Up-and-coming investor hosts startup event in Tokyo, encourages global entrepreneurship



This is part of our coverage of Skyland Ventures Festa Tokyo 2015.

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Skyland Ventures was founded by young but promising investor “Max” Yoshihiko Kinoshita back in August of 2012. Prior to it, he started his career as an investor at Japanese investment firm JAFCO, followed by working for Incubated Fund as an associate.

Skyland Ventures organized its first startup showcase event called Skyland Ventures Fest Tokyo at Microsoft Japan headquarters on Sunday. Inspired by the tagline of “GLOBAL Startups meet GLOBAL Talents”, over hundreds of people, such as entrepreneurs, investors, and other members of startup communities around the world, have attended this event.

The event was kicked off with a morning interview session with Akira Morikawa, who recently stepped down as CEO of LINE and has launched his own startup called C-Channel. The session was moderated by Skyland Ventures founding partner “Max” Yoshihiko Kinoshita.

Morikawa explained why he launched C-Channel:

I’ve been interested in education, healthcare, and energy businesses, but I have no background in these sectors. Since my first career started at a TV broadcaster almost 20 years ago, I have many friends in the broadcasting industry while I’m more familiar with it than other sectors. That’s why I started a media business. […]

Due to the smartphone shift in browsing websites, people’s intention for e-commerce sites has changed from finding the cheapest prices to discovering unique items. So I thought that the smartphone shift would also impact how people enjoy online videos. LINE also plans an online video business in a different way, but we decided to focus on fashion.

In the session, Morikawa emphasized that Japanese startups typically add too many features to their apps, which makes them a challenge to be understood by the global user base, and also tend to spend long hours to think but rather have to act quickly.

C Channel founder and CEO Akira Morikawa (right) interviewed by “Max” Yoshihiko Kinoshita.

Morikawa’s interview was followed by a number of keynote sessions by top people in the global startup community, including Oscar Yasser Noriega (Pocket Supernova), Antti Sonninen (Slush Asia), Tim Gong (SIG Asia Investments), Jaeuk Park (VCNC, Korea), Anton Soeharyo (Touchten, Indonesia), Jia Shen (Powercore, China), and Hiro Maeda (angel investors). These presenters shared their insights in their local startup scene and why startups need to work globally.

Jaeuk Park, VCNC, Korea
Hiro Maeda, angel investor, Japan
Antti Sonninen, Slush Asia, Japan
Anton Soeharyo, Touchten, Indonesia
A fireside chat with Korean serial entrepreneur Richard Min and Hailo Japan CEO Ryo Umezawa
The “Appli-haku” exhibiting booth area is packed-out.

Edited by Kurt Hanson
Proofread by “Tex” Pomeroy