Ep 40 – On charity, business validation and Thailand start-up landscape – with Naoe Miyata

Naoe MiyataWhile charity and profits are often seen as antagonist concepts, my guest this week has found a business model to encourage people donating to good causes. Naoe Miyata, is the Founder and CEO of a Thailand-based start-up called CoinBack.

Naoe initially started after winning Startup Weekend in Bangkok with the assumption that departing travellers would give away their small change for a good cause if given the right opportunity. He came up with the idea of a digital kiosk which would allow people to drop their leftover coins while allowing them to select the cause of their choice. Furthermore, donors are given feedback regarding the direct impact of their donations.

I was impressed by how much time and efforts Naoe dedicated to validate his business idea. While having a day job in the morning, he spent several hours every day interviewing over 200 people at the airport for about two months. He shares with us his approach, and how he got to speed up the process around airport regulations.

Naoe initially moved to Thailand to join a family business. He explains how enriching this real-life experience was compared to the more academic knowledge he received from his MBA. Eventually that’s also in Thailand that he decided to starting up. I was curious to learn more about the start-up landscape there and surprisingly, I discovered that it shares many similarities with Japan.

Questions: How long should you spend on validating your business idea? How different are Thai and Japan’s start-up landscapes? (reply in the comments)

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  • (0:24) Introduction of Naoe
  • (4:44) Working for a domestic company
  • (8:24) Joining a family business in Thailand
  • (11:47) Main fears when starting your business
  • (14:22) Market validation
  • (22:42) CoinBack service
  • (30:16) A profitable charity business model
  • (32:42) Overcoming regulations
  • (34:12) Relevant market targets
  • (36:55) Thailand startup landscape
  • (43:03) Quick-fire questions

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