Japan’s Nulab enhances flagship diagram sharing product, sets up shop in NYC



See the original story in Japanese.

Fukuoka-based Nulab has developed web-based collaborative tool for use with remote workers. On Wednesday, the company released Cacoo for Business, the cloud-based enterprise version of their flagship diagram drawing and sharing tool Cacoo. According to Nulab, Cacoo has acquired 1.5 million users, many using it for business.

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With Cacoo for Business, users can separate private diagrams from organizational diagrams, which are managed by the organization’s administrators. Organizational diagrams can only be shared among the organization, preventing any accidental leakage of important diagrams. Other security and sharing settings include the options to “publish the diagram with URL” option and to give other users permission to view, but not edit, the diagrams.

Cacoo for Business provides several additional premium options, such as features allowing users to export their diagrams in PDF or PowerPoint format. Nulab offers a free 30-day trial for the premium option upon the launch of the enterprise edition.


Nulab CEO Masanori Hashimoto told The Bridge how Cacoo has been successfully penetrated since its beta launch back in November 2009:

Cacoo’s use cases include creating wireframes, sitemaps, network charts, architecture diagrams, as well as reviewing user interfaces, creating design order documents, and many other purposes.

Before launching Cacoo for Business, Nulab had been providing the on-premise version of Cacoo for notable Japanese internet companies like DeNA, DMM, and Cookpad, where the company understand how much these users want to secure their assets and resources.

Hashimoto continued:

For example, we have received feedback for more efficient user management, more flexibility for user permissions, how to take over diagrams created by a retired employee to a new designer. We have made these possible in the brand new cloud edition (Cacoo for Business) to better serve our users.

Nulab will keep providing individual user plans as they have been in the past. In view of offering multiple service plans like individual use, business use, or freemium option, our readers may think that Cacoo has a business model similar to DropBox and Evernote.

Hashimoto added:

Going forward, we will add more features aiming to reach corporate users. Specifically speaking, these efforts include strengthening security policy setting such as two-factor authentication as well as integration with other third-party tools and services.

Global expansion

86% of Cacoo users are from outside Japan. US users account for 15% of the user base, and Japanese users take an almost equal share. Considering this, Nulab established a local subsidiary in New York City last October to strengthen marketing in the US.

Hashimoto elaborated:

Our user base in Japan and the US is almost the same size. In the number of paying users by country, Japan is ranked tops, followed by the US, which is far higher than other markets. So we see that many people are using our service in business in the US as well as Japan. That’s why we set up an office in New York for more intimate communication with users. Now we have two local employees there to develop community engagement.

Nulab has been making increased efforts in user engagement in the global market, including holding their recent meet-up in Taiwan last month where local users are rapidly increasing. The company plans to bring the brand new enterprise edition to global companies and other high-profile organizations.


Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by Kurt Hanson