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Japanese business reporting tool Gamba fundraises $400,000

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See the original story in Japanese. Yokohama-based Gamba, the startup that provides business reporting tool under the same name, announced today it has raised 40 million yen (about $400,000) from two Japanese investment firms; East Ventures and Skyland Ventures. This follows their previous funding of $200,000 from Skyland Ventures back in October 2013. Gamba was launched back in December 2012 by Masahiro Morita, who previously worked for Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten as a business development producer. Gamba recently partnered with Japanese internet company Nifty, where Gamba’s cloud-based reporting tool was added to the series of Nifty’s business software packages called Hakokura, which is sold at more than 17,000 computer stores nationwide in Japan with the aim to give internet-unfamiliar SME owners more opportunities to learn and try a variety of cloud-based services. Gamba is in talks with other companies to create more sales channels to users they have not yet reached. From my point of view, most companies using cloud-based services typically have their CEOs or operations managers who are early adopters. However, startups have to reach late adopters as well in order to build a bigger user base. Thus, if you have developed an awesome service but are struggling…

get-gamba

See the original story in Japanese.

Yokohama-based Gamba, the startup that provides business reporting tool under the same name, announced today it has raised 40 million yen (about $400,000) from two Japanese investment firms; East Ventures and Skyland Ventures. This follows their previous funding of $200,000 from Skyland Ventures back in October 2013.

Gamba was launched back in December 2012 by Masahiro Morita, who previously worked for Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten as a business development producer. Gamba recently partnered with Japanese internet company Nifty, where Gamba’s cloud-based reporting tool was added to the series of Nifty’s business software packages called Hakokura, which is sold at more than 17,000 computer stores nationwide in Japan with the aim to give internet-unfamiliar SME owners more opportunities to learn and try a variety of cloud-based services. Gamba is in talks with other companies to create more sales channels to users they have not yet reached.

From my point of view, most companies using cloud-based services typically have their CEOs or operations managers who are early adopters. However, startups have to reach late adopters as well in order to build a bigger user base. Thus, if you have developed an awesome service but are struggling to acquire users, you should study and learn from Gamba as it increases touch points with potential customers.

Japan’s Moi fundraises $5 million for mobile live streaming app TwitCasting

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Moi Corporation, the company behind Japanese mobile live streaming app TwitCasting, announced that it has fundraised $5 million from Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group leading and Japanese seed investor East Ventures also participating. Our readers may recall that the company raised $634,000 from East Ventures back in May 2013. See our past articles featuring this startup: Live-streaming app TwitCasting surpasses 2 million users, but founder is a little distressed Japan’s livestreaming app TwitCasting to soon hit 3M users, is now winning fans overseas 15 Japanese startups pitch at Rising Expo 2013, TwitCasting takes top prize Video sharing in Japan: Twitcasting and Vine prove popular among teenagers Japanese livestreaming app TwitCasting to support collaborative broadcasting via TechCrunch

moi_featuredimage

Moi Corporation, the company behind Japanese mobile live streaming app TwitCasting, announced that it has fundraised $5 million from Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group leading and Japanese seed investor East Ventures also participating.

Our readers may recall that the company raised $634,000 from East Ventures back in May 2013.

See our past articles featuring this startup:

via TechCrunch

Meet the Japanese entrepreneur trying to disrupt the Thai cosmetics market

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See the original story in Japanese. Last week I had a chance to visit Bangkok on the way back from an IT conference in Phuket. And while it’s hard to focus on startups and entrepreneurships during a time of political crisis, I decided to push on and speak with some local leaders in the tech space while I was there. Thailand is, of course, a country to be reckoned with when discussing global social media trends. The market has a great impact on the industry as a whole, with the country representing the world’s second largest user base of the Line messaging app. Many foreign entrepreneurs, including Japanese ones, have launched startups right here. BuzzCommerce’s Shinsuke Wakai is one of these entrepreneurs. For over ten years, he has been working with local people and businesses in Bangkok. He launched a cosmetics-focused buzz media site called Cosmenet four years ago, and has assisted cosmetics brands from the West, Thailand, and Japan market their products among local consumers. Cosmenet is very much Thailand’s answer to @Cosme, the Japanese cosmetics online giant. Brands in the cosmetics industry have been heavily dependent on mass media (e.g. TV commercials and magazines) for their promotional activities….

See the original story in Japanese.

Last week I had a chance to visit Bangkok on the way back from an IT conference in Phuket. And while it’s hard to focus on startups and entrepreneurships during a time of political crisis, I decided to push on and speak with some local leaders in the tech space while I was there. Thailand is, of course, a country to be reckoned with when discussing global social media trends. The market has a great impact on the industry as a whole, with the country representing the world’s second largest user base of the Line messaging app. Many foreign entrepreneurs, including Japanese ones, have launched startups right here. BuzzCommerce’s Shinsuke Wakai is one of these entrepreneurs.

cosmenet_screenshot
Cosmenet

For over ten years, he has been working with local people and businesses in Bangkok. He launched a cosmetics-focused buzz media site called Cosmenet four years ago, and has assisted cosmetics brands from the West, Thailand, and Japan market their products among local consumers. Cosmenet is very much Thailand’s answer to @Cosme, the Japanese cosmetics online giant.

Brands in the cosmetics industry have been heavily dependent on mass media (e.g. TV commercials and magazines) for their promotional activities. But many have turned to Cosmenet as a means to reach out to potential customers in a more efficient way. Wakai feels that a media site should provide a neutral perspective to readers, so he has refrained from selling cosmetics on Cosmenet. But since many of the products introduced on the site are difficult to purchase in the city, his team has been receiving frequent inquiries about where to buy them.

So Wakai decided to develop an e-commerce site specifically focused on selling cosmetics from outside Thailand to young local women. It’s called BuzzCommerce. When you import and sell cosmetics, you typically are required to get approval from the food and drug administration in that country — and as you might expect, that takes time. But Wakai’s partner has helped a Japanese drug store chain import products to Thailand, so she is quite good at the requisite paper work, and that has accelerated their business’s launch.

In Thailand, we’ve already seen several notable e-commerce sites like Tarad (by Rakuten) and WeLoveShopping (by Thai telco True, inspired by Tarad). However, the majority of e-commerce deals in the country are typically traded between consumers directly using Facebook or Instagram. On BuzzCommerce, whether young women take to their service will make or break the business.

The company recently raised an undisclosed sum from East Ventures, and Wakai is now completely devoted to developing the e-commerce site. If all goes as scheduled, the web version will be launched by the end of June, with mobile apps will follow in August or September.

On a related note, many of you may recall that Singapore-based cosmetics e-commerce site Luxola raised from several investors earlier this week. In the Asian region, we’ve seen many other subscription-based cosmetic e-commerce services, as well as vertical buzz sites like Fashionguide in Taiwan.

Rocket Internet had been rapidly launching e-commerce services in the Asia region, but they have no portfolio company focused on this space after they sold GlossyBox to VanityTrobe in February of last year. I understand that this left market opportunities in the cosmetics industry in the region, which perhaps leaves room for BuzzCommerce to expand business beyond from Thailand if all goes well.

Japanese flea market app Mercari raises $500,000 from East Ventures

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See the original story in Japanese. Mercari, a flea market app launched by Japanese serial entrepreneur Shintaro Yamada, has been showing good numbers of late. Since the release of its Android app back on July 2nd, more than 50,000 users have put over 10,000 items up for sale using the marketplace. Kouzoh, the startup behind the app, introduced the iOS version of its app today, and also announced that it has fundraised 50 million yen (approximately $500,000) from East Ventures. Several hundred items submitted every day According to Yamada, they are struggling to acquire users but have started seeing good result in user activity. He explained: So far things are as we expected. In terms of user submissions, we saw lots of ladies clothes being posted, but we’ve seen also home appliances sold on the marketplace — so item posted vary. Several hundred items are submitted every day and the market is still small, but we’re seeing sound growth in deals between buyers and sellers on the platform. The startup itself might be best known for having a very high-profile management board. In addition to having ex-Zynga Japan GM Yamada as CEO, Hiroshi Tomishima (the founder at Bank of Innovation)…

mercari

See the original story in Japanese.

Mercari, a flea market app launched by Japanese serial entrepreneur Shintaro Yamada, has been showing good numbers of late. Since the release of its Android app back on July 2nd, more than 50,000 users have put over 10,000 items up for sale using the marketplace.

Kouzoh, the startup behind the app, introduced the iOS version of its app today, and also announced that it has fundraised 50 million yen (approximately $500,000) from East Ventures.

Several hundred items submitted every day

According to Yamada, they are struggling to acquire users but have started seeing good result in user activity. He explained:

So far things are as we expected. In terms of user submissions, we saw lots of ladies clothes being posted, but we’ve seen also home appliances sold on the marketplace — so item posted vary. Several hundred items are submitted every day and the market is still small, but we’re seeing sound growth in deals between buyers and sellers on the platform.

The startup itself might be best known for having a very high-profile management board. In addition to having ex-Zynga Japan GM Yamada as CEO, Hiroshi Tomishima (the founder at Bank of Innovation) and Ryo Ishizuka (COO at Rock You Asia) are serving as the heads of engineering. They are a small team but their prominent skills and experience have contributed to the services solid operations to date.

Increased competition

When I spoke with Yamada, I found it interesting that he spoke about resources that we thought were lacking on our planet. He noted:

Any kind of resource is limited. You will need energy to create something new. If you have a PSP but don’t want to keep it, you will probably not be interested in selling it for a high price. But instead you likely need way to easily hand it over to someone else. We call it a sort of frictionless society. That’s what we want to help to make.

His concept is very similar to Craiglist in a way. There will be a way to share resources easily, rather than the complicated schemes often used on auction sites.

From my perspective, a flea market app is a form of C2C that everyday people — even less tech-savvy ones — can use without hesitation.

Yamada has previously involved in launching the Rakuten auction site. Based on the history of Japanese auction sites, he is predicting a high rise in flea market apps on smartphones.

It will be interesting to see if Mercari can get to the top of this increasingly competitive arena.

mercari_iosapp

Tokyo startup 7-bites raises $295,000, will create Japan subculture-focused marketplace

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See the original story in Japanese. 7-bites is a Tokyo-based startup known for having developed the SaaS-based invoicing platform Noroshi. That service was acquired by its competitor MakeLeaps back in August of 2012. But today 7-bites announced that it has raised 29 million yen (about $295,000) from East Ventures, I-SHIN [1] , and an individual angel investor. We heard from the startup’s co-founder and CEO Shota Sawada, who explained a little more about this funding: We’ve been focusing on providing SME-focused SaaS services, but as this funding comes in, we will pivot to build a (Japanese) subculture-focused marketplace. In this space, we can find many advantages around Japan’s unique content, and we think there’s huge market potential. [People these days are] in the middle of switching over from featurephones to smartphones, and this makes us more excited to get into this new field. We’ll be disclosing more business details in the future as we go. This funding is to pursue expanding business opportunities. […] If we can develop a service which is loved by consumers, we can open the door to the next stage. We’ll do our best to develop a service that will meet their needs. In addition to the C2C…

7-bites_logo

See the original story in Japanese.

7-bites is a Tokyo-based startup known for having developed the SaaS-based invoicing platform Noroshi. That service was acquired by its competitor MakeLeaps back in August of 2012. But today 7-bites announced that it has raised 29 million yen (about $295,000) from East Ventures, I-SHIN [1] , and an individual angel investor.

We heard from the startup’s co-founder and CEO Shota Sawada, who explained a little more about this funding:

We’ve been focusing on providing SME-focused SaaS services, but as this funding comes in, we will pivot to build a (Japanese) subculture-focused marketplace. In this space, we can find many advantages around Japan’s unique content, and we think there’s huge market potential. [People these days are] in the middle of switching over from featurephones to smartphones, and this makes us more excited to get into this new field. We’ll be disclosing more business details in the future as we go.

This funding is to pursue expanding business opportunities. […] If we can develop a service which is loved by consumers, we can open the door to the next stage. We’ll do our best to develop a service that will meet their needs.

In addition to the C2C marketplace business, the startup is also expected to launch a sort of ‘app media’ business. We look forward to hearing more about their efforts in the future.


  1. I-SHIN is an investment fund jointly managed by Japanese tech companies United and Aeria. ↩

Japanese online ticket startup EventRegist receives seed investment

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EventRegist is a Tokyo-based startup providing an online ticket issuing and management system for organizers of events and meetups. The startup announced yesterday it has raised seed investment from East Ventures, Skyland Ventures, and Shinwa Agency (the latter being a marketing agency and subsidiary of home construction company Daiwa House). Detailed figures of the investment were not disclosed. The startup launched the service back in November of 2011, and it is now available in Japanese, English, Indonesian, Thai, and traditional Chinese across multiple platforms. Along with this funding, the startup has partnered with Shinwa Agency in order to better address needs like organizing business conferences for corporate accounts. We’ve already seen many competitors such as Tixee, Everevo, DoorKeeper, Peatix, Connpass, Zussar, and Event Atnd here in Japan, not to mention global players like EventBrite, Amaindo and many others. We’re not sure how the startup expects to excel in such a highly competitive industry, but in terms of possible differentiation from others, we should perhaps look to its board member Hiroaki Kanamaru. His background includes time with successful food-oriented e-commerce startup Oisix, game publisher Smileworks (under Square Enix) and a web integration company in Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia. The startup could…

eventregist_logo

EventRegist is a Tokyo-based startup providing an online ticket issuing and management system for organizers of events and meetups. The startup announced yesterday it has raised seed investment from East Ventures, Skyland Ventures, and Shinwa Agency (the latter being a marketing agency and subsidiary of home construction company Daiwa House). Detailed figures of the investment were not disclosed.

The startup launched the service back in November of 2011, and it is now available in Japanese, English, Indonesian, Thai, and traditional Chinese across multiple platforms. Along with this funding, the startup has partnered with Shinwa Agency in order to better address needs like organizing business conferences for corporate accounts.

We’ve already seen many competitors such as Tixee, Everevo, DoorKeeper, Peatix, Connpass, Zussar, and Event Atnd here in Japan, not to mention global players like EventBrite, Amaindo and many others. We’re not sure how the startup expects to excel in such a highly competitive industry, but in terms of possible differentiation from others, we should perhaps look to its board member Hiroaki Kanamaru. His background includes time with successful food-oriented e-commerce startup Oisix, game publisher Smileworks (under Square Enix) and a web integration company in Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia. The startup could be looking to explore international business expansion in that region too.

Japanese mobile livestreaming app TwitCasting raises $634,000

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See the original story in Japanese. Japanese mobile livestreaming app TwitCasting announced today that it has raised 64.8 million yen (approximately $634,000) from East Ventures, as well as Japanese serial entrepreneur Masao Ito who runs a web traffic analysis startup called User Local. In addition, East Ventures’ co-founding partner Taiga Matsuyama and Masao Ito will join the board of directors for TwitCasting. TwitCasting was launched back in February of 2010 by Moi Corp. When we got in touch with the company back in March, CEO Yoski Akamatsu explained that the app’s userbase has significantly grown since the latter half of 2012, acquiring more than 200,000 users every month. The number of users is currently 2.4 million, and it’s expected to surpass 4 million by the end of this fiscal year. As the userbase continues to skyrocket, the startup has been suffering from a lack of resources in terms of infrastructure management and system developments. Akamatsu explains that they decided to pursue funding to intensify engineering resources so they could improve the service’s back-end. He added: If our user base keep growing at this pace, it will definitely be about 4 million people soon. With this funding, we will hire more engineers and form a sound…

twitcasting_screenshot

See the original story in Japanese.

Japanese mobile livestreaming app TwitCasting announced today that it has raised 64.8 million yen (approximately $634,000) from East Ventures, as well as Japanese serial entrepreneur Masao Ito who runs a web traffic analysis startup called User Local. In addition, East Ventures’ co-founding partner Taiga Matsuyama and Masao Ito will join the board of directors for TwitCasting.

TwitCasting was launched back in February of 2010 by Moi Corp. When we got in touch with the company back in March, CEO Yoski Akamatsu explained that the app’s userbase has significantly grown since the latter half of 2012, acquiring more than 200,000 users every month. The number of users is currently 2.4 million, and it’s expected to surpass 4 million by the end of this fiscal year.

As the userbase continues to skyrocket, the startup has been suffering from a lack of resources in terms of infrastructure management and system developments. Akamatsu explains that they decided to pursue funding to intensify engineering resources so they could improve the service’s back-end. He added:

If our user base keep growing at this pace, it will definitely be about 4 million people soon. With this funding, we will hire more engineers and form a sound development team. When we actually reach the target [of 4 million], we will look ahead to our next goal.

Taiga Matsuyama added his thoughts:

I’ve known Yoski since 2006, and his expertise are admired [by many other engineers]. The service’s user base is also rapidly growing and has also penetrated the overseas market as well. We’ll work with him to help them accelerate their business much further. I believe TwitCasting is a rare but precious startup that has big potential in the English-speaking community or even in the Asian region.

Interestingly, they actually are seeing 10% of their traffic coming from Brazil. Yoski isn’t exactly sure why this is the case, but he also related a curious story about how traffic saw a big drop at when school started in April in Japan.

I called it “the school-entry season shock”. Most likely our users must be busy making new friends, so that they didn’t set aside time to livecast [with the app].

Currently Twitcasting is getting revenue from advertising and charging paid users. In terms the breakdown of mobile platforms, they have a more traffic from Android than iPhone.