Japanese video production startup Viibar secures US$3.5 million strategic investment from Nikkei

Viibar, a Tokyo-based video production service has announced on 17 January that it has received a US$3.5 million investment from Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a leading business newspaper widely known as Nikkei.

As part of the deal, both parties will enter a partnership to come out with new services and advertisement products for Nikkei’s new digital marketing organisation, N Brand Studio.

Additionally, Viibar will also participate in building a team to develop and provide new services and advertising products in addition to the company’s current main role of supporting content marketing for companies.

In the spring of 2017, the two companies will launch a new media project known as Nikkei Style, which will be managed by Nikkei.

Established in 2013 and led by CEO Yuta Kamisaka, Viibar is popular as a crowdsourced video production service, specialising in all things video production.

Viibar, who originally supported the crowdsourcing of video materials for companies, in these past few years, has undertaken a new development, venturing in investments and corporate alliance with the media.

The company provided new options for video production, riding the crowdsourcing wave by gathering creators online and streaming production through their production platform.

Since its inception in 2013, the startup has assembled about 3,000 online creators with the number of companies using their service climbing to 600.

“Media is a collection of content,” Kamisaka said. “We have a commitment to creating an environment where it is possible to focus on creative pursuits. We are not just intermediaries matching creators with projects, but through evaluating creators, and paying attention to various results, we have been able to confirm that this is the correct direction to take.”

From the onset, they did not simply provide crowdsourcing for video production, but also dabbled in the media, using the funds received from Yahoo Japan in their previous round, and Bouncy, their version of distributed contents.

Along with this business partnership, Viibar will also receive approximately 400 million yen (around US$3.5 million) in the latest funding round from Dentsu Digital Holdings and Globis Capital Partners as well as Nikkei.

With this, Viibar is looking to use its brand-name media and distribution to move to a new stage. In turn, this then becomes a test of whether they can expand as a business by taking this next step away from a production platform.

“I think it comes down to whether or not we can make a strong brand. A strong brand means that the media has a fan base and its cost per acquisition (CPA) is low, and if this is solid, then it does not matter whether the content is offered via a platform or via our own media,” Kumisaka explains

The company is planning to expand their team of about 40 to 100 people.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Chinese online education startup XueBaJun secures US$100 million Series C co-led by China Merchants Capital and EasyCapital

Two Shanghai-based RMB fund, China Merchants Capital and EasyCapital have co-led a US$100 million Series C in Xuebajun, an online education mobile app which allows students to upload questions and get answers from both online teachers and robots.

Other investors that have also participated in the round include Wanxin Media and existing investors Qiming Venture Partners, Trustbridge Partners, and Vertex Ventures.

Founded in 2013, Xuebajun provides free mobile services that will answer questions from school that students may have. The application facilitates the process by allowing students to upload pictures of the questions and receiving the relevant answers in no more than three minutes.

“Digitise educational content and utilising robotics to help teachers and students will be the future of smart education,” said XueBaJun in a statement. “We will continue our focus to help students with their most urgent needs in their learning experience.”

At the same time, XueBaJun also reveals that its independently researched and developed intelligent robot will also be joining examinees in the 2017 college entrance examination, to take the mathematics paper, completing both objective and subjective questions. Its final examination results will also be compliant with the college entrance examination scoring standards.

In early June last year, the education startup exclusively developed its manual answering function into a new app known as Jun Jun Counseling. In December, the company continued to launch a data-driven online application known as 1 on 1 Jun Jun Counseling, which is used to test the depth of the application intelligence conversion.

“The Online 1 on 1 Jun Jun Counselling forms the basis of the XueBaJun Q&A functions which acts as an important layout that makes up for the knowledge loophole and improves its overall comprehensive layout. This will be the quintessential part that answers the college entrance exams,” said XueBaJun.

Prior to this, the question and answer service which has more than 65 million users, has raised US$5 million from Vertex Ventures in 2014 and completed a US$50 million Series B financing round from Qiming and Trustbridge Partners in 2015.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media