Retty, a Tokyo-based startup providing social restaurant recommendations, has announced a partnership with three Japanese major restaurant guides and reservation sites: restaurant.ikyu.com (operated by Ikyu, TSE:2450), Gurunavi (TSE:2440), and Akiran.jp.
Retty users can find the best restaurants according to their social contacts. With the agreement users will gain instant access to book restaurants via the partnering services, with integration set to start on April 8th. The deal’s scope is far-reaching too, covering more than 600,000 restaurants in Japan.
Retty initially started its journey backed by CyberAgent Ventures back in November of 2010. The startup raised 100 million yen (or about 1 million dollars) from GREE Ventures, NTT Investment Partners, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital last October in order to drive international expansion to the US and Singapore. However, we’ve not yet confirmed the company’s presence in those markets yet. Most likely Retty is still building business strategies so they can take on competitors such as Yelp or Singtel’s HungryGoWhere.
Partnering with these Japanese restaurant portals that have online booking capabilities could be a great shortcut to monetization. Money can be made by driving user traffic businesses without the need to make agreements with every single establishment in the local restaurant market.
In my view, Ikyu or Gurunavi are likely to take over the startup in the near future. Both companies are listed on the TSE stock market, have sound financial foundations, and are interested in launching restaurant-related information businesses in Asia and the rest of the world. But they are struggling to find new business models for further expansion and development.