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. 
  • http://www.mobakids.jp/

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.
  • http://spothon.com/

Oct 26, 2011

Ex-CEO of Kakaku.com 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.  
  • http://www.rocketstaff.com/

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.
  • http://www.mindpl.co.jp/

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.
  • http://qrunch.jp/

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.
  • http://www.vega-c.com/

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.
  • http://affle.com/

[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 Netprice.com).