With investment from Tokyo firm, VCNC to build Between ‘platform’
By A. Asohan February 10, 2014
- Financial terms of ‘strategic investment’ not disclosed, but plans are to develop a platform
- For SEA expansion, developer VCNC to focus on Thailand and Singapore first, then Malaysia
SOUTH Korea’s VCNC, which developed the ‘couples’ app Between, said that Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed mobile Internet services company DeNA Co Ltd has agreed to make a “strategic investment” in the company.
The investment will be made to form a business alliance to grow Between into an open platform and later support monetisation opportunities, VCNC said in a statement. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Between is the third app developed by VCNC, or Value Creators & Company.
It first launched a beta of Between in November, 2011, after raising US$1 million in Series A funding. The first full version of its app was launched in March 2012, and by December that year had enjoyed two million downloads.
In January, 2013, it raised US$3 million in Series B funding and a couple of months later opened an office in Tokyo. With 7% of Between downloads coming from South-East Asia, it expanded to this part of the world last October by appointing a general manager, Joash Wee, for the region.
By December, it reported five million downloads and released the Between 2.0 update, the company said in its statement.
VCNC is still on track to open a regional office in Singapore, Wee told Digital News Asia (DNA), and is actively looking to hire in Thailand. Late last year, it launched its first campaign in Singapore and said then that it was looking for strategic partners in Thailand and Malaysia.
“For Thailand, we are working with restaurant listing and dining guide Wongnai, where we come up with guides for couples,” Wee told DNA via email.
“We are also working with Tarad on a special Valentine's Day sale where eight items can only be accessed through Between's ‘Event Box,’ in addition to the 12 you see on a [special promotional] microsite.
“We have not started working with partners in Malaysia because we are making sure that Thailand and Singapore get the momentum they need now, but will start looking into it within the next few months,” he added.
As for the new investment, DeNA president and chief executive officer Isao Moriyasu said, “Purpose-specific social networks like Between are rapidly gaining popularity worldwide, following the massive adoption of general social networks and communication tools.
“DeNA sees a great global potential in this highly sophisticated mobile Internet service,” he added.
VCNC chief executive officer Jaeuk Park said his company was looking forward to collaborating “more closely with DeNA to build a platform for third-party services to help us meet the needs of couples worldwide.”
VCNC said Between has seen more than a twofold increase in daily user acquisition after its 2.0 launch last December, and the amount of time spent a month per user has risen to 510 minutes, from 300 minutes a year ago.
“Between 2.0 was reinforcing our core, helping couples communicate and share better with each other,” said Park.
“I think our new metrics reflect that our new features and rebranding has helped us deliver our value to couples and also positioned us better to the global audience,” he said in the statement issued by VCNC.
Between can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
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