Gunosy Seeks Partner ‘Like BuzzFeed’ to Expand News App’s Reach

Gunosy Inc., the Japanese developer of a smartphone newsreader that went public last month, is looking to ally with a U.S. online media service to attract users for its application.

“Gaining millions of new users overseas on our own would cost too much,” Gunosy Chief Executive Officer Yoshinori Fukushima, 27, said in an interview last month. He cited New York-based BuzzFeed Inc., which creates online news and pop-culture content, as an example of a partner that could help promote Gunosy’s news reader.

Fukushima said he hasn’t made a formal approach to any media company and didn’t disclose a budget for investment.

Gunosy and its owners raised about 9 billion yen ($75 million) in the company’s initial public offering in Japan in April. The news-curation app maker has an ambitious plan to boost the downloads of its Gunosy app to 50 million in Japan from the current 9 million over the next three years, and seeks to expand the total downloads including overseas markets to 500 million.

Gunosy’s application presents news, comics and TV content from more than 50 providers, according to its website, and provides features similar to California-based Flipboard Inc. and competes with local rivals led by Yahoo Japan Corp.

“We are all competing for the time that smartphones users spend scanning cyberspace with their devices,” said Fukushima. “Gunosy needs to become the app that users open first thing everyday to check what’s going on in Japan and abroad.”

Rises Post-IPO

Fukushima said he developed the company’s news-curation service while studying at the University of Tokyo for a master’s degree in engineering. Gunosy, whose name derives from gnosis -- Greek for knowledge -- released its news app in the U.S. last May.

Gunosy forecasts net income of 5 million yen in the year ending May 31 on revenue of 3 billion yen, according to its financial statement on April 28, the day the stock started trading on the Tokyo exchange’s Mothers market. Gunosy shares have since gained 26 percent from the IPO price of 1,520 yen, while the performances of its peers have been flat.

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