Launches Japanese Venture

Free intranet portal
Tuesday sparked a joint venture with Hikari Tsushin Inc., Japan’s largest
distributor of wireless communication devices and Internet services, to
offer free intranets to the Japanese market.

The agreement, coming on the heels of Hikari Tsushin Inc.’s $20 million
investment in last month, is part of’s plan to
expand globally, according to president and chief executive officer, Steve

With its excellent reputation in delivering Web-based services through a
variety of wireless appliances, Hikari Tsushin seems like a logical place to
begin expansion overseas, according to Crummey. That Japan is packed with
five million small- and medium-sized businesses also played a role in the deal.

The joint venture will be hosted in Japan and will offer localized content,
support and services. will be based on the
model, which provides businesses and organizations with free hosting, custom
URLs, industry news, calendar scheduling and vendor services.

Crummey said, which has 80,000 users, could have as much
500,000 clients in the next four months. He said 25 percent of the
company’s clients are from overseas. He said will look to set
up another shop somewhere in Europe within the year.

“[The Net industry] is on fire now globally,” Crummey said.

Hikari Tsushin, a $2.3 billion company, is the largest distributor of
wireless communication devices in Japan, which boasts an Internet market
second only to the United States. Hikari Tsushin owns 1,975 sales shops and
has 13 offices in Japan and three subsidiaries worldwide.

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