Digital Garage Launches New Context, A "Lean" Software Development House With Eric Ries As GP

By Greg Kumparak , written on March 9, 2012

From The News Desk

Tokyo's Digital Garage, an incubation company which can call itself an early investor in both Path and Twitter and which helped usher the latter into Japan, has just announced the formation of a new software development consultancy called New Context.

Eric Ries, pioneer of the Lean Startup movement, will join as a general partner.

While Eric's role won't be full time, the company says that he'll have a "significant role in shaping [its] strategy". The company will be primarily helmed by Ian McFarland (previously VP of Tech at the software dev house Pivotal Labs), Kent Lindstrom (CEO of Spot, previously CEO of Friendster), and Digital Garage's Mikihiro Yasuda, Kaoru Hayashi, and Joi Ito (Director of the MIT Media Lab, CEO of Creative Commons, and investor and/or board member to companies like Kickstarter, Fon,, and Aviary)

Now, this post has gotten all kinds of jargony, so to break it down into less absurdly Valley-tastic terms: one of Japan's biggest incubation/investment houses is opening a software development firm that will make (or help make) web/mobile applications for startups. It's built around the idea of "lean" design, meaning they strive to build fast and test all design assumptions ("Does this button make sense here? Will the customer understand this icon? Will anybody even want to use this?") as early as possible, and is being guided by the guy credited with bringing this idea to the startup world.