Ep 26: Reviving Japan – Connecting startups with big companies – with Ijichi Sorato

ijichi soratoThe economy is in deep mutation and it seems that only the very big or very small companies can survive. Either you’re a Google or Amazon dominating a whole industry. Or you’re a small scale venture with sufficient agility to constantly adapt to an ever changing demand. But the vast majority of companies sitting in the middle seem to have a hard time innovating, and many keep laying off their employees.

According to my guest this week, the solution lies in connecting startups with big companies. Ijichi Sorato is the founder of Creww, a platform giving startups access to all the resources they need. He believes that big companies have plenty of assets, ranging from IP to large customer bases that startups could leverage to create value.  He hopes his platform can encourage this type of collaborations to eventually revive the Japanese economy.

To date, there were over 600 collaboration proposals and 95 effective partnerships were created. Creww’s platform lists over 1700 startups and continues to add new services for startups.

Sorato-san left Japan when he was only 16 years old to go study in the US. He explains how this transformed his mindset and pushed him in 2005 to create his first company. With no programing skills at all, his company was providing web services to over 600 clients worldwide. In 2009 he started another venture, an online shopping mall for japanese e-commerce websites to reach foreign markets. Eventually, he founded Creww in 2012, where at the time, everybody else told him that big companies would never work with startups.

Sorato-san shares how it was hard for him to go against the majority finding constant opposition during the first years of business. Today, big companies as well as the government seem to have finally understood the benefits of startups. However, the general population remains difficult to convince. Most parents don’t accept to have their children working for startups and would rather see them working for established companies.

Sorato-san explains that the education, both at school and at home, will have to evolve but it will probably take several generations. In the meantimes, he believes that having role models of successful entrepreneurs is the best way to strengthen the startup image.

The Japan Venture Show is proud to be part of Creww’s Publicity Service. Learn more here

Questions: How to make mentalities change towards startups? Can big companies still survive in today’s economy? (reply in the comments)

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Shownotes

  • (3:21) Introduction of Ijichi Sorato
  • (5:39) Presentation of Creww
  • (8:04) Bringing big companies closer to startups
  • (14:33) All business connecting to the Internet
  • (16:17) Creating collaborations
  • (18:01) From venture to startup
  • (20:09) Going against the whole world
  • (25:27) Promoting Startups through mass media
  • (28:41) How to convince the general public?
  • (32:40) Who should be an entrepreneur?
  • (36:57) Quick-fire questions

Thanks for listening!

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Frederic

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