Japanese flea market app secures investment of $3M just 6 weeks after launch


unitedkouzohSee the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based United, the company behind homescreen decoration app CocoPPa, announced today that it has partnered with Kouzoh. You may recall that Kouzoh is the mobile commerce company which recently developed a flea market app called Mercari.

As part of this partnership, United will invest 300 million yen (approximately $3 million) in the flea market company, thus taking a 14.5% stake in the company.

The partnership will be made official on August 28th, when United’s managing director Hiroki Teshima will join the Kouzoh’s management board. In addition, United announced it is also planning to establish a local subsidiary in the US to intensifying global marketing efforts for its CocoPPa app.

We heard from both United’s Hiroki Teshima and Kouzoh’s founder and CEO Shintaro Yamada.

Kouzoh’s Shintaro Yamada

According to Yamada, his main reason to enter this partnership was the prospect of a business collaboration with CocoPPa, which is showing rapid user growth. From his perspective, CocoPPa and Mercari overlap in their user demographics, and he figures the partnership will help Mercari accelerate its growth as well.

Teshima explained that United plans to treat Mercari as a ‘sister app’ and collaboratively work on driving user traffic and run joint promotional campaigns. The company is experienced in the smartphone ad business, and expects to bring some of that to Mercari to help it succeed.

Mr. Teshima also explained to us a little about their expansion to the US:

In terms of marketing CocoPPa in the US, this launch will be very speedy. We will renew the service in September, and add a paid service in October. I’ve been visiting the US to find potential partners which can provide attractive paid content for our app.

Regarding international expansion of the Mercari app, we need to focus on the domestic market for the time being and look to launching it in the US later on. When Mercari starts global expansions, CocoPPa will have a certain following in the US so that it can help Mercari to acquire users there. We’ll work closely together since United expects to let Kouzoh be one of its group companies.

According to the announcement, United’s US subsidiary CocoPPa Inc. will be established in New York where Mr. Naka Imuta, the general manager at CocoPPa business, will be named as the CEO. United’s CEO Yozo Kaneko and managing director Hiroki Teshima also join the management board for the NY company.

For more information on Mercari, check out our recent interview with CEO Shintaro Yamada.