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This Low-Tech Japan Travel Startup is Going Global – Bed & Art

By Tim Romero: Serial startup founder in Japan and indomitable innovator

Today we are going low-tech. Sledgehammers and paint brushes low tech. Keigo Fukugaki has started his own hotel brand, BnA, which stands for Bed & Art. It’s not a platform. It’s not an online marketplace. There isn’t (yet) even a meaningful e-commerce component. BnA is a new kind of hotel that places travelers not only in hotel rooms with interesting decor, but plugs them into the local artistic community. It’s an incredibly ambitious project, but Keigo and his team have three small prototype hotels up and running, and they are in the process of building a full scale facility in Japan and already in talks about international expansion. With SaaS companies and digital marketplaces  dominating the news, sometimes it's nice to know that some startups are running businesses based on concrete and lumber. It’s a fascinating interview, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Show Notes for Startups Why old office buildings make ideal art spaces The dangers of standardization in Japan and global the hotel industry Why Bed&Art is the anti-Airbnb Why crowdfunding should never be about the money any more Why Keigo left San Francisco to start his startup in Japan The very real danger of stretching yourself too thin Why the differences between Japanese and American programmers are real and important Links from the Founder Learn more about Bed and Art Follow Keigo on twitter @makeshiftjp Friend him on Facebook Checkout Keigo's design firm Makeshift Honey Wedding The BnA prototype as Airbnb in Ikebukuro Their successful crowdfunding campaign [shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="7994466"] Leave a comment Transcript from Japan Disrupting Japan, episode 71. Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I'm Tim Romero and thanks for joining me. You know, more than anything else, Disrupting Japan is about introducing you to the people who are changing business in Japan. I mean, really introducing you to them. Not the banal book tour interviews you hear everywhere else, but to let you get to know the real people starting things up in Japan. People you would love to sit down and have a beer with and with whom I’m lucky enough to do just that. It’s letting you know the people behind the startups. And although Disrupting Japan is a business podcast, business is personal. Hiding behind every great startup with impressive numbers, there is an interesting story about how it got started. And hiding behind that interesting story is the story of what really happened and the real goals, and the real successes, and real disappointments. And what I love about podcasting is that it makes it so easy for you to hear when someone is telling a PR approved origin story and when someone is really speaking from the heart, when they are telling you about something that really matters to them. Well, I’ve got a great story for you today and listeners have commented that I’ve been a bit tech heavy recently, so today, we’re going to meet someone who is decidedly low tech, as in paint brushes and hammers low tech. Keigo Fukugaki has started his own hotel brand, Bed & Art, in which he tries to merge travel with supporting the local artistic community. It’s an ambitious project to be sure and as the interview progressed, I went from thinking, “This won’t work,” to, “Nah, this is way too much of a long shot to really work,” to “You know, this is just crazy and quirky enough that is just might work.” In this age of SAS, Airbnb, and middleware, sometimes it’s refreshing to find a startup that deals in concrete. But, you know, Keigo tell that story much better than I can. So let’s hear from our sponsors and get right to the interview.     [pro_ad_display_adzone id="1404"  info_text="Sponsored by"  font_color="grey" ] [Interview] Tim: So cheers. We’re sitting here with Keigo Fukugaki of Bed & Art,

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