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.