Teclosion 2011 Spring: Wondershake Wins The Grand Prix Among 15 Finalists

Design IT[J], a Tokyo-based UI-focused media consultancy also known for previously maintaining TechCrunch’s Japanese edition (its management was switched to AOL earlier this month[J]), held the first conference in Akihabara on Friday, for discussing the future of Japan tech industry and introducing great start-up stuffs.

In the morning session, CEOs from Mixi, GMO Internet Group, NHN Japan and Evernote made their keynote speeches.   After a lunch, Four venture capitalists, including Taiga Matsuyama (East Ventures, Kronos Fund – known as a seed investor for Zynga Japan) and Masashi Kobayashi (IVP or Infinity Venture Partners known as a seed investor for Groupon Japan) , had a panel discussion to look around Japanese start-up trends and its future.

In the final session, there was a presentation competition titled Startup Battle, where 15 start-ups presented their brand new web services to win the Grand Prix prize.   Let’s see each of them.

http://appict.me

Appict.me by Nobot

Nobot is a smartphone ad optimizer and also work with several major foreign ad networks.   Appict.me is a program for developers to promote their smartphone apps by using social media.   It allows users of a smartphone app participating the program to recommend the app to their friends via social media. (see these Asiajin articles for more about Nobot.)

i.ntere.st by tattva

Tokyo-based Tattva just introduced an object-based check-in service called in.ter.est.   I wrote about it here on the Startup Dating website.

zaim by Takako Kansai (The Excellent Award Winner)

Takako is a well-known female system developer working with a Tokyo-based tech start-up UserLocal[J].   Apart from her job at the company, she individually developed this social app that helps you keep household accounting on the iPhone.   She introduces it can be also considered as a money stuff version of popular document sharing app Evernote.

Musavy by Musavy, Inc.

The company is named after Mutual Savvy.   This web app helps you to learn more about a topic by having a debate on the topic online.   It has a feature to recommend users to take another topics that they may be interested in.   They intend to launch the service in North America prior to Japan.

forkN by Seesaa[J]

Seesaa is a blog platform company, and they developed a e-publication platform called forkN that allows users to convert documents to ePub/PDF formats and publish them online for PC, smartphone and tablet users.    You can share several experiences with other users on the service, such as writing, reading, commenting and purchasing the publications.

(The Excellent Award Winner)

MoSo by MoSo

MoSo is a desktop app for Macintosh that helps you create your videos instantly.   It allows you to publish the videos on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube without any additional procedure.   The app ranked in the first place in the free app section at most AppStores within just three days after the release.

(The Excellent Award Winner)

Midonet by Midokura

Earlier this week, the company fundraised JPY100M (USD125M) in its seed round from some VC firms including NTT Investment Partners[J], 1st Holding[J] and datacenter company Bit Isle[J].  They are a cloud enabling tech company, and currently planning to introduce the alpha version app very soon.

shopping+ by Insight Plus

Shopping+ is a smartphone app-based object check-in service that helps you learn realtime quotes and check inventories for what you are about to purchase by sharing them with the other users.   Users can communicate with the others who have the same interest in buying something.   Insight Plus was founded by Takeo Yagi, he previously co-founded TrafficGate[J], a Rakuten-backed affiliate provider and now LinkShare Japan.

4-Treasure by Alpha Do

4 Treasure is a location-based service that allows you to check in restaurants, diners, cofee shops etc.   Unlike other location-based services such as Foursquare, users can gain experience points corresponding to how much you have paid at a specific location.  For shop owners, it allows them to collect information on what kind of customers visit, and to issue discount coupons to potential customers that they wish to invite.

tabeni.co by MyNet Japan

Tabeni.co is a social app for smartphone and helps you find companions who can hang out and dine with you.   MyNet Japan is known for having developed a variety of restaurant supporting services, and the app is expected to integrate with them.

kizna by Kizna

Kizna is a social CRM (customer relationship management) app that Hitoshi Nakamura has developed.   He is currently running several restaurants in Tokyo, and he has developed it to interact with his customers more often more easily via social media.   The app includes a key feature that shows you a list of interactions with your customers via Twitter and Facebook.

(The Excellent Award Winner)

Livlis by kamado

Our buddy Serkan wrote this story about Livlis.

fmob

fmob is a fashion-focused social app that allows you to shoot pieces of clothing when you find them while walking on shopping streets, and share them with your friends online.   They intend to extend their global reach through the mobile app.

(The Grand Prix Winner)

Wondershake

Wondershake is a social app that allows you to learn what the people around you are interested in, and helps you start talking with them very easily.   They plan to launch the service in the US.   Wondershake was founded by Satoshi Suzuki who previously worked with Tonchidot, the inventor of Sekai Camera.

 

Caffein / Nota Inc.

Nota Inc., a Silicon Valley-headquareted Japanese tech start-up known for its library book search service Calil[J], has developed a video communication service called Caffein, which allows you to communicate with multiple users in a virtual room.

 

Finally, on behalf of all judges who have chosen the award winners at the event, Mr. Allen Miner from Sun Bridge Partners commented on what 15 finalists had delivered.  He pointed out all they have potentials to achieve their success not only in Japan but also in the world, encouraged them to develop more new services from a global point of view.

 

Japanese And Korean Start-ups Hold Presentation Event In Seoul For Potential Partnerships

As noticed on this story, Japanese four tech start-ups and Korean two start-ups five Japanese tech start-ups and six Korean tech start-ups had jointly a presentation event in Seoul on Wednesday.  I just wanted to join them for covering what happened onsite, however, I couldn’t make it because of my another assignment in Malaysia.   Alternatively, I tried my best for making a wrap-up of the event by checking out a Ustream video and a series of tweets by those who were attending.

The event took place at a hotel near Teheranno St., known as the epicenter of many tech start-up movements in the city.   Presentations were made in English, Japanese and Korean with simultaneous interpretation.   Let’s start with a presentation made by Korea’s start-up Mindsquare.


Presenter: Park Hongwon (박홍원), Mind Square[K]

Mindsqaure provides a variety of foreign language learning apps.  They employs app developers in Korea and are doing business in Korea, Japan and the US.   Most of their revenues came from Japan, and intends to the US market.  Mr. Park says,

  • Shares of the iPhone apps by category: entertainment 47% and education 35%.   No iPhone game app is unavailable because of restriction by the Korean government.  In Japan, entertainment shares 9%, education 9% and game 68%.
  • An average price for the iPhone apps on the Korean AppStore is USD1.96.
  • The most popular paid iPhone app records 1000 downloads a day, which is one-third of that of Japan.   There are more free apps than paid apps in Korea.
  • A series of their iPhone apps is available here.


Revolutionizing Digital Entertainment by advanced video search technology
Presenter: Jonnpyo Lee (이준표), Enswers Inc.

  • The Company has developed a video search technology that allows users to find an expecting result from YouTube and other video sharing services.
  • They have head-hunted many talented engineers from all across the country.


Big trends in Japan – Optimization and Personalization Technology
Presenter: Takashi Uemura(上村崇), ALBERT Inc.

He explains Japanese ad industry.

 

Information to collective intelligence LastSupper – spot to intelligent map / mironi – listen, share, enjoy
Presenter: Jongil Yoon (윤정일), Revlix[K]

  • Revlix is an app developer in Korea. They have introduced a smartphone app called Mironi[K] (coming soon), which is called a social music player, allowing you to share your music listening experience with other users.
  • Mostly 50% of all businessmen and students have smartphone handsets.
  • The company has also introduced a social app called Last Supper[K], which allows you to share your dining experience with other users.

 


Japanese mobile market and Global mobile ads
Presenter: Kiyotaka Kobayashi(小林清剛), Nobot Inc. (see these Asiajin stories for more details)

  • They earned 1.1billion monthly impressions last month, and are planning to partner with major ad networks in Korea.


Evolution of ebook – interactive ebook
Presenter: TaeWoo Kim(김태우), Moglue[K]

  • Moglue is developing a desktop platform that allows publishers, amateur authors and artists a way to create interactive stories and release them as apps for iOS and Android operating systems with one-click publishing.
  • Their apps for iOS and Android are currently available only in closed beta.


Social Monitoring “@hentaiAlert”
Presenter: Yusuke Takahashi(高橋雄介), Individual Company

  • The company is currently developing a social monitoring service called Hentai Alert.
  • The service, literally alerting against suspicious people, helps you find suspicious people around you by analyzing accumulated knowledge about them on social media.   As more vicious crimes happen in these years, the service helps you keep away from possible dangerous people.

 

Social network meets advertising
Presenter: Josh Jaehong Kim(김재홍), AdbyMe[K]

  • Korea has USD 7billion-worth ad market, however smartphone in-app advertising is not so acknowledged  in Korea.
  • Adby.Me allows you to use Twitter and measure advertising effectiveness on a ad placement basis.


Social translation “Conyac”
Presenter: Naoki Yamada(山田尚貴), Anydoor

Refer to this Asiajin story for more about Conyac services

 

How to Build a Clean Web
Presenter: Benjamin Beomjin Kim(김범진), CIZION inc.[K]

  • Cizon develops a social comment service called LiveRe[K].Live Re, that allows you to leave a comment with your account of Twitter, Facebook and Korean social networks such as Me2Day[K] and Daum’s Yozm[K].  It’s Korean version of Disqus.
  • Live Re is now adopted by 200 companies for their websites, it shares 80% in this entire web service category.

 

In app purchaise iOS/Android/Japanese Style
Presenter: Kentaro Hashimoto(橋本謙太郎), Conit

He introduces the in-app purchase system for multiple smartphone platforms that Conit has developed.  Refer to this Asiajin story for more about the system.

 

Tokyo’s Start-ups To Hold A Presentation Night In Seoul

In the beginning of next month, four tech start-ups from Tokyo and two start-ups from Seoul will jointly hold a presentation evening event in South Korea’s capital, which is called Asia Startup Summit, for expanding their presence in Asia and exchanging their perspectives on the region’s start-up community.

Presentations are:

  • Revolutionizing Digital Entertainment by advanced video search technology
    by Jonnpyo Lee (이준표), Enswers Inc.
  • Big trends in Japan – Optimization and Personalization Technology
    by Takashi Uemura(上村崇), ALBERT Inc.
  • Information to collective intelligence LastSupper – spot to intelligent map / mironi – listen, share, enjoy
    by Jongil Yoon (윤정일), Revilx
  • Social Monitoring “@hentaiAlert”
    by  Yusuke Takahashi(高橋雄介), Individual Company
  • Social translation “Conyac
    by Naoki Yamada(山田尚貴), Anydoor Co-founder (see these Asiajin stories for more details)

 

Venue: Spaceplus (스페이스 플러스), 810-10, Yeoksam 1-dong, Gangnam-gu.
서울特別市江南区駅三一洞810-10

Time: 7pm-9pm, April 6th (Wednesday), 2011

Admission fee: Free

The organizers are currently inviting techpreneurs and geeks to the event, if you are interested in attending, please contact them from their Facebook page.   According to Mr. Kobayashi, one of the organizers, their entire presentation will be livestreamed.

Smartphone Ad-optimizer Nobot Fundraises USD1.3M From JAFCO And Nissay Capital

Tokyo-based smartphone ad-optimizer Nobot announced on Friday they had fundraised approximately USD1.3M from Japan’s largest VC firm JAFCO and Nissay Capital[J] who is an investment arm of Japan’s largest life insurance company.

Nobot was founded in April 2009, and has introduced a smartphone ad-optimization service called Ad-Maker.   They’re currently distributing 100 million impressions per month, and expecting to gain it up to 1 billion impressions per month in the next fiscal year, the company’s CEO Kiyotaka Kobayashi says.

Prior to this round, Nobot has fundraised from Tokyo-based seed investor Samurai Incubate and Internet business-focused VC firm ngi group.  Mr. Kobayashi says, the service is being mainly used by smartphone app developers in the US and European countries, and expecting to spread it out to Asian countries.   They expect their revenue reach USD13M in their fiscal year of 2012.

ノボット、ジャフコから約1億円調達。「アジアを中心に展開してく」
2010/10/15 16:05  by Venture Now 編集部

株式会社ノボット

ノボットは15日、ジャフコ・スーパーV3共有投資事業有限責任組合およびニッセイ・キャピタル4号投資事業有限責任組合を割当先とした第三者割当増資により、総額 約1億円の資金調達をおこなったことを明らかにした。各ファンドからの払込は既に完了している。

調達した資金の半額を資本金に組み入れ、増資後の資本金は、9,000万円。各ファンドからの出資額などの内訳は非開示。

ノボットは、2009年4月1日に設立。スマートフォン向け広告収益最適化サービス「AdMaker」を展開。現在の広告配信数は月間 約1億imp。「来年度には10億impくらいまでにもっていきたい」(ノボット代表小林氏)

同社ではこれまでにエンジェルラウンドでのサムライインキュベートからの投資を経て、2010年3月には ngi group の運営ファンドなどから約3,000万円の資金調達に成功している。

今回調達した資金はおもに同社の事業ドメインである AdMaker の開発と、アジアを中心とした海外展開に充てる。「世界中で使ってもらいたい。今は欧米系が多いが、今後はアジアを中心に展開していく。日本よりも海外の比重を高めたい」(小林氏)

2012年3月期売上高 10億円を目指す。

Smartphone Ad-optimizer Nobot Partners With Singapore-based Network BuzzCity

Nobot, a Tokyo-based tech start-up who has introduced a smartphone ad-optimization SDK called AdMaker that enables to display the best set from multiple ad networks for the iPhone/Android users, partnered with Singapore-headquartered smartphone ad network BuzzCity last Thursday.   App developers using Nobot’s SDK will be allowed to distribute BuzzCity’s ads without language barriers and currency exchanges.

This is the third partnership for the company following those with two ad networks such as CyberAgent‘s subsidiary MicroAd and LA-based (with backgrounds in Malaysia and India) ZestaADZ.

Nobot was founded in April 2009 and fundraised the majority of their capital from VC firm ngi group who’s known for having invested in Japan’s largest social network platform Mixi[J].