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Apple VP joins Anime Start Up and Becomes a Manga Fan

For­mer Apple mobile exec­u­tive Andy Miller has jumped ship and land­ed on a Face­book page that’s ded­i­cat­ed to all things Man­ga, Ani­me and Japan­ese Pop Cul­ture, to steer it towards web and app success.

Miller, who’s cur­rent­ly firm­ly ensconced in the board­room of Leap Mobile, has joined Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM) in order to help the start-up turn its 6.7 mil­lion Face­book lik­ers into web­site and app lovers using the skills he honed dur­ing his time with Apple.

After found­ing mobile ad net­work Quat­tro Wire­less, Miller became VP of mobile adver­tis­ing for iAD fol­low­ing Quattro’s take over by Apple. He’s now on board at TOM as an advi­sor. But why does he want to help this Face­book phenomenon?

“I am hap­py to sup­port the devel­op­ment of TOM’s com­mu­ni­ty of man­ga and ani­me fans from around the world,” he said. “The pas­sion of the ani­me and man­ga com­mu­ni­ty, and the thirst for con­tent and a place to share has led to the explo­sive growth of TOM. I am excit­ed to help this com­mu­ni­ty con­nect across web, smart phones and their tablet devices.”

Keep­ing it in the Family

Also, accord­ing to TOM’s own Nao Koda­ka, Miller’s son is an Otaku (the name giv­en to ani­me and man­ga fans) and it’s the fans that have made the ani­me and man­ga move­ments what they are – a glob­al and cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na. There are plen­ty of sites and online spaces that cater to these niche inter­ests; how­ev­er Koda­ka believes that none are embrac­ing social media and using it to talk to fans and share media-rich content.

This is com­plete­ly at odds with the TOM strat­e­gy, which has always placed the empha­sis on social media. In fact, the web­site, which is cur­rent­ly in the Alpha test­ing phase, can only be accessed by invite if you are lucky enough for it to know you exist. The pop­u­lar­i­ty of the company’s Face­book space has put it up there as one of the most rapid­ly expand­ing enter­tain­ment pages, with over 99% of its fans based out­side Japan. In stark con­trast, the Ani­me News Net­work has just 58,000 likes.

What’s So Spe­cial about TOM?

So what’s the secret? What has made Tokyo Otaku Mode so suc­cess­ful? With each piece of con­tent achiev­ing an aver­age of 10,000 likes, TOM’s Klout score is bound to be the envy of every­one, but the for­mu­la is sim­ple. Post­ing care­ful­ly col­lat­ed images and con­tent ded­i­cat­ed to cos­play, ani­me and man­ga, fans know they will see qual­i­ty con­tent. And that’s it.

Investors believe in TOM though, as back in July the com­pa­ny received angel fund­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley and a hand­ful of Japan­ese Angels. Those involved in the fund­ing includ­ed accel­er­a­tor 500 Start Ups, Maneesh Aro­ra and Richard Chen, and experts sug­gest that the fact that a Face­book-based start up that tar­gets hard­core fans of niche cul­ture was able to access such fund­ing means that the TOM’s strat­e­gy may make sense.

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