When he started as an aggressive and intelligent entrepreneur, it looked for all the world that Takafumi Horie’s star was always going to be on the rise in Japan. At his peak – before he was imprisoned – he founded one of Japan’s largest web portals and became a national celebrity. He was put in prison for securities fraud but has now been released and is looking to take a bite out of the Internet market again by launching smartphone app development outfit.
Horie was once a household name in Japan, known as the famous founder and CEO of Livedoor, then one of Japan’s most popular domestic websites. Horie’s fame also spread out from the Internet, allowing the businessman to publish several best-selling books, and even once ran for political office with the backing of the prime minister. Growing in confidence probably – and fatally for his business at that point – Horie attempted a takeover of a large TV station, an event that was so significant that it led to the country promulgating new acquisition laws. His home and offices were then raided in 2006 on suspicion of business fraud, and his loss of face caused a plunge in the Japanese stock market. His company’s investors, some who were citizens who had invested their life savings into his firm’s shares, were wiped out financially. Horie was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in 2007 for fraud.
When he was released, the once-outspoken businessman had kept a low profile. His former company Livedoor is now owned by Korean web giants NHN, also known as the owners and operators of popular Japan-based chat app Line. That was until this Monday, when a one-page website titled “7gogo” announced that Horie would head up an outfit concentrating on smartphone app development, starting with a “celebrity group talk app” for smartphones. If the project pushes through, this will be Horie’s first project since getting released from jail. The firm is apparently being backed as a joint venture with CyberAgent, a Japanese online advertising outfit. The firm said that this new venture would seek to have a million users for the new app within a year. On Horie’s Twitter account, he was probably referring to this when he tweeted to almost a million followers early Monday morning that “It begins from now…”
[via IT World]
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