Japan’s DeNA acquires young women-focused fashion curation site Mery



This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese.

In addition to Iemo’s acquisition announcement today, Japanese young women-focused fashion curation site Mery also unveiled it has been acquired by Japanese internet company DeNA. They have avoided media exposure, so this is the first time we have covered the company.

Peroli, the company behind Mery, is a new company and their shareholders include founders, East Ventures, Anri, and some other undisclosed investing companies.

Peroli’s Ayataro Nakagawa

The company was launched in August of 2012 by Ayataro Nakagawa, who previously co-founded online art collection dictionary site Atokore with Crowdworks‘ managing director Shuzo Narita. Rumor has it that they have shown good growth, and we have learned that they have acquired over 1.2 million monthly unique users as of September. Some 90% of customers are mobile-phone users, indicating that Iemo and Mery successfully rode the wave of smartphone adoption.

Typical curated media sites work to boost page views, but Nakagawa has found another way to drive his business, which is in a e-commerce fashion sector crowded with competitors like iQon, Zozotown, Stores.jp, Sumally, and Origami.

Nakagawa explained his growth strategy:

We want to give users a discovery-based shopping experience rather than one where users find an item by name. What we have learned from our one year of experience is that people choose a product based on their sense of themselves. By strengthening our engineering force in partnership with DeNA, we want to cultivate this space from scratch.

Qualitative search methods for fashion e-commerce require high-level search technology and a tremendous amount of item data. For example, Mery’s competitor Sumally took nearly three years to build a database of over 50 million fashion items. For example, Summaly, Mery’s competitor, took nearly three year to build a database of over 50 million fashion items.

Mery has acquired 1.2 million users, and it will be interesting to see how they progress in such a saturated and highly competitive space.