#Asia #Japan Show 48: The Dark Side of Japanese Crowdfunding – Ryota Matsuzaki


Crowdfunding is at a crossroads. The inherent conflict of interest in the business model is forcing US firms to either limit their growth or become the online equivalent of late-night infomercials.

In Japan, however, crowdfunding has grown more slowly than in the US, and Japanese companies have had the chance to learn from their  successes and failures. As a result crowdfunding may end up looking very different in Japan than it does overseas.

In today’s discussion, Ryota Matsuzaki, the CEO of Kibidango, one of Japan’s newest crowdfunding platforms his approach. It’s not completely unique to Japan, but the strategy is particularly well suited to Japan.

Ryota details what he thinks the future of crowdfunding will look like in Japan and we argue over the likelihood of Japan’s consumer electronic giants taking advantage of the tremendous talent pool available on crowdfunding platforms in order to supplement their product lines via M&A.

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

Show Notes for Startups

Why crowdfunding is the new e-commerce
Why e-commerce startups can no longer innovate
How to nurture crowdfunding creators
Why it’s important to trade high-growth for high-quality
Managing Japanese consumer’s expectations
How large brands might change the face of crowdfunding
How crowdfunding might jumpstart M&A in Japan
Can crowdfunding save Japan’s consumer electronics industry?

Links from the Founder

The Kibidango homepage
Connect with Ryota on LinkedIn
Follow him on twitter @rmatsuzaki
Friend him on Facebook

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

Crowdfunding in Japan is at a crossroads. It may or may not take the same path as crowdfunding the US but the end result is going to look very very different. There is an inherent conflict of interest in the crowdfunding model and crowdfunding companies around the world are been told to pick a side. You see, crowdfunding companies make money by taking a percentage of the funds raised by the projects on the site. It’s a great model.

The problem is that some of the most exciting high-profile and profitable crowdfunding campaigns are frankly scams. Exciting products from charismatic founders that capture people’s imaginations but will never be delivered. Many crowdfunding companies are in danger of becoming the digital equivalent of online infomercials. Now some companies have chosen sides. Kickstarter has changed itself into a public benefit corporation to prioritize quality projects over rapid growth and Indiegogo has embraced the dark side actively promoting products that will never be built, but making a lot of money doing it.

In Japan however, crowdfunding has grown more slowly than the US and Japanese companies have had a chance to learn from their overseas successes and failures. Ryota Matsuzaki, the CEO of Kibidango, one of Japan’s newest crowdfunding platforms has a new approach, one that while perhaps not unique to Japan is certainly extremely well suited to Japan, but I don’t want to give too much away. So let’s get right to the interview.


Tim: I’m sitting here with Ryota Matsuzaki, of Kibidango, a leading Japanese crowdfunding service with an e-commerce focus. There’s a lot of crowdfunding sites in Japan, so why don’t you explain a bit more about Kibidango. What makes it special? What does it do?

Ryota: There are lots of crowdfunding platforms out here in Japan but what we do very differently is primarily focus on small businesses. We’ve seen many crowdfunding services that are good at helping NPO’s with their charitable projects and so forth. We’ve see many of the entertainment based crowdfunding platforms but what I see,

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