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JAPAN: The Great Migration to Startups

Japan has historically been a country of blue-chip names that provided safety and care for their loyal workers who would work long hours to prove their worth and in return, enjoyed the benefits of a corporate safety net  that kept said employees safe in bad times. The idea of leaving this safety of a blue chip company to start out on your own was highly unusual. But times are changing.

There is a clear migration of high quality talent leaving the corporate world of the salaryman, as they are called in Japanese, to join start-ups. One reason is that the stigma of `failure` is decreasing and the spread of quality entrepreneurship is on the rise in a country that has been held back by a deep risk averse attitude in this very old but evolving culture.

Public sector jobs and salaried workers at auto, electronic and pharmaceutical giants, in the past, made sense.

There seems to be a pattern in which Japanese professionals who have experience at major international  powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, McKinley and Boston Consulting Group are leading the charge to  take the risk and build start-ups, making Japan look somewhat more like Silicone Valley than the old Japan Inc that we have known over the decades since the 1950s. There is a new culture of innovation-movers and shakers who are top in class – and their ranks are growing.

The 80 – 20 split. Sources generally believe that a large portion of capital is locked up in the government and banks and other financial institutions, while less than 20 percent comes from venture capital funding. Most recently, the key success stories have come from the e-commerce world from firms such as Rakuten and other stars.

However, there is a move toward other industries such as Internet of Things and AI, as well as the Blockchain boom, one area that we at Classiarius see as promising, especially in the next wave of start-ups in the proverbial pipeline.

We will be exploring the world of Japanese start-ups, especially those that are underpinned by key Japanese cultural strengths. Japan is a new playground for those with innovative ideas and the Shibuya area will be full of excitement – have a look at our previous presentations.

Finally, we will be delivering a series of interviews of some of these new leaders, delivered in audio-visual format.

What is the next generation in tech? We will deliver to you in the coming weeks,

Team Classiarius


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