Going up against global social networking colossus Facebook is no easy task, as Facebook-like sites all over the world are finding out. One such Japanese social network platform is Mixi, whom like others have struggled in keeping up with the tremendous growth of Mark Zuckerberg’s baby, seeing what is now years of stagnant user numbers and a resulting lack of direction. Just last week, Mixi started a transition phase, as the social network’s founder Kenji Kasahara handed over the reins to new CEO Yusuke Asakura. This is immediately followed today by Mixi announcing that it has invested funding into two promising mobile-first startup companies.
The first startup is CloudStudy, provider of social learning platform StudyPlus, which received around 700,000 US dollars in funding from Mixi. The other investment (of an undisclosed amount) went to social app makers Reventive, a young company that has three social apps under its name. CloudStudy’s StudyPlus platform is targeted for students who want to put their study times, subjects, and knowledge content in a manageable app. The users of StudyPlus can then go social and share their study progress with contacts who have installed the same app, or – ironically – to social networks like Mixi’s rival Facebook (yes, it’s like that). StudyPlus now boasts of 100,000 registered users starting up in March 2012. The platform is available on Android and iOS.
Reventive’s main app is a product called “Close”, a veritable clone of the social network app Path with one major difference – Path lets you share pictures, location tags, and item tags for 150 “high quality” connections (detaching itself from Facebook’s “more friends, more fun” strategy) – “Close”, as the name implies, takes that idea to a higher level by restricting you to just nine close friends. Reventive also has apps in the pipeline, like a location-based group dating/hangout app called “Gocon“.
Mixi hasn’t fully acquired these two startups, but industry experts say that acquisition may be a long-term goal if their businesses take off. Mixi is not averse to mixing it up – pardon the pun – as it acquired the startup company Kamado a few months ago. Mixi’s main social network platform is, as anyone would describe it, stuck and stagnant at about 15 million active users for over two years now, even as Facebook has seen tremendous growth. In Mixi’s defense, Facebook has left every other pretender eating its dust so far, but that is no excuse nor comfort for a failing business like Mixi.
[via Tech In Asia]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan