Just three days after launching a $42 million fund, Line has announced its first investment. LINE Life Global Gateway Fund is putting an undisclosed amount of money into 3Minute, a Japanese online video production startup.
3Minute stands out from other online media companies because it is focused on women who make videos for YouTube. Its clients include models izu (Misaki Izuoka), who first gained attention with a series of YouTube makeup tutorials and vlogs and now has an official Line account with 570,000 followers, Angela Michibata, and Hana Tam. 3Minute says it plans to add 100 additional female YouTube video creators to its talent roster by next month.
LINE Corp, the Naver subsidiary that owns Line messaging app, said earlier this week that its new fund will help it build its ecosystem, which now includes everything from a mobile payments feature and taxi-calling and food delivery services to a brand-new video streaming service in Thailand.
Line’s investment in 3Minutes will allow it to expand its entertainment platform. The messaging app will publish content from 3Minute’s YouTube vloggers on its messaging app as well as LINE BLOG and LINE Q, its smartphone Q&A app.
The company’s goal is to transform Line from a messaging tool to a one-stop shop for smartphone-accessible services. If it is successful, Line will decrease its dependence on mobile gaming for revenue, which caused its latest earnings report to fall below expectations.
Launching new services may help Line further monetize users in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, its top three markets, while it deals with the uncertain and competitive process of growth in new countries. Other Asia-based messaging apps, including China’s WeChat and South Korea’s Kakao Talk, are also deploying similar strategies by integrating services like utility bill payments and taxi-calling.