Inherently Global vs Inherently Local Startups? We like both!

Sometimes local entrepreneurs assume that since we are a venture capital firm based out of Silicon Valley, we are primarily interested in Japanese companies that want to “go global.” That thinking is understandable. Our strengths are within our global brand and network, so of course we would want to focus on where we can add the most value. However, that is really only half of our story. We certainly want to support entrepreneurs with global aspirations, but we actually like both sides of the spectrum: inherently global AND inherently local businesses.

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Do Your Due Diligence

This post was originally published in Japanese on TechCrunch Japan.

We recently had an unfortunate incident at 500 Japan. It involved a founder that we were very keen to invest in. We loved his concept, we loved the market he was tackling, and most of all, we loved him. Not only were we very excited to put a substantial amount of our capital behind him, but we were also in the process of getting a great set of value-add investors to join the round.

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Why LINE’s IPO Is GREAT for Japan’s Ecosystem

About a week ago, Peter Rothenberg of Tech In Asia wrote an article titled “Why LINE’s IPO won’t be good for Japan’s ecosystem.” His argument was that since LINE was technically just a spinout from Korea’s Naver, and none of the Japanese employees had much equity, there were no local founders, investors, or even employees that would greatly benefit from a financial windfall. As a result,  there wouldn’t be new angels to invest and serve as role models for local entrepreneurs. While Peter is basically right about the money, I don’t agree with his general claim that LINE’s IPO “won’t be good” for Japan’s ecosystem overall.

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