Mercari hires John Lagerling from Facebook’s management team to guide its U.S. strategy

 When Mercari became Japan’s first startup unicorn with a $75 million round last year, the funding was earmarked to fuel its goal of becoming the top secondhand marketplace app in the U.S. Now Mercari is doubling down on its efforts to succeed where no other Asian e-commerce company has. Today it launched a refreshed version of its American app and announced the hiring of John Lagerling… Read More

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500 Startups closes $35M Japan fund with the backing of the Japanese government

 500 Startups has announced the close of its fund for Japan, more than 18 months after it was first unveiled. The effort is backed by the Japanese government, which has chipped in as an LP via its Cool Japan Fund. (Yes, that really is the name of the fund, which is aiming to use about $1 billion in public money over its lifecycle.) Initially U.S.-based 500 Startups targeted a $30 million close,… Read More

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Japan passes law legalizing Airbnb and other sharing economy rentals

 There’s good news for Airbnb in Japan where the government has approved legislation that legalizes its service, and others like it, in the country. The law, which was passed by Japan’s upper house on Friday, will allow home-owners to let out their property to paying guests for up to 180 days per year. They are subject to registering with local authorities who, in turn, have license… Read More

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