Japanese VC invests $2.3M in Korean growth hacking startup

Masaru Ikeda by Masaru Ikeda on 2013.8.29

Global Brain and 5Rocks

From the right: Nobutake Suzuki (Global Brain), Yasuhiko Yurimoto (Global Brain CEO), Changsu Lee (5Rocks CEO), Jeong Seok Roh (5Rocks CSO).

5Rocks is a Korean startup focused on providing business intelligence (BI) tools for mobile gaming developers. The startup announced today that it has raised 2.55 billion Korean won (approximately $2.3 million) from Japanese venture capital Global Brain.

For the latter, this represents its first investment in a Korean startup. Tokyo-based Global Brain has formed joint investment funds with established businesses such as Japanese telco KDDI and internet portal Nifty. The firm boasts a strong portfolio of notable Japanese tech startups including Nanapi, Monoco, Rarejob, and Origami.

5Rocks was launched back in September of 2010 and raised 2 billion won ($1.8 million) from Seoul-based Stone Bridge Capital. The startup was previously known as Ablar Company, providing a mobile-based restaurant finder and booking services for Korean consumers. Back in June, the company rebranded itself as 5Rocks and started developing the mobile BI tools, capitalizing on its previous experience in the mobile app business.

The company launched a closed beta version of its BI tools back in late June. A month after launch the tools were adopted by many local game developers including Sunday Toz, Link Tomorrow, Gamevil, Load Complete, Rocket Oz, and Momo. In terms of differentiation from similar tools like Micro Strategy and Yellowfin, 5Rocks’ solutions are more niche-focused, and dedicated to improving user retention in mobile gaming apps.

The startup revealed that it will start soon providing a closed beta version to five Japanese game developers: Pokelabo, MyNet, Mutations Studio, KLab and NewsTech. Following its entry into the Japanese market, they are planning business expansion to Mainland China.

Here in Japan, we have seen several startups competing in this space, including planBCD, Growth Push, and Fello. With 5Rocks now also in the arena, these startups will be forced to be deliver even better features moving forward.

(Thanks to beSUCCESS for pointing out this one, and for image above)


Masaru Ikeda

Masaru Ikeda

Masaru started his career as a programmer/engineer, and previously co-founded several system integration companies and consulting firms. He’s been traveling around Silicon Valley and Asia exploring the IT industry, and he also curates event updates for the Tokyo edition of Startup Digest.