Our Japan Ventures team recently launched a webinar series. These fireside chats are casual conversations with business leaders who have contributed to the vibrant startup ecosystem in Japan.
Kicking off the series, the team invited along Kenji Sudo, Co-founder & CEO of our portfolio company, Kaizen Platform as their first guest speaker.
Here is a brief summary of Kenji’s journey and the thoughts he shared with the attendees.
Prior to founding Kaizen Platform in the US in 2013, Kenji was the youngest corporate officer at Recruit Media. After 10 years at Recruit Media, the thought of joining another company wasn’t exciting enough so he decided to start his own. He brought along his ex-colleague, Toshimasa Ishibashi to lead Technology (currently he is the Chief Culture Officer) and launched Kaizen in the US.
It was the journey of launching Kaizen Platform, that opened his eyes to the polarising business models of Japan and the US, especially when it comes to hiring costs and management styles. Striking that sweet spot between CAC and LTV, is what led the company to partner with several large enterprise companies. Years of nurturing these relationships, scaling the platform and being incredibly communicative with the stakeholders eventually resulted in Kaizen Platform listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2020.
While Kenji’s journey might seem smooth sailing, he does confess that there have been bumps along the way. “I’ve failed many times, but all the experiences that seemed useless at the time has set the foundation for where I am today. There are many things you don’t learn unless you fail; so, I don’t have any regrets.”
[In the picture, David Milstein, Managing Partner, Eight Roads Ventures Japan in conversation with Kenji Sudo, CEO Kaizen Platform]