The cell phone-clutching, under-30 Japanese crowd has a new “it” app. ImaHima (which translates as “Are you free now?”) lets Net-phone users send an email – say, “Want to meet for a movie?” – to a group of people simultaneously. The idea of making the newsgroup mobile came to Neeraj Jhanji on a lonely Saturday in Tokyo two years ago, when he was an ecommerce strategist for Andersen Consulting. Today Jhanji, 29, counts more than 200,000 registered subscribers, has closed his first round of financing, and is among the elite ranks of official content providers for NTT DoCoMo’s wildly popular i-mode. (ImaHima also lists with NTT rival KDDI.) “In April, we launch version 2.” While ImaHima (www.imahima.com) is currently available only in Japan, copycat services are popping up in the US – New York-based Upoc, for example – and Jhanji is actively looking to expand.
- Gail Nakada