Forget food photos. Japan’s ‘Instapaper for Interiors’ raises $1M

Forget food photos. Japan’s ‘Instapaper for Interiors’ raises $1M

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See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Tunnel is the startup behind RoomClip, a photo sharing service that lets you show off your room. The company announced today that it has raised 100 million yen ($1 million) from Femto Growth Capital. Coinciding with this funding, the investment firm’s general partner Tetsuya Isozaki will join the board of the startup.

Tunnel was founded back in November of 2011. Previously it received seed investment of 10 million yen ($100,0000) from Samurai Incubate and Cyber Agent Ventures back in 2011.

According to the startup’s CEO Masahiko Takashige, the service’s main userbase are females in their 20s and 30s. He observed many people sharing interior photos on Mixi and other social networking services even before launching the startup back in May of 2012. To date the RoomClip mobile app has seen 130,000 downloads and over 100,000 photos posted. I asked Takashige about what motivates users sharing those photos.

For some users, they may not be so proud to show the inside of their home to others. So sharing such photos of your room can be a good excuse to clean up a little. Other users say it can be sort of addictive.

In terms of user behaviors, 90% of users are viewing other user’s photos, and refer to interiors posted by the service’s most frequent users. This tendency leads to some monetization potential with e-commerce opportunities.

For typical interior fanatics, they hope to discover and buy items they really want. We see many furniture and specialty stores in town. But you select items and place them in your room very much according to your own preference. Our service lets you share this experience online.

The startup expects to add product details and links to e-commerce sites in the app, and examine how these efforts can help drive user traffic for monetization.

The company aims to eventually reach 2.5 downloads for its mobile app and acquire 2 million users.

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