No. Of Japanese Startup Funds Exceeds Last Year In 9 Months

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).

via ITMedia

myGengo Opens $45,000 API Lab To Support Third Party Developers


Having raised $585,000 in angel investments this summer, Tokyo-based human translation start-up myGengo has set aside $45,000 to support third-party developers with their new API Lab. The API Lab is a place for developers to experiment with the myGengo API, build plug-ins for third-party platforms, and win cash prizes. While myGengo has offered crowd-sourced translation through their homepage – the plug-ins developed by the API Lab will allow consumers to translate their content from within their own platforms. myGengo is offering up to $1,400 for the first working plug-ins on over 40 platforms including WordPress, Facebook, Salesforce, and iPhone.

According to myGengo CTO Matt Romaine, “We’re excited about the ‘API Lab’ initiative because it’s a fantastic opportunity to reward the developers who are building connections to the myGengo translation API. Developers are working with the API in all kinds of contexts — e-commerce, blogging, Twitter and more — and we want to support these grass-roots efforts. Over the next year, we expect to see hundreds of applications using the API, many of them using the foundations created through the API Lab program.”

The API Lab represents an effort by myGengo to scale their service capacity while making it easier for end-consumers to use. As the crowd-sourced translation space is becoming increasingly crowded with competitors like OneHourTranslation.com, or Conyac.cc in Japan, myGengo is trying to tackle some larger issues in a more multi-lingual web, like this API Lab initiative or their String feature which Asiajin has previously covered.

Interested developers can find more detailed information by visiting the API Lab. (English/Japanese).

WISH2010 Event Report – 15 Presenters And The Winner

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After the panel of three key persons in Japanese social networks, there were 15 presenters demo, 10 from organizers’ choice and 5 fans’ vote out of 32 nominees.

TwiTraq

A Twitter analysis tool by UserLocal, who provides web traffic analysis services (Nakanohito for PC, Ugokuhito for Japanese feature phone and UserInsight for enterprise). (from fan’s vote)

Decomoji

The first and only Japanese CSS3 Webfonts service supports over 250 fonts. All IE/Firefox/Chrome/Safari are available. Freemium model (you will be asked to pay for multiple websites)

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Conyac

A social translation service supports 47 languages by Anydoor (Asiajin). Your requesting texts will be translated by three different users to keep the quality.

(from fan’s vote) [English available]

Puboo

A publishing platform for e-books, integrated with their successful book inventory service Bukulog.

Lifepalette

A category social network for patients and their families.

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Calil

A library websites aggregation and search service. Most Japanese libraries (over 5,000) are covered. Alerting when your wishing books are available at libraries you listed.

AQUSH

A social lending service which enables semi-direct lend-and-borrow Yen. [info in English]

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TwitNovels

a community for creating crowdsourced novels with Twitter account. (from fan’s vote) [English available]

GaraponTV

A recording server to save all teresttrial TV channels for 24 hours over for one month. All recorded programs are tagged by using sub data and you may search and watch them remotely on iPhone/iPad/PC/Android.

Tabereko

An iPhone app pulishing system to make iPhone version groumet e-books from current printed magazines. (from fan’s vote)

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Cacoo

An online realtime collaboration drawing tool. The English version is getting over 30,000 users from oversea, which is more than Japanese users. [English available]

Togetter

A Twitter-based content aggregation site. Many users listed, edited and emphasized public discussion threads from Twitter. About 5 million page views per month. (from fan’s vote)

Cerevo

A “social camera” maker announced their coming new device “Cerevo Ustream Box” (tentative name), which sends any input from video line to Ustream.

Orihime

A community site on where shoppers voice will be reflected to the next products bags and accessaries an online shop for self-designed PC bags and cases

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Loctouch

A Possible Foursquare’s Japanese rival by Livedoor. Oriented to non-verbal social communication. Began with iPhone. Just released Japanese feature phones (3 carriers) and Android.

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Sponsor’s session – PFU ScanSnap

ScanSnap is a commercial version of their world’s No.1 share enterprise scanner.

Recently many Japanese geeks scan their paper books/mangas, most case their report uses ScanSnap.

@kohmi’s Concert

A popular singer-songwriter Kohmi Hirose, @kohmi, who difinitely spread Twitter to non-geek people since her beginning Twitter last year, came to sing two of her songs for 550 attendees.

Awards

Prizes from contestant judge

AMN Awards – Garapon TV

Open Network Labs Awards – Orihime

TechWave Awards – Togetter

TechCrunch Japan Awards – Conyac

Impress Watch Awards – Cacoo

Mainichi.jp Awards – Paboo

Asahi.com Awards – Calil

Nikkei Digital Version Awards – Cerevo’s new gadget

The WISH 2010 Grand Prix

And the winner is… Paboo!

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Gree CEO Tanaka commented that Paboo can be a platform service like Nico Nico Douga, which he values highly, and (of course) Gree.

Afterparty and WISH mascot character WISH-tan

Top 50 Of Japan’s Most Rapidly Growing Tech Startups. GREE Is No. 1.

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Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has compiled a list of the 50 fastest-growing tech firms in Japan [JP, PDF], and it’s quite interesting. The so-called Nippon Technology FAST50 was released yesterday by the company’s Tokyo subsidiary, and I took the liberty to fully translate the list.

Deloitte says the ranking is based on sales growth over the last three years and only companies that agreed to be included are in the list (which is not really great, but OK). The No. 1 is a web service: Mobile gaming platform GREE‘s sales have skyrocketed almost 27 times over the last three years (+2,636%).

Here’s the complete list (along with links to the English homepages whenever available).

Top 50 of Japan’s fastest growing tech companies:

No. 1: GREE (mobile social gaming) +2,636%

No. 2: Oasis (green tech) +812%

No. 3: Bictown (mobile advertising agency) +500%

No. 4: O-RID (digital data conversion) +495%

No. 5: tella (Life Science) +479%

No. 6: Fractalist (mobile marketing) +470%

No. 7: Cookpad (recipe site) +457%

No. 8: Full Speed (web promotion) +426%

No. 9: Ateam (mobile content) +313%

No. 10: OncoTherapy Science (Life Science) +313%

No. 11: NanoCarrier (Life Science) +241%

No. 12: Aeria (online gaming) +233%

No. 13: Linical (Life Science) +231%

No. 14: BrainPad (data mining) +222%

No. 15: Phoeton (laser technology) +219%

No. 16: Lock On (e-commerce solutions) +209%

No. 17: pcPhase (mobile technology solutions) +193%

No. 18: SBI Net Systems (security solutions) +177%

No. 19: DeNA (mobile social gaming) +165%

No. 20: Seesaa (blog engine provider) +164%

No. 21: Drecom (digital contents and blog system provider) +151%

No. 22: Wellnet (settlement services for ATMs) +148%

No. 23: Raccoon (B2B service provider) +147%

No. 24: Gala (online gaming) +141%

No. 25: Mediscience Planning (Life Science) +129%

No. 26: Digital Hearts (game testing) +125%

No. 27: FreeBit (network provider) +117%

No. 28: I-FREEK (mobile content provider) +116%

No. 29: Primeworks (online software and content provider) +113%

No. 30: UBIC (computer forensics) +110%

No. 31: Voltage (mobile contents) +109%

No. 32: FiBest (optical network provider) +109%

No. 33: OK Wave (FAQ solutions) +101%

No. 34: Next (real estate portal) +100%

No. 35: Interspace (affiliate marketing) +92%

No. 36: A-Care Systems (email distribution) +89%

No. 37: Neo Morgan (Life Science) +88%

No. 38: VarioSecure Networks (network security) +87%

No. 39: e-System (CRM solutions) +85%

No. 40: opt (online marketing) +82%

No. 41: PSC (medical software) +82%

No. 42: GCrest (online gaming) +81%

No. 43: Simplex Technology (financial trade applications) +77%

No. 44: NEPRO IT (online advertising and mobile contents) +76%

No. 45: Start Today (fashion site operator) +76%

No. 46: WebMoney (online payment system) +74%

No. 47: Billing System (online billing and settlement) +73%

No. 48: Japan Cablecast (digital TV content distribution) +72%

No. 49: Samco (electronic parts) +71%

No. 50: paperboy (web hosting) +68%

Lunarr Closes Company With Its Two Unique Web Services

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An unique web startup founded and run by a successful Japanese entrepreneur in Portland, Oregon, declared its end of services this month.

Notice

LUNARR will be discontinuing our Elements and Themes services as of Sunday, May 10th, 2009. You may continue to use both services until that date, at which time your LUNARR Terms of Service will be terminated and content will no longer be accessible.

We would like to sincerely thank you for being a part of the Themes and Elements beta experiments!

Best,
The LUNARR team

LUNARR blog

Lunarr Themes, named “Themes” after their second service Elements launched, started in 2007. The concept of the service is to introduce “back side” to every single page on the internet, on each of the back you may leave memo, start discussions with e-mail. It is a collaboration tool as same as Toru’s first product Cybozu groupware with unique flip idea.

lunarr-themes

Lunarr Elements, which is the other service by Lunarr, is a communication service around user posted images, just launched early January 2009, this year.

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Toru Takasuka, who is a legendary software entrepreneur who made an independent enterprise package software company Cybozu by leaving Panasonic/Matsushita around his 30, left his CEO job and sold all his stock in 2005, expatriated himself to Portland with bringing his capital gain.

He told me before that his intention to move to rather small city instead of the Silicon Valley, is to get a good attention without hard competition both for promotion and hiring, which exactly traced his first success in Japan started from Ehime, small town in Shikoku island, then moved to Osaka, then Tokyo.

On his blog [J], he occasionally explained that he would have not made his first child Cybozu be a global company. Even though Cybozu is beating IBM/Lotus and Microsoft in market share in Japan, it is “only in Japan” phenomenon. Instead of using IPO-ed Cybozu, he rather wanted to begin again from scratch with his full of control.

On his announcement on his Japanese blog, Takasuka writes “I am not giving up my way to the global-level startup, global-level service”.

Different from many Japanese software companies who hold a small branch with 1-2 persons in valley by doing nothing substantial but so-called “local research”, mainly to show their pose of globalization to their Japanese customers, he is the few serious person who has his own strategy and policy.

In USA, he seems to meet a lot of influential people in industry and makes a good network. He also held an English bloggers tour in Tokyo, of course as a part of Lunarr’s promotion, but also to help other Japanese local startups linked to influential people in English blogosphere.

It is sad to hear their close but I wish I hear a news on his next service soon.

[disclaimer] Akky Akimoto worked as an engineering director of Cybozu USA under Toru Takasuka, when he was a CEO of Cybozu HQ, San Francisco.

See Also:

Failing to snag users, Lunarr decides to shut down » VentureBeat reports Lunarr’s services and interesting promotion history in USA.

Portland local news reports on Toru and Lunarr’s journey from their point of view

Lunarr Is Going Dark . . .