What are the major differences between the startup culture in Japan and the US?

Goro Kosaka / September, 2018


Vufine was founded by Goro Kosaka in Silicon Valley in 2015. Goro is also President of Medicraft which is an agency that helps local and Japanese companies to launch their business in Silicon Valley and major clients include Rakuten, Optim, King Jim, KDDI R&D Labs.

Video Transcript:

What are the major differences between the startup culture in Japan and the US?

My impression is that Japanese startups pitch more about how passionate you are about the product or how much time you are spending. That’s good, but that’s almost expected of everyone. What investors want or what they want to see is what kind of advantage you have, why you are the best team to do this. We understand the product is good, the service is good, but why you? That part is taken more seriously here in Silicon Valley than in Japan. In Japan, you have a good product, you have a very a good team with passion and working 24 hours 24/7.

But here, even if you have the passion they will ask, why you? You have to have an unfair advantage that makes you the right team to do this business. Not just the passion. It could be a patent. It could be some kind of exclusive partnership with somebody else, or you already have the market or branding. That I see more US startups push when they are pitching their business.

I think it’s a good thing but Japanese startups listen to the negative feedback too much. When they do a presentation and somebody tells you that it’s not going to work you have to do this you have to do that. If you truly believe in your product you don’t have to listen to people who just heard your 30-second pitch. You know more about the products so believe in your product more, and if somebody gives you negative feedback instead of trying to fix your business model or the product. Try to fix your presentation so that the next time people won’t be telling you those negative feedback.



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