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Japan’s Kaizen Platform, online experience optimizer, secures $8 million in series B

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This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese. Japanese startup Kaizen Platform, offering website user interface improvement solutions, announced today it has fundraised $8 million in a series B round. Participating investors are YJ Capital, NTT Docomo Ventures, Saison Ventures, Colpl, Eight Road Ventures Japan (previously known as Fidelity Growth Partners Japan), Gree Ventures, and GMO Venture Partners. Eight Road Ventures Japan, Gree Ventures, and GMO Venture Partners participated in the previous round. With the latest funds, Kaizen Platform has fundraised a total of $17.8 million for three years since launch. The funds will be used to strengthen management foundation, product development and global expansion. Upon announcement at this time, the company announced that their platform for enterprise users, launched back in August 2013, has been adopted by 170 companies and added $200 million in revenue through their websites by optimizing the online experience of website visitors. According to Kaizen Platform CEO Kenji Sudo, the company’s online experience improvement solutions are leveraging more than 2,900 crowdsourced growth hackers worldwide. See also: Japan’s growth hacking startup Kaizen Platform appoints new CFO Japanese growth hacking startup Kaizen Platform raises $5 million Kaizen Platform’s A/B test service wins BDash Camp…

kaizen-platform_featuredimage

This is the abridged version from our original article in Japanese.

Japanese startup Kaizen Platform, offering website user interface improvement solutions, announced today it has fundraised $8 million in a series B round. Participating investors are YJ Capital, NTT Docomo Ventures, Saison Ventures, Colpl, Eight Road Ventures Japan (previously known as Fidelity Growth Partners Japan), Gree Ventures, and GMO Venture Partners. Eight Road Ventures Japan, Gree Ventures, and GMO Venture Partners participated in the previous round.

With the latest funds, Kaizen Platform has fundraised a total of $17.8 million for three years since launch. The funds will be used to strengthen management foundation, product development and global expansion.

Upon announcement at this time, the company announced that their platform for enterprise users, launched back in August 2013, has been adopted by 170 companies and added $200 million in revenue through their websites by optimizing the online experience of website visitors. According to Kaizen Platform CEO Kenji Sudo, the company’s online experience improvement solutions are leveraging more than 2,900 crowdsourced growth hackers worldwide.

See also:

Translated by Masaru Ikeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy

Japan’s growth hacking startup Kaizen Platform appoints new CFO

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This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese. Tokyo-based Kaizen Platform, the startup that operates web app A/B testing service PlanBCD, announced on Wednesday that it has changed its corporate identity and invited former investment banker Yuichi Shigeie as CFO. Prior to joining the team, he’d been working with JP Morgan for 13 years and also running the company’s investment banking operations as an executive director. Coinciding with this, Fidelity Growth Partners Japan’s David Milstein and Gree Venture’s Tatsuo Tsutsumi also joined Kaizen’s board of management. Our readers may recall Kaizen Platform fundraised $5 million from these investment companies back in March for business expansions to the US market. The company also changed its corporate logo at this time. The co-founder and CEO Kenji Sudo told us a bit about what triggered them to invite the new CFO: We’re exploring funding opportunities from the global market. Furthermore, I expect him to better manage our team in Tokyo since I’ll be mostly based in the US from now on. We are professional in engineering but he has a background totally different from what we have. That’s why I believe his unique perspective will help us a lot gain…

kaizen-platform_featuredimage

This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Kaizen Platform, the startup that operates web app A/B testing service PlanBCD, announced on Wednesday that it has changed its corporate identity and invited former investment banker Yuichi Shigeie as CFO. Prior to joining the team, he’d been working with JP Morgan for 13 years and also running the company’s investment banking operations as an executive director.

Yuichi Shigeie
Yuichi Shigeie

Coinciding with this, Fidelity Growth Partners Japan’s David Milstein and Gree Venture’s Tatsuo Tsutsumi also joined Kaizen’s board of management. Our readers may recall Kaizen Platform fundraised $5 million from these investment companies back in March for business expansions to the US market.

The company also changed its corporate logo at this time. The co-founder and CEO Kenji Sudo told us a bit about what triggered them to invite the new CFO:

We’re exploring funding opportunities from the global market. Furthermore, I expect him to better manage our team in Tokyo since I’ll be mostly based in the US from now on. We are professional in engineering but he has a background totally different from what we have. That’s why I believe his unique perspective will help us a lot gain our management level.

It will be interesting to see how they fare in the US market and successfully gain funding from outstanding investors in the global market.

Japanese growth hacking startup Kaizen Platform raises $5 million

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Kaizen Platform, the startup behind the user interface A/B testing platform PlanBCD, announced today that it has secured $5 million from Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Gree Ventures. With the funds, the company expects to add more engineers to help with platform development. Co-founder and CEO Kenji Sudo will be focused on launching the company’s international business, preparing to launch offices in San Francisco and New York. Sudo explained: We’ll use these funds to enhance our service so it can help companies grow their online businesses, rather than just serve as an A/B testing tool as it is now. We have invited Jun Ogawa (the former ad sales head at Google Japan) as country manager and Yugo Takino (former gaming platform head at GREE) as a product manager, which will allow me to focus more on launching our US operations. Beyond A/B testing As Kaizen’s interface improvement solutions combine a testing tool with crowdsourcing, and it has been embraced by many web app development companies in Japan. Their enterprise edition of PlanBCD has acquired more than 30 corporate users since its launch last August. And on online edition of their service has been…

planbcd_featuredimage

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Kaizen Platform, the startup behind the user interface A/B testing platform PlanBCD, announced today that it has secured $5 million from Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Gree Ventures. With the funds, the company expects to add more engineers to help with platform development.

Co-founder and CEO Kenji Sudo will be focused on launching the company’s international business, preparing to launch offices in San Francisco and New York. Sudo explained:

We’ll use these funds to enhance our service so it can help companies grow their online businesses, rather than just serve as an A/B testing tool as it is now. We have invited Jun Ogawa (the former ad sales head at Google Japan) as country manager and Yugo Takino (former gaming platform head at GREE) as a product manager, which will allow me to focus more on launching our US operations.

Beyond A/B testing

As Kaizen’s interface improvement solutions combine a testing tool with crowdsourcing, and it has been embraced by many web app development companies in Japan. Their enterprise edition of PlanBCD has acquired more than 30 corporate users since its launch last August. And on online edition of their service has been adopted by 500 companies in 15 countries worldwide. According to Sudo, many of their users are non-internet companies who can’t pay much attention to typical growth hacking techniques for their websites. Kaizen aims to help both less-knowledgeable companies as well as experienced users improve conversions and user acquisitions. He explained:

However well you can run an ad promotion, you can’t expect conversions without improved content on the landing page. We’re planning to build a dashboard feature that helps users understand which part of their websites should be improved for better conversions by showing them metrics.

He gave me a quick look at the dashboard, which lists improvement points with numerical indicators, essentially empowering webmasters to ask crowdsourced workers to make an improvements with just the press of a button.

While things have been good for Kaizen so far, their business still has a problem to resolve. They have about 400 crowdsourced workers who can help with client work, but they still need more. To address this need, they are exploring the possibility of finding workers in more remote areas.

Through partnerships with local governments, we would like to provide work opportunities for people like university students, especially in remote areas.

Corporate websites are often being updated and promoted, especially during new seasons or when new products are released. So if Kaizen can introduced a better version of its platform, it should be an invaluable tool for website maintenance and improvement not only in Japan but also around the world. Let’s stay tuned and see how they do!

Kaizen Platform’s A/B test service wins BDash Camp Osaka pitch event

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This is a part of our coverage of B Dash Camp Osaka 2013. The highlight of day two of B Dash Camp Osaka was the startup pitch event, with a number of quality entrants from Japan and around Asia. The grand prize winner of the event was Kaizen Platform, whose CEO Kenji Sudo pitched their PlanBCD service. He was awarded a Microsoft Surface 2, a Sony Xperia Tablet Z, as well as return invite to the next B Dash Camp The service is a little tricky to wrap your head around, but its primary function is to help developers improve the user interface of their web service. The front page of their site boasts “Growth Hackers are ready to optimize your site.” But of course it can be costly for companies to hire growth hackers for such improvements, but PlanBCD proposes a crowdsourced solution and useful tools for short-term A/B testing. You will need to set a budget for your site improvement, and then add some javascript to your site’s headers. After that you wait for suggested improvements from growth hackers, and you can A/B test the ones you like best. The results can then be reviewed on a handy…

Kaizen Platform CEO Kenji Sudo

This is a part of our coverage of B Dash Camp Osaka 2013.

The highlight of day two of B Dash Camp Osaka was the startup pitch event, with a number of quality entrants from Japan and around Asia. The grand prize winner of the event was Kaizen Platform, whose CEO Kenji Sudo pitched their PlanBCD service. He was awarded a Microsoft Surface 2, a Sony Xperia Tablet Z, as well as return invite to the next B Dash Camp

The service is a little tricky to wrap your head around, but its primary function is to help developers improve the user interface of their web service. The front page of their site boasts “Growth Hackers are ready to optimize your site.”

But of course it can be costly for companies to hire growth hackers for such improvements, but PlanBCD proposes a crowdsourced solution and useful tools for short-term A/B testing. You will need to set a budget for your site improvement, and then add some javascript to your site’s headers. After that you wait for suggested improvements from growth hackers, and you can A/B test the ones you like best. The results can then be reviewed on a handy dashboard.

Sudo says that they will be looking to expand globally, with the goal of becoming a sort of Github for growth hackers. But they still need to look at reducing their tool’s cost.

Kaizen Platform Inc. just raised seed funding worth $800,000 from GREE Ventures, GMO Venture Partners, and CyberAgent Ventures back in August, with the intention of stepping up its system development and marketing. And it wouldn’t surprise us at all to see them attract more investment very soon.

You can check out their demo video below to learn more about PlanBCD, as well as some of the slides from the pitch (in Japanese).

Japanese UI improvement platform planBCD raises $800,000

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See the original story in Japanese.PlanBCD is a platform that helps developers to improve the user interface on their web services. Kaizen Platform Inc., the Tokyo-based startup behind the service, announced today that it has raised seed funding worth $800,000 from Gree Ventures, GMO Venture Partners, and CyberAgent Ventures. With these funds, the company plans to intensify its system development and marketing efforts. The service provides developers with an A/B testing environment, especially useful for improving web content and interfaces, comparing the performance of multiple available options. It helps you test and optimize processes like sign-ups, purchases, or landing pages. Unlike other conventional services, planBCD allows you to conduct this time-consuming, trial-and-error process by only embedding a single-line of JavaScript on your website. The video below shows more details about how it works. In the closed beta version, they’ve seen examples where users have improved conversion rates on their websites by 130% to 170%. [T]here’s a big barrier to optimizing user traffic for clients unless they improve user interface on their websites. The most remarkable part of the service is that PlanBCD gives you ways to crowdsource the UI and UX improvement process, something which is often difficult to assign…

planBCD

See the original story in Japanese.
PlanBCD is a platform that helps developers to improve the user interface on their web services. Kaizen Platform Inc., the Tokyo-based startup behind the service, announced today that it has raised seed funding worth $800,000 from Gree Ventures, GMO Venture Partners, and CyberAgent Ventures. With these funds, the company plans to intensify its system development and marketing efforts.

The service provides developers with an A/B testing environment, especially useful for improving web content and interfaces, comparing the performance of multiple available options. It helps you test and optimize processes like sign-ups, purchases, or landing pages. Unlike other conventional services, planBCD allows you to conduct this time-consuming, trial-and-error process by only embedding a single-line of JavaScript on your website. The video below shows more details about how it works. In the closed beta version, they’ve seen examples where users have improved conversion rates on their websites by 130% to 170%.

[T]here’s a big barrier to optimizing user traffic for clients unless they improve user interface on their websites.

The most remarkable part of the service is that PlanBCD gives you ways to crowdsource the UI and UX improvement process, something which is often difficult to assign someone in your company. The accumulation of A/B testing results will be stored on the service, helping you hand the process over to someone else if necessary.

The service is a combination of an easy-to-implement environment and crowdsourcing features. Kaizen was launched back in March of 2013 by Kenji Sudo. He previously worked at Japanese human resource company, Recruit, supervising the company’s ad-tech services. Sudo explained:

At Recruit, I was involved in ad optimization services for online advertising. But I learned that there’s a big barrier to optimizing user traffic for clients unless they improve user interface on their websites. But if we help them improve their websites, it hurts our overall business efficiency to the point where we can’t work on it. As a result, only rich companies can engage in the improvement process. So this was why we launched the testing service.

He notes that the service has acquired 200 crowdsourced workers for the UI testing operations, and they are appropriately ranked corresponding to their past testing performances.

The service’s pricing has three tiers according to the kind of workers you crowdsource your UI improvement tasks. It’s 100,000 yen ($1,000) a month for Standard, 200,000 yen ($2,000) a month for Professional, and 500,000 yen ($5,000) a month for Maestro. The service has a money-back guarantee so you will not be charged if you can’t see any improvement in your website performance. The charge is comprised of the monthly fee mentioned above plus a charge for how many times the embedded JavaScript test code is called.

The service is already used by many clients, including some enterprise companies. It’s a good indication that new business models comprising of a tool and a crowdsoucring service could be trending in the near future.