In conversation with two up-and-coming Japanese e-commerce founders


IMG_8616This is a part of our coverage of B Dash Camp Fukuoka 2013.

On day two of B Dash Camp 2013 in Fukuoka, the final session featured a discussion of e-commerce, with a two interesting guests:

  • Shota Horii CEO, Fablic Inc.
  • Kakiyama Takehiro, the founder and CEO of Flutterscape
  • Moderator: Yusuke Tanaka, senior vice president at Yahoo Japan

Commerce born on mobile

Fril is a pretty fascinating service in that it created exclusively for mobile. Horii-san explains that they target female users, encouraging them to sell their unwanted clothes on via the Fril flea market, which lives entirely in their smartphone app. They target primarily 20 year olds who might not have a lot of money, but still want to buy clothes. But interestingly, these same women have a lot of unwanted clothes in their closet, and Fril offers them a way to become ‘shops’ in addition to just shoppers. They can upload pictures quickly to via the smartphone platform, an action that was really tedious in the days of feature phones.

He notes that the C2C market in Japan is still small, but for this demographic, other online services like Yahoo Auction might be a little too complex. So Fril really fills a nice gap. Interestingly, their team is made of all guys, but they appear to have no difficulties understanding their customer base.

Unique design for a global market

Kakiyama-san is pretty young entrepreneur, but has already turned many heads with his e-commerce service. He graduated from university just back in 2010, and he had a lot of foreign friends who were telling him to do something global. He liked the idea of making something with overseas reach, as well as having global tastes.

It started out as Flutterscape, which may ring a bell with some readers, but about a year ago they shifted gears to offer a B2C service called Monoco which sells designer interior products to a global market. He describes very strong growth, noting that they have about 650 designers on board, coming on at a pace of about 6 or 7 each day. Their site aspires to be fun, occasionally holding limited time flash sales.

Currently Monoco has seven merchandisers, including one in London, one in Bali, and one in New York. He says that having boots on the ground in different regions allows them to meet a variety of great designers.

Both Fril and Monoco are pretty fascinating business ideas, and it will be interesting to see how they both fare in the future.