Entrepreneurial

Startup sees boost after Japan quake

A heat map displaying downloads of MiserWare software in Japan since the earthquake hit on March 11, 2011. Graphic shows downloads as of April 7, 2011. REUTERS/HO/MiserWare

A heat map displaying downloads of MiserWare software in Japan since the earthquake hit on March 11, 2011. Graphic shows downloads as of April 7, 2011. REUTERS/HO/MiserWare

Blacksburg, Virginia is far from the epicenter of the earthquakes that have rocked Japan over the last six weeks, but resident Kirk Cameron has felt the virtual aftershocks.

Days after the magnitude 9.0 shaker hit, Cameron’s startup MiserWare tripled the number of downloads for its proprietary Granola energy-saving software.

“Before (the quake) Japan accounted for about 5 percent of our downloads in a day and now they’re more like 20 to 30 percent,” said Cameron, who prior to the quake averaged about 25 daily downloads. “Now we’ve basically covered the entire island.”

The software has clearly resonated with Japanese PC users desperate to keep their computers running longer and preserve their generators, as authorities urged a crackdown in energy usage following the quake that wreaked havoc on the power grid. Cameron said there have been more than 35,000 downloads of his software in Japan since the quake.

An entrepreneur’s view of the Japan quake

– Matthew Romaine is Co-Founder and CTO of myGengo, a crowd-sourced translation platform launched from Tokyo, Japan. Born in Boston to an American father and Japanese mother, Matt has lived in Tokyo for a total of 17 years. The views expressed are his own. –

As I write this entry traveling 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour) on a bullet train bound for Tokyo, I’m anxiously curious to catch up with my colleagues in person. One returns from Hong Kong today, another from Taiwan. A third is returning from a remote island south of Kobe, and three are making plans to return from Melbourne. Just last week we were all in the same room focused – or at least attempting to focus – on growing our crowd-sourced translation platform myGengo, from Tokyo.

We are a startup that gathers translators from around the world, qualifies them, then unleashes a sea of bite-size content – from emails, tweets, and iPhone app descriptions – for translators to work through. Users enjoy the convenience; translators like the work-flexibility. Our team is small and international, representing 8 nationalities, and our system relies on a stellar 2,000-member strong translator pool from every timezone.

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