The story of how three humble programmers from Japan
collaborated and founded Nulab together.

How It Began

Masanori Hashimoto, CEO, was introduced to Toshitaka Agata, CTO, in 2001 during a conversation with a senior colleague at work. “An incredible programmer” was how Masanori recalled his senior co-worker describing Toshitaka. As a programmer himself, Masanori developed a keenness to meet his peer, who worked at the same company, and created an opportunity to do so. The two met and would later work on the same project together.

As the passionate programmers that they were, the duo also pursued dev hobbies outside of work. Masanori began learning Java from Toshitaka, and the two began developing a bulletin board system (BBS). Together they formed Mobster, a community for learning Java language. The BBS that they developed was later released as an open source project from Mobster.

An incredible programmer.

How All Three Met

In 2002, Shinsuke Tabata, CMO, coordinated a meeting with Masanori and Toshitaka. Through his new acquaintances, Shinsuke learned about the Mobster community and became a member. The Mobsters have since released many open-source software including a wiki engine, a bug tracking system—which became the initial framework for Backlog—an application launcher, and a code generator.

The Mobsters didn't stop at software. The community also took on book publication, wrote articles for Java programmers, and launched an Internet broadcast radio program called 'Mobdio' in 2003. The Mobsters would collaborate with Mobdio listeners over the airwaves to edit and improve their wiki engine. The art of collaboration gradually became an important and cohesive experience for Masanori, Toshitaka, and Shinsuke. Team collaboration would become the framework for Nulab Inc.

Team collaboration became the framework for Nulab Inc.

How Nulab Started

In 2004, the three programmers were determined to find better ways for software developers to interact with users and speed up the feedback loop. This determination led to an epiphany:

"The best way to communicate with our users directly, is for us to establish our very own startup." That same year, they launched Nulab Inc. in Fukuoka, Japan. Collaboration software would never be the same.

Milestones & Achievements

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2016

2004

2005

2006

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2016

Nulab, Inc. is established

Backlog.jp Beta version is launched

Tokyo, Japan branch is established
Backlog.jp breaks out of the Beta version

Cacoo.com Beta version is launched

Kyoto, Japan branch is established
Cacoo.com breaks out of the Beta version

Cacoo Store is launched
Singapore branch is established

Backlogtool.com is launched
Indonesia and Taiwan branches are established

Typetalk preview Beta version is launched
Cacoo.com reaches 1 million users

Typetalk breaks out of the Beta version
Nulab Account is launched
New York Branch is established

Cacoo.com reaches 2 million users