Tokyo-based Fastmedia, the Japanese startup that provides a smartphone app development platform called Yappli, announced today that it has fundraised 330 million yen ($2.7 million) from Globis Capital Partners, Salesforce, YJ Capital, and DeNA co-founder Shogo Kawada.  Coinciding with the funds, Fastmedia announced that Kawada and Takao Ozawa, head of Shopping Company at Yahoo Japan, have joined the company’s advisory board.
The Yappli platform is designed for non-engineers such as marketing representatives who typically have no programming skills, allowing them to develop and maintain a mobile app for iOS or Android by choosing templates, functions, and design components via drag-and-drop operations. Users can also ask Yappli to submit their app to the app store for review.
The app development platform supports a series of features for mobile apps, such as normal and geo-based push notifications, distributing online coupons, and other features which marketing representative typically want for mobile apps. Fastmedia CEO Yasufumi Ihara told The Bridge that the company has acquired more than 5,000 corporate users including about 30 major brands. From a business category perspective, the platform is the most popular in the apparel industry, followed by maker companies distributing their catalog or online content to customers.
Fastmedia’s business model takes a build-up approach, which is easier to make a solid revenue stream but also easier to see their ceiling of sales. To address this issue, Ihara is expecting sales from a revenue-share model that started in April, a stream from in-app purchases via their users’ apps developed on the Yappli platform.
For example, looking at the conversion rate of premium video content on a mobile app provided by Tokyo-based private broadcaster TBS, it has been hitting a high number of 10% despite the fact that similar services provided in the feature phone era was as little as 1%.
Fastmedia has introduced a revenue sharing model for content holders, where the company secures the sales from selling premium content through these holders’ mobile apps while the company undertakes the initial development of these apps for reasonable cost. Hence, the more premium content providers the company can attract, the more revenue will be generated and contributed to the growth of the company.
Fastmedia’s competitors include Strikingly, however, it seems that many users recognize the ease of use in the Yappli platform because of better fitting local market needs. With all this in mind, the company plans to strengthen user support using the latest funds.
Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson
- YJ Capital is the investment arm of Yahoo Japan. ↩