- DeNA begins operations as a private company
The small appartment office where it all started.
- Shifts to a joint-stock corporation and changes name to DeNA Co. Ltd.
- Moves headquarters to Tomigaya in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Moves headquarters to Kamiyama-cho in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Launches the auction site Bidders
Current President & CEO Isao Moriyasu celebrates the launch of Bidders with the team.
Leaving Common Sense Behind
Since being founding, one motto has remained true is that if there is belief in an idea, it must be seen through to the end. Sadly, this concept has not always brought the company success. Even when it has led to failure, however, DeNA used those experiences to reafirm its bold policy of leaving common sense at the door and trusting its instincts. This is evidenced even through to today, as the company continues to set its sights on greater and greater challenges.
When consulting you are paid to advise, but you are unable to actually bring your recommendations to fruition. This was something Tomoko Namba had always aspired to do, and at long last, such an opportunity presented itself that was too good for her to pass up.
After a former client turned down her one of her proposals, he encouraged Namba herself to take on the challenge. She seized the chance and left behind her life as a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and founded DeNA. She started small with an online auction service, however, her ambitions were anything but. She was aiming to create a company that would last not for years or decades, but for centuries.
DeNA's founder Tomoko Namba sitting at her desk in the early days.
In the early stages, it looked as though Bidders would reach a market free of competitors. However, just two months before the site was to go live, Yahoo! Japan unexpectedly launched its own auction service. This was a huge blow, threatening Bidders with little to no market share against the IT giant.
But that was not all. A month before the launch of Bidders, the team realized that the outsourced infrastructure was severely underdeveloped. When the site opened for business, the stopgap system in place was not even able to display items - only accept bids.
The trying times led the team to realize the importance of developing their own production abilities. Without such resources in place, the company surely wouldn't be around for years, let alone centuries.
Founder Tomoko Namba addressing the team at the launch of Bidders.
- Launches its mobile e-commerce platform
- Moves headquarters to Hatagaya in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
The new office DeNA occupied as it struggled to make Bidders a success.
- Club Bidders, VIP services for enterprise members, is launched
- Bidders gains legitimacy with certification under Japan's Antique Business Law
- The Bidders shopping services are branded as Bidders Shopping
The market in Japan at that time was dominated by a "winner takes all" mentality. If you weren't No. 1, people doubted if you could survive quarter to quarter. Clearly the Bidders service was not in the top spot, but members of DeNA wanted to buck this trend and prove there was a place for competition in the marketplace.
This proved a significant challenge as management was also eager to diversify, but aware of the importance of turning a profit before expanding. Continuing to focus on their sole service was soon rewared as against all odds, DeNA turned a profit in 2002.
With new wind in their sails, the team made a decision that set the stage for their dramatic growth in the future. They pivoted and made it their aim to be the No. 1 mobile web service provider in Japan.
- Bidders gains legitimacy with certification under Japan's Antique Business Law
- Moves headquarters to Sasazuka in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Launches mobile auction site Mobaoku
- Launches Pocket Bidders
- Launches the Pocket Affiliate program
Taking full advantage of the moment, DeNA moved to establish the mobile auction service Mobaoku (Moh-bah-oh-koo). This time around, it was decided that the company would develop an entirely new system for what was basically a mobile version of Bidders.
Common sense would dictate that the established web user base could be connected to the mobile service, but aiming for the No. 1 spot called for an completely new approach. And in just three months, DeNA's super-engineers built a new system from the bottom up and the company snatched the top spot from the competitors.
DeNA's founder Tomoko Namba ringing the Tokyo Stock Exchange bell to begin the day's trading.
- Launches the au Auction mobile site now known as au Mobaoku
- Pocket Bidders becomes the first auction service on i-mode's official menu
- DeNA is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Mothers, the section for fast-growing startup companies
- Launches Mobage Town, which is now known as Mobage
- Launches au Shopping Mall
- Establishes Mobakore as a subsidiary
- Establishes Paygent as a subsidiary
- Air Link and Takimoto become wholly-owned subsidiaries
- DeNA Beijing is founded as a subsidiary
- Payment escrow services are launched by PAYGENT Co., Ltd.
- Launches Mobapay for Mobaoku au auction, which is now known as au Mobaoku
- Launches business-to-business marketplace Netsea
As was the case for many companies then and now, DeNA could not continue to grow by relying on what led it to profitability in the first place. The company saw that the Japanese mobile web market had reached its limit and that it was time to look elsewhere for new opportunities.
Following its recent experience in China, the company decided to put its newly found know-how to use by reaching out across the Pacific to Silicon Valley. There DeNA forged a relationship with ngmoco, establishing it as the company's new base of operations for global expansion.
- Launches mobile shopping site Mobadepa
- DeNA subsidiary Air Link launches online international reservation site Soramaru
- DeNA's first television commercial is aired in Japan
- Skygate becomes a wholly-owned DeNA subsidiary
- Launches the Comprehensive Insurance Center on Air Link, providing a one-stop insurance shopping destination online
- DeNA is listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange
- Launches social network Shumee-to Club targeting middle-aged and senior citizens
- Establishes DeNA Global in the U.S.
- Moves headquarters to Yoyogi in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Merges Air Link and Skygate
- Mobage Town membership surpasses 10 million
- Opens Mobage Town Niigata Customer Center
- Launches youth helpline service Mobage Town Emergency Call
- Launches mobile ad network Pocket Match
- Launches beta version of MobaMingle, a social network for English-speaking countries
- Begins charity fundraising efforts via Mobage Town
- WAPTX, a Chinese mobile social network operator, becomes a subsidiary.
- Opens Mobage Town to third-party developers
- Launches first-party social game Kaito Royale on Mobage Town
- Establishes the Mobile Affiliate Council
- Third-party games are released on the Mobage Open Platform
- Establishes Everystar as a subsidiary
- Establishes business partnership with Yahoo! Japan
- Invests in Incubate Fund to support new ventures
- Officially launches E*Everystar
- Mobage Town membership surpasses 20 million
- U.S.-based Gameview Studios, LLC. becomes a subsidiary
- Makes a capital tie-up with US-based Astro Ape Studios.
- Officially launches Yahoo! Mobage
- U.S.-based mobile game developer ngmoco becomes a subsidiary
- Mobage Town becomes compatible with smartphones
- Mobage Town is rebranded as Mobage
- Mobage app for Android devices is released
- Isao Moriyasu becomes president
- Establishes DeNA Seoul in South Korea.
- Launches Mobage in China, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia
- Establishes DeNA Asia Pacific Holdings in Singapore.
- Acquires Punch Entertainment's Vietnam Studio
- Chile's Atakama Labs becomes a subsidiary
- Acquires Yokohama DeNA BayStars professional baseball team
With the worldwide launch of Mobage, DeNA officially announced its arrival on the global stage. Learning from its past failures and successes, the company intends to continue producing innovative services, venturing into new industries, and leaving common sense behind in order to reach new heights.
- Establishes DeNA Studios Canada, now known as DeNA Vancouver
- Moves headquarters to the Shibuya Hikarie building in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Launches e-commerce site builder Zerostore
- Launches messaging service Comm
- Together with five other companies, establishes the Japan Social Game Assiciation
- Unveils new company logo and branding
- Launches music player app Groovy
- Establishes official athletics team DeNA Running Club
- Establishes advisory board