Nov 29, 2011

Klab Sets Up Klab Ventures To Invest In Internet Startups /Venture Now

Klab revealed that it will establish 100% subsidiary to enter into venture incubation business. It will set up a venture fund. ...

Venture Now 11/28/2011 [jp]

  • Klab went IPO in this September. The company develops mobile social games.

mlab Raises 100M Yen From IVP Fund II /Venture Now

An avatar communication service for smartphone, "baboo" operator, mlab revealed that it raised 100 million from IVP Fund II, which Infinity Ventures LLP manages.

This is the second fundraising from IVP Fund following 100 million yen in this April.

mlab was founded by spin-out of smartphone application division of Blau which focuses operating official sites for feature phones.

mlab launched baboo in this September, which is a chat application for smartphone with "kawaii" or cute characters. ...

Venture Now 11/28/2011 [jp]

  • Different from the recent incubators copying Y-Combinator, Infinity Ventures invests relatively large amount in selected seed/early stage startups. It invested 300 million yen in mobile social game developer, One Of Them in this October. 

Nov 25, 2011

Celsys And HI Agreed On Merger /Venture Now

Celsys and HI will set up a joint holding company to integrate management in April 2012. Both will be delisting on March 28th and the holding company will be listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Celsys operates creator support business and ebook publishing support business. It has 2.7 billion yen of revenue and 450 million yen of operating profit ending October 2011. HI develops and sells license of middleware for 3D drawing and also develops 3D contents for smartphone.  It has 2.2 billion yen of revenue and 110 million yen of operating profit ending March 2011. ...

Venture Now 11/25/2011

  • Both company seemed to have advantages in technologies and services for feature phone in particular. The merger may be aiming to adapt for smartphone era.

Nov 22, 2011

[WSJ] NTT DOCOMO Subsidiary net mobile Partners with DeNA Subsidiary ngmoco to Expand Social Mobile Games Network Mobage

Social mobile games leader DeNA and Western subsidiary ngmoco have extended a significant business alliance with NTT DOCOMO through its division net mobile AG. 
net mobile will help place Mobage, DeNA Group's worldwide social mobile games network, with mobile carriers and serve as a sales conduit in key markets across Europe and Asia. In addition, net mobile will help conduct business development services on behalf of ngmoco, to support content acquisition for Mobage. 

The Wall Street Journal Market Watch 11/17/2011 [en]


  • NTT Docomo acquired net mobile in 2009.

[Penn Olson] DeNA Taps Vietnamese Game Studio VNG to Make Mobile Social Games for Mobage

The Japanese company DeNA (TYO:2432) has announced this afternoon that it is tapping a Vietnamese games studio called VNG to bring new social games onto Mobage, DeNA’s global social gaming platform.VNG is one of Vietnam’s largest web companies, with 1,500 employees at present. 
With this tie-up, DeNA will provide support for VNG in its production of new games that will be distributed on the Mobage platform. The aim is to create at least three new social games for smartphones on Mobage in 2012. It has not been revealed how much an investment and/or renumeration this entails. 

Penn Olson 11/22/2011 [en]

  • Just a few games from foreign developers are successful in mobile social game market in Japan. Even Zynga has not been doing well. It is interesting how VNG will be by getting support from DeNA.

Nov 16, 2011

Student Startup, Labit's Time Schedule App Surpasses 12,000 Users /Venture Now

A social application allowing students to share time schedule of classes on Facebook to visualize who attends the same class and white spaces of other students is popular in universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The app is called Sugoi Jikanwari (awesome time table). Users use it from smartphone (iPhone or Android) or Facebook. It was officially launched at October 20th. As of November 11th, it surpasses 12,000 users and 50,000 classes registered.

Student startup, Labit developed it. Soon after founded by four founders on 2011 April, it raised capital from NetAge and in August, it raised 25 million yen from six angel investors. ...

Venture Now 11/15/2011 [jp]

  • Hiroyuki Tsuruda, a CEO of Labit, launched a web site, just two hours after the earthquake in Tohoku, which delivers messages of support from all around the world.

[TechCrunch] Enterprise SEO Platform Ginzametrics Raises US$1.3 Million From 500 Startups, Venture51, And A Group Of Star Investors

Y-Combinator graduate and 500 Startups company Ginzamarkets announced it has raised US$1.3 million in seed funding for Ginzametrics, its SEO management and analytics platform for enterprises. The fresh money comes from 500 Startups, Venture51, and a group of angel investors, namely Jeff Miller, Ullas Naik, Shogo Kawada (Co-Founder of Japanese social gaming giant DeNA), Ryota Matsuzaki (former Head of Strategic Planning at Rakuten, Japan’s biggest e-commerce company), Jay Weintraub, Aman Thapar and Stephen Culp. 
This capital injection follows the US$400,000 Ginzamarkets raised from 500 Startups and a group of individual investors late last year. According to Ginzamarkets CEO Ray Grieselhuber, the new money will be used to expand the team, improve on the product, and bolster business development and marketing (the company says the growth so far has been entirely organic). ...

TechCrunch 11/15/2011 [en]

  • The founder of Ginzamarkets founded a startup before in Japan, and then moved to Silicon Valley to start Ginzamarkets. 

Intel Capital Invests $40M In 10 Asian Companies /Cnet Japan

Intel Capital announced investments of $40 million in 10 Asian companies including 2 Japanese companies, 6 in China, India, and Korea, and 2 in Taiwan planned in the near future.

One of Japanese company is G Cluster Global which provides interactive cloud service using its patent technology, G Cluster. The company plans to use the money for R&D and expansion for new markets.

Another is security software vendor, OneBe which provides remote data erasure solution for smartphone. The company said that with the capital, it develops products for Intel AT and security solution for cloud computing. ...

Cnet Japan 11/15/2011 [jp]

  • Intel Capital seems to have rarely invested in Japan for a few years, but it would become more active.

Nov 15, 2011 To Invest Japanese Startups /Nikkei

Cloud service vendor, enhances investment in Japanese IT startups. It invests two companies by mid November to increase the total portfolio to five. It aims to extend customer base including small and medium companies by co-developing cloud services with them to increase service offerings.

The cloud company invests in event management software developer, Shanon on mid November. The amount is considered to be several dozen million yen.

On the end of October, it invested in Digital Coast, enterprise software developer. The amount is around 90 million yen, which is joint investment with three others. ...

Nikkei 11/15/2011

  • Both develop enterprise application software. targets those application developers to let them provide their applications on Salesforce's platform.

Art Review Site, Atokore Raises 4.5M Yen From Samurai Fund /Venture Now

Atokore, an operator of user-generated art review site, "Minna no Bijutsukan Atkore", revealed that it conducted an allocation of new shares of 4.5 million yen to Samurai Incubate Fund III.

Atokore was seed venture founded in this September. The founder, Mr. Narita started working for intellectual property database company, PatentBureau, while in Keio University and still is enrolled at the university. ...

Minna no Bijutsukan Atokore was released as alpha at November 10th. The service is a social service allowing users to share features, value, or amusingness  of art such as paintings or buildings. ...

Venture Now 11/14/2011 [jp]

  • It is an art version of Bukupe, book review sharing service, in which Samurai Incubate invests as well.

Nov 11, 2011

[Penn Olson] The “Office Race” Continues… GREE Looks To Set Up Shop in Dubai

Whenever DeNA has a new office or overseas partnership, GREE seems to have one too (and vice versa). It’s like an “Office race” where both companies are racing to see who has more offices outside of Japan. 
The new office in Dubai will start its operation in January 2012 and will focus on building relationships with game developers and providing support in the Middle East region. ...
Penn Olson 11/11/2011 [en]

  • Gree has announced to set up local office in US, China, Korea, Singapore, UK, The Netherlands, and Brazil.

Nov 9, 2011

[DeNA Press Release] DeNA Seoul and Daum Sign MOU on Bringing Mobage to South Korea

TOKYO, JAPAN – November 8, 2011 — DeNA Co., Ltd. (DeNA), today announced that its Seoul-based wholly owned subsidiary, DeNA Seoul Co., Ltd, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Daum Communications Corp. on bringing DeNA’s Mobage social gaming platform to South Korea through Daum’s popular Web portal and mobile apps. This Mobage Korea service will be focused primarily on smartphone users in South Korea and is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2012. 
By leveraging Daum’s existing 38 million registered users, social graphs and AD@m, South Korea’s largest mobile advertisement network with over 10 billion monthly page views, DeNA Seoul will be able to bring Mobage Korea to millions of new consumers. The two companies will also collaborate to promote Mobage Korea on Daum’s websites and apps. ...

DeNA Press Release 11/8/2011 [en]

  • DeNA is said to slow down for revenue growth in its local market, Japan and also global expansion compared to the rival, Gree. Actually, in terms of market cap, Gree surpassed DeNA in September and the gap has been increasing. It is interesting to see how DeNA tries to fight against the rival.

[PCWorld] Japan's Rakuten to Acquire E-book Retailer Kobo

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten said on Tuesday that it plans to acquire Canadian e-book and e-reader company Kobo in a bid to expand in the area of media downloads for consumers. 
Rakuten in Tokyo said it has entered into a definitive agreement by which it intends to acquire 100 percent of the total issued and outstanding shares of Kobo for US$315 million in cash. 
Spun out of Indigo, a book, gift, and specialty toy retailer in December, 2009, Kobo offers e-readers, e-reader apps and an e-book catalog. An acquisition by Rakuten will give Kobo access to Rakuten e-commerce businesses in a number of countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. ...

 PCWorld 11/9/2011 [en]

  • Rakuten has been aggressively acquired EC sites around the world, but it is the first acquisition of e-reader company. Rakuten seems to go head-to-head with Amazon.

Nov 8, 2011

[Penn Olson] File-sending Service Kicksend Gets Funding from Japan-based Digital Garage

Japan-based investment and incubation firm Digital Garage announced today that it has invested in file-sharing service Kicksend, a start-up based in Mountain View, California. Kicksend was incubated in Y Combinator this past summer, and launched in beta in August. ...
Penn Olson 11/7/2011 [en]

  • Digital Garage announced a week ago that it invested in US-based startup, Memolane a week ago. Digital Garage has helped localization of foreign startups including Twitter and Linkedin recently. Also it is one of parent companies of an incubator, Opent Network Lab.  

[FT] Games developer Nexon lines up IPO in Japan

Nexon, a South Korean online games developer, aims to raise up to Y100bn ($1.3bn) in an initial public offering in Tokyo, which would be the largest Japanese IPO this year, according to a person close to the plans.
The group, which has operations in Japan and China and is expanding into Indonesia, India and the Middle East, is likely to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in mid-December with a market value of about Y600bn. ... 
Financial Times 11/7/2011 [en]

  • It is very rare for Korean startup going IPO on Japanese stock market. The market value is the same level as Gree.

Nov 7, 2011

Photo Decoration And Sharing, Snapeee Raises 100M Yen From Itochu Technology Ventures And Gree /Venture Now

The amount of capital is considered to be around 100 million yen, but it has not been disclosed.

Snapeee is operated by Mind Pallete, which allows users to disseminate "Kawaii" to the world through decorated photos to share emotion and feeling casually. It is currently available on iOS4.1 and later. It also plans to release Android app from au one Market in November.

After just two months of launch on May, it surpassed 500,000 downloads. It has been popular centered around Asian regions such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore reaching to 800,000 downloads. Foreign users share over 80%. ...

Venture Now 11/7/2011 [jp]


Nov 3, 2011

Gree Acquires Mars/FEYNMAN, Smartphone App Developer /Venture Now

Gree will acquire 70% of shares of Mars within this month, and plans to buy the rest until the mid next year.

Mars started multimedia business such as CD-ROM authoring in 1995. In 2008, it launched a subsidiary, FEYNMAN developing smartphone applications.

FEYNMAN provides dodaii, a platform enabling access log analysis and in-app billing for smartphone applications. It also develops and runs smartphone application, Yurufuwa Ikusei Game MEGU, which has had over 800,000 downloads. ...

Venture Now 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • M&A of mobile application developers by social networking service, Gree, mixi, and DeNA, are increasing recently. Mobile apps startups have more opportunity of exit than ever.

Nov 2, 2011

Livesense Goes IPO On Mothers At Dec. 7 /Venture Now

Livesense's current share holders are mostly directors and employees and no venture capital is included. The company was founded in 2006 February when the founder, Murakami was a student at Waseda University. Since its foundation, he said he would aim to become the youngest CEO to go IPO, which he realizes at 25 years old.

Livesense operates Job Sense, success fee based part-time job recruiting service, Job Sense Link, job recruiting service, and Job Sense Haken, temporally staff recruiting service. With the know-how from operation of the services, it enhances its business to intermediary services of real estate and used cars based on success fee model. ...

Venture Now 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • It is not common for student-launched Internet startup to go IPO without any VC money. It is interesting to see how the company will grow with the capital.

Conit Becomes 100% Subsidiary Of Mixi /

Conit develops applications for smartphone. From 2010 May, it has provided SamuraiPuerchase, which enables to integrate paid-contents billing function into a smartphone application, to support monetizing smartphone apps. ... 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • It is the second acquisition of mobile application developer by mixi recently following Naked Technology in September. Both develop applications targeting for application developers. mixi seems to enhance offerings to application developers as a platform operator.

Gree Sets Up Venture Fund Of 2B Yen Aiming At Asia /Cnet Japan

Gree announced to establish Gree Venture, corporate venture capital. Although Gree has invested in funds such as A-Fund, a venture fund focusing on Android, it is the first own fund with a form of corporate venture capital. The first fund has around 2 billion yen, 100 % invested by Gree. It targets IT startups in early stage. ...

The head of the CVC, Tsutsumi said that the fund does not necessarily focus on synergy with Gree. It aims to gain return on investment in potential startups as a financial investor. ...

Cnet Japan 11/2/2011 [jp]

  • As a corporate venture capital of Internet company, CyberAgent Ventures is the most active player. Tsutsumi of Gree Ventures was actually in charge of launching the predecessor of CAV.

Nov 1, 2011

Online Shoes Store, Raises 700M Yen /ITmedia

The Jade Group operating, EC site of shoes, announced that it concluded allocation of new shares of 700 million yen to venture capitals. It will use the capital to enhance lineup of items and marketing.

The site was launched in this February. It has grown with a return policy that customers can return goods within 99 days of arrival without shipping and handling. Monthly visitors surpassed 1 million in September.

Investors at the round include Lead Capital Management, Itochu Technology Ventures, and others. The total amount of capital became 2.2 billion yen. ...

ITmedia 10/31/2011 [jp]

  • The Jade Group was founded in 2010 October funded by German-based venture capital, Rocket Internet.