Disrupting Japan-logo

Disrupting Japan

Business >

More Information


Tokyo, Japan






118: This Japanese Startup Is Using Your Phone to Make Insurance Social

The insurance industry has proven very resistant to innovation. In fact, it has not really changed much in the past 200 years. The way insurance is sold and managed has changed, of course, but from the point of view of the consumer, things remain surpassingly like they were a century ago. Today we talk with someone who is changing that. Kazuya “Kazy” Hata is CEO of JustInCase, a new breed of Japanese insurance company that offers insurance over the smartphone and then monitors how you use...


117: Japan’s Secret Strategy for Global Drone Domination

Blue Innovation attracted a lot of international attention last year when they announced the T-Friend done system. This dystopian drone flies around offices after hours reminding staff not to work overtime, and taking pictures of those who violate overtime policy so that management can be alerted.¥ We’ll talk about this particular done, of course, but Blue Innovation's technology is much broader and is making an impact an many more important, if perhaps less visible, areas. Founder and CEO...


116: How Startups Can Attract, Retain, and Develop Staff in Japan

Have you ever been at a crowded and noisy party and head a conversation across the room? You catch pieces of it, and you know it is interesting, but you can’t quite make it out and you can quite push your way over to that side of the room to be a part of it. Well, that was the situation a lot of our guests found themselves in a few weeks ago, so today we are going to set things right. Last month 500 Startups and Disrupting Japan held a joint event that focused on how Japanese and foreign...


115: Their Successful Kickstarter Campaign Almost Bankrupted This Startup

Hardware is hard. In fact, sometimes the simplest and most straightforward ideas turn out to be the hardest to implement. Today I’d like you to meet Kyohi Kang the founder and CEO of AtMoph. AtMoph is a programmable window which can display the sights and sounds of hundreds of scenic places from all over the world. It's an exciting project, and the team attracted a great deal of early interest. They even ran one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns and a smaller, but still...


114: This Japanese Startup Is Bringing The Human Genome to The Mass Market

Right now, it looks like the most profitable business models that are emerging from the mapping of the human genome are not in the field of medicine, but in a variety of B2C business models focused on consumer marketing. That may be a surprising claim, but if the past 40 years of life sciences have taught us anything, it's that our genetic information will be both more valuable and harder to understand than we expect it to be. Today, I’d like you to meet Tomohiro Takano, CEO and founder of...


113: Japan Announces Plans to Land on The Moon by 2020

We startup founders and investors like to talk about “moonshots”. It points out startups that have huge dreams, those that are solving hard problems, and those that will actually change the world if they succeed. Usually, the term moonshot is used metaphorically, but today I’d like to introduce you to a literal moonshot. Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of iSpace, plans on landing commercial payloads on the moon in the next two years. iSpace is in the process of developing lunar landers...


112: Why Artificial Intelligence Is The Key to Fixing Japan’s Rigid Eduction System

Using artificial intelligence to change the way the education system works seems like a fool’s errand. When you combine the fluid and opaque nature of AI technology with the slow, bureaucratic decision making of education, you usually wind up with the perfect storm of stagnation, frustration, and rapidly burning through investor capital. Out guest today, however, thinks he’s found a way to make it work. Daisuke Inada, founder and CEO of Atama+, left a promising career at Mitsui to start an...


111: How Startups Can Compete In The New Energy Markets

The global energy markets are transforming themselves right before our eyes. Very little fundamental change has occurred over the past 70 years, but 10 years from today the Japanese and global markets are going to look completely different. Today we sit down with Yohei Kiguchi CEO in Enechange, Japan’s largest retail energy switching platforms, and we dive into detail about how these markets are changing. We talk about Enechange’s business model, of course, but we also discuss the most...


110: Why Your Freemium Strategy Might be Hurting Your Sales

Having a free product tier is a time-proven way for startups to get a foot in the door by giving potential customers a low-risk way of evaluating your product. However, there are times when it's easier and much more profitable to simply make the sale. Yu Taniguchi s CEO of Vesper and creator of TableSolution.TableSolution is a SaaS product similar to OpenTable. It helps restaurant owners manage their reservations and better understand their customers. You might not have heard of them yet,...


109: What Every Foreigner Needs to Know about Hiring Staff in Japan

Japanese labor law is very different from what is standard in the US or Europe, and more than a few foreigners have made simple mistakes that have cost them their jobs or their entire companies. Terrie Lloyd has started more than a dozen companies in Japan over the past 30 years and has hired hundreds of people here. Today Terrie shares a number of personal stories and also offers a lot of practical advice for westerners in Japan who need to hire, manage and retain Japanese staff, either...


108: This Japan Startup Is Changing the Way Your Kids Buy Fashion

Japanese fashion is unique, and so is the entire Japanese fashion industry. Today I would like to introduce you to a Japanese fashion startup with a genuinely unique business model. Tsubasa Koseki and his team at Facy, have created a fashion marketplace based on instant messaging and relationship building between shops and consumers. Interestingly, this market is not dominated by major labels or global companies, but by more local, mid-market brands. Tsubasa and I talk about his plans for...


107: Why Japanese Design Is So Different & What You Should Learn from It

There are a lot of passionate opinions about Japanese design. From the beauty and subtlety of the best Japanese anime to the design horrors of most corporate Powerpoint presentations, Japanese design covers a huge range. Things are changing though, and today we sit down and talk with Naofumi Tsuchiya, the founder and CEO of Goodpatch, one of Japan’s leading, and most richly valued, UI/UX design startups. We talk about how Japanese design is evolving and why we might be seeing (for better...


106: How Machine Learning Is Changing The Way We Watch Video

Video is taking over the internet, but in many ways, it has not changed significantly in the past 40 years. The way we discover and pay for video content has changed significantly, of course, but we still consume video in a continuous, linear sequence, and that’s about to change. Sandeep Casi and his team at Videogram are using deep learning to change the way you and I discover and watch video. They’ve already had success in the enterprise realm, and they are now bringing the technology to...


105: The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Asia

Today I have a special in-between episode for you. At this year's big Tech In Asia Tokyo event I moderated a panel on artificial intelligence with some of the leaders in the field in Asia. We talked about how to separate the AI hype from reality, where companies can and are finding competitive advantage in AI, and whether in the decades to come artificial intelligence will be serving us in the future or whether we will be answering to our robot overlords. Joining me on the main Tech in...


104: This Japanese Startup Beat Out NASA to Create Affordable Bio Jet Fuel

There is far more to startups in Japan than SaaS software and IoT hardware companies. Biotech startups are beginning to make a mark here. Today we sit down and talk with biotech pioneer Mitsuru Izumo and talk about his ground-breaking work at Euglena. In many ways, the team at Euglena succeeded where even NASA failed. They have developed a process to cultivate this microorganism, also called Euglena, affordably and at industrial scale. And Mitsuru and his team use using Euglena to create...


103: The Hard Thing about Hardware Startups in Japan – Logbar

There’s a very good reason most Japanese hardware startups fail. Today we sit down with Takuro Yoshida CEO and founder Logbar, and we dive into the reasons and also go over Logbar’s strategy for avoiding the mistakes that have killed off so many other Japanese IoT startups. Takuro is the creator of one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns and two of the most successful IoT projects in Japan, the Ring Zero, which is VR controller in wearable ring form and the ili automatic...


102: Live & Unleashed – Japan’s New Wave of Hardware Innovation

Disrupting Japan is three years old, so we decided to invite a few hundred movers and shakers from Tokyo's startup community over to have few drinks and to hear three of Japan's most successful startup CEOs talk about what it takes for Japanese startups to succeed globally. Our panel included the CEOs of some of the most innovative startups in Japan. Ken Tamagawa (@kentamagawa) - CEO, Soracom Takuma Iwasa (@cerevoglobal) - CEO, Cerevo Shin Sakane (@laundroid_0 ) - CEO, Seven Dreamers We...


101: How You Can Prepare for Japan’s Coming Wave of Cybercrime

Corporate Japan is about to go through a major transition in its approach to computer security. In the past, Japan-only payment systems and the Japanese language itself provided a barrier that kept international fraud and attacks at a very low level. All that is changing now. With payment systems becoming increasingly global, and free, instant translation available to anyone with a browser, fraud is on the rise in Japan. Today we sit down with Atsuyoshi Shimazu of Caulis, and he’s going to...


100: Why I Turned Down $500k, Shut Down My Startup, And Joined the Enterprise

Welcome to our 100th show. If you are new, welcome to Disrupting Japan. If you are a long-time follower, thank you for being part of the community and helping to make Disrupting Japan what it is today. This is a special, and rather short, episode. Today I'm going to tell you a very personal story of startup failure, and let you in on what's coming next. Both for me, and for the show. Thank you for listening, and I think you'll enjoy this one. Leave a comment Transcript Disrupting Japan...


99: What You Don’t Know about Japan’s Sharing Economy – Anytimes

Fewer than 1% of Japanese consumers have ever purchased a product or service from a sharing economy platform. It's actually quite puzzling. Social and economic factors all seem to indicate that Japanese cities would be ideal for sharing economy businesses, but for a number of reasons sharing economy startups have not really taken off here. Today we unravel a bit of this mystery as we sit down with Chika Tsunada, founder of Anytimes and the Director of the Sharing Economy Association Japan....


Try Premium for 30 days

Live games for all NFL, MLB, NBA, & NHL teams
Commercial-Free Music
No Display Ads