Japanese photo collage app Papelook raises $1.1 million from Jafco



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Papelook, the company behind a photo collage app under the same name, announced today that it has raised 120 million yen (or $1.12 million) from Japanese investment firm Jafco.

Since its launch of an iOS app in 2011 followed by an Android version in march of 2013, the company has acquired 13 million downloads in total to date worldwide.

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In our recent interview with Papelook CEO Ichiro Ozawa, he told us about their user demographics:

Papelook's CEO Ichiro Ozawa
Papelook’s CEO Ichiro Ozawa

We understand 96% of our users are female. we had no ideas about user demographics because our app require no user sign-up process. But our recent survey showed us “moms” account for 35% of our entire user base, so we are providing more stickers designed for moms.

While there are only about 6.6 million downloads in Japan alone, they are trying to increase active users rather than downloads in country. Ozawa continued:

Looking at the overseas markets, we have many downloads from Thailand and Korea in addition to North America. We’ll be more focused on increasing downloads in the overseas market. We’ll be targeting the Chinese market next. […] Our localization efforts are yet limited in translating user interface. But because it will be difficult for Japanese designers to create stickers so that overseas users are willing to use them, we’ll be trying to encourage global designers to create their stickers for Papelook. We are thinking to launch a service where global designers can sell their stickers as well as real products.

Papelook's geographical distribution of users
Papelook’s geographical distribution in terms of users

Evernote has an e-commerce outlet called Evernote Market selling their products. Similarly, Papelook wants to gain a brand value by building a user community and developing analog products. Ozawa explained:

We will start an online printing service. If you create a photo collage using our app, you will be able to print it out via photocopiers at convenience stores around the country, such as Seven Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart, and Sunkus. New year’s card prints using photo collages will be also available in year-end. […] We will try to have our users see we can provide more than just an app through organizing user events focused on moms.

While Papelook will be more focused on adverting sales and service planning from now, we understand that they will use the funds raised at this time to strengthen sales forces rather than an engineering team.