#Asia #Japan 111: How Startups Can Compete In The New Energy Markets


The global energy markets are transforming themselves right before our eyes. Very little fundamental change has occurred over the past 70 years, but 10 years from today the Japanese and global markets are going to look completely different. 

Today we sit down with Yohei Kiguchi CEO in Enechange, Japan’s largest retail energy switching platforms, and we dive into detail about how these markets are changing.

We talk about Enechange’s business model, of course, but we also discuss the most effective strategies for startups who need to compete against large incumbents, and that advice holds true for startups in Japan or anywhere else in the world.

Yohei also has some interesting observations on why Japan is a better place to start a company than the UK or Europe.

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

Show Notes

How to identify a promising startup opportunity in Japan
What’s driving change in Japan’s energy markets
How to appeal to Japanese investors from overseas
The importance of TV advertising in Japan
How to make money in a slow-growth industry
When Japan’s nuclear plants will be turned back on
How Japan’s IPO markets gibe Japan a strategic advantage
Why enterprise upper management is leaving to join startups in Japan

Links from the Founder

Check out Enechange
SMAP Energy’s website

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

I surprised a lot of my friends and fans last year when I joined TEPCO, Japan’s largest electric utility. I admit, at first glance, it seems a pretty radical departure from my history in startups and in most ways, it is. However, there’s a transformation going on right now in energy all over the world, and while there’s been very little disruption in the energy markets over the past 70 years, 10 years from now, the markets will look nothing like they do today.

Well, today, we sit down with Yohei Kiguchi, CEO of Enechange, one of the more innovative startups building a business in the new energy markets. Now, before you understand what Enechange does, I need to give you a little bit of background on how energy deregulation is working around the world and the story of the coming disruption is quite similar in all developed nations.

Since the days of, well, Thomas Edison, really, the power company was responsible for creating the electricity, building and maintaining the power grids to transmit that electricity across the country, and then billing the customers for the electricity they used. Because of the cost involved and the importance of universal and reliable electricity, it made sense for this to be done by a single, tightly-regulated monopoly and that’s how things stayed for about 100 years, but over the past decade, around the world, the cost of generating electricity have dropped and we’ve seen smaller, more affordable plants, and a proliferation of sore.

On the retail side, smart meters and the internet has made it easier to collect data and to be bill customers, and so markets around the world are being deregulated with power generation, power transmission, and retail billing all being handled by separate companies. While power regulation gets most of the press, most of the market disruption has focused on the retail side with hundreds of companies entering the market and many offering steep discounts. Around the world, electricity consumers have never had this much choice, and that’s where Enechange comes in.

Enechange is by far Japan’s largest energy-switching website. It provides tools that allow consumers and businesses to shop for the best or the cheapest energy supplier, but as Yohei explains, the cheapest is not usually the best and Yohei also has some interesting observations on why Japan is a better place to start a startup than Europe, but you know,

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