A new service gives Japanese students key info about their classes and profs


labit_logoFor businesses, school systems, and lots of organizations in Japan, everything starts around April. For new students to in universities, they have passed the entrance exams successfully and are full of expectations for what will happen. Capitalizing on this phenomenon, a mobile app called Sugoi Jikanwari, roughly translated as ‘Timetable Wow’ in English, is getting lots of traction among students right now, despite the fact that it was first introduced last July.

Available on desktop, Android and iOS, the app features user-generated content from university students, allowing them to find information about universities. For example, they could find out which courses are an easy credit, which professor gives especially interesting lectures, or even which lecturers strictly check attendance.

There is a social networking feature for sharing knowledge with classmates, where you can easily find out about a sudden lecture cancellation without going to your school campus.

Android version

Timetable Wow was invented by a Tokyo-based web startup called Labit, which is led by young standout entrepreneur Hiroyuki Tsuruta, aka Mocchi. When the Great East Japan Earthquake hit the country in 2011, he developed a website called PrayforJapan.jp. That site was a place where people around the world could share their thoughts and prayers for disaster victims, and more than 10 million people have the site in total.

As of last January, the Timetable app had acquired more than 90,000 users, with profiles of more than 380,000 lectures given at 1,114 universities and colleges in Japan. In terms of monetization, the app might be a good platform for potential advertisers to reach out to the university student demographic.

Labit was founded in April of 2011, and fundraised unknown amount (probably several tens of million yen) from NetAge, Recruit Incubation Partners, and six Japanese serial entrepreneurs.

From a presentation at the Infinity Venture Summit 2011