Ep 28: Decrypting Japan startup landscape – Part 1

Nik Pavesic - Andre Casaclang - Darren BalcombeJapan startup landscape is in deep mutation. I’ve witnessed so many changes for the past few years as startups are raising more and more interest. In this episode, I wanted to have an open discussion about different aspects of the local startup ecosystem, trying to draw a picture about how Japan looks like.

This is a two-part episode with multiple guests of various expertises and backgrounds. Nik Pavesic from Justa, the #1 recruiting platform for startups in Japan and a popular hub for entrepreneurs to connect. Andre Casaclang, founder of a Tokyo-based startup called Climbing Beans and organizer of the Pioneers Tokyo event. And finally, Darren Balcombe, co-founder of Make It Creative, an NPO focusing social innovation programs and an active community builder. They all provide a fresh yet different perspective regarding the Japan startup landscape.

The discussion is articulated around four themes, which are four questions we’re trying to answer:

  1. Where is the next ground breaking idea in Japan?
  2. Japan startup meetups: what shall be improved?
  3. Can foreigners really start a business in Japan?
  4. How will the Japan startup ecosystem in 5 Years look like?

In this first part, we’re addressing the question of innovation among Japanese startups. Although we witness many exciting business popping up, it is uncommon to see real disrupting ideas that could be a game changer. While great business ideas have the power of making a company successful, a ground breaking idea can change the economy as a whole. I’m asking my guests if they’ve witnessed such companies in Japan and how can we create an environment which can nurture ideas of this type.

We’re also discussing about entrepreneurs meetups and other startup events around Japan. All of my guests have been event organizers themselves and so they share their perspective on what make an event a successful one. While there is an increasing number of meetups around Japan, many events still look very similar, with a style more corporate than startup-like. I’m asking my guests about their favorite events around Tokyo and we also lay down the best attributes in order to foster interactions and innovation.

This is my first group podcast, so I’d be really interested to hear your comments about it. Also if you like the format, feel free to suggest other themes you’d like me to discuss next time. (reply in the comments)

Stay tuned for part 2 next week.

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  • (4:56) Presentation of guests
  • (9:07) Where is the next ground breaking idea?
  • (36:20) Startup events & meetups, what can be done better?

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