Being an Entrepreneur in Japan
I am a very positive guy. Therefore when investing at J-Seed Ventures I always look at the upside where you have bigger returns, innovating and disrupting the market and making changes in society. For example in Japan, being a startup entrepreneur is seen as having no social status. This is because you are not working for a large corporation like Toyota or Sony or etc. This means it’s difficult to get a loan from bank. Sometimes can’t even apply for a credit card when you start your own company. The upside for entrepreneurs comes when you go public or M&A or you are creating innovation in the industry. Of course, there are a lot of risks and failures that might happen. But thinking about the upside will help people get motivated.
You will have a higher success rate with lean startups. Creating a prototype, creating a new market and then trying to scale by raising more money. (One of the options). So start small and thinking big afterward will give startups a higher success rate.
Companies can always pivot after investing. Of course as investor, we want to maximize the return, gain 10x, 500x or more. If the scale is difficult, having to focus on niche category and getting the number 1 market share could be another strategy. This is because they could create a business environment around it if you are the number 1 player in some industry. In this case, you can scale out to other countries as well.
When I was a CEO, running my own company, what was always on my mind was the family of employees I had to pay a salary for. That is a lot of responsibility. But the key was I always loved what I do so for me adrenaline keeps me going. Therefore, I tell my portfolio companies that finding what they are passionate about and executing would be the key to success.