GMO Co-Launches New Project To Incubate Social App Providers


GMO Internet, Japan’s leading provider in ISP, web server hosting, domain registration etc., kicked off a new project in order to boost potential developers to create new social apps last weekend.
GMO Venture Partners (GMO-VP)[J], a GMO’s arm in their investment and incubation business, set up a project called “Apuri Yarouze!” (Let’s create social apps!)[J] and started accepting entries of business plans on their website.   The plans are required to be intended for developing new social apps for Japan’s major social network platforms such as Mixi[J], Mobage-town[J] and GREE[J].   GMO-VP will provide the total amount of approx. USD320 million worth capital to the potential developers whose business plans will have been passed the judgment by the committees consisting of Toshiyuki Inoko (CEO, TeamLab), Ryo Shimizu (CEO, Ubiquitous Entertainment), Mitsuru Sugaya[J] (cartoonist), Tomoyasu Hirano (CEO, Digital Stage[J]) and more.

The project provides around USD30,000 – 300,000 as system integration cost to each of the potential developers in terms of financial assistance.  GMO provides their server infrastructure to the developers for free.   After the app’s release, the developer can take 80% of the profit earned from the app, and the project takes the rest of it.
At the kick-off conference, Mr. Yuji Akaba of Breakthrough Partners[J], who serves a judge of the committee and previously work with Silicon Valley-based VC Techfarm Ventures, says, social app market is a good opportunity for system engineers who wish to exit from the contract-based software development.   He introduced Silicon Valley’s social app provider Zynga who had become worth USD1billion in their market capitalization within 2.5 years since their launch. (see this my story for more about Zynga.)
Business plan entries are due noon of March 31st, Wednesday.   The app development tasks are required to be completed in three months after the plan is passed, and the apps are opened to the public in six months.   Corporate applicants who have been fundraised by VC(s) in three years, and all applicants having any social app which is ranked in the Mixi App’s most popular top ten are not allowed to submit entries.

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