03:08 AM

Lunarr Is Going Dark . . .

ToruTakasuka.jpgI'm a big fan of the team behind Lunarr, a startup based in Portland, OR, and led by two of Japan's top entrepreneurs: Toru Takasuka and Hideshi Hamaguchi. I was sad to hear that Lunarr is shutting down its service by May 10.

Lunarr did well in attracting a large number of beta users for its collaborative based web service but couldn't break out into a larger market.

It must be difficult pulling the plug and closing down a company and its community of staff and users, there are a lot of people affected. But that's the discipline required in running a startup, knowing when to move on. Usually outside investors turn off the lights. In this case funding was not a problem because Toru Takasuka is one of Japan's wealthiest entrepreneurs. But it doesn't make sense to continue in a venture that has diminished prospects for success.

One of many things that intrigued me about Lunarr was its location in Portland. [Please see: Portland's High Tech Community And The Space To Think.]

Why would top Japanese entrepreneurs choose Portland rather than Tokyo or Silicon Valley? It was because Lunarr itself, was exploring the the cultural differences between Japan and the US, and its styles of collaboration in the work place.

HideshiHamaguchi.jpgI became good friends with Hideshi and we spent many hours talking about the cultural differences between Japan and the US and I learned a lot. I was also a guest of Lunarr on trip to Tokyo last year, along with Marshall Kirkpatrick from ReadWriteWeb, Kristen Nicole (Mashable at the time), and Bob Walsh from 47Hats.

And on my recent trip to Portland to visit Intel's R&D labs I popped into Lunarr with my 21 year old son Matt. We had dinner with Hideshi and spent many hours talking about innovation and culture. I returned home tired from the trip but inspired from our conversation and I know my son felt the same.

I wish the Lunarr team great success in their next venture. And I look forward to our next meeting.

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Please see:

Japan Notes: My first trip to Japan . . .

This week: Tokyo Diary - My Deep Dive into the Mashup Culture of Japan

Tokyo Diary: Arrival and Immersion...

Tokyo Diary Day 1: Ancient Temples and Traditions ...

Tokyo Diary Day 1 - Journey to Top of Tokyo and Dinner with Japan's Top VC

Tokyo Diary Day 2 - A Japanese Garage Startup . . .

Tokyo Diary Day 2 - Meeting Top Web 2.0 Entrepreneurs . . .

Portland's High Tech Community And The Space To Think