May 19, 2016 On Our Blog

7 Things Investors & Founders Need to Know about the Japan Startup Ecosystem

This April, 500 Startups hosted our Geeks On A Plane (GOAP) tour here in Tokyo. For those that don’t know, GOAP is an invite-only tour for startups, investors, and executives to learn about high-growth technology markets worldwide. To kick off the Tokyo leg of the tour, I gave an ecosystem overview presentation while we cruised through the Tokyo waterways on a yakatabune (Japanese style boat). Many followed up with me afterwards asking whether I could share the slides, so I decided to write a quick blog post on what I shared. I knew getting people to pay attention after a long trip would be a challenge, so I kept it short and sweet. #1 Venture investment in Japan is small. …

Sep 7, 2015 On Our Blog

Why Launch 500 Startups Japan? Timing, Opportunity, and Impact

Why Launch 500 Startups Japan? Timing, Opportunity, and Impact When I moved from startup CEO to venture capitalist, it was a strange feeling. I was no longer in the driver’s seat. I was operating a gas station, filling up the tanks of promising startups for the entrepreneurial roads ahead. It took some time to get used to not being in control, and not feeling directly “responsible” for the outcomes of the companies I funded. Filling up the gas tank was the easy part (easy in terms of level of stress, not probability of success). The hard part was navigating the winding, slippery roads in terrifyingly thick fog and avocado-sized hail. But with that stress came excitement. That sense of fulfillment …