Yahoo Hoshou: Yahoo Japan Starts “Safety” Service For Online Shoppers

Yahoo Japan, the country’s biggest website, is a major force in the domestic e-commerce sector. The transaction value for their auction service “Yahoo Auction” (by far the biggest in Japan) and “Yahoo Japan Shopping” reached a staggering 950 billion yen (US$12 billion) last fiscal.

Reason enough for the company to announce a new service for the service-conscious Japanese: “Yahoo Hoshou – O Kaimono Anshin Pack”, which (roughly) translates to “Yahoo Compensation – Shopping Safety Pack”.

Users signing up to Yahoo Hoshou, which launched on Thursday, can expect to be compensated when items they purchased on Yahoo Auctions or Yahoo Shopping are broken, stolen or went missing during delivery.

Yahoo Japan says that the maximum compensation for each customer per year stands at 100,000 yen (US$1,260), regardless if the items in question were in used condition or new.

Yahoo Hoshou members are charged 350 Yen (US$4.40) for the service per month, while Yahoo Japan Premium users just pay US$1.90, using the company’s Yahoo! Wallet e-money system.


LION Releases Unique Alarm App Which Prevents You From Being Ashamed On Train

Have you ever felt ashamed by leaning on to person sitting next to you constantly while on train falling asleep?  Sure, I have.  Often.

LION[J], as a promotion for energy drink Gronsan[J],  released mobile alarm app[J] that could keep you away from this common situation you may find on commuting trains in Japan.

The app is claimed to vibrate and wake you before such situation occurs by detecting your body movement utilizing smartphone’s gyroscopic sensor.  Wonder why such app is wanted?  Well, Japanese businessmen including me fall alseep on train so often (average 4.2 times per week!!) that they may welcome and appreciate such app for waking them up beforehand(survey done by LION[J], businesswomen not included).

This app also comes with wake-up call feature which generates “fake” incoming-call from gravure idols and, on answering such fake call, plays wake-up messages by them.

So if you ever encoutered such situation on train or wanted to be woken up by gravure idols, don’t forget to give it a try and tell us how it works.

The iPhone app is in Japanese only.  Android version is to be released soon and other unique features should follow.

See also:

App Store – Otsukaresan Alarm[J]

[TGS2011] BDNA Officially Presented

Today took place the official presentation of the new social games company BDNA, a joint venture between Bandai Namco (75%) and DeNA (25%). As they announced in the previous report, the capital of the company will be 100M yen (1.3M$), starting operations next October 1st.

Shin Unozawa, COO & Vice President of Bandai Namco Holdings, will be the CEO of the new company. BDNA will be a consolidated subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings.

Isao Moriyasu, DeNA CEO (left), and Shin Unozawa (right) made the announcement. The name from the new company, BDNA, came from the acronyms of Bandai (BD), Namco (NA) and DeNA (DNA).

They shown the new logo as well:

Bandai Namco has the contents and the users, but they don’t have the operational know-how for monetize them as DeNA/Mobage has. DeNA’s objective is going global: they are expecting social games will reach soon the same quality as arcades and consumer games, so more and more people will use them.

Bandai Namco and DeNA collaborated before for developing Gundam Royale, a huge success with more than 3M users. Inside BDNA they plan to develop games from Macross series, Gundam series and Tamagotchi series.


Japanese Social Marketplace FlutterScape Raises USD750K In Second Seed Funding

FlutterScape, a social marketplace specializing in introducing “Japan-only” or “Japan-made” products for online shoppers outside the country, recently fundraised JPY60M (approx. USD750K) in their second seed-round from three VC firms, which are Japan Venture Capital (NVCC)[J], ngi group and Innovation Engine. In their first seed round, the company fundraised JPY25M (approx. USD310K) from Digital Garage, and Aucfan[J] last August.

The service has engaged more than 1,500 buyers and 7,000 sellers since its launch in January 2010, and has more than 230,000 fans on Facebook as of this writing.  Takehiro Kakiyama, the CEO of FlutterScape, expects to enhance the service and allow users to share a list of their favorite products with navigation links to a shopping cart, which will be available very soon.

See Also:


Fashion Recommendation Site iQon Fundraises USD1.7M From Itochu And GMO

Tokyo-based tech start-up Vasily[J], who is known for running a fashion recommendation site called iQon, has fundraised JPY140M (approx. USD1.7M) from Itochu Technology Ventures and GMO Venture Partners.

iQon does not sell clothes online but recommends you a bunch of ready-to-wear collection of fashionable clothes, accessories and shoes etc. with links that take you to sales stands of online fashion retailers that the company has partnered with.  You can create a collection of your own on the site, which the other users may prefer, and the company will give away rewards to users whose collection particularly impress others.  Every time you purchase a piece of clothes through any of collections showcased on the site, the company can receive a commission from the retailer that you have actually purchased it at.  All clothing pictures on the site are being collected from the websites of the retailers.  They will use the raised money to develop smartphone apps that may encourage more customers to join the service, which is expected to be introduced this summer.

Vasily was launched two years ago by two men who had been previously worked with Yahoo Japan and been involved with development of their fashion e-commerce services[J].