#Asia #Japan 110: Why Your Freemium Strategy Might be Hurting Your Sales

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Having a free product tier is a time-proven way for startups to get a foot in the door by giving potential customers a low-risk way of evaluating your product.

However, there are times when it’s easier and much more profitable to simply make the sale.

Yu Taniguchi s CEO of Vesper and creator of TableSolution.TableSolution is a SaaS product similar to OpenTable. It helps restaurant owners manage their reservations and better understand their customers.

You might not have heard of them yet, but you will. Today they have thousands of paying customers including some of the world’s largest hotel chains, they are profitable, and they are expanding globally.

Yu and I talk aboutTableSolution’s business model, of course, but you Yu also has some great advice and some counterintuitive insights about selling to mid-sized companies, expanding into new verticals and recruiting great staff.

It’s a fascinating discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes

Two ways to differentiate your startup in a crowded industry
How Freemium can hurt your B2B sales
How restaurants are using bid data to learn more about you
How Tokyo restaurants secretly raise prices together
The advantages of having a multi-lingual product from day one
How to keep customer churn low in a competitive marketplace
Is it more profitable to go deep or to go wide?
How is selling to enterprise different from selling to startups and smaller firms

Links from the Founder

Check out TableSolution
Follow TableSolution on Facebook
Friend Yu on Facebook
Vesper’s TableCheck site

 Leave a comment
Transcript
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for listening.

Startup investing follows trends and following these trends is an easy way to raise money. Two years ago in Tokyo, everyone was starting food delivery businesses. A year ago, it was AI-related companies, and now, of course, at coffee shops around the world, founders are trying to figure out how to graft a cryptocurrency onto an existing business model and launch an ICO.

Of course, after you raise the money, you got to grow the business, and that’s always hard, but it’s even harder when you are competing against 100 other funded startups with the same business model, no. Long-term, the companies that went out are either those who are doing something no one has thought of before or those doing something so boring that everyone has thought of it but they are doing it in a way that puts them out in front.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of those companies.

Yu Taniguchi is CEO of Vesper, the creator of Table Solution. It’s a SaaS service similar to OpenTable in that it helps restaurant owners manage their reservations better and better understand their customers.

You might not have heard of them yet but you will. They have thousands of paying customers, including some global chains, they are profitable, and they are beginning to expand globally. The business model itself is interesting and you also have some great advice and some counter-intuitive insights about selling to mid-sized companies and the dubious value of the freemium model in general.

But you know, Yu tells that story much better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.

[Interview]

Tim: So I’m sitting here with Yu Taniguchi, the founder and CEO of Vesper, makers of Table Solution in the online restaurant management platform. So thanks for sitting down with me.

Yu: Thank you.

Tim: Table Solution is in a super competitive space so let’s talk a bit about what it is.

Yu: Super competitive, a lot of people think that Table Solution’s competitors are companies such as GuroNavi, Tebelog, OpenTable. That’s totally different, actually. The current situation is that restaurants accept reservations from various sources such as phone reservations, reservations from Tebelog,

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