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 Netprice.com. 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.

Jul 15, 2011

Softsign starts to provide the first social RPG in Vietnam partnering with local SNS, MOBA /Zaikei Shimbun

Softsign provides Linh Trieu Binh Ca, RPG type social game through R&S Mobile Technology Joint Stock Company which Softsign has 49% of stock. The local company operates mobile SNS, MOBA. It is the first RPG type social game for mobile users in Vietnam.

Zaike Shimbun, 7/14/2011

  • Softsign was founded in 2009 to export Japanese contents to overseas.

GREE establishes local subsidiary in China /Venture Now

GREE announced to found a subsidiary in China to strengthen partnership with or support for local game developers. The company has developed partnership from its Beijing office launched in this Spring.  The subsidiary is called GREE Beijing, Inc.

Venture Now 7/14/2011

  • Another giant mobile gaming platform, DeNA already has a subsidiary in China, which was former WAPTX acquired by DeNA. Also it established a local subsidiary in Korea last month.

Jul 11, 2011

[Asiajin] Mobage And Gree Both To Bring Their Flash Games Into Smartphone

Two huge Japanese social gaming networks who are working on oversea expansion showed a new move to utilize their accumulated assets on Japanese feature phone world - Flash based games.

On June 30, Mobage company DeNA announced that they had purchased Broadtail, a Tokyo-based tech start-up, who developed a tool named "ExGame" to run Flash Lite 1.1 applications on smartphone(iOS and Android). Flash Lite is a light version of Adobe Flash, which is used on Docomo's feature phone. realized huge variety of Docomo's cellphone app store years before Apple's app store.
Then today, July 11, Gree announced that they developed and are to provide a Flash-to-HTML5 converter, which makes feature phone Flash applications run on iOS, for Gree partners(their development partners).
 Asiajin 7/11/2011

Jul 6, 2011

[Dr. Serkan Toto] CyberAgent Invests In Hong Kong-Based Gaming Company EpicForce

CyberAgent, through its subsidiary CyberAgent Ventures (Beijing) Investment Consulting Co., made yet another investment: this time, the company acquired a 25% stake in smartphone game maker EpicForcc Entertainment.

Details of the deal weren’t disclosed, but CyberAgent was apparently interested in the fact that EpicForce is based in Hong Kong (meaning it’s close to the Chinese market) and that its games were downloaded over 12 million times so far. ...

Dr. Serkan Toto - Japan Web Consulting & Research 7/5/2011

  • CyberAgent Ventures accelerates investment in Asian startups. It has invested in Vietnamese listing ads agency, Clever Advertising, Taiwanese restaurant review site, iPeen, and Indonesian EC, Tokopedia in the last few months. 

Jul 5, 2011

CyberAgent Ventures chooses teams to support for Startups 2011 spring /Cnet Japan

Startups is a incubation project to create new internet services with investing in startups. Over 120 teams or individuals applied for Startups2011 spring. Teams who passed the first screening have brush-up business plans for a month.

After final screening, seven teams are selected. CyberAgent Ventures plans to not only  capital support, but also help realize and expand the business plans.

Cnet Japan 7/4/2011

  • The first service from Startup 2010, Snapeee, has been successful not only in Japan but also in several Asian countries. The photo decoration and sharing application has over 300,000 downloads for just a month.

Jul 1, 2011

AR application, Sekai Camera allows to view photos before earthquake on the spot /Internet Watch

Tonchidot announced enhancement of Sekai Camera, mobile application with AR technology. The application lets users to view pictures on East Japan Earthquake Picture Project of Yahoo at the location where the pictures were actually taken.

East Japan Earthquake Picture Project is a non-profit project to preserve landscape destroyed by the earthquake in pictures. Since the launch at April 8, over 18,000 pictures are gathered including photos capturing recovery from the disaster.

Tonchidot assents to the project by enabling to view those pictures using FILTER function of Sekai Camera. Users can choose "memory before disaster" or "record for recovery" on FILTER menu to view air-tags of pictures. Users can view pictures by tapping the air-tags. ...

Internet Watch 7/1/2011

Hairdresser matching service raises seed capital from Samurai Fund /Venture Now

Axelworks announced to conduct allocation of new shares to Samurai Incubate Fund II in the middle of July. A total amount of capital is to be 7.8 million yen after the investment.

Along with the fundraising, it will change a name of company to FlyBridGe. The company aims for global expansion with the world's first hairdresser specialized Online-to-Offline service connecting hairdressers and consumers, Hiarcuttin, which is now in development.

Venture Now 6/30/2011

  • O2O (Online-to-Offline) is one of the keywords in this year. It is expected that a trend in web and mobile such as real-time and location are to be monetized with O2O. Also a rapid growth of smartphone accelerates the move.

UEI provides middleware for docomo Palette UI /ITmedia

Ubiquitous Entertainment (UEI) announced that its middleware, microZEKE, is adopted by NTT Docomo for its application for Android smartphone, docomo Palette UI.

microZEKE is a middlware for Android enabling to link applications based on database framework using ZEKE Technology.

docomo Palette UI is an original application allowing users to customize home screen with application. Users can group applications on home screen and also change color or name of group bar.

docomo Palette UI will be pre-installed on current smart phones such as MEIDA WP N-06C and Galaxy S II SC-02C as well as AQUIS PHONE f SH-13C and P-07C which are planned to be released from July to August.

ITmedia 6/29/2011

  • UEI won an award at Launch Pad of Infinity Venture Summit 2011 Spring with enchant.js, HTML5/JavaScript based game development engine for smartphone.