Japanese CEOs from Mixi, Livesense on developing new businesses

Japanese CEOs from Mixi, Livesense on developing new businesses

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B Dash Ventures' Hiroyuki Watanabe, Livesense's Taichi Murakami, Mixi's Yusuke Asakura
From the left: B Dash Ventures’ Hiroyuki Watanabe, Livesense’s Taichi Murakami, Mixi’s Yusuke Asakura

See the original story in Japanese.

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

On day one of B Dash Camp 2013 in Osaka, the first session featured a discussion, moderated by Hiroyuki Watanabe of B Dash Ventures, with two representatives of leading Japanese leading internet companies: Yusuke Asakura, CEO of Mixi; and Taichi Murakami, CEO of Livesense

Mixi has revised its fiscal year performance forecast ending March of 2014, down from 13.5 billion yen ($139 million) to 8 billion ($82.4 million), forcing their executives into a hard spot. Meanwhile Livesense, while not well recognized by many outside Japan, but is performing well.

We’re forecasting an operating profit worth 1.5 billion yen ($15.5 million). Currently we are exploring the launch of a new monetization model like a buzz marketing site.

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The both companies need to think about their future business strategy in their respective business environments. Coinciding with a new acquisition just announced today (they’ll acquire speed-dating organizer Confianza to launch a match-making business), Mixi’s Asakura spoke about his company’s future potential for in-house service development and M&A. Our readers may recall that to date Mixi has launched mobile testing environment DeployGate, photobook service Nohana, a business research service, and a match-making business.

Watanabe asked how such new businesses can be synergized with their conventional businesses. Asakura replied:

We don’t need to pursue immediate synergy with our services. By making the most of the knowledge we have, we will keep acquiring new services and development ones in house. For example, the match-making business will be treated as separate from our main business.

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Livesense’s Murakami unveiled they have four different business development efforts: internal service development, investment in startups, M&A, and partnerships. When pressed by the moderator, he confessed that he had hoped to invest in private lesson marketplace Cyta.jp, recently acquired by Japanese recipe site Cookpad. This prompted a big laugh from the audience.

Since Livesense has been developing a database business from the scratch, it helps them build up knowledge on how to better develop a new business. He said this will also work even in a business that is entirely different from their own existing businesses.