March 1999

  • DeNA begins operations as a private company

The small apartment office where it all started.

August 1999

  • Transitions to a joint-stock corporation and changes its name to DeNA Co., Ltd.
  • Moves headquarters to Tomigaya in Shibuya, Tokyo

October 1999

  • Moves headquarters to Kamiyama-cho in Shibuya, Tokyo

November 1999

  • Launches the auction site Bidders

November 1999
Current President & CEO Isao Moriyasu celebrates the launch of Bidders with the team.

Leaving Common Sense Behind

Since DeNA was founded, one motto has remained true: if there is belief in an idea, it must be seen through to the end. While this has not been a foolproof strategy, even in failure the company has used those experiences to reaffirm its bold policy of leaving common sense at the door and trusting its instincts. This way of thinking is evident today, as DeNA continues to set its sights on greater and greater challenges.

Taking Risks

Consultants are paid to advise, but are often unable to actually bring their own recommendations to fruition. Tomoko Namba was not satisfied with simply advising, and when the opportunity arose to do more she didn't hesitate.

After turning down one of her proposals, a former client encouraged Tomoko herself to take on the challenge. She believed in the idea, so with that, she left behind her life as a partner at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and founded DeNA.

She started small with a single service, following through on her proposal of an online auction service, but her ambitions were not so limited. From the beginning, Tomoko was aiming to create a company that would last not for years or decades, but for centuries.

A risk worth taking
DeNA's founder Tomoko Namba sitting at her desk in the early days.

Challenging Times

When development began it looked as though Bidders would be first to the market. However, just two months before the site was to go live, Yahoo! Japan unexpectedly launched its own auction service. This was a huge blow, immediately threatening Bidders with little to no market share against the IT giant.

But that was not all. Just a month before Bidders' launch the team realized that the site's backend development, which DeNA had outsourced to another firm, was nowhere near completion. When the site opened for business, the stopgap system in place only allowed users to bid, not list their items for sale.

The disaster made the team realize the importance of developing their own production and development skills. Without such resources in place at DeNA, the company surely wouldn't be around for years, let alone centuries.

Unprecedented failure(s)
Founder Tomoko Namba addressing the team at the launch of Bidders.

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  • Launches Bidders E-commerce Platform


  • Moves headquarters to Hatagaya in Shibuya, Tokyo

The office building where DeNA worked from as it struggled to make Bidders a success.

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May 2001

  • Club Bidders, VIP services for enterprise members, is launched
  • Bidders gains legitimacy with certification under Japan's Antique Business Law

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December 2002

  • The Bidders shopping services are branded as Bidders Shopping

Reaching Profitability

The business landscape in Japan at that time was ruled by a "winner takes all" mentality. If a service or product wasn't No. 1 in the market, everyone doubted the company would be able to survive for long. Members of DeNA wanted to buck this mindset and show the importance of competition in the marketplace, despite the uphill battle facing the Bidders service.

This proved a significant challenge as DeNA's management was eager to diversify and move on to new businesses. Realizing the importance of turning a profit before expanding their portfolio, however, they continued to focus on their sole service. And against all odds, the company was soon rewarded for their choice as DeNA become profitable in 2002.

With new wind in their sails, the management team made the decision that would set the stage for their dramatic growth. Specifically, they shifted their focus and made it their aim to be the No. 1 mobile web service provider in Japan.

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October 2003

  • Bidders certified under Japan's Antique Business Law

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March 2004

  • Moves headquarters to Sasazuka in Shibuya, Tokyo

March 2004

  • Launches mobile auction site Mobaoku

June 2004

  • Launches Pocket Bidders

July 2004

  • Launches the Pocket Affiliate program

Changing Strategies

Taking full advantage of the momentum, DeNA decided to establish the mobile auction service Mobaoku (Moh-bah-oh-koo). This time around, the company chose to develop an entirely new system for the service, even though it was basically just a mobile version of Bidders.

Common sense would dictate that the company's infrastructure and existing user base could simply be used for the new mobile service, but aiming for the No. 1 spot called for a completely new approach. In just three months DeNA's engineers built a whole new system from the ground up and the company saw the wisdom of their choice, with Mobaoku jumping to the top spot.

Founder Tomoko Namba rings the Tokyo Stock Exchange bell
DeNA's founder Tomoko Namba ringing the Tokyo Stock Exchange bell to start the day's trading.

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January 2005

  • Launches the au Auction mobile site (later renamed au one Mobaoku)
  • Pocket Bidders becomes the first auction service on i-mode's official menu

February 2005

  • DeNA is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Mothers, the section for fast-growing start-up companies

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February 2006

  • Launches Mobage Town (later renamed Mobage)
  • Launches au Shopping Mall

May 2006

  • Establishes Mobakore as a subsidiary

July 2006

  • Establishes Paygent as a subsidiary
  • Acquires Air Link and Takimoto
  • Establishes its first foreign subsidiary - DeNA Beijing

August 2006

  • Launches payment escrow services via Paygent
  • Launches Mobapay for Mobaoku au auction (later renamed au one Mobaoku)

November 2006

  • Launches business-to-business marketplace Netsea

Going Global

As is often the case for IT companies, 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 international 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.

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February 2007

  • Launches mobile shopping site Mobadepa
  • DeNA subsidiary Air Link launches international reservation website Soramaru
  • DeNA's first television commercial is aired in Japan

March 2007

  • Acquires Skygate

April 2007

  • Launches the Comprehensive Insurance Center website on Air Link, providing a one-stop insurance shopping destination

December 2007

  • DeNA is listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange
  • Launches social network Shumee-to Club, targeting middle-aged and senior citizens

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January 2008

  • Establishes DeNA Global in the U.S.

February 2008

  • Moves headquarters to Yoyogi in Shibuya, Tokyo

March 2008

  • Merges Air Link and Skygate

April 2008

  • Mobage Town membership surpasses 10 million
  • Opens Mobage Town Niigata Customer Center
  • Launches youth helpline Mobage Town Emergency Call

May 2008

  • Launches mobile ad network Pocket Match

September 2008

  • Launches beta version of MobaMingle, a social network for English-speaking countries

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April 2009

  • Begins charity fundraising efforts via Mobage Town

July 2009

  • Acquires Chinese mobile social network operator WAPTX

August 2009

  • Opens Mobage Town to third-party developers

October 2009

  • Launches first-party social game Kaito Royale on Mobage Town

December 2009

  • Establishes the Mobile Affiliate Council

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January 2010

  • Releases third-party games on the Mobage Open Platform

April 2010

  • Establishes Everystar as a subsidiary
  • Establishes business partnership with Yahoo! Japan

May 2010

  • Invests in Incubate Fund to support new ventures

June 2010

  • Officially launches E*Everystar

July 2010

  • Mobage Town membership surpasses 20 million

September 2010

  • Acquires U.S.-based Gameview Studios
  • Makes a capital tie-up with U.S.-based Astro Ape Studios

October 2010

  • Officially launches Yahoo! Mobage
  • Acquires U.S.-based mobile game developer ngmoco

December 2010

  • Mobage Town becomes smartphone compatible

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March 2011

  • Mobage Town is rebranded as Mobage

May 2011

  • Mobage app for Android devices is released

June 2011

  • Isao Moriyasu becomes president
  • Establishes DeNA Seoul in South Korea

July 2011

  • Launches Mobage in China, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia

August 2011

  • Establishes DeNA Asia Pacific Holdings in Singapore.

September 2011

  • Acquires Punch Entertainment's Vietnam Studio

October 2011

  • Acquires Atakama Labs in Chile

December 2011

  • Acquires Yokohama DeNA BayStars professional baseball team

Continuing the DeNA Way

With the worldwide expansion of its mobile gaming business, DeNA officially announced its arrival on the global stage. Learning from its past failures and successes, the company focused on producing innovative services, venturing into new industries, and leaving common sense behind in order to reach new heights.

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January 2012

  • Establishes DeNA Studios Canada

April 2012

  • Moves headquarters to the Shibuya Hikarie building in Shibuya, Tokyo

July 2012

  • Launches e-commerce site builder Zerostore

October 2012

  • Launches messaging service Comm

November 2012

  • Establishes the Japan Social Game Association with five other companies

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January 2013

  • Unveils new company logo and branding

March 2013

  • Launches music player app Groovy

April 2013

  • Establishes official athletics team DeNA Running Club

June 2013

  • Establishes advisory board

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April 2014

  • Establishes DeNA Life Science as a subsidiary

August 2014

  • Launches direct-to-consumer genetic testing service Mycode

September 2014

  • Acquires curation platform operators Iemo and Peroli

October 2014

  • Launches curation platform business

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February 2015

  • Launches DeNA Ad Platform across DeNA Group services

March 2015

  • Forms capital and business alliance with Nintendo

May 2015

  • Establishes Robot Taxi as a joint venture with ZMP

June 2015

  • Air Link is rebranded as DeNA Travel

July 2015

  • Begins streaming licensed Japanese anime through MyAnimeList

August 2015

  • Launches mobile screensharing app Mirrativ

September 2015

  • Launches peer-to-peer car sharing app Anyca

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January 2016

  • Yokohama Stadium becomes subsidiary

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