Trippiece

Tokyo-based travel startup Trippiece* announced that it has raised JPY 200 million (US$2 million) from Draper Nexus Venture Partners and other investors. With the funds, the startup plans to start developing smartphone apps.

The company also invited Fumiaki Koizumi to the board of directors. He previously worked with Mixi and DeNA where he helped them IPO. At Trippiece, his main role will be to strengthen the management.

We expected social media could help get the word out about the website, but this wasn’t the case.

It has been more than a year since Trippiece formally launched back in January of 2012. Currently there are nearly 1,400 travel plans available on the site, and 100 to 200 users take trips using those plans every week. Management operations behind the scenes have become stable, and the startup plans to further improve that with the funds.

IanIshida_snapshot

CEO Ian Ishida explained that it hasn’t been a smooth ride for the company so far. The power of social media didn’t quite live up to their expectations.

“Trippiece is comprised of many small travel plans. We expected social media could help get the word out about the website, but this wasn’t the case. The community only became active when we acquired 20,000 users.”

If a user-generated travel plan has more than five users apply to join, the startup will arrange a tour using its partnerships with travel agencies. Right now the service has more than 50,000 users, but they need to acquire more to keep going along their planned roadmap.

The startup is about to launch a corporate membership system, with intended account holders being talent agencies or other businesses that have many fans. Trippiece is also planning to arrange tours accompanying entertainers or performers. We don’t know too much about this, but we understand they are in talks with several agencies right now.

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Their user base is not large enough for a social media network. But they have improved their business model enough to step forward to the next stage.

Whenever I meet up with Ishida, he usually talks about his love for the service, and it’s good to have someone like that at the helm. It will be fascinating to watch him evolve this unique travel experience moving forward.

Tripiece started out back in March of 2011, receiving seed funding worth JPY 3.5 million (US$36,000) from Samurai Incubate Fund. Subsequently, the company also received JPY 5 million (US$51,240) from Movida Japan.

* Technically, the service name and company name (trippieace) are different in spelling for some reason.

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