does not necessarily focus on synergy with Gree. It aims to gain return on investment in potential startups as a financial investor. ...

Cnet Japan 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • As a corporate venture capital of Internet company, CyberAgent Ventures is the most active player. Tsutsumi of Gree Ventures was actually in charge of launching the predecessor of CAV.

Nov 1, 2011

Online Shoes Store, Raises 700M Yen /ITmedia

The Jade Group operating, EC site of shoes, announced that it concluded allocation of new shares of 700 million yen to venture capitals. It will use the capital to enhance lineup of items and marketing.

The site was launched in this February. It has grown with a return policy that customers can return goods within 99 days of arrival without shipping and handling. Monthly visitors surpassed 1 million in September.

Investors at the round include Lead Capital Management, Itochu Technology Ventures, and others. The total amount of capital became 2.2 billion yen. ...

ITmedia 10/31/2011 [jp]

  • The Jade Group was founded in 2010 October funded by German-based venture capital, Rocket Internet. 

Oct 27, 2011

Mobakids Raises 4.5M Yen From Samurai Fund To Develop Social Service /Venture Now

Mobakids was founded on 2007 April. At first, it run e-learning ASP service for mobile phones targeting prep school students. Now the company focuses on e-book publishing services. With the fundraising, it develops Synapse, social contents platform planned to be released in the middle of December.

Synapse is an e-commerce platform to sell various contents such as text, music, and video. At the launch, it plans to put around 30 contents.

Synapse judges and edits contents from individuals and businesses to provide contents developers with producing environment which does not require complicated tasks. It would be also possible to provide users with high-quality contents steadily. ...

Venture Now 10/27/2011 [jp]

  • The current main business, e-book publishing service is called MANGAROO which allows amateur manga writers to post and share their manga and to connect with their fans and other manga writers. 

CyberAgent Ventures Invests In Social Sports Watching Service, Spothon /Mycom Journal

Spothon is selected as the one of seven teams to be supported by CyberAgent Ventures at a business plan contest, Startups2011 -spring- hosted by the VC.

The company develops Spothon which allows users to share comments or emotion when watching sports. It plans to release smartphone application on early November.

Mycom Journal 10/26/2011 [jp]

  • Spothon is the second CAV's investment in a team from Startups 2011 spring following in Qrunch announced last week.

Oct 26, 2011

Ex-CEO of Invests 40M Yen In Plusr, Medical Service Startup /Venture Now

Plusr was established on 2009 March providing social applications and mobile services focused on medical and healthcare. It monetizes with virtual goods sales and tie-up advertisement. ...

Venture Now 10/25/2011 [jp]

  • Plusr operates several services and applications related to specific medical issues such as information sites regarding stop smoking, dentist information, and diabetes and applications like recording blood pressure or pulse.

Oct 21, 2011

[Penn Olson] A-Fund Invests in 7 Companies in Japan, China, Korea, and U.S

A-Fund is an Android-focused fund managed by DCM that was established in April this year. The $100 million fund is backed by GREE, KDDI, and Tencent. After six months, the fund has finally announced its first batch of portfolio companies. ...

Penn Olson 10/21/2011  [en]

  • portfolio includes not only Android apps developers, but also marketplace of apps, payment solution, and cloud storage.

RocketStaff Raises 5M Yen From Samurai Fund To Develop Location-based App /Venture Now

RocketStaff, a developer of location-based messaging service, PepperMeet, revealed that it conducted an allocation of new shares to Samurai Incubate Fund III.

RocketStaff was founded at November of 2010 to provide consulting service for Korea entry and also operate TwitForYou!, assist matching service for sufferers of the 3.11 disaster.

PepperMeet is a chat tool to connect users around 3km easily. It currently provides as iPhone application. When you register your hobby or needs for assist or help, a pin on map tells other users within the distance. ...

Venture Now 10/20/2011 [jp]

  • Samurai Incubate is definitely the most aggressive seed investor in Japan already having invested in three or more startups from the latest fund established this month.  

Oct 20, 2011

GREE Partners With Snapeee In Photo Sharing App For Smartphone /Cnet Japan

Snapeee operator, Mind Palette announced that it has capital and business partnership with SNS operator, GREE in social networking business. GREE buys 165 shares (8.3%) of Mind Palette from existing share holders.

Mild Palette was selected at Startups2010, a business plan contest held by CyberAgent Ventures. It develops photo decoration and sharing application, Snapeee with seed money and hands-on support from CyberAgent Ventures. After two months from the launch, it has over 500,000 downloads mainly from female users.

With the alliance, both will jointly develop GREE DECO, a photo sharing application for smartphone to provide for 26 million users of GREE.

Cnet Japan 10/20/2011 [jp]

  • Snapeee has been downloaded more in other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore than in Japan.

Oct 19, 2011

CyberAgent Ventures Invests In Qrunch, Social Q&A Service /Nikkei

CyberAgent Ventures selected Qrunch at its business plan contest, Startups2011 -spring-. Qrunch plans to provide social Q&A service allowing users to ask questions casually to their friends for both browser and smartphone application.

Nikkei press release 10/17/2011 [jp]

  • CyberAgent Venture aggressively invests in startups recently including Retty, social gourmet service, Wondershake, local social service, and Zawatt, social wishlist, from their latest fund established in this July.

Oct 17, 2011

[Penn Olson] Japan’s Samurai Incubate To Establish ‘Startup Island’ in Tokyo

Tokyo-based tech start-up incubator Samurai Incubate announced it would launch an incubation space in the Tokyo’s waterfront town of Tennozu on November 1st. The space will be called Samurai Startup Island, which you must admit is a pretty cool name! The space will be one of the country’s largest facilities of its kind, where more than 15 start-ups, VC firms, a certified tax accountant, an administrative scrivener, and a California-registered attorney will reside. ...
Penn Olson 10/17/2011 [en]

  • Incubation spaces are increasing in Tokyo recently. You can see a map showing those facilities in the original article of Penn Olson.

Event Management Tool, Everevo Raises 5M Yen From Samurai Fund III /Venture Now

Everevo operator, Netsket revealed that it raised about five million yen. Netsket was founded in 2006. Since this February, it has focused its resource on development of everevo by discontinuing its former main business, contract-based web development.

Since its launch on this June, everevo has been used mainly by startup related events with about 450 events and 2000 users registered so far. ...

Venture Now 10/14/2011 [jp]

  • Event management service is one of hot areas in Internet service this year. Other players include PeaTix, Wazoo, and Zusaar.

The First Investment from Samurai Fund III Goes To Visionary Fun, Marketplace For Graphic Items Of Apps /Cnet Japan

Samurai Incubate announced to invest in Visionary Fun for its first deal from Samurai Incubate Fund III, a venture fund for startups aiming global expansion. The amount is around five million yen.

Visionary Fun develops AppItem OFF, a web site to sell and buy graphics items for applications. It was founded on September 17th of 2010. ...

Cnet Japan 10/12/2011 [jp]


Oct 11, 2011

Vega Corporation Raises 1B Yen From Jafco /ITpro

With the capital, Vega Corporation strengthens businesses for smartphone including social games which its subsidiary in Singapore, Nubee operates.

Vega runs an online commerce of furniture. It established Nubee, a 100% subsidiary in Singapore on 2011 November to develop and run social games. Nubee has released 8 titles so far. One of the games, Japan Life, which was released on July of 2011, ranked on top one at App Store in China. ...

ITpro 10/11/2011 [jp]

  • It is very rare case that EC company gets into social game business and has been successful so far. Large amount of investment in social game developers seems unending.

Oct 7, 2011

Cybridge Buys Soratobu To Take 70% Share /Venture Now

Soratobu was founded in 2007 July funded by Insprout. It develops social applications mainly for mixi.

On 2009 September, it raised 25 million yen from mixi fund. According to Cybridge, shareholders after the acquisition will be Cybridge (69.1%), mixi and Kronos Fund. ...

Venture Now 10/7/2011 [jp]

  • Cybridge runs various Internet related businesses such as web and back-end system integration for business customers, Internet media, and Internet advertising agency.

Oct 5, 2011

[TechCrunch] Mobile Media Company Affle Raises $10M+ From D2C (A NTT DoCoMo Subsidiary)

Singapore-headquartered mobile media and advertising startup Affle has raised over $10 million from D2 COMMUNICATIONS (D2C), Japan’s largest mobile advertising company and a subsidiary of the country’s largest mobile operator, NTT DoCoMo, in joint venture with DENTSU. 
D2C joins Microsoft, Itochu, Bennett Coleman & Company and Centurion Private Equity as investors in Affle. Affle products include communication apps Pinch and SMS2.0, and mobile couponing service Coufon, among others. ...
TechCrunch  10/4/2011

  • D2C has invested in the startup in 2011 January. With the investment, D2C will be the largest share holder.

[Penn Olson] Japan’s DeNA Acquires Atakama Labs, its First Latin American Subsidiary

We’ve written much this year about how Japanese internet companies — particularly GREE and DeNA — are expanding their businesses overseas. We just received a note from DeNA that continues this trend, as the company has just acquired its first Latin American subsidiary, Atakama Labs. 
This is on the heels of acquiring Punch Entertainment Vietnam last month, in addition to its previously established subsidiaries in Singapore, Sweden, and Korea. 
Atakama Labs is a game developer based in Chile and according to the announcement it will improve DeNA’s development capabilities for its Mobage platform. ...
Penn Olson  10/4/2011


  • Compared to the rival, GREE, DeNA seems to take more aggressive strategy for acquiring game developers overseas.

Oct 4, 2011

Social Reading Service, SpinningWorks Raises 41M Yen From Three Investors /Cnet Japan

SpinningWorks announced that it will raise 41 million yen from Nissei Capital, Sansei Capital, and Project Ocean.

SpinningWorks develops Qlippy, social reading service allowing users to make remarks of ebooks and share. Currently it provides ebook distribution services with Qlippy Platfrom, which lets distributors to let their readers to share comments and correct data. ...

Cnet Japan 10/4/2011 

  • SpinningWorks is one of the first graduating teams from Open Network Lab in 2010. 

Electric Motorcycle, Terra Motors Raises 221M Yen /TechWave

Terra Motors announced that it has completed an allocation of new shares of 210 million yen. Investors include Mizuho Capital and several individual investors such as Nobuyuki Idei, former president of Sony, Koichiro Tsujino, former president of Google Japan and Yuji Akaba of Breakthrough Partners. ...

TechWave 10/4/2011

  • Terra Motors was founded in 2010 April. It also fundraised 170 million yen in this March from Mizuho Capital and other investors.

[Penn Olson] Japan’s Apparel Giant World Acquires Fashion Walker For $14 Million

One more exit in Japan – We learned that Tokyo’s fashion e-commerce giant Fashion Walker has been acquired by Kobe-based apparel manufacturer World Co.,Ltd. for about 1.1 billion yen — approximately US$14.3 million. With this acquisition, World Co. expects to intensify its development efforts in the fashion e-commerce industry. 
Fashion Walker was launched in 2005 as a fashion e-commerce platform jointly by Yahoo Japan and Tokyo-based apparel retailer, Branding (formerly known as Zavel). Branding was founded by Fumitaro Ohama who used to be a script writer for TV program productions. ...
Penn Olson 10/3/2011

One Of Them Raises 300M Yen /Tech Wave

Mobile social game developer, One of Them raises 300M yen from Globis Capital Partners and Infinity Ventures. One of Them is a notable startup managed by Kounosuke Takeishi who headed Ameba Pigg business at CyberAgent.

One of Them was founded in 2011 January to develop contents for feature phones and smart phones. It releases a mobile game for feature phone on June. ...

TechWave 10/3/2011

  • Gaming startups recently succeeded to raise relatively large amount of money from VC, such as Aiming (1.2B yen) and UEI (500M yen).

Oct 1, 2011

Royal Gate Raises 100M Yen From NTT-IP And Mizuho Capital /Venture Now

It is the second investment from Mizuho Capital. Royal Gate jointly with partners to develop and manufacture PAYGATE, credit card reader application available for both Android and iOS and dedicated and high secure Bluetooth credit card reader.

The software and hardware are close to completion and it plans to use the capital for developing a billing device for multi payment options such as electric money, point card, and bank transfer. ...

Venture Now 9/30/2011

  • Royal Gate provides several other EC related services such as Gift Cart, gift-focused online shopping ASP. It is expected that the company will focus on PAYGATE more with the fundraising.

UEI Raises 500M Yen From JAFCO /Cnet Japan

Ubiquitous Entertainment (UEI) announced that it conducted an allocation of new shares to JAFCO. The amount is 500 million yen.

With the fundraising, UEI plans to strengthen developments of social games and smartphone games, and work around to new businesses such as global expansion of multi-platform application development engine focused on HTML5+JavaScript, enchant.js, and native application development platform for Android devices based on enchant.js, enchant PRO.

Cnet Japan 9/30/2011

  • UEI develops middleware for mobile application such as video streaming, CMS, and AR navigation.

Samurai Incubate Creates New Fund And Launches Co-working Space /Cnet Japan

Samurai Incubate creates a fund, Samurai Fund III, targeting entrepreneurs who are aiming global expansion.

The size is 210 million yen invested by Terrada Warehouse Company and Internet companies. It plans to invest 50 startups by August 2012, among which 12 are already determined. ...

Samurai Incubate also launches Samurai Startup Island, the largest co-working space in Japan at the beginning of November in Tennozu Isle. It plans to have entrepreneurs invested from Samurai Fund III move in the office.

Cnet Japan 9/30/2011

  • Samurai Incubate boosts up ecosystem of startups. In 2011, it has invested around ten startups mainly in seed stage and also held many startup related events including Samurai Venture Summit where about 50 startups gave a pitch

Sunbridge Invests In Wondershake And Midokura /Cnet Japan

Sunbridge revealed that it invested in Wondershake and Midokura from its fund, Sunbridge Startups LLP. The amount is not disclosed but both investments are assumed to be several million yen.

Wondershake is a startup developing local communication service, Wondershake. It is preparing the service for US establishing the company in San Francisco.

Midokura develops cloud platform, MidoStack. It has raised capital from angel investors, venture capital, and corporations. ...

Cnet Japan 9/30/2011

  • Wondershake is a graduate from Open Network Lab, an incubation program similar to Y-Combinator. It also fundraised from CyberAgent Ventures on the same date.
  • [update] The total amount of seed round fundraising is $360,000 including other investors such as angel investor, Kazuma Ieieri (founder of paperboy&co) , Shogo Kawada (co-founder of DeNA), and Teruhide Sato (CEO of

Sep 28, 2011

[DailySocial] Krazymarket Closes Series A Funding From Recruit Japan

The niche e-commerce company Krazymarket has closed their series A round led by Japanese company Recruit Global Incubation Partners, an investment arm of Recruit Group. Founder and Director Philippe Do told us that Recruit is perfect partner for Krazymarket because they have extensive knowledge on helping companies with niche content providers in Japan and all over the region. 
Krazymarket plans to use the new funding to strengthen its branding as e-commerce for collectibles and hobby items amongst its Indonesian users through online and offline engagements such as events etc. Next step for Krazymarket is to educate the market as well as introducing the brand in order to increase the transactions on the website. Philippe also said that providing better services for customer is also an important agenda for Krazymarket, and the investment from Recruit could help make that happen. ...

DailySocial 9/28/2011 

  • Indonesia is recently a hot place for Internet businesses of Japan such as Rakuten and CyberAgent. They are mainly investing in e-commerce category which Recruit follows.

Milog Releases Audience Targeting Ad Technology, AppLogSDK /Milog Press Release

Android application information analyzing technology provider, Milog released AppLogSDK, which enables to distribute targeting ads based on application usage information on Android devices, allowing Android application developers in Japan to embed. It plans to open the SDK to foreign developers as well after November 2011.

Milog pays monthly commission proportional to a number of installs of an application which deploys AppLogSDK to the apps developers.

Milog partners with mediba for ad network service aiming global expansion centered around Asia.

Milog Press Release 9/27/2011

  • mediba is a subsidiary of KDDI selling ads on KDDI au's portal sites and also operating ad networks for mobile. In July 2011, It acquired Nobot, Japan's number two smartphone ad network operator.

Sep 27, 2011

[TechCrunch] Human Translation Platform myGengo Raises $5.25 Million From Atomico, 500 Startups

Tokyo-based human translation service myGengo (“Mechanical Turk for translations”) has raised a Series A Round of funding. The US$5.25 million round was led by Atomico, the London-based VC firm headed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, and existing investor 500 Startups. Atomico partner Hiro Tamura will join myGengo’s board of directors. ...
TechCrunch 9/27/2011 

Sep 26, 2011

[Penn Olson] Well-known Japanese Venture Capitalist Finally Launches His Own Fund

Hiroyuki Watanabe, a well-known venture capitalist in the Japanese start-up community, recently launched his own fund for investing in tech start-ups. It’s called B Dash Ventures and is reportedly expected to be worth 2 billion yen by next year. ... 
NTT Investment Partners, the investment arm of the country’s largest telco, announced it would invest in B Dash Ventures, working together to dig out potential tech start-up personnel and services. NEC Biglobe (Japan’s second-largest ISP), GREE (social network and game platform operator), and Septeni (web/mobile advertising and affiliate) also announced they would be partnering with B Dash. ...

Penn Olson, 9/26/2011

  • Start-up focused VCs, or incubators, are increasing rapidly this year such as Net Age or Movida Japan in addition to existing players including Open Network Lab, Incubate Fund, CyberAgent Ventures or Samurai Incubate. In other words, a number of startups should be increasing as well. It would be a problem that there are not enough VCs to invest in the startups incubated by those incubators for next fundraising rounds.

eBook Initiative Japan To Go IPO On Mothers At October 28 /Venture Now

ebook distribution service, eBookJapan operator, eBook Initiative Japan was accepted by Tokyo Stock Exchange for initial public offering on Mothers market.

Major investors are Mobile Internet Capital (15.45%) and Ant Lead Capital (14.54%). eBook Initiative Japan was founded on May 2000 to launch eBook sales site, eBookJapan, which has now over 50 thousands books. In 2010, it partnered with eBookTaiwan distributing ebooks for greater China.

Venture Now 9/26/2011

  • As for an eBook commerce service, Papyless went public in 2010. eBook Initiative is the second eBook distributor to go IPO. Both focus on Manga eBooks for PC and mobile.  

Bukupe, Social Reading Service, Raises 20M Yen From ngi /Cnet Japan

Bukupe announced to conduct allocation of new shares to ngi Venture Community Fund II. With the 20 million yen, it plans to improve and strengthen system of Bukupe, social reading site and Buku POP, creating and sharing tool for POP of books.

Cnet Japan 9/26/2011 

  • Bukupe was founded on February of 2011 with seed round fundraising from Samurai Incubate.

Sep 22, 2011

mixi Acquires Naked Technology /ITmedia

mixi announced to acquire 100% ownership of Naked Technology, mobile application developer.

Naked Technology was founded in 2006 by four engineers who were selected at the MITOH Program (Exploratory IT Resources Project) of IPA (Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan). It develops Colors, a framework to manage applications for mobile on cloud, and some applications.

ITmedia 9/21/2011

[TechCrunch] Japan’s Rakuten Acquires UK E-commerce Site For $39.1 Million

Rakuten, a massive consumer and business-focused Internet service company, this morning announced that it has acquired e-commerce site, one of the UK’s largest online retailers. 
Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Rakuten’s board, the e-business giant is paying approximately £25 million (3.3 billion yen or roughly $39.1 million) in cash for 100 percent of outstanding stock from its current shareholders. ... 
This is Rakuten’s third acquisition in Europe – the company acquired French e-commerce company PriceMinister in 2010 and bought Tradoria, a German online shopping mall, in July 2011. ...
TechCrunch 9/21/2011 

  • Rakuten has acquired or partnered with EC globally including other large markets than Europe such as US, China, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia. 

Trend Creates Raises 55M Yen /Venture Now

Trend Creates, web site developing and system integration company, raised 55 million yen from an individual investor and others for incremental development of its operating Recipe & Deli. ...

Recipe & Deli mainly targets housewives and working women placing around 1500 recipes supervised by Tsuji Gakuen, cooking school, with tables of ingredients. It also allows users to post their original recipes. It has 60 thousands of UU and 700 thousands of PV last month.

It plans to allow users to order ingredients in recipes in the future.

Venture Now 9/21/2011

  • CookPad is a very popular recipe sharing service in Japan with over 1 million recipes posted by users. It is interesting to see if Recipe & Deli will succeed combining recipe information and commerce of ingredients.

Sep 21, 2011

CyberAgent Ventures And MOVIDA Japan Announce "Start Me Up!", Recruiting Startup Member For Japan Entry Of Foreign Startups /Venture Now

CyberAgent Ventures announced to launch a joint initiative, Start Me Up!,  with MOVIDA Japan as a special program of Startups 2011 -autumn-, a project to support engineers' business launch to create innovation changing the world.

Start Me Up! recruits members to launch business in Japan of foreign startups aiming to expand to Asia. It targets persons who aspire to start their business in the future and hope to experience business launch with strong passion.

Venture Now 9/20/2011

  • MOVIDA Japan also have a similar program, Global Startup Initiative that hires students for internship letting them launch a business in Japan of foreign startups. 

2-Month Apps Development Camp Aiming Global Held Final Presentation /ITpro

On September 19, 2011, the final presentation meeting of Breakthrough Camp 2011 Summer, a development camp of services for smartphone or web, was held at Microsoft which is premium sponsor for the program. The program prepares office space, servers, and accommodations.
The camp had 49 applications, 23 teams were selected to participate, and 12 teams went to final round on the day.

The winner is "facematch", which allows you to choose friends or friends’ friends on Facebook of opposite gender who you like, and if the chosen person also choose you, both get notification and have recommendation for dating.

ITpro 9/20/2011

  • There are several development camps for 2 or 3 days, but it is very unique to have 2 months and all participating teams consist of students of universities and a high school. The program must encourage a lot of young potential entrepreneurs to startup own business knowing that even student teams can develop web services or smartphone applications just for two months.

Sep 16, 2011

[TechCrunch] Softbank Pumps $200 Million Into Mobile Ad Network Company InMobi

InMobi, which bills itself as the world’s largest independent mobile ad network, has raised a whopping $200 million in funding from Softbank. 
The investment will come in two tranches: half this month, the other half in April 2012. Softbank joins existing backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures as investors in the company, which recently acquired HTML5 ad builder Sprout. ...
TechCrunch 9/15/2011

  • SoftBank invests large amount of money into successful foreign Internet services such as Gilt Group, SynaCast, Alibaba, Ustream, and Zynga.

Sep 15, 2011

Geniee Raises 72.6M Yen From Global Brain

Geniee is an advertising technology startup founded by members who launched Recruit's ad-network business. It provides supply-side platform to maximize profit of Internet media.

Geniee has partnered with demand side platform, ad-exchange, and ad-network successively in Japan and overseas since its establishment in 2010 April. A number of business and individual media surpassed 300. ...

Geniee press release 9/15/2011

Sep 13, 2011

[Penn Olson] Japan’s DeNA Acquires Gaming Studio in Vietnam

We just received word from Japanese mobile social gaming company DeNA announcing that it plans to pick up Punch Entertainment Vietnam, the Hanoi-based studio owned by Punch Entertainment, Inc. in California.
The company’s announcement elaborated that Punch Entertainment Vietnam will “provide engineering support” to DeNA’s Mobage development team in Japan, and later elsewhere.
Penn Olson 9/12/2011 

  • The competition of hiring engineers is getting more and more fierce among social game developers in Japan. Acquisition aiming at hiring game developers is expected to increase.

Smapo Allows To Get Loyalty Point By Check-in /Venture Now

O2O (Online to Offline), a way to bring customers to real shops through Internet, is capturing attention. SmartphonePoint, loyalty point program launched by Spotlight is one of them.

Users can get loyalty point by check-in when they come to the shop shown on the iPhone application. They can exchange the point with coupon or others.

The company develops mobile communication technology to automatically identify that the user actually is at the shop. Dedicated devices are to be placed in shops. Other usual check-in services use GPS to identify location information, but it is not possible to know if the user actually come in the shop due to error of GPS. ...

Venture Now 9/12/2011

  • Spotlight was founded on June 2011. Some consumer electronics retailers have equipment in their shop over which customers hold loyalty card to have a coupon printed-out. So, the solution must attract attention from those retailers. 

Sep 12, 2011

[Penn Olson] Wishscope: A Social Wishlist from Japan

Tokyo-based tech start-up Zawatt just announced it has received funding from Japan’s Cyber Agent Ventures and now is worth 20 million yen. The start-up is currently working on developing an iPhone app called Wishscope, which allows you to ask someone to help you make your wishes true and solve problems that you’re facing. ...

Penn Olson 9/12/2011 

  • A total amount of the fundraising is 15 million yen. In addition to CyberAgent Ventures, Hong Kong-based Net Capital Partners and two individual investors participated.

PIXTA Raises 70M Yen From Globis and PE&HR /Venture Now

PIXTA runs a marketplace for photos, illustrations, and library shots. It was founded on August of 2005 and launched the service at the next May.

PIXTA has 1.84 million items, 88,000 creators, and 55,000 registered users as of September. PIXTA gives back 34 to 60 % of revenue to creators and takes the rest for fee.

PIXTA plans to release English version in this October and Chinese version in the next year using the capital.

Venture Now 9/9/2011

  • It is relatively small amount for Globis Capital Partners which usually invests more than 100M yen.

Sep 9, 2011

Azoo Raises Seed Money From peperboy&co Founder, Mr. Ieiri /Venture Now

Azoo raises 5 million yen by allocation of new shares to Kazuma Ieiri, the founder of paperboy&co.

Azoo was founded at July 1st. The startup plans to release its first service, paid email newsletter, Lilac in October. Paid email newsletters mainly target male readers, but the company prepares titles targeting for females. ...

Venture Now 9/8/2011

  • Paid email newsletter is getting popular recently such as Horiemon, Livedoor founder, who continues publishing email newsletter from a prison.

[Penn Olson] Rakuten Invests in Russian e-Retailer

Japan’s online retail giant Rakuten just announced that it has invested in, a Russian e-commerce service. According to Rakuten’s statement, Ozon has 5.2 million registered members.
This is not the first time Rakuten has explored the European landscape. readers may recall back in July when we reported about the company’s acquisition of Tradoria, an online shopping site in Germany. Back in 2010, it acquired Price Minister out of France. ...
Penn Olson 9/9/2011 

  • It is a rare case for Rakuten. Not only in France or Germany, but in US, Asia, and Brazil, Rakuten usually acquires or takes major share of local EC sites. 

Online Gaming Startup, Aiming Raises 1.2B Yen /TechCrunch Japan

Aiming was founded in this June when the startup raised 300M yen from Incubate Fund. In this round, JAFCO joins and seems to invest most of the amount of 1.2 billion yen, in addition to Incubate Fund. The valuation is not disclosed.

Aiming is a spin-out from a online game studio, ONE-UP. The team developed a blockbuster browser game, Browser Sangokushi. The founder and CEO, Tadashi Shiiba was also a CEO of ONE-UP and executive director of GameOn before that. ...

TechCrunch Japan 9/9/2011

  • Aiming mainly develops full-scale games such as MMORPG for PC or web browser. It may be going to put more energy for smartphone games with the capital.

Sep 2, 2011

GREE Establishes Subsidiaries In 5 Countries /ITmedia

GREE announced that it will open local subsidiaries in Korea, Singapore, UK, The Netherlands, and Brazil by the next February. ...

ITmedia 9/1/2011

  • GREE's rival, DeNA announced setting up subsidiaries in Singapore and Sweden last month. Their competition is expanding truly global.

Sep 1, 2011

Samurai International Raises Capital From CyberAgent Ventures /Cnet Japan

Samurai International develops and operates applications such as iPhone app, Ranking Tube, and Android app, Minna no Keitai Browser, which ranked top on application markets. Its total downloads exceed 1 million.

Cnet Japan 9/1/2011

  • Samurai International was founded as LLC in 2009 and then become a corporation in August of 2011. It was selected for one of startups to get support at Startups2011 Spring, an incubation program organized by CyberAgent Ventures.

Aug 31, 2011

CyberAgent Invests In Korean KakaoTalk /ITmedia

CyberAgnet announced that it invested in Korean company, Kakao Coarporation, messaging application KakaoTalk operator.

KakaoTalk is a smartphone application which allows users to send and receive message like chat. It was launched in Korea at March of the last year. It is said that almost all Korean smartphone users are using the app and it has over 22 million users worldwide including Japan with Japanese version. The investment is conducted through CyberAgent Ventures. ...

ITmedia 8/29/2011

  • CyberAgent Ventures is actively investing in this month to invest in three startups, Kakao Corporation, Retty, and FrogApps. It has invested in many startups in Asia including China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Indonesia, but it seems the first investment in Korea.

iRemocon, Remote Control By iPhone, Plans To Release Android Version Within The Year/Venture Now

iRemocon allows users to operate home electronics with iPhone. The device is provided by a startup, glamo which was just founded in this February.

Different from other common learning remote control, it does not have buttons and allows to control with an application downloaded on iPhone/iPad by connecting it with a WiFi router. One of the biggest selling point is to allow controlling home appliances from outside. The price is 26,800 yen. ...

Venture Now 8/30/2011

  • The application allows users to design customized interface such as buttons, backgroud, or sound effects.

Cerego Japan Raises 100M Yen From NTT-IP /Cnet Japan

English learning service, iKnow!, operator, Cerego Japan announced to conduct an allocation of new shares of 100 million yen to NTT Investment Partners.

NTT Group implements NTT Kyoiku Square X ICT field trial supported by education institutes such as ten elementary and middle schools from five local governments in order to promote ICT for learning at school and home.

Cerego japan provides iKnow! for enterprises and education institutions for profit. It aims to drive ICT forward in education area partnering with NTT Group.

Cnet Japan 8/30/2011

  • NTT-IP invested 320 million yen in Cerego Japan in July of 2009. 

Aug 30, 2011

NTT-IP Invests In Synerchip, Next Generation AV Interface "DiiVA" Promoter /ITpro

NTT Investment Partners announced that it agreed on investing in Synerchip which provides chip and middleware related to DiiVA, transmission interface standard for video and voice between AV devices. NTT-IP invests $1 million by an allocation of new shares.

There is a move to put DiiVA to practical use in China and other countries as the next generation interface which allows to control video contents on multi-devices on network. ...

ITpro 8/29/2011

  • Synerchip has offices in China, Taiwan, Korea, and USA.

Aug 26, 2011

V-cube Raises 528M Yen From Globis And Others /Cnet Japan

Web conference system provider, V-cube conducted an allocation of new shares to Globis Capital Partners, Premier Conferencing, and Todentsu to raise 528 million yen. It aims to strengthen service and support for global expansion. ...

Cnet Japan 8/26/2011

  • V-cube was founded in 1998 October. Other investors of VCs include Intel Capital, Recruit Incubation Partners, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Mizuho Capital, and JAIC. 

Aug 25, 2011

All Coupon Japan And TV Tokyo Broadband Entertainment Have Capital Alliance /Cnet Japan

TV Tokyo Broadband Entertainment takes 9.2% of shares of All Coupon Japan. The amount is not disclosed.

With the investment, both will jointly launch group coupon aggregate site in September. The site provides original coupons centered around travel and gourmet run by TV Tokyo Group. It also plans to link the service with TV program.

All Coupon Japan is an aggregate service of group coupon service in Japan. It started as a service of Cybridge, and spun off in 2011 to become All Coupon Japan. ...

Cnet Japan 8/25/2011

  • News about group coupon services have decreased drastically these days. Two largest services, Groupon and Ponpare take huge lead against others using tons of mass advertising. Alliance with TV station would have great potential.

Axion Raises 11M Yen From Angel Investors And Cybridge /Cnet Japan

Axion operates smartphone application distribution service buying smartphone apps from developers and redistributing or reselling them. The investors include Shintaro Yamada, former CEO of Unoh (current Zynga Japan), Kazuma Ieiri, founder of paperboy&co., Tsuyoshi Haya, founder of Bijin Tokei, other two angel investors, and Cybridge Ventures. ...

Cnet Japan 8/24/2011

Multi Language Manga Distribution, Japan Manga Releases iPhone App /Venture Now

JapanManga is an eBook service translating manga into English and Chinese for foreign manga fans. It provides cartoonists with translation, turning to ebooks, upload registration and sales representation.

Currently English and Chinese are available and it plans to add Korean and French as soon as translators are ready. Translation fee is 7,800 yen up to 30 pages for 1 language. 2,500 yen is to be added for extra 10 pages. When distributing paid contents, the revenue is to be shared as follows, 35-50% for cartoonist, 20-35% for MangaJapan, 30% for application market such as Apple or Google. ...

Venture Now 8/24/2011

  • JapanManga is founded by three university students. Mobile EC company, supports the company for its incubation program. 

Aug 24, 2011

Klab goes IPO on Mothers at September 27 /Cnet Japan

Klab was accepted for IPO by Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers market. It plans to be listed on September 27th.

Klab was founded as an R&D division of Cybird on 2000 January and became a corporation on August of the year. The company developed elemental technology for mobile phones at first and then jointly with telecom careers planned and developed service for mobile phones. Currently it focuses on providing social applications.

The annual revenue ending August 2010 was 2.95 billion yen and the operating income was 150 million yen.

Cnet Japan 8/23/2011

  • Klab provides social games for three largest platform in Japan, Mobage, GREE, and mixi.
  • It is the first IPO of a mobile social game developer and several other developers are expected to follow.

Aug 23, 2011

Social Gourmet Site, Retty Raised 22M Yen From VC And Angel /Venture Now

Retty revealed that it conducted an allocation of new shares of 22 million yen in total to CyberAgent Ventures and an angel investor.

Retty is a seed startup founded in November 2010 and launched the social gourmet service in this May. Retty allows users to make list of restaurants which they have visited or want to visit and share with other users. With Facebook or Twitter account, users enjoy through a browser of PC or smartphone for free.

The company will use the capital for development resources. It also plans to release iPhone/Android application in September. ...

Venture Now 8/23/2011

  • Among restaurant search service, Gurunavi and Tabelog are popular in Japan. Gurunavi focuses on information provided from restaurants, and Tabelog is based on reviews from users. Retty could be called a social media version of Tabelog.
  • CyberAgent Ventures invested in FrogApps as well in this month. 

Aug 19, 2011

DeNA to Expand Asian Operations in Singapore with DeNA Asia /DeNA

DeNA Co., Ltd. today announced plans to establish DeNA Asia Pacific Holdings Pte. Ltd. (DeNA Asia) in Singapore on September 1st. A wholly-owned subsidiary of DeNA, DeNA Asia will work with developers in Southeast and South Asia to bring high-quality social mobile games to smartphone users worldwide.

DeNA Asia will serve as a hub for DeNA Group’s social games business in Southeast and South Asia. The subsidiary will also seek to strengthen the group’s development capabilities through acquisitions of local developers. Future activities will include localization of the global edition of Mobage, a social mobile gaming network launched last month by DeNA’s subsidiary ngmoco, LLC. DeNA Asia will be headed by Managing Director Tetsuya Mori, with an initial capitalization of 500,000 Singapore dollars. ...
DeNA Press Release 2011/8/19

  • DeNA expands to foreign markets by itself except US where it acquired ngmoco. While, the other mobile gaming giant, GREE basically takes partnership strategy for global expansion such as partnering with mig33, the largest mobile gaming platform in South East Asia, and Tencent, China's biggest web company. 

Aug 11, 2011

CyberAgent Venture invests in FrogApps, Internet communication service provider /Nikkei

FrogApps was founded as Kizna in 2010 September to provide Internet communication service, Kizna. At June 30 of 2011, it changed the company name to FrogApps and transfer a license of Kizna.

Nikkei 8/10/2011

  • It is the first investment from CyberAgent Ventures' new fund, CA Startups Internet Fund.

[Penn Olson] Japan’s GREE Continues Foreign Expansion, Partners With SK telecom in Korea

Japanese social gaming heavyweight GREE announced late last week that Chinese partner Tencent would be implementing a new open platform for feature phones and smartphones that is compatible with GREE’s own game platform standards. And today we’re hearing even more news from GREE, as it has partnered with South Korea’s SK telecom, thus entering the Korean games market as well.

SK telecom is the largest carrier in South Korea, with over 25 million subscribers as of November 2010. That represents over half of the market share, and a great ‘in’ for GREE to enter Korean gaming space.

According to its announcement, GREE set up shop within SK telecom’s ‘T store,’ the country’s first app store service. ...
Penn Olson 8/9/2011

  • GREE's rival, DeNA just announced a partnership with US mobile career, AT&T last week. 

[Penn Olson] Japan’s KDDI Announces 5 Nominees For Its First Incubation Program

On Friday, KDDI’s Mugen Labo, a start-up incubation program by Japan’s second largest telco, announced five tech start-ups chosen for its first incubation period. During the next three months, the program will provide management advisory, a development environment, and also help them spread their respective services throughout the country.

After their further development, apps or services gaining high evaluations will be published on the telco’s local Android app market, au one Market. ...
Penn Olson 8/9/2011

  • Among 5 teams, Qlippy and Giftee are almuni of Open Network Lab, an incubation program run by Digital Garage,, and Netprice. 

MOVIDA JAPAN starts seed acceleration program /Cnet Japan

MOVIDA JAPAN announced Seed Acceleration Program at August 9th. The program aims to develop a venture ecosystem like Silicon Valley in East Asia. One of the key words of the program is to expand in Asia from Japan.

The program starts to recruit participant teams from August 9th until September 30th. ...

Cnet Japan 8/9/2011

  • Y-Combinator model incubation programs are rapidly increasing recently in Japan such as Open Network Lab, CyberAgent's Startups, Netage, and KDDI's Mugen Labo. Several startups participate in two those programs. 

Hunglead, cloud service for EC, raises capital /Cnet Japan

Hunglead announced that it conducted allocation of new shares of about 30M yen to Global Brain.

Hunglead provides Robot series, a cloud service supporting management of inventories, items and orders of EC sites. Its main service, zaiko Robot, an inventory management system for multi-shops, handles over 60 billion yen annually. It launched two and a half years ago. ...

Cnet Japan 8/3/2011

  • Hunglead was founded on 2006 October.

EC Navi Ventures invests in Logly, recommendation technology /Cnet Japan

EC Navi's investing arm, EC Navi Ventures revealed that it invested in Logly which provides information recommendation service in July. The amount is not disclosed but expected to be several million yen.

Logly was founded in 2006. It develops technology of analyzing access log of web contents and vistor behavior and recommendation technology. The company provides services using the technology such as newzia topics, automatically developing summary web site, and newzia connect, linking related contents. ...

Cnet Japan 8/10/2011

  • EC Navi Ventures was established in 2011 March and has invested in several startups such as Cotobank, e-learning service, and Ubiregi, POS terminal for iPad.

Aug 10, 2011

Online ticket service, Wazoo raises capital from Recruit Incubation Partners /Cnet Japan

Wazoo announced that it conducts allocation of new shares to Recruit Incubation Partner's operating fund, RIP II.

Wazoo was founded in 2011 April to provide online ticket service. It allows individuals and businesses to issue tickets of an event, develop web pages of the event, notify the event using email or Twitter, sell ticket and bill. The company charges 5% for system usage and another 5% for online billing. But for free events, users can use for free. ...

Cnet Japan 8/5/2011

  • There are similar type of event management services appearing recently such as PeaTiX of Orinoco and Everevo.

Opt invests in MCN, mobile advertising agency to get into mobile marketing in ASEAN /Markezine

Opt has a capital alliance with MCN Asia Holdings to jointly develop mobile marketing market in ASEAN. Both companies aims to partner with mobile operators in ASEAN as well as provide services from mobile ads related solutions to ads sales such as mobile search ads, SMS ads, and in-apps ads.

MCN Group owns original search engine solution and is the only mobile ads platform which has partnership with Thai three largest mobile operators.

Markezine 8/5/2011

  • Opt is the second largest Internet ads agency in Japan and actively invests in startups recently such as Milog.

CyberAgent Ventures establishes a fund focused on startups /Cnet Japan

CyberAgent Ventures announced that it sets up CA Startups Internet Fund I which focuses on startups in Japan.

The fund invests in award winners of its business plan contest, Startups and others in Internet business. Within this year, it plans to raise up to 2 billion yen from corporations and investors.

Cnet Japan 8/4/2011

  • CyberAgent Ventures operates an incubation center in which startups selected in its business plan contest, Startups, are located.

DeNA's subsidiary and AT&T partners /ITpro

DeNA announced that ngmoco, its subsidiary in US and AT&T agreeed on partnership about Mobage, social gaming platform.

With the partnership, AT&T will preferentially promote Mobage such as allowing users of Android smartphone to be provided within 2011to easily access to games on Mobage. ...

ITpro 8/5/2011

  • DeNA launched English version of Mobage in six English-speaking countries last month. 

iRidge raises 80M yen from Mizuho Capital and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital /Venture Now

iRidge develops and provides popinfo, push message platform for smartphone (Android/iPhone) and future phones (NTT Docomo i-concier).

The service pushes a message to a device when a user comes into a certain area. In addition to EC sites such as Rakuten and Oisix, retailers and department stores use the service. ...

Venture Now 8/2/2011

  • Local businesses such as restaurants can pushes messages like time-limited sales, coupon or vacancy seats on calendar application or home screen.

Jul 28, 2011

Rakuten buys Tradoria, EC in Germany /Rakuten news release

Rakuten acquires 80% of shares of German EC operator, Tradoria. It is the second country to enter for Rakuten following France last year.

Tradoria was founded in 2007 to provide online marketplace mainly targeting for small and medium shops as well as Rakuten Ichiba. Currently it has around 4,400 shops providing eight million items ranging from furniture, fashion to accessories. ...

Rakuten news release 7/28/2011

  • The acquisition price is not disclosed. Rakuten aggressively expands to global market. It also acquired an EC site in Brazil last month.

[Reuters] KDDI unit to buy Nobot for 1.5 bln yen - Nikkei

KDDI Corp cellular phone advertising unit mediba Inc is planning to buy rival Nobot Inc for about 1.5 billion yen ($19.2 million), the Nikkei business daily reported. Mediba signed an agreement to buy 90 percent of Nobot's shares from an investment fund and members of management, Nikkei said. 
Nobot, second to AdMob Google Inc in the Japanese cellphone ads market, would be a mediba unit by next month, Nikkei said.
By year-end, mediba plans to install a new system that distributes ads tailored to users' interests based on how they use their phones, Nikkei said.
Reuters 7/27/2011

  • GREE acquired Atlantis, an operator of ad exchange for smartphone for 2.2 billion yen in January 2011. 

Jul 27, 2011

[Asiajin] DeNA Officially Launches Mobage to All English Speaking Countries and China

In a truly global rollout, DeNA has just announced that Mobage social games platform for Android has just been released in English-speaking countries around the world as well as China.

Mobage is immediately available for download on Android in these markets, with more than 100 game titles currently in development for English-speaking markets. DeNA aims to deliver a constant supply of socially enabled games, many debuting on Android for the very first time.

For China, Mobage has introduced two popular Japanese social game apps localized for the Chinese market including Ninja Royale and Aqua Collection, with eight more games to follow by the end of August.

Asiajin 7/27/2011

  • English version of Mobage is available in six countries as follows, US, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. 

Jul 26, 2011

CyberAgent Ventures launches a branch in Taiwan /Nikkei

CyberAgent Ventures has invested in 18 Internet startups in greater China including promising Taiwanese startups such as Userjoy Tehcnology, online game developer, Sunfun Info, Online dating service, and Hongku Info, Taiwanese largest restaurant review site.

The company considers Taiwan to be very promising because of Internet penetration and abundant entrepreneurs. It accelerates incubation and investment activity by setting up a branch in Taipei.

Nikkei 7/25/2011

  • CyberAgent Ventures has three offices in mainland China, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shin zen. It also has branches in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Incubate Fund holds new business generation program, Incubate Camp 2nd in October /Cnet Japan

The program targets engineers or entrepreneurs in 20s. In addition, only entrepreneurs who plan to found a corporation within a year or have founded within the past two years can apply for the program. The deadline for application is August 24 and 24 entrepreneurs will be selected for the camp.

Incubate Fund is a venture capital focused on investing in startups developing social media related services and promising growth ventures. Among 3 billion yen of total amount of the fund, DeNA invests 2.5 billion yen.

The venture capital held Incubate Camp 2010 Fall in the last year, from which five companies were founded.

Incubate Camp 2nd extends support menu largely and invests in up to 10 entrepreneurs after the two days camp.

Cnet Japan 7/26/2011

  • Portfolio of Incubate Fund includes Pokelabo and Istpika, both of which develop mobile social games.

Jul 21, 2011

GREE expands to South East Asia and Africa with application platform for smartphone /Venture Now

GREE revealed that Project Goth, an operator of mig33, mobile social network service with 50 million users mainly in emerging countries in South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, started providing a platform which has common specifications with GREE Platform for smartphone.

GREE made a capital alliance with Project Goth in the last November. Since then, both have pursued to make specifications of their platform for smartphone to common. With the launch, GREE partners are allowed to provide social applications for 50 million users through mig33.

Venture Now 7/21/2011

  • GREE is accelerating global expansion strategy in various ways. The company acquired OpenFeint, launched local subsidiaries in US and China, and also made partnerships with big players such as mig33 or Tencent. 

Jul 16, 2011

GREEN GIRL had angel round to raise 11.85M yen /Venture Now

One More, an operator of social patron platform to support "Kawaii" girls, GREEN GIRL, raised 11.85 million yen at an angel round from two individual investors.

GREEN GIRL supports girl creators, artists and event organizers who produce "Kawaii". It  posts various "Kawaii" things which it plans with girls. If a number of subscriptions reach a target, the money goes to the girls to realize the plan.

The service just launched at July 6. The one of characteristics is that it links with Web magazine on Facebook on which a profile of the creators are introduced in order to attract sympathy from supporters. ...

Venture Now 7/15/2011

  • Three crowd funding services, Grow!, Readyfor?, and Campfire have been launched this year. GREEN GIRL focuses on "Kawaii" girls to differentiate from those services.

Social reading, Lindoc synchronizes comments of users who have the same textbook /Venture Now

iPad app, Lindoc is different from other social reading applications in the way that it focuses on education aiming at social learning platform. Lindoc allows readers to buy and view e-textbook and share knowledge of them.

If readers using the application adds comments in a section that they have difficulty to understand, the comments are to be shared with other readers who have the same textbook. Also it has Twitter-like follow features letting readers follow users who add beneficial comments.

It will start trial service from October at Komaba campus of University of Tokyo.

Venture Now 7/15/2011

  • There increase ebook related services and devices, but still no very successful cases so far. It is an interesting service to focus on textbooks which has more necessity to share comments than usual books. 

Sassor raises capital from Ubiquitous and others /Cnet Japan

Sassor announced to conduct allocation of new shares to Ubiquitous, DG Incubation, and The company plans to develop products and market aiming at mass production of its Energy Literacy Platform collaborating with the three investors.

Energy Literacy Platform is a tool to manage electricity consumption at home. The tool consists of ELP module connected between outlet and electric devices, a receiver sending data measured with the module to Internet, a web site to check consumption of electricity, and a smartphone application.

Sassor started subscription sale of ELP Lite, light version of Energy Literacy Platform. in May and plans to provide within July.

Cnet Japan 7/15/2011

  • Sassor is one of the first teams from an incubation program, Open Network Lab in 2010.