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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

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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:

via TechCrunch

Japanese livestreaming app TwitCasting to support collaborative broadcasting

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We have featured the Japanese live broadcasting app TwitCasting more than a few times here on The Bridge. Moi Corporation, the startup that operates the service, recently unveiled that it is planning to add a new multi-person broadcast feature very soon. Many international TV news stations like CNN and BBC sometimes bring live feeds from multiple locations onto a single screen. The app’s new feature will allow up to four users to bring their live feeds into a single program channel. The company hopes this feature will let new users enjoy collaborative broadcasting with veteran users, and encourage them to start their own live programs using the app. This feature will be available upon the next update, so keep an eye out for it. The startup also announced that the Twitcasting service has surpassed 5.45 million users. The founder sees this as a significant figure, as it’s more than the current population of Finland – a country where he used to live and that he respect a lot. Interestingly, the name of his company Moi Corporation also represents a Finland connection, as ‘Moi’ means ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ in Finnish. via TechCrunch Japan

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We have featured the Japanese live broadcasting app TwitCasting more than a few times here on The Bridge. Moi Corporation, the startup that operates the service, recently unveiled that it is planning to add a new multi-person broadcast feature very soon.

Many international TV news stations like CNN and BBC sometimes bring live feeds from multiple locations onto a single screen. The app’s new feature will allow up to four users to bring their live feeds into a single program channel. The company hopes this feature will let new users enjoy collaborative broadcasting with veteran users, and encourage them to start their own live programs using the app. This feature will be available upon the next update, so keep an eye out for it.

The startup also announced that the Twitcasting service has surpassed 5.45 million users. The founder sees this as a significant figure, as it’s more than the current population of Finland – a country where he used to live and that he respect a lot. Interestingly, the name of his company Moi Corporation also represents a Finland connection, as ‘Moi’ means ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ in Finnish.

via TechCrunch Japan

Video sharing in Japan: Twitcasting and Vine prove popular among teenagers

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Japanese mobile marketing reserach company Livigen recently conducted a survey about video streaming and sharing services. The company used its own survey app Sumamoni (available on both Android and iOS) to collect responses from 500 participants [1]. When asked about which video sharing service they know of, almost all respondents – 96% to be precise – knew of YouTube. NicoNico Douga was the second most widely known at about 68%, with Twitcasting and Vine following at at 23% and 10% respectively. Twitcasting is a Japanese live-streaming app that we have covered in the past. Launched early in 2010, it now has almost four million users. Although Youtube was well known among the respondents as a whole, some services were found to be more popular in certain age groups. For example, Niconico Douga the service most known by people in their 20s, whereas Twitcasting and Vine were the most acknowledged among young teenage kids. Livigen’s survey also asked respondents to say what they found fun and interesting about these services. Some teens who prefer Twitcasting said things like: “People I became friends with on Twitter come to see me on Twitcasting” “It’s easier to use than Niconico Douga, and its a…

Vine is surprisingly popular with young people in Japan
Vine is surprisingly popular with young people in Japan

Japanese mobile marketing reserach company Livigen recently conducted a survey about video streaming and sharing services. The company used its own survey app Sumamoni (available on both Android and iOS) to collect responses from 500 participants [1].

When asked about which video sharing service they know of, almost all respondents – 96% to be precise – knew of YouTube. NicoNico Douga was the second most widely known at about 68%, with Twitcasting and Vine following at at 23% and 10% respectively.

Twitcasting is a Japanese live-streaming app that we have covered in the past. Launched early in 2010, it now has almost four million users.

videoapps-LIvigen

Although Youtube was well known among the respondents as a whole, some services were found to be more popular in certain age groups. For example, Niconico Douga the service most known by people in their 20s, whereas Twitcasting and Vine were the most acknowledged among young teenage kids.

Livigen’s survey also asked respondents to say what they found fun and interesting about these services. Some teens who prefer Twitcasting said things like:

  • “People I became friends with on Twitter come to see me on Twitcasting”
  • “It’s easier to use than Niconico Douga, and its a good way to kill time”
  • “All it takes is a mobile phone to broadcast.”

Meanwhile a teenage user on Vine said she loves that a six-second video can be easily made into a story, and another teenager responded that she enjoys to connect with people outside of Japan.

But as with most user-generated content services, most people access these products as viewers and do not actually post videos themselves. Out of all 500 respondents, only 0.8% had posted video on Vine, 4.6% on Twitcasting (pictured below), and even Youtube was relatively low at 18%.

Admittedly this is a small sample size, it’s a good indication that it might be a while longer before people in Japan to get used to casually sharing their videos.


  1. Ranging from teenagers to those in their 30s.  ↩

15 Japanese startups pitch at Rising Expo 2013, TwitCasting takes top prize

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See our Japanese coverage of Rising Expo here On Friday, Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures held its annual Rising Expo 2013 event which showcased up-and-coming 15 startups to a crowd of local investors and entrepreneurs [1]. Last year smartphone-based credit card payment provider Coiney won the top prize of 2 million yen (about $20,000), and the startup subsequently raised 100 million yen ($1 million) from CyberAgent Ventures, East Ventures, and an individual angel investor. Among the 15 participating startups this time around, TwitCasting was chosen as the audience favorite by way of voting. TwitCasting is a mobile live-broadcasting application that was launched back in February of 2010. Its userbase is currently around 3 million, a larger total than Ustream currently has in Japan. Almost 20% of it user base comes from the overseas, and it is getting more and more popular in places like Brazil and the Middle East. It raised 64.8 million yen (approximately $648,000) from East Ventures and Japanese entrepreneur Masao Ito (who runs User Local). TwitCasting was pitched by Yosuke Akamatsu (@Yoski) of Moi Corp. For this competition, every single finalist had 10 minutes for their pitch, longer than most other startup events. This gave Akamatsu a chance to…

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See our Japanese coverage of Rising Expo here

On Friday, Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures held its annual Rising Expo 2013 event which showcased up-and-coming 15 startups to a crowd of local investors and entrepreneurs [1]. Last year smartphone-based credit card payment provider Coiney won the top prize of 2 million yen (about $20,000), and the startup subsequently raised 100 million yen ($1 million) from CyberAgent Ventures, East Ventures, and an individual angel investor. Among the 15 participating startups this time around, TwitCasting was chosen as the audience favorite by way of voting.

twitcasting-at-risingexpo2013

TwitCasting is a mobile live-broadcasting application that was launched back in February of 2010. Its userbase is currently around 3 million, a larger total than Ustream currently has in Japan. Almost 20% of it user base comes from the overseas, and it is getting more and more popular in places like Brazil and the Middle East. It raised 64.8 million yen (approximately $648,000) from East Ventures and Japanese entrepreneur Masao Ito (who runs User Local).

TwitCasting was pitched by Yosuke Akamatsu (@Yoski) of Moi Corp. For this competition, every single finalist had 10 minutes for their pitch, longer than most other startup events. This gave Akamatsu a chance to explain the app’s user experience by showing a live online chat being broadcast by some high school girls. In a response to his question “Why you are TwitCasting”, the girls answered “Because its fun”. This impressed the audience a lot, possibly because typical middle-aged men usually have no chance to talk with young girls!

Like Coiney, which won the grand prize award at last year’s event, TwitCasting is expected to accelerate its global expansion and user acquisition moving forward.

To learn about all the other startups that pitched at Rising Expo, check out our overview below.

15 Startups from Rising Expo

1. Kosodate Share (co-operative childcare), pitched by Keiko Koda (Asmama)

This service allows you to ask other users in your neighborhood to take care of your children. Available tasks vary from babysitting to taking them to schools or kindergartens when you can’t manage. For parents, when you ask someone for a nursery task using the service, it will charge 500 yen (about $5) as a usage fee. The fee covers insurance in case of emergency, and which will ease your concerns about your child’s safety. To date the service has acquired more than 3,000 users.

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2. Conyac.cc, pitched by Naoki Yamada (Anydoor)

Conyac is a crowdsourced translation service for individual and corporate users. The company recently set up a San Francisco office and is intensifying its global service expansion. In terms of user demographic, the company’s major clients include buzz marketing sites, media websites, and social gaming studios. The startup has fundraised 40 million ($400,000) from United, Skylight Consulting, angel investor Anri Samata.

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3. Cafetalk, pitched by Kohtaro Hashizume (Small Bridge)

Cafetalk is a C2C marketplace focused on learning foreign languages online. The service itself does not provide any learning service but rather it connects teachers with students. To date it has acquired 15,000 students and 2,000 teachers who have posted more than 1,000 available lessons. The company has recently seen more than a few teachers who can make a living through this marketplace only. According to a Searchina interview with CEO Hashizume with, the service is in high demand among females in their 30s, who typically want to learn foreign languages as a hobby.

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4. Factelier, pitched by Toshio Yamada (Life Style Accent)

This startup claims to enable fashion enthusiasts buy Louis Vuitton-class fashions for prices as reasonable as Uniqlo. By eliminating the middleman between fashion retailers and clothing factories, the startup succeeded in bringing low-priced but high-quality Japan-made clothes to consumers worldwide. Prior to launching this startup, CEO Toshio Yamada worked at Gucci Paris when attending university, and he subsequently worked at Fashionwalker.com, one of Japan’s leading fashion e-commerce sites and the host of Tokyo Girls Collection. Readers may recall that my colleague Yukari Mitsuhashi previously spoke with him about how the company plans to change the industry.

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5. Kawaii Museum JPN, pitched by Taketo Tanaka

Kawaii Museum is a global platform for distributing Japanese character franchises. To date it has acquired more than 4 million likes on Facebook and several tens of thousand users for its Pinterest-like curation website. The startup is currently being developed by Ruby programmer Taketo Tanaka (below) who previously worked with DeNA. It was chosen back in March to be included in the fouth batch of KDDI Mugen Labo’s incubation program.

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6. Relux, pitched by Takaya Shinozuka (Loco Partners)

Relux is a satisfaction-guaranteed marketplace for Japanese inns. Every month its user number grows by 1.5 times, and the company expects to see more traffic from all around the world. To date the startup has received investments worth 60 million yen ($600,000) from CyberAgent Ventures and Recruit Incubation Partners. You can also check out our previous interview with Shinozuka.

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7. Base, pitched by Yuta Tsuruoka (Base)

Base is a Shopify-like instant e-commerce platform developed by Project Liverty, a tech savvy team led by entrepreneur Kazuma Ieiri. Since its launch back in November of 2012, the company has acquired more than 40,000 merchants. It raised 23 million yen ($230,000) back in January, and is aiming to transact 100 million yen ($1 million) in deals by the end of this year.

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8. Event Regist, pitched by Kosuke Hirayama (Event Regist)

Event Regist provides a platform for event organizers to market their events and issue tickets online. The service is available in Japanese, English, Indonesian, Thai, and traditional Chinese. Many players are fiercely competing in C2C-based ticket deals (e.g. Ticket Street or Ticket Camp), and its B2C business is dominated by box office companies (e.g. Ticket Pia). So the startup has decided to focus on the B2B business model. It raised seed investment from East Ventures, Skyland Ventures, and Shinwa Agency back in June, and has exclusively handled ticket issuing for events like the Tokyo Game Show 2013 and CEATEC 2013 Japan.

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9. Ubiregi, pitched by Keita Kido

Ubiregi is a cloud-based POS (point of sales) system that uses an iPad at storefronts. Compared to conventional systems, it can be eailsy deployed and maintained, especially for individual merchants like small restaurants, standing bars, and accessory shops. The startup was launched by Keita Kido in August of 2010, and raised around 20 million yen (over $200,000) from Voyage Ventures and Kronos Fund. It also has a capital tie-up with SalesForce.com. To date it has acquired 7,000 merchants nationwide, with the expectation of reaching 20,000. That would account for 1% of the Japanese cash register market.

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10. WebPay, pitched by Kei Kubo (FluxFlex)

WebPay is an easy-to-install, API-based card payment solution for Japanese e-commerce companies. In order to give developers an easy interface for payments, the startup partnered with GMO Payment Gateway, one of the oldest and biggest payment processing companies in Japan. Upon its official launch, the company also received an undisclosed amount of funding from CyberAgent Ventures, Architype, and GMO Payment Gateway.

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11. SLASH 7, pitched by Nobuhiro Hayashi (pLucky)

Slash–7 aims to gives website owners sophisticated data analysis for reasonable rates. Many executives at Japanese companies are becoming increasingly interested in making the most of big data analysis to improve their business. This company’s CEO believes it has an advantage over similar services (like Mixpanel) in terms of offering a variety of features for a cost. The company previously raised 20 million ($200,000) from CyberAgent Ventures and Incubate Fund.

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12. planBCD, pitched by Kenji Sudo (KAIZEN platform)

PlanBCD is a platform that helps developers improve the user interface of their web services. It provides developers with an A/B testing environment, especially useful for improving web content and interfaces. Using the service, you can also crowdsource the UI and UX improvement process. It raised seed funding worth $800,000 from Gree Ventures, GMO Venture Partners, and CyberAgent Ventures back in August.

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13. Seconds, pitched by Miku Hirano (Spicy Cinnamon)

Seconds is a mobile app for sharing photos between intimate friends or family members. You just take a photo, and choose your desired album for upload. Photos added are immediately visible to members who have access to that album, and those members can also upload pictures as well. The app was launched back in April, and it has acquired more than 40,000 users from three Asian countries in two months. It was incorporated in Singapore back in October and has engineers in HoChi Minh City (Vietnam) and Bangkok (Thailand). It received seed funding back in December from CyberAgent Ventures and other angel investors.

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14. TwitCasting (see above)

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15. Candy, pitched by Yosuke Fukada (Yoyo Holdings)

Incorporated in Singapore, this company plans to form a mobile economic ecosystem in emerging markets such as the Philippines. Since very few people pay with credit cards in these upcoming Southeast Asian markets, the company believes there are huge opportunities to cultivate business around monetary needs over there. Candy is a platform that gives users rewards which can be used to pay their cellphone bills in return for completing ‘microtasks’ such as participating in an online survey.

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  1. Disclaimer: I was involved in a preliminary screening process at the competition to choose the finalists with the other judges.  ↩

Japan’s livestreaming app TwitCasting to soon hit 3M users, is now winning fans overseas

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See the original story in Japanese. TwitCasting is a mobile livestreaming app developed by Tokyo-based startup Moi Corp. The company’s founding CEO Yoski Akamatsu has unveiled that the service recently surpassed 2.7 millions users and is expected to hit the 3 million milestone by the middle of next month. The company seems to be surprised by its rapid user growth. They ran a promotional campaign giving away special cushions to users. The campaign was intended to continue for a week, but the rewards were running out in about six hours. This was totally unexpected, as Akamatsu explains: We spent almost one month preparing the rewards. It feels like we spent three days to cook a stew, but someone came and ate it in just 10 minutes. ¶ The service’s main user base is teenagers, a group that was just on summer vacation which resulted in lots of activity. In addition, Japan is currently in the middle of the lower-house election campaign, and people are using the app for to livestream soapbox speeches by law-maker candidates. For users, it’s easy to find such speeches using the app. Interestingly, TwitCasting is picking up many users in overseas markets too. When Brazilian protesters…

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50,000 Brazilians viewed the protest using the app.

See the original story in Japanese.

TwitCasting is a mobile livestreaming app developed by Tokyo-based startup Moi Corp. The company’s founding CEO Yoski Akamatsu has unveiled that the service recently surpassed 2.7 millions users and is expected to hit the 3 million milestone by the middle of next month.

The company seems to be surprised by its rapid user growth. They ran a promotional campaign giving away special cushions to users. The campaign was intended to continue for a week, but the rewards were running out in about six hours. This was totally unexpected, as Akamatsu explains:

We spent almost one month preparing the rewards. It feels like we spent three days to cook a stew, but someone came and ate it in just 10 minutes.

The service’s main user base is teenagers, a group that was just on summer vacation which resulted in lots of activity. In addition, Japan is currently in the middle of the lower-house election campaign, and people are using the app for to livestream soapbox speeches by law-maker candidates. For users, it’s easy to find such speeches using the app.

Interestingly, TwitCasting is picking up many users in overseas markets too. When Brazilian protesters recently clashed after the Confederations Cup final, 50,000 users tuned in to the stream, hitting about 20,000 viewings at its peak. Some local news media such as Tarde or Info introduced the app as they reported the story. Akamatsu added:

A total of 900,000 Brazilians used our app during the Confederations Cup. Brazilians typically prefer Twitter to Facebook, but for us, about 80% of our users were using Facebook login. Perhaps people are using Facebook for more political activities? The protests are now over and Brazil has calmed down. But we’ll be thinking further about intensifying our global expansions.

Moi Corp. previously fundraised $634,000 from East Ventures and other investors back in May. Let’s keep an eye on the young company to see how they evolve.

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.

Live-streaming app TwitCasting surpasses 2 million users, but founder is a little distressed

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See the original story in Japanese. TwitCasting is an app that allows you to stream videos from iPhone or Android handsets. The service was launched early in 2010, and there have been good numbers in terms of user acquisition: reaching 250,000 users in 2010, 750,000 in 2011, and 1.75 million in 2012. On Thursday, we had a chance to speak with Yoski Akamatsu, the CEO of Moi Corp., the company behind the app. He explained more about the services sudden growth: I feel it rapidly shifted gears last November. Since the beginning of this year, we are acquiring almost 200,000 users a month. We may surpass 4 million users by the end of this year. […] The livecast channel has 200,000 to 300,000 visitors a day, and they usually stay for about 4 to 5 minutes on average. While I invented the service, I can’t really explain what has caused the recent rapid user growth. More than a half of our entire user base is people who are younger than 25 years old. He showed us a list of livecast programs, where thumbnail portrait of users livecasting can be seen for each one. As the CEO mentioned, they are pretty…

twitcasting

See the original story in Japanese.

TwitCasting is an app that allows you to stream videos from iPhone or Android handsets. The service was launched early in 2010, and there have been good numbers in terms of user acquisition: reaching 250,000 users in 2010, 750,000 in 2011, and 1.75 million in 2012. On Thursday, we had a chance to speak with Yoski Akamatsu, the CEO of Moi Corp., the company behind the app. He explained more about the services sudden growth:

I feel it rapidly shifted gears last November. Since the beginning of this year, we are acquiring almost 200,000 users a month. We may surpass 4 million users by the end of this year. […] The livecast channel has 200,000 to 300,000 visitors a day, and they usually stay for about 4 to 5 minutes on average. While I invented the service, I can’t really explain what has caused the recent rapid user growth. More than a half of our entire user base is people who are younger than 25 years old.

twitcasting_screenshot

He showed us a list of livecast programs, where thumbnail portrait of users livecasting can be seen for each one. As the CEO mentioned, they are pretty young – probably high school students, junior high school students, and teenagers. When we opened one program, it was explaining about how to put on make-up. Viewers then would leave comments on the video via Twitter.

[The sudden influx of] younger users might be caused by Atsushi Tamura, a comedian known for using the Twitcasting app on his TV show. Users visit our service with the expectation of making new friends online. They’re using it as a chat app.

The service is getting so popular so that has been featured in some magazines for teenagers, but it seems the CEO can’t keep up with this unforeseen popularity.

Compared to other similar services like Ustream or the live channels of Nico Nico Douga, the service pursues quality user communication. Instead of video quality, they are focusing on gaining real time capabilities like live radio programming, aligning the direction for the user community by adopting a real name-based membership system. But now that the younger generation shares a big portion of the user base, he has to intensify monitoring of video posts to ensure there’s no illegal activity involving minors.

TwitCasting was launched as a part of Yoski’s other startup, Sidefeed. It was spun-off in February of 2012 and incorporated as a new startup called Moi Corp.

They intend to monetize with advertising and paid-subscriptions, and currently revenue is roughly split between these two streams. The paid subscription from the Android app is showing good growth too.

The startup is now in talks with big companies exploring possible business partnerships.