Guest: Akio Tanaka

Japan’s Startup & Investment Landscape (Part 2)

September 28, 2022

Episode Notes

This episode of The Negotiation is Part 2 of our conversation with Akio Tanaka, Co-Founder and Partner at Headline VC, a technology-focused VC firm headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with investment teams deployed in Beijing, Taipei, San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and Sao Paulo.

This second half of our discussion focuses more on Asia’s startup and investment landscape. We look at how business guarantees were detrimental to the growth of the startup culture in Japan; the emergence of female founders in Japan; deal structure in Japan, and why Akio prefers to invest in companies who have shared equity among cofounders on the cap table; a nuanced discussion around blockchain and gaming, and why gaming may be the catalyst to the second wave of crypto; we also discuss institutional barriers to expansion in Asia compared to that of Europe.


Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How investment in internet/software eliminates the physical limitations of traditional businesses.
  • Why business guarantees were detrimental to the growth of the start-up culture in Japan.
  • The emergence of female founders in Japan.
  • The structure of investment deals in Asia.
  • Why it’s better to have multiple co-founders with significant equity stakes on the cap table.
  • Headline’s increased investment in blockchain gaming.
  • How traditional gaming concepts are becoming applicable to modern blockchain technology.
  • What is going to make crypto a mass phenomenon instead of a playground for a minority of Internet users?
  • Institutional barriers to expansion in Asia compared to Europe.

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