#Asia #Japan Show 44: How a Startup Went Global in Only 4 Seconds – Miku Hirano


Everyone talks about the importance of international markets and how startups need to think globally from day one. Few companies, however, build that goal into their DNA as completely as Miku Hirano’s Cinnamon.

Cinnamon’s core product, Tuya is a micro-video sharing platform where users share four-second clips about their daily lives. The visual nature gives Tuya obvious international appeal. However, Cinnamon has a core team of Japanese founders, with primarily Japanese backers, and they founded their company in Singapore, hired staff in Vietnam, and then moved to Tawain to launch the product.

These days language barriers are easily crossed and relocating the company for product launch is just part of the go-to-market strategy.

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

Show Notes for Startups

What Miku learned starting Naked Technologies
How Japanese companies can do better at post M&A integration
Why it made sense for a Japanese team to found a company in Singapore
Why the large size of the Japanese market is actually a handicap for some startups
The changing relationship between producers and consumers
When incubators can actually provide value to startups
Why its easier for women to start a company in Japan
Where Japan’s startup role models will come

Links from the Founder

Cinnamon’s homepage
Check out Miku’s blog
Follow Miku on twitter @chottosokomade
Friend her on Facebook
And of course, check out Tuya for yourself. It’s strangely addictive.

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Transcript from Japan
Disrupting Japan. Episode 44.

Welcome to Disrupting Japan. Straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero, thanks for listening.

When most companies talk about going global they’re usually talking about either expanding into foreign markets once they gain sufficient traction in their home country or simply making their app available for download worldwide. To Miku Hirano and the team at Cinnamon however going global has a very different and much more modern meaning.

Cinnamon has a core team of Japanese founders with primarily Japanese backers who founded their company in Singapore, hired a staff in Vietnam and then moved to Taiwan to launch their flagship product. Now, that sounds like utter chaos and I’m sure that at times it was. But when you hear me to explain the process. It seems an entirely logical and even common sense approach, one where language barriers are easily crossed and relocating the company for a product launch is just part of the go to market strategy. And it seems to be working.

Cinnamon’s new micro video sharing platform Tuya is growing rapidly.

But I don’t want to give too much away. So let’s get right to the interview.


Tim: So I’m sitting here with Miku Hirano founder of Naked technology and Cinnamon. We’re going to sit down, we’re going talk a lot about what you’ve done so far. But before we do that tell us a bit about Cinnamon and the products you’re developing.

Miku: I founded Cinnamon obviously two to three years ago in Singapore. And we have some staff in Singapore and also we have a development center in Hanoi, Vietnam. So the project that we are doing is what it is called Tuya and it is a four second video sharing service. Actually it is more like video version of Twitter.

Tim: Okay what kind of videos are people sharing on this site?

Miku: Just like daily videos. For example while I’m like I was walking to come to this place there are so many moments that I can take, so for example like a video of my train is coming or like that kind of, Just like normal daily moments.

Tim: So your users are sharing videos in the same way that most people are sharing photographs. Four seconds is not enough to tell a story, it’s just,

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