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Live & Unleashed – How to Run a Startup as a Foreigner in Japan

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

Disrupting Japan is four 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 foreign startup CEOs talk about what it takes to succeed in Japanese when you are not Japanese. Our panel included some of the most influential foreign startup founders in Japan. Tim Romero (@timoth3y) - Moderator Paul Chapman (@pchap10k) - CEO, Moneytree Jay Winder (@itsjaydesu) - CEO, Make Leaps Casey Wahl (@caseydai2asa9sa ) - CEO, Wahl & Case We talk about strategies for growth, how to leverage your "foreignness" to your advantage, how to best manage multi-cultural teams, and what the future looks like for foreigners in Japan. It's a great conversation, and I think you'll enjoy it. On a personal note, thank you for reading and listening and for being a part of Disrupting Japan. When I started this project ago, I never imagined how large and influential the show would become, or how large and passionate the worldwide interest in Japanese innovation truly is. I want to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who has pitched in to help make Disrupting Japan a success. There is no way I could have done this alone. But the best is yet to come. There is an amazing amount of innovation going on right now in Japan, and I look forward to bringing it to you. Thanks for listening! Leave a comment A Special Note For those of you who listened to the podcast know that the recording equipment cut out about half-way through the show. Fortunately, Jason Ball from Business In Japan was live streaming the show. Although the audio quality wasn't high enough for the podcast, you can watch the whole show (minus a bit of Q&A) online.  Also, the transcript below represents the full show.   Transcript Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for coming out tonight. Now, you guys are awesome! [applause] You know, actually, that’s exactly what I hear in my head every time I say that line. Now, for our listeners at home or wherever you may be in the podcast land, we got a special show for you tonight. To celebrate Disrupting Japan’s 4th anniversary, we are podcasting live from Super Deluxe in Roppongi with some of the most innovative people on the face of the planet, that is Japan’s startup ecosystem. So, let’s everyone get their drinks together for a kampai, and listeners at home, feel free to drink along with us. Over the last four years, Disrupting Japan has become bigger and more influential than I ever imagined it could be. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done to support the show. Thank you for listening. It’s been an amazing four years, and the next four years are going to be even better. So, kampai! Audience: Kampai! [applause] [pro_ad_display_adzone id="1411"  info_text="Sponsored by"  font_color="grey"  ] Tim: For these anniversary shows every year, we have a theme and this year, it is foreign founders in Japan, and on stage tonight, we have three – well,  I guess four fearless foreign founders who have taken very different roads to developing their companies here in Japan. So, with introductions, on my far left is Jay Winder who has established MakeLeaps which is Japan’s leading SaaS invoicing system, and before that, you had another company, but I think a lot of you know Jay for running the Hacker News meetup here in Japan. [applause] In the middle, we’ve got Paul Chapman, co-founder and CEO of Moneytree which is one of Japan’s fastest-rising fintech startups, and a true B2C SaaS success story in Japan. Paul Chapman: Thanks, Tim. Tim: And on my immediate left is Casey Wahl, CEO and founder of Wahl & Case which is a recruiting company which doesn’t sound that startup-y to begin with, but Casey’s also founded Red Brick Ventures which was an accelerator that spun out several startups.

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