Tokyo Otaku Mode, a social media firm focused on Japanese “otaku” culture, has raised a round of angel funding from a number of Silicon Valley and Japanese angels.
Chief executive Tomo Kamei started the company, which is dedicated to otaku: fans of anime, manga (comics), or video games. After 16 months, the company’s Facebook page has gained more than 5.7 million likes. Tokyo Otaku Mode is currently developing a new website for user-generated otaku content.
The funding comes from startup accelerator 500 Startups, Richard Chen, and Maneesh Arora, among others. The fact that such a site was able to raise money suggests that using modern social media to target content at a group of hardcore fans makes sense.
The company’s new web service will provide a platform for fans to share content, connect with each another, and for content creators to be fully credited for their work. The firm will use the money to develop web and mobile services and applications.
“Tokyo Otaku Mode is a global community of imaginative and playful people of all races, genders, ages, and colors — each person, uniquely otaku in their own special way,” said Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups. “Together, we create a powerful social media force that unites in celebrating anime and animation, manga and comics, [and] heroes and characters loved all over the world. Tokyo Otaku Mode is one of the most amazing Japanese startups I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and 500 Startups is proud to be an investor.”
Other investors include Craig Mod, Benjamin Joffe, Elliot Loh, Mark Yoshitake, and Amit Sangani. Kamei started Tokyo Otaku Mode in March 2011. Joichi Ito, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, has joined the firm as an adviser.