#Asia #Japan Why startups should be better than charities at solving social problems


Startups exist to develop new solutions to problems.

But many of society’s biggest problems fall outside traditional startup business models.

Today we explore why that is, and how it might be changed as we sit down with Robin Lewis, co-founder of Mymizu, a startup focused on reducing plastic waste by encouraging reuse.

We take a deep dive into possible monetization strategies, why startups should be better at solving social problems than non-profits, and we discuss a possible roadmap for a middle path between startups and non-profits.

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

Show Notes

The Japanese middle-ground between NGOs and for-profit startups
The hidden strategy behind beach cleanup programs
Mymizu’s current business model
The challenge of mixing environmental and social sustainability
When Tim became “The Destroyer of Dreams”
The unexpected (positive ) impacts of COVID-19
Why startups  should be able to do more social good than NGOs
How bottled water breaks economic theory
What happened to Japanese water fountains
One common recycling scam in Japan
A roadmap for the middle path between NGO and startup


Links from the Founder

Everything you ever wanted to know about Mymizu
Follow Mymizu on Instagram
Check out Robin’s personal home page
Follow his blog on social sustainability
Follow him on Twitter @robintlewis
Connect with him on LinkedIn
More about sustainability in Japan

7 Surprising Facts About Plastic in Japan
Sanpo Yoshi: the Japanese business principle of success through responsibility
25 Opportunities For Volunteering and Social Good in Japan

Milton Friedman’s landmark NYT article on corporate responsibility

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Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.
I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.
Water, it’s one of the most common molecules in the universe and you personally are made up of about 60% water. There are a number of significant problems today that revolve around water but water is rarely the focus for startups, and today, we’re going to explore why that is and why that might be changing.
Today, we sit down in a properly socially distanced matter and talk with Robin Lewis, co-founder of Mymizu. The Mymizu app enables you to find places to refill your water bottles all over Japan, and the company itself exists in a very interesting space between nonprofit and a regular for profit company.
Robin and his team are already making an impact in Japan, and we have a deep dive into how startups can be a force to achieve meaningful social change. The challenges of balancing the need for revenues with staying true to your social mission, and we brainstorm about possible monetization strategies that could enable that, and also, you’ll learn something that will probably really piss you off about how recycling is done in Japan.
But you know, Robin tells that story much better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.

Tim: So I’m sitting here with Robin Lewis, the co-founder of Mymizu, a water refilling app. Thanks for sitting down with me.
Robin Lewis: Thanks so much for having me, Tim, I’m excited to be here.
Tim: Actually, you can explain Mymizu much better than I can, so what is Mymizu exactly?
Robin: Mymizu, what we’re doing is we’re on a mission to help people live more sustainably, starting with plastic bottles. We accomplish that in, I’d say, four main ways. First, we have the app which you mentioned and it’s essentially a tool where you can find 200,000 locations around the world where you can take your reusable bottle and refill that for free, and so this includes public water fountains like in train station, in parks, and so on, but also, we have this network of what we call ‘refill partners,’ this is cafes, shops, hotels, and other businesses where you can walk in, you can get your water,

from Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan https://ift.tt/36kViF7

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