Mar 29, 2011

Samurai Fund II invests in Share0, office sharing service provider /Cnet

Share0 was founded on March 8th to develop share0, office sharing service platform. share0 aims to match between entrepreneurs/startups and companies providing office space or infrastructure for free. It lets companies release information such as conditions of office spaces, target users, or support contents and receives applications from startups.

The company plans to place office spaces information by the end of April and provides application functions by the end of May. In addition to Japan, it aims to add users from the US or Asia to provide 10,000 office information within three years.

Cnet 3/28/2011

  • This the third startup for Samurai Fund II which has been investing at a rapid rate since the launch in January 2011. 

3Di raises 120M yen from NTT IP and HI /Venture Now

NTT Investment Partners will invest around 100 million yen. The venture capital arm of NTT group said that it decided the additional investment aiming to accelerate business utilizing Flash-based virtual reality.

With the fundraising, a holding share of ngi group decreases from 60% to 33.5%. 3Di will use the capital for research and development for Avatar Communication Platform, a new business replacing 3Di OpenSim. The service is based on revenue share model, the beta version of which has been adopted by Rakuten Blog last year.

Venture Now 3/28/2011

  • 3Di was founded by ngi group in 2007. NTT IP has invested about 200M yen in 3Di on 2009 September.

Mar 25, 2011

EC Navi sets up EC Navi Ventures to invest in startups in Japan and Asia /Venture Now

EC Navi establishes EC Navi Ventures, 100% subsidiary to invest in Internet startups. Since 2010 March, EC Navi has operated BOAT, a project to support young entrepreneurs, which is currently incubating five companies and six student organizations to provide free office spaces or advise for their business.

With these initiatives as a backdrop, the new company provides not only capital, but also total support including business planning, organization structure, and developing stable system based on knowledge and experience in Internet related businesses.

The company is capitalized at 100 million yen. It does not raise a fund externally and invests 1 to 10 million yen in seed/early stage ventures in Internet and mobile from its own capital.

EC Navi itself has invested in several startups including Cerevo, Internet consumer appliance maker, and two in Vietnam and one in Indonesia. The new venture capital also plans to invest in startups in Japan and other Asian countries including China.

Venture Now 3/25/2011

  • EC Navi provides a price comparison service and is an affiliate company of CyberAgent.

Mar 23, 2011

GREE opens offices in Beijing and London in spring /

GREE announced that it will open branch offices in Beijing, Singapore, and London. It aims to facilitate developing partners like social application developers in China, South East Asia and Europe.

The company is preparing for global expansion. In addition to setting up subsidiary in US, GREE International, in 2011 January, it concluded a partnership with Tencent, China's large Internet service provider, to provide social application each other. Also GREE affiliated in capital with Project Goth, which operates mig33, mobile SNS with 40 million users in centered around developing countries in South East Asia. 3/23/2011

  • GREE's CEO, Tanaka, said several times last year that having local office dose not have to be necessary to go global, but it seems he changed his ming.
  • GREE looked to be the latest player for global expansion among top three SNS in Japan, however, it is the first to set up an office in Europe.

Mar 10, 2011

GClue upgrades BLOCCO, Android apps integration tool /Venture Now

BLOCCO is an application platform which was released in 2010 July jointly developed with NTT Docomo. Users can link applications of Android to improve convenience of a smartphone. For example, BLOCCO allows users to develop an application which automatically search a route to the place registered on a scheduler application by linking scheduler application and route search applications.

With the upgrade, GClue added application sharing function among users. Users can use the applications which other users developed using BLOCCO. It also has been releasing applications linking with BLOCCO as additional plug-ins.

The most interesting thing for BLOCCO is its future vision. GClue aims to extend the application linkage to external devices, as follows. When a ringtone comes, it automatically mutes volume of TV, or when you wake up, it opens blinds and boils water. These will be possible when Android-based appliances spread in houses.

Venture Now 3/9/2011

  • GClue has focused on mobile application development since its launch in 2001. Currently it focuses on iPhone and Android.

Mar 9, 2011

Joho Planet raises 24M yen from ngi /Venture Now

A student startup, Joho Planet revealed that it raised 24 million yen by allocation of new shares to ngi Venture Community Fund II.

Joho Planet is a startup launched in September of 2006 when the founder, Mr. Yamamoto was a high school student. It raised capital in 2009 August from Samurai Incubate to operate, word-of-mouth web site for high school students.

But the startup made a vast change for its business domain. Within this month, it aims to launch Syngclogue, a service related to virtualization and cloud computing of Windows application. The company targets global expansion with the service.

Venture Now 3/8/2011

  • ngi group invests in Internet related startups in seed and early stage. It also provides Internet related services such as web marketing and social applications.

Mar 8, 2011

Nobot distributes retargeting ads for smartphone partnering with MicroAd /Cnet

Nobot announced that it starts to distribute retargeting ads for smartphone  jointly with MicroAd. Nobot operates ad network for smartphone, AdMaker, and MicroAd distributes behavior targeting ads for PC and mobile.

The retargeting ads for smartphone is a service to distribute effective advertisement based on user's web-browsing behavior. Smartphone apps and web sites using AdMaker can expect ads revenue increase by distributing retargeting ads which displays ads that are relevant for users.

Cnet 3/8/2011

  • Smartphone ads business is getting excited. GREE acquired another smartphone ad network operator, Atlantis in January and started to provide the service for its developers in February.

Samurai Fund II invests in Nagisa launching shopping sharing service in March /Cnet

Samurai Incubate announced that Samurai Incubate Fund2 invests in Nagisa. Samurai Fund2 targets seed stage ventures. The investment is the second deal for the fund.

Nagisa was founded in May 2010. It raises capital from the fund and another company. The amount is not disclosed. The startup sells TweetMatch, follower acquisition tool for Twitter and provides advertising agency business. With this fundraising, it will launch an alfa version of a new service, nagisa in the end of March.

nagisa provides shopping records at various EC sites in time-line and allows users to share them with their friends. Users can choose to disclose or not on a transaction basis.

Cnet 3/8/2011

  • The first investment from Samurui Fund2 is for Bukupe, social reading service, which was announced last month.

Mar 4, 2011

[Dr. Serkan Toto] Digital Garage Invests In US-Based Ad Startup ContextLogic

Dr. Serkan Toto - Japan Web Consulting & Research 3/4/2011

Digital Garage has made an investment in an American startup again: TechCrunch reported that DG is part of a group of (star) investors who injected $1.7 million in San Francisco-based online ad startup ContextLogic. Terms of the deal, an angel investment, weren’t disclosed.
ContextLogic is still in stealth mode, and in their Japanese press release, Digital Garage isn’t giving away much either.
  • Digital Garage invested in US-based mobile SNS, Path just about a month ago.
  • Other investors are SV Angel’s Ron Conway, former Global President of Sales at Google Aydin Senkut, Keith Rabois, Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Microsoft VP Hank Vigil, former Microsoftie Fritz Lanman, Twitter Director of Search Elad Gil, Nils Johnson, Michael Stoppelman, Raymond Tonsing, Paige Craig, Farmville creator Sizhao Yang, CRV partner Bill Tai, Brian Koo, Naval Ravikant, Paul Bricault and Transmedia

Mar 2, 2011

[Dr. Serkan Toto] GREE Partners Up With 3D Game Development Tool Maker Unity

Dr. Serkan Toto - Japan Web Consulting & Research 3/1/2011

GREE today announced it has entered a partnership with famed 3D game development tool maker Unity from San Francisco. Under the deal, GREE has started to offer the so-called “Unity Plugin for GREE” to social game developers providing titles to the platform.

The plugin is part of the GREE SDK and will, according to GREE, reduce development costs for developers creating social games for iOS and Android (the iOS plugin is already available, the Android version will follow “soon”).

Mar 1, 2011

MicroAd provides MicroAd AdFunnel SP, managing multi ad networks for smartphone /MarkeZine

MicroAd AdFunnel SP enables to manage advertisements for smartphone distributed from multi ad networks including other ad networks and MicroAd itself. Customers can use the service by just placing dedicated ads tag.

At the launch, it is available for iPhone and other devices including Android will be added later. Also within the year, it plans to deploy function to distribute ads for each audience in real-time so that the profit will be maximized.

MarkeZine 3/1/2011

  • MicroAd is 100% subsidiary of CyberAgent focusing on audience targeted advertising.