May 30, 2011

Blue Note raises seed money to realize government 2.0 /Venture Now

Blue Note revealed that it raises seed money from Samurai Incubate Fund2. Blue Note was founded at April 4 of 2011. It aims to realize government 2.0 with the capital.

Government 2.0 is a concept about communication of highly transparent and social information, which was proposed by Tim O'Reilly. For the first step to enable politicians and citizens communicating smoothly, it launches mypolicy, which allows users to send a post of Twitter/Facebook to a specified politician by FAX which many politicians are still using. ...

From June, it plans to distribute free dedicated accounts for politicians, which lets them checking posts to themselves in real-time and putting out information regarding their political activities.

Venture Now 5/30/2011

  • There are very few startups related with politics. It would be an appropriate timing now when a lot of political issues are gathering attention.

May 28, 2011

KDDI, mediba, Nobot partner in ad network for smartphone /RBB Today

mediba and KDDI distribute ads on "mediba ad network smartphone", which both jointly operate, to AdMaker, nobot's operating ad network service, using ad exchange technology from the end of May. With the partnership, advertisers placing ads on mediba ad network smartphone will be able to increase ads display.

mediba ad network smartphone focuses on Android smartphone including au's portal site, au one, while AdMaker deals ads for applications and web sites of both iPhone and Andorid.

RBB Today 5/27/2011

  • mediba is 51% owned by KDDI providing ads, research, and media produce service centered around au one.

Application version of DropBox, Synclogue enables to synchronize applications among multi PCs /Vernture Now

Joho Planet released beta version of Synclogue in Japanese and English, virtualization and synchronization service dedicated for Windows applications.

Synclogue allows users to share and synchronize applications installed in their own PC among multi PCs using its original virtualization technology as if using cloud.

It does not require network like cloud and users can use their own applications anywhere with the same configurations. It is easy to use Synclogue by just installing it  in a main PC and choose any Windows applications. And then it automatically virtualizes and uploads onto server. Only Synclogue is needed for other PCs.

The company says it is the first service synchronizing applications in the world. With its nature of the service, copy right issue must be controversial. The company will provide management tool for application developers to block the usage at server side. ...

Venture Now 5/25/2011

  • Joho Planet raised 24 million yen from ngi group in March.
  • The service will probably have several challenges including copy right issue, but it may have huge potential like DropBox.

May 24, 2011

Milog raised 310M yen from Opt, Recruit and others /TechCrunch Japan

Milog raised 100M yen from Jafco just after its launch in 2009 February. At that time, Milog operates mini blog service called Milog, aiming at life-log SNS. After an year, it closed Milog and changed its business to m-police, web site monitoring tool to check inappropriate posts from users.

And then, for the third new business, it is now developing applications and services for Android. Milog released AndFriends which allows users to share information of applications installed in their Android devices, which now evolves to FriendApp.

Milog conducted the second fundraising. Investors are Opt, advertising agency, Recruit Incubation Partners, and VC Square, Opt's affiliate venture fund. With the capital, in addition to development of FriendApp, it launches AppReward, reward advertising platform for Android, partnering with Opt to acquire media.

Since AppReward allows to know what kind of applications users install, it enables, for example,  to display ads of games for users who install many game applications. ...

TechCrunch Japan 5/24/2011

  • AppReward is an interesting idea to monetize users' interest based on type of applications they installed. It will be a good advertising tool for application developers to target potential users.

May 23, 2011

CyberAgent Ventures and Netage invest in JX Press launching new service, vingow /Cnet Japan

The amount of investment is not disclosed, but it is said to be several million yen.

JX Press is selected at Start2009, a business plan contest held by CyberAgent Ventures, DeNA and others, to get support. It has developed TweetMatch, tweets analysis service.

With the capital, it plans to provide vingow, a tool to streamline to share and organize knowledge and information. vingow allows users to save web pages or texts as memo on the Internet. All the memos will have tags automatically. Users can follow tags that they have interest to view contents of the tag saved by many users. The CEO of JX Press explained that if social media is centered around people, vingow is a brain media centered around information.

Japanese and English version will be released together and are available on PC, smartphone and tablet computers. It plans to release closed alpha version in June followed by official version in August.

Cnet Japan 5/23/2011

  • It sounds quite like a social bookmark service, but a difference seems that tags are automatically added.
  • The first service from Startups2010, snapeee was just released a few weeks ago.

May 19, 2011

[TechCrunch] ngmoco Acquires Mobile Games Developer (And Longtime Partner) Rough Cookie

U.S.-based mobile games developer ngmoco was acquired by Japanese social games publisher DeNA in October 2010, but that doesn’t mean it stopped looking at opportunities to grow through acquisitions of its own, particularly in regions other than Asia and the United States.
TechCrunch has learned that the company has just acquired longtime game development partner Rough Cookie to boost its presence in Europe (the mobile games studio was founded in late 2008 and is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
Rough Cookie, developer of Star Defense for iOS, We Farm Android and We City Android, among other titles, was acquired by the company to add ‘creative power’ to ngmoco’s internal game development studios. It’s also a way for ngmoco to establish its first office in Europe as the company preps the international roll-out of its (or rather, DeNA’s) social network for mobile games, Mobage. Rough Cookie develops games for iOS, Android and Windows 7.
TechCrunch 5/19/2011

  • GREE, another Japanese mobile social game platform, acquired OpenFeint, mobile social gaming platform, last month.

DeNA provides Mobage on Android device of Samsung for Japan market /Venture Now

DeNA announced that it provides Mobage for Android OS smartphone which Samsung sells for Japan market.

In the end of last year, both agreed to provide Mobage on Android OS for global market except Japan. They decided to expand the scope to provide in Japan as well.

Mobage will be provided as Game Hub, which is a name of game contents on Android smartphone of Samsung. For Japan market, Game Hub will be nearly equal with Mobage.

For the first launch, Mobage will be installed into GALAXY S II, which is planned to be released in June. ...

Ventue Now 5/18/2011

  • GALAXY S II is sold by Docomo, which announced last month to partner with DeNA. So the partnership is reasonable. 

Samurai Fund invests in recruiting service startup using Facebook /Cnet Japan

Samurai Incubate announced its eighth investment from Samurai Incubate Fund II in Social Recruiting.

Social Recruiting is established at April 11th, which plans to release social recruiting service using Facebook in June. In addition, it will hold matching event for users of social media.

Cnet Japan 5/18/2011

  • Samurai Incubate Fund II was set up in January. The incubator actively increases investments mainly in social services.

May 17, 2011

KDDI sets up KDDI ∞ Labo to support developers for Android service /ITmedia

KDDI ∞ Labo is a three-month program to support development of Internet service for Android aiming at global market. Selected teams can use communication space of KDDI Roppongi office and get professional advices about both service development and management. Excellent teams will get support for promotion on au one market.

ITmedia 5/17/2011

  • There increases similar type of incubation program such as Open Network Labo, Startups2011 by CyberAgent, and Android Yarouze by GMO Internet Group.
  • KDDI does not mention about investment, but still it will be attractive for developers to get support, especially for promotion on au one market.

Travel plan and experience sharing service, trippiece raised seed money from Samurai Fund /Venture Now

trippiece revealed that it conducted an allocation of new shares to Samurai Incubate Fund II to increase a capital to 3.87 million yen. The money will be mainly used for development and enhancement of the service.

trippiece is a startup just founded on March 31. The founder, Mr. Ishida is in forth grade of Chuo University and also involved with activity of Unoneicchi, NPO for international cooperation.

trippiece is currently developing a web service to allow users to share travel plan and experience each other based on an idea to help people make friends around the world.

Venture Now 5/16/2011

May 16, 2011

KDDI and Rarejob partners in online English lessons using Skype /RBB TODAY

Both companies jointly develop Rarejob for Android to provide it on au one Market from May 17. Rarejob provides man-to-man English conversation lesson using Skype. Rarejob for Android allows au Android users to easily reserve lessons, manage schedule as well as take a lesson with a smartphone.

With the launch of the service, it provides au limited plan with which users can take up to eight lessons a month. Also KDDI plans to enable to pay a fee for the service with au Kantan Kessai, which lets users pay combined with mobile phone bill.

RBB TODAY 5/16/2011

  • KDDI actively partners with startups in mobile services, such as Groupon, Colopl, and Tonchidot.

May 12, 2011

Glittery decorated photo sharing iPhone app, Snapeee /TechCrunch Japan

The first product from CyberAgent Venture's seed accelerating program, Startups2010 just came out. That is Mind Palette's Snapeee, photo sharing app for iPhone. It is already available on iTunes store.

Instagram or picplz becomes popular by allowing users to process photos with filters so that they look like professional, but Japanese young girls must prefer glittery decorated photos which are more familiar to them. Snapeee exactly realizes it. Needless to say, the application allows to share photos with friends including Twitter, Facebook and mixi, which is similar to Instagram. ...

TechCrunch Japan 5/12/2011

  • Materials for decorations are similar to Purikura, print club sticker, which has long been very popular especially in young girls in Japan. It can be said to be a very well Japanized version of Instagram. It is not sure that the service will be popular in other countries, but it will certainly be successful to some extent in Japan. 

Fashion site, iQON raised 140M yen for first round /TechCrunch Japan

iQON is a social media that users make and share fashion coordinates. Different from other user generated fashion sites which allow users to post photos of them actually wearing cloths, iQON lets users to clip images of fashion items on various web sites and coordinate them.

VASILY, iQON operator, fundraised 140 million yen from Itochu Technology Ventures and GMO Venture Partners. ...

TechCrunch Japan 5/12/2011

  • iQON launched on 2010 April. It has been successful to partner with a large number of fashion brands and EC sites.  

May 10, 2011

EC Navi Ventures invests in Ubiregi, POS terminal system for iPad /Cent Japan

EC Navi Ventures, investing arm of EC Navi, announced that it invested in Ubiregi. The amount is not disclosed, but it is said to be several million yen.

Ubiregi is an application which allows to use iPad as a cash register with POS functions. In addition to basic functions such as input of checkout or customer profile, it enables to automatic counting, sales analysis by date or category, wireless receipt print using AirPrint feature of iOS. It charges 5,000 yen per months and does not need initial cost.

Cnet Japan 5/10/2011

  • It is interesting that consumer Internet services provider, EC Navi invests in business application. 
  • It would be more useful for business users if it combines credit card payment system for iPad.

Minnna TV launched; viewable with TV or iPad through Internet /Cnet Japan

Tacsol started free Internet TV broadcasting service, Minnna TV from May 1.

Currently it has dedicated channels including Minnna Channel or Haato Channel. Like TV programs, it broadcasts multi channels based on a program listing. In addition, on-demand streaming is available such as Minogashi Channel allowing to view a program within a week after broadcast.

Also, it has shopping function linked with TV program, which lets users to buy goods introduced on programs.

Each program get assigned to a channel, with which users can choose the program. Available devices include Internet enabled TV, PC, iPad, iPhone, Google TV and so on. Android will be supported soon.

Cnet 5/10/2011

  • The service uses IP multicast for broadcasting. 
  • At this moment, there are three channels all of which are run by Tacsol itself. It seems to be a key to have other providers as soon as possible. 

[All Things Digital] Gilt Groupe Raises $138 Million from Softbank and Others for Growth, Acquisitions

All Things Digital 5/8/2011
Gilt Groupe, the New York-based flash-sales site that offers discounts on apparel, travel, home decor and other categories, has raised a whopping $138 million in capital.

Participants in the fifth round include the Japanese-based telecom conglomerate Softbank Group as well as Gilt’s previous investors, General Atlantic and Matrix Partners. Other new investors include: Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth, Pinnacle Ventures, TriplePoint Capital and Eastward Capital.

Softbank’s involvement is two-fold.

Not only will it be contributing $62.5 million of the round, which will all be going toward Gilt’s U.S. operations, it will also invest a smaller undisclosed amount into Gilt Groupe Japan. The two companies will each own 50 percent of the joint venture.


  • eCommerce is one of SoftBank's target area especially in China. It linked Yahoo Japan's shopping mall with Alibaba last year and recently announced to found joint venture in Shanghai with ZOZOTOWN, fashion EC. The investment in and partnership with Gilt Group may not only aim Japanese market, but also to expand the service in other Asian countries including China. 

May 1, 2011

[Penn Olson] CyberAgent Ventures Invests $1 Million in Taiwan’s iPeen

Penn Olson 5/1/2011
Japanese investment firm, CyberAgent Ventures has recently invested $1 million in Taiwan’s iPeen for 20 percent stake, valuing iPeen at $5 million.

iPeen is one of the largest user generated restaurant review websites in Taiwan. The website has more than 85,000 restaurants listed on its website and attracts up to 200,000 visitors each day. iPeen recorded $1 million in revenue last year and plans to hit $3 million this year. Sky Ho, CEO of iPeen said that he targets an initial public offering (IPO) in five years time.
  • CyberAgent Ventures accelerates its speed on investing in startups in Asia. Last month, it invested in PT Tokopedia, Indonesian online shopping mall.