The advent of social media and smart devices has allowed us to receive continuous updates from content producers at any time, no matter where we are. So these days people really need practical solutions to help them filter what to receive and read. We’ve seen several outstanding Japanese startups working on such information solutions, including Smart News, Vingow, and Gunosy.
It’s an economic journal for the smartphone era
On Friday another player jumped into this space. Tokyo’s Uzabase, the startup behind corporate profile database Speeda, unveiled an iOS app that curates financial and business news updates. It’s called News Picks.
News Picks aggregates business and financial updates from 30 news entities in Japan and around the world, delivering them to subscribers with in-depth analysis by the startup’s team of economists and high profile entrepreneurs. The app is available for iOS, and its desktop version will be also introduced by the end of this year. If you think this is just a RSS news aggregator, you’re partly right. But the biggest draw of this service is that it is developed and managed by a team with a solid background in finance.
The startup was founded back in 2008. The company’s first app, Speeda, was invented by its founding members who previously worked with investment banks. It collects news updates and business analysis from think tanks, and provides them to finance businesses. In terms of differentiation from big players like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters, the service requires users to have no special terminal nor master specific commands or functions.
The company is rapidly expanding its focus on Asia, and has overseas offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Curation by economic experts might be the key
One key service provided by the startup is a strong expertise in business trends, with valuable news updates curated by financial experts.
When you launch the app, you’re required to log in to the service with your social media accounts. But I found it somewhat discouraging that it asked me to create a user account/password for the service in addition to the social media login. Subsequently, you choose persons or business categories that interest you. This process is similar to that of the Vingow app as well.
You can browse updates in the timeline curated by other users you follow, or check out the news crawling robots. You can add notes on updates, which then allows other users know why you liked it. Like conventional RSS reader apps, you can jump to the original website from any given update.
From my perspective, there’s still room to improve in terms of choosing updates to suit my preference. It’s difficult to choose which high profile user I should follow. For example, if I follow Japanese dotcom tycoon Takafumi Horie, I don’t know what kind of curated updates I will get through his timeline.
Here on this site, we also bring you updates from startup scenes around the world, including business updates. From a media person’s perspective, I’m looking forward to seeing how this kind of solutions changes how consumers’ get news updates.