Japan’s LIP, a startup developing communications services, started providing a smartphone app called ‘5pm’ in San Francisco last week. The app is available for iOS on the iTunes AppStore and for Android on Google Play.
At the same time the company also announced that they had fundraised in January an undisclosed amount from Venture United, CyberAgent Ventures, Prime Capital and Incubate Fund, in addition to Kotaro Chiba, co-founder of Japanese mobile gaming company Colopl (TSE:3668).
LIP was founded in November 2014 by Yusuke Matsumura, who is an entrepreneur-in-residence at San Francisco-based growth marketer school Tradecraft and had been involved in development of artificial intelligence, and Mai Sekiguchi, former producer of a ‘pure-love app’ called One Heart (no longer available in the AppStore) for love declaration arrangement on Facebook.
Matsumura had once participated in Incubate Camp 7th, a startup bootcamp program by Japanese startup-focused investment firm Incubate Fund, where she presented a business plan for an online dating service as well. There he met Sekiguchi through mutual friend Takahito Iguchi, a serial Japanese entrepreneur well known for having developed Sekai Camera, founded LIP soon after and subsequently launched the first product.
Limited-time-period matching app ‘5pm’
LIP expressed their intention to develop a communications service which deepens human relationships. Their first product ‘5pm’ is an online matching app for arranging one to meet somebody after work.
The time frame available for matching is only 20 minutes after 5 pm. By limiting user conditions including the matching time and place, not to mention the meeting time, the waiting time and efforts spent before the meeting are reduced; such things have formed a hurdle for existing online meeting services.
LIP launched their service in San Francisco because it is quite popular to build new human relationships via internet there. According to findings by The University of Chicago researchers, one-third of new marriages in the U.S. today initially began over an online meeting service.
By improving the product in reflection while obtaining feedbacks from San Francisco users who tend to be cosmopolitan, the team plans to localize it for use in multinational settings in the future.
Matsumura explains that fields related to actual human interactions are very interesting, yet important. Not only does LIP focus on this kind of dating service, but it also plans to develop various services covering the communications sector.
By deepening human relationships, LIP supports construction of better friendships as well as chance creation of romance. Moreover, it offers an approach as to the issue of improving the marriage rate, one of Japan’s major social issues today.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy
Proofread by Masaru Ikeda