Invited to Seminar by Japan’s 1st Social Lending “Maneo”

A Tokyo-based serial entrepreneur C. Jeffrey Char read my stories featuring social lending that I contributed to the newspaper and posted on my blog, and he invited me to a seminar prior to launching the service of “maneo”.

Prosper coming here to Tokyo from US, Zopa from UK, both cannot reach launching their services so far, and Japan’s maneo is now the first one to start here.

Social lending may create the third category of financing industry, beside direct financing (private equities) and indirect financing (banks).   In terms of brief understanding, it can be counted in a form of priviate equities as well.

Mr. Tadatoshi Senoo leads maneo as its president, who was formerly working for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi-UFJ.   I drank some cans of beer after the seminar there, and I forgot to take his picture unfortunately.   Sorry for that.

He’s hot guy, from Kyushu island or southern part of Japan.   He will be featured many times on TV and newspapers from now on, there I need not take his picture with my poor camera skill this time. 

Japan’s financial laws are defined without any view of social lending, and it seems hard for them to clear laws and various regulations and to persuade conservative bureaucrats for approval.

But now, finally they got understanding of the monetary authority, and they can start the service around coming October.

I think it would be better not used only as a new one of financial services, but for example, elderly people can use it as a bridge to share the dreams with youngers by lending(investing) money, and I hope such a new way of lending or investing is going well.

Mobile Monday Tokyo: Two VC Firms

Mr. Ryo Umezawa kindly invited me to Mobile Monday Tokyo which he hosted, and I went to Restaurant Sam & Dave in Akasaka to attend.

Well, it’s getting harder for me to finish the work before 7pm, but I could that day fortunately, which allowed me to be in the event from start to end.

Two venture capital firms, NGI Group and Global Capital Partners, gave the presentation that day.

Because I’ve been involved in VC work before, and VC people sometimes request me to help their work, I know a little bit about what VC really are. But Japanese VC firms should have more diversities, as everyone mentions.  I can see few concrete diversities of what VCs do in Japan, it looks like – I cannot find which TV channel or TV program when I’m watching it.

VC firms, especially located arong Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, which is famous as VC firms concentrated area — they have greater diversities in their investment stances.

We had better start up the business in Silicon Valley, in terms of growing up in more efficient way, including raising the fund money, providing the service worldwide, and getting human resources.

However, when we start up the business in Japan, we need have a reason why we do so.

I remember the notes Mr. Seiji Kimura left on his blog, who is the president of Web-Shark Inc., a leading provider of drop-shipping service based in Osaka.

Quoted from His Post on March 10th, 2008

The reason why you’re paying the tax to the country is, to have the right to use the brand name of “Japan” for doing your business. In order to get your money’s worth, you have to make your business grown up onto the world market which may truly find out the value of “Made in Japan”.

by someone with whom Mr. Kimura has travelled.
http://blog.webshark.co.jp/informal/?p=142

If so, the goverment’s behaviour is losing the brand image of “Japan” in these days, although we’re actually paying no less tax to the government.

iPhone App Billionaire to come?

Mr. Toshihiro TAKAGI, formerly known as the Editor-in-Chief of MacLIFE Magazine(Japan), Mr. Eiichi MATSUKI, known as the manager of MAUG-J or Macintosh Apple User Group Japan, and freelance Macintosh programmer Mr. Hiroyuki FUJIMOTO had a joint lecture on recently released iPhone 3G and its beyond.   Usually one person is in charge of presentation at the Digicon Salon monthly session, but this time three experts jointly did.   A number of attendees were coming down to the venue, which describes iPhone’s popularity and the world’s high expections and inrerests in the future that iPhone makes.

I was late for the meeting, and I couldn’t hear many inside stories on the brand new product.   However Mr. Takagi explained, unlike Japan’s cellphone application developers’ industry until now, iPhone apps developers need not to test the application repeatedly for many cellphone models for many cellphone operators before its release, which costs a lot.  If a developer makes a great iPhone apps, all they have to do is one single test for one single cellphone model – iPhone.   Then, that iPhone apps they made can be available for iPhoners all around the planet.   Not only corporates but also individuals have potentials to be a developer of popular iPhone apps.

Mr. Matsuki pointed out Google gazes at iPhone apps market to be grown, because Google has interest in building up an application distribution network hub for Andoroid-based cellphone users, yes, it would be a very “iPhone App Store” like.

The 2nd Geo Media Summit

The 2nd Geo Media Summit was held at Yahoo! Japan’s head office.   Yahoo! kindly gave attendees blue folding umbrellas as gift, but the day’s weather didn’t require it.

Four tech companies introduced their services, which are combined of geographical data and web2.0 contents.   (I quit the conference in the middle for another appointment)

Koozyt’s president Takahiko Sueyoshi explained their “Place Engine”, the software enabling to get geographical data by WiFi signals.   I wrote about it on my contribution to the newspaper as well as on the previous post on my  blog, it is very interested to me in finding the detail location not by GPS.

Recently Koozyt released some new services using the same technology, especially designed for iPhone 3G, allowing you to obtain the guide to the location where you are.

 

 

 

I think the service varies more widely with this technology, it makes possible to present innovative services for the blinds who are harder to go outside.   Without braille map, they may walk more easilly only with iPhone accessible to the services, even in strange cities and towns. 

Followed by the presentation of Google Japan’s Naoki Ishihara and Keiichi Kawai.

Google released already Google Map API and Earth API, they mentioned Google aggresively supports volunteers, communities and activities that develop various applications by using these APIs.

The left down of the pictures shown above is an example, it’s the game that you may drive a car around Mt. Everest.  (http://www.google.com/earth/plugin/examples/milktruck/)

When flight simulators for the pilot trainees or the car simulators at drivers schools are renewed with such APIs, those gonna be getting more real.

So far, it’s not clear when and whether they start the expecting service of Google StreetView exploring Japanese streets, Google said.   But a similar service is already in service by a Tokyo-based tech venture LocationView.

Their service has feature to cloud up the person’s face taken unexpectedly in an image, which can solve the problem violating “the rights to usage of the person’s likeness” that Google’s StreetView experienced.

I saw the front view of my company’s office with LocationView’s web-based application.

Google is already old?

Modiphi Inc., which is getting famous as developing iPhone Apps, hosted “WBS 2.0” at Apple Store Ginza.

There was a talk session event of Modiphi’s Mr. Ogawa and SBI Robo’s Mr. Watanabe.   SBI Robo provides a LinkedIn-like business SNS called “SBI Business”.

# Actually Mr. Watanabe mentioned SBI Business looks LinkedIn as a role model.
# LinkedIn Japanese Service is being developed by Digital Garage, a tech startup venture capital firm.

(a little bit bokeh…)

  – Asking directly a reliable expert may be faster than Google retrievals to  reach a reliable information, therefore we see the needs of retriving the persons or connecting them each other.

 – Google will not start the service connecting person-to-person because of the reason mentioned above.   If  the user can easily contact the expert who is familiar with the subject that the users would like to know, it may cause reducing Google’s original retrieval needs.

– When we retrieve the word by Google, descriptions on Wikipedia or Hatena are usually returned in highly-ranked results.   SBI Business also aims to gain its popularity by leveraging search engines.   Every user’s introduction page is opened and accessible from search engine crawlers.   (LinkedIn is opened, Facebook is closed)

– Because RSS feeds are indexed entities of user’s opt-in, growing RSS usage makes Google retrieval needs lower.   (is it really?)     Therefore it’ s skeptical whether Google aggressively provides RSS service from now on.   (But Google already started iGoogle aggregating RSS feeds in a page.   Is it skeptical with the example?)

Although above is simple brief on my bias, by standing  in the position that “Google is already old”, I think it would be a certain breakthrough to create the next Web2.0 innovations.

“Perfume” in CGM World

At the University of Tokyo, BBA (Broadband Association) hosted a symposium on CGM (consumer generated media).

 

Mr. Wataru SASAKI of Cryption Future Media gave us a presention.   The company is well known as the manufacturer of a popular vocaloid software “Hatsune Miku”.

After that, five persons had a panel disussion.   The guest panelists are:

– Mr. Ichiru, Director at Six Apart Japan and the Editor-in-Chief of “Gizmodo Japan”, and who was also interviewed by many medium on the day when i-Phone went on sale.

– Mr Hiroshi INUKAI, e-Sports game producer.

– Mr. Shinji FUKUHARA, Fuji-TV producer for TV program “Near Future Predictions TSUGIKURU” and “Shonen Takeshi”, a special content program in the station’s website.

– Mr. Kiyoshi SHIN, Game Journalist (moderator).

Accidentally last year I got to know someone near Perfume, a famous all-girl technopop trio, I’ve often watched and listened Perfume’s visuals and sounds since then, but I deeply understood Perfume had been conquering its popularity in the CGM world than I expected before.

Mr. Fukuhara ran the campaign on his website program, which was inviting the website audiences to create a music video of Perfume.   Mr. Inukai authored a Nintendo Family-Computer game featuring Perfume, and he was awarded and got a T-shirt with the trio’s autograph as reward.

Five persons’ common perspectives are, they are always conscious of where they are in the community while they create the contents, and they need contrive more ways to create something for more profit.

Anyway I feel it is important to create something and to get it to the public.   It’s not only about CGM.