Every year more and more foreigners are coming to Japan and starting companies here, but Jason is an old hand at it. He first came to Japan from Australia over a decade ago to study martial arts, and now him and his partner Paul Oswald are succeeding in Japan’s online invoicing space with his new firm, MakeLeaps.
MakeLeaps has followed an usual path for a small Japanese company. They have acquired two of their smaller computers to grow their customer base more rapidly, and although Jason bootstrapped MakeLeaps for the first few years, last year they shifted strategy and they became the first Japanese startup to raise money on AngelList.
Jason and I sit down over a few too many beers and talk about his journey from martial artist, to tech support geek, to his reluctant formation of his first company and the launch of MakeLeaps.
Jason shares his insights on the unique aspects of doing business in Japan and some of the specific and very exacting demands that Japanese customers make. We also talk about strategies to identify promising niche markets in Japan, tactics that only foreigners can use when selling to Japanese prospects, and how to turn a terrible work situation into a successful company.
For more podcasts about the startup scene in Japan, check out Disrupting Japan.