Today we sit down with Dave McClure under the cherry blossoms and talk about startups, funding, failure
Dave has long been involved in Japan and in the startup community here, and in this episode, we talk about the progress Japan has made in the past decade and the changes that still need to be made. We go over what Dave sees as the gaps in the Japan’s venture capital ecosystem and also dispel some of the pervasive myths that have spread throughout Silicon Vally and the entire startup world.
We spend a bit of time diving into what Dave and 500 Startups consider to be a risky business model, and it may not be what you expect, but it’s great advice for anyone thinking of starting a company.
It’s a great discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Show Notes for Startups
Who is doing most of the investing in Japan right now
Why Japan needs more angel investors
What startups should be looking for in investors
How to find a startup idea
What Japan should learn from Silicon Valley and what it should ignore
Which business models are truly unproven
The one thing Japan should change to encourage startups
How to really learn from failure
Links from the Founder
500 Startups Japan
Follow Dave on Twitter @davemcclure
Friend him on Facebook
Connect with him on LinkedIn
Leave a comment
Transcript from Japan
Disrupting Japan, episode 84.
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from CEOs breaking into Japan. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for listening.
Japan, well most of the world really has an unhealthy obsession with Silicon Valley. I’ve been to Japanese language start-up events here in Tokyo where the phrases Silicon Valley, or San Francisco, were mentioned more than twice as often as Tokyo or Japan. And yes, I actually did keep count. And I’m sure none of my friends are the least bit surprised by that. My point is that while Japan can learn a lot from Silicon Valley, the reverse is also true. There are a lot of things going right in Japan, and many things that are developing differently here than they are in Silicon Valley.
Well, today we sit down with Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups, and we talk under the cherry blossoms about start-ups funding failure, and about some of the most pervasive myths surrounding start-ups and start-up founders. For our listeners who are not familiar with the Japanese tradition of Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, I’ll explain it to you in both theory and practice because those two can be a bit different. In theory, Hinami is a time to reflect on the transitory nature of beauty, of our possessions, and of life itself. The cherry blossoms bloom only for a few days a year before their pedals fall. And almost everyone in Japan no matter how busy or sick will make at least a little time to go out and walk among the blossoms. The trees really are beautiful, and that beauty is made all the more precious by the fact that they can only be appreciated for such a brief period of time.
In practice, people from all over Japan get together with their friends under the cherry blossom trees, get rip-roaringly drunk, sing karaoke, and have a great and boisterous time. So when Dave and I are talking and in the background, you hear school girls laughing, drunken cheering, and people suddenly breaking into song, you’ll know what’s going on. It was a great party and a great discussion.
So let’s hear from our sponsor and get right to the interview.
Tim: So I’m sitting hear with the indomitable and encourageable Dave McClure.
Dave: Encourageable sounds right.
Tim: So thanks for sitting down. I really do appreciate your time.
Tim: You’ve had ties to Japan for a long time.
Dave: Yes, probably about 20 years or more.
Tim: And you’ve been actively involved in investing here for about, what, 10 years?
Dave: Maybe seven.
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