Can Japan's contact sharing app Sansan ace it in the US?
The name card-scanning service expanded to the US recently. How is it doing there?By Elaine Huang 11 Jul, 2014
In May 2014, Japan-based startup Sansan raised US$14 million to bring its restyled contact sharing app into the US. The app, available on iOS and Android devices, allow users to scan name cards, collate contact information, and share contacts with colleagues.
The Sansan service, which goes by the tagline ‘The Business Card Box for your company’, is unlike its sister service, Eight, which targets individuals, rather than corporations. Furthermore, the Eight app is only available in Japan, while the Sansan app can be downloaded in Japan, the US and in Singapore (beta).
The company has since set up an office in the US with 10 staff employees. For comparison purposes, it has around 120 people in its Japanese offices in Tokyo and Tokushima (a satellite office).
Since its recent launch, Sansan has garnered more than 300 corporate users in the US, including some who are premium users, according to Kato Kan, who handles public relations and marketing at the firm.
Kato further noted that the team has gleaned many insights about how the US market is different from the Japanese market. For example, users in the US tend to be more open about inviting their colleagues onto the platform. In total, Sansan has bagged more than 2,000 premium corporate users in Japan and beyond.
“Our service in the US has been in market for just a month,” he shared, “The similarities in both Japan and the US are that there are business card sharing needs. Additionally, we discovered that there were many inquiries from Asian countries, especially Singapore. Therefore, we are considering service localisation into Asian markets.”
“Our products in Japan and the US are quite different. In the US, it is mobile-first, free to download from stores (iOS, Android). Users can take photo of business cards and invite colleagues, but this user experience is not yet available in Japan,” he added.
Going forward, the company will also consider expanding into other English-speaking countries such as India, the Philippines and Australia.