Acquisitions are relatively rare in Japan’s tech startup scene, but today Yahoo Japan caused a splash when the country’s biggest web company announced it acquired Tokyo-based Community Factory (which launched in 2006).
TechCrunch Japan is reporting that the price stands at around 1 billion yen, which currently translates to US$12.8 million.
Community Factory runs a number of social services and apps, but in its press release, Yahoo Japan singles out Decopic, a multi-lingual photo sharing application that currently boasts 7 million downloads on Android and iOS (profile on Asiajin from last year).
According to TechCrunch Japan, the so-called Mixi Fund, set up by Japan’s largest real-identity social network Mixi back in 2009, is the biggest shareholder in Community Factory (40%).
Yahoo Japan’s move isn’t surprising: the company’s new CEO Manabu Miyasaka said in April (when he took over from Masahiro Inoue) that he plans to strengthen Yahoo Japan’s position in the mobile and social fields.
Just a few days ago, Yahoo Japan also announced it has set up the YJ Capital fund (capitalized at 1 billion yen) to invest in promising startups.
Japan’s largest mobile marketing and advertising firm, D2 Communications (D2C), has acquired a 0.9% stake in Tokyo-based Ubiqituous Entertainment (UEI). D2C acquired a total of 400 UEI shares – other financial details of the deal, which was officially announced [JP] today, weren’t disclosed.
In April last year, the two companies started a program called 9leap [JP] for young game smartphone game designers (our previous coverage).
With the capital partnership, D2C and UEI plan to continue the program, co-develop HTML5-based web services and mobile ad solutions, and use the latter company’s knowhow in the gaming field to create new applications and content.
Founded in 2000, D2C is said to be not only Japan’s largest but also oldest mobile advertising company. D2C’s parent company is the country’s biggest mobile carrier NTT Docomo – other shareholders are Dentsu, Dentsu Digital, and NTT Advertsing.
Japan Venture Research Report said [J] that the venture capital funds for start-ups are established 17 from January to September 2011, which is already more than 2010’s 15. The funds investing IT are 8 in 2011(by September), whilst 4 in 2010.
The report tells that in 2011, there have been more small sized funds observed, some of which investments are around 60 million yen (US$767,000), some invests by small unit such like 3 million yen (US$38,400).
Japan’s social game networking service giant Gree announced today November 2 that it had established a new invest subsidiary Gree Ventures.
Gree Ventures is going to form GV-I Investment Partnership, which is planned to invest (tantative) 2 billion yen (US$25.6 million) in total.
GREE to Begin Investing in Southeast and East Asia
– Plans to Actively Support Start-up Companies Targeting Global Markets –
Nov. 02, 2011
TOKYO, Japan – November 2, 2011 – GREE today announced that it has resolved to enter the venture capital business with a focus on Internet business-related start-up companies. For the entry, GREE has established a wholly-owned subsidiary, GREE Ventures, and formed a GV-I investment partnership which globally invests in Internet-related businesses under the management of GREE Ventures.
Aiming to boost the Internet market, not only in Japan but throughout the world, GREE will support the growth of promising unlisted venture companies which operate mainly in the Internet market in Southeast Asia and East Asia, where long term expansion is expected.
CyberAgent’s [J] consolidated subsidiary for developing investment and venture capital operations, CyberAgent Ventures, [J] on the date of October 7th, 2011 made an investment into Qrunch Co., [J] developers of “Qrunch,” [J] a social Q&A service which allows you to lightheartedly ask questions to friends. This company became the chosen enterprise for the business plan contest “Startups2011-spring-” held by CyberAgent Ventures.
Qrunch is a startup venture business with members who have an abundance of experience in web service development and application. They will develop Qrunch, a Q&A site for lightheartedly asking questions to friends, and they are planning to offer it as a browser version and as a smartphone application. Presently, they are accepting up to 10,000 advance account registrations for their alpha version, via the url above. Qrunch is strengthening their develpment system via this recent fundraising, and they are aiming for an early stage business startup.
Translation authorized by VSMedia