Japan’s Culture Convenience Club selects 7 finalists for its first incubation program



See the original story in Japanese.
Earlier this month, T-media Holdings, the internet business-focused intermediate stock holding company of Japan’s largest bookstore chain operator Culture Convenience Club (CCC for short, TSE:4756), held its final public screening event for the first batch of its startup incubation program called T-Venture Program, in cooperation with its subsidiaries IMJ and IMJ Investment Partners. CCC is the operator of Japan’s largest bookstore chain Tsutaya.

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This program attracted 110 teams from all over the country. 41 teams made it through the first selection by the judging committee and 12 of them  chosen as finalists after the second selection. CCC CEO Muneaki Masuda, serving the event as chief juror, noted that the judges have graded five factors such as value creation, potential, and branding to award 7 finalists out of the dozen.

Masuda stressed that they paid close attention to each candidate as to integrity as a platform, proposal for lifestyles, natural aspects, and friendliness rather than a mere membership system.

Awarded startups listed below will proceed to the second phase (Incubation 2) of the program, including an integration test with T-site, the versatile information portal site of CCC.

Top Award Winner: Agrimedia

Supplementary prizes: participating in the program’s Incubation 2 phase, 300,000 T-points (rewards available at Tsutaya bookstores and affiliated retailers), complimentary one-year subscription to Tsutaya Discas (mail-delivered DVD rental service).

Agrimedia CEO Takashi Morofuji


Tokyo-based startup Agrimedia provides vegetable gardens for rental in suburbs, called Share Batake. What makes them stand out from other providers is that it offers courses on vegetable farming by professional farmers and gardening advisers. Urban gardeners can participate in growing vegetables without bringing their own tools to these garden. One could grow around 20 different kinds of vegetables throughout a year and take the harvests home. The company also offers the premium option of hiring a “garden manager” for those who have no time to take care of the vegetables.

Agrimedia plans to set up a trial garden space at a T-site real store premise in the Tokyo suburb of Shonan, looking for more opportunity to reach potential customers.

Outstanding Startups Award winner: Onemore

Supplementary prizes: participating in the program’s Incubation 2 phase, 100,000 T-points (rewards available at Tsutaya bookstores and affiliated retailers)


Tokyo-based Onemore, the company behind crowdfunding platform called Green Funding, introduced its successful use case having raised for producing novel-based film “The Light Shines Only There” starring the superb Japanese actor Go Ayano. The company proposed a film production-focused crowdfunding site integrated with T-site, leveraging user attribute information associated with T-site user id to present relevant recommendations to potential crowdfunding backers. The company says, other possible merit may include allowing backers to participate in crowdfunding campaigns using T-point reward points, as well as allowing film project owners to invite backers to exclusive events promoting their films.

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Outstanding Startups Award winner: Filme by Coto Coto


Filme lets mothers produce a movie recording their children’s growth, named Seicho Cinema, literally meaning Growth Cinema.

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When a mother keeps recording a 30-second movie clip shooting her child every day for 20 days, Coto Coto’s original movie-editing engine produces a movie consisting of them. The service allows her to ask for a DVD to be sent to the grandparents who typically live apart from their grandchildren.

Coto Coto proposed setting up a booth near the kid’s space in the T-site real store, accepting movie production orders from families and giving them opportunities to enjoy the growth of their children by playing back their memories at a café nearby.

(‘Seicho Cinema’ is a trademark of Coto Coto.)

Speiclal Jury Award winner: Smaoku (Smart Auction) by Zawatt


Smaoku (Smart Auction) is a mobile app inspired by the flash sale concept, aiming to bringing a sense like being at the real auction site. The company wants to buy unwanted items from users at real T-site stores.

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Speiclal Jury Award winner: Saka No Tochu (On the Slope)


Kyoto-based Saka No Tochu (On the Slope) provides a subscription-based organic vegetable delivery service, promoting low environmental-load agriculture and new agricultural workers. Japanese farmers are usually small-scaled and their yield is easily affected by natural factors. But the company aims to optimize the cultivation management and farming plans by deploying financial engineering techniques to agriculture, looking to secure valuation of the agricultural industry.

While a conversion rate from trial users to subscribed users are around 10% on typical food delivery e-commerce services, the company targets 25-30% and sees 250,000 yen (about $2,100) in a user’s lifetime value despite a per-user acquisition cost of 5,000 yen (about $42).

T-Point Award winner: Cashback Chintai

Supplementary prize: 50,000 T-points


Cashback Chintai is a platform for rental homes and apartments, charging ad costs to property owners or agents on a total-performance basis so that they have to pay nothing until tenants are found.

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The platform gives cashback rewards to tenants who have signed an agreement with a property owner, so these tenants are pleased to inform the platform that the deal is conducted using it. In this way, the platform can catch up with all transactions and charge all property owners or agents whose deals are handled via the platform regardless of whether receiving any report from the latter parties.

Cashback Chintai has listed over 1.8 million properties to date, and is ranked at the top 3 in the industry. The company proposed that they would give users cashback rewards using T-points in partnership with the T-site portal.

Tsutaya Award winner: Filmarks by Tsumiki


Filmarks is a social review site focused on films. Since its launch back in June of 2013, it has acquired more than 4.5 million reviews to date. For instance, brand new film Big Hero 6 acquired 3,904 reviews comparing to Yahoo Movies with 1,451 reviews (as of this writing). It is, at least considered from the movie reviews standpoint, seen being in an invincible position.

The platform will find synergy in collaboration with Tsutaya which provides a huge variety of movie titles both online and offline.

Translated by Sumi Yo via Mother First
Edited by Masaru Ikeda
Proofread by “Tex” Pomeroy