184 episodes

Startups are changing Japan, and Japan is once again starting to innovate. Disrupting Japan explores what it's like to be an innovator in a culture that prizes conformity and introduces you to startups that will be household brands in a few years.

Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan Tim Romero: Serial startup founder in Japan and indomitable innovator

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 5.0 • 37 Ratings

Startups are changing Japan, and Japan is once again starting to innovate. Disrupting Japan explores what it's like to be an innovator in a culture that prizes conformity and introduces you to startups that will be household brands in a few years.

    Why startups should be better than charities at solving social problems

    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.   

    • 44 min
    The Dream of Flying Cars meets the Truth of Aviation Startups

    The Dream of Flying Cars meets the Truth of Aviation Startups

    Personal aviation is awesome!



    Aviation has been a source of inspiration and a symbol of innovation since the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, to Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, to today's dreams of colonizing Mars.



    Unfortunately, it's been very hard for startups to make money in aviation. Even the Wright brothers did not do particularly well in business.



    But things might be changing. Today we sit down and talk with Tasuku Nakai, co-founder of Tetra Aviation, and we discuss how public research incentives, support from the aerospace giants, and the changing infrastructure needs might have just tipped the balance to startups.

    • 32 min
    What’s really changed after six years of Disrupting Japan

    What’s really changed after six years of Disrupting Japan

    This is our sixth anniversary episode. Over the past six years it’s been a Disrupting Japan tradition to have our big Disrupting Japan Live and Unleashed show on our anniversary. We get three of Japan’s startup thought-leaders on stage and invite a few hundred of our closest friends over for an evening of drinks, conversation, and just hanging out with a lot cool people.



    So after six years, looking back, I want to share with you the three most important ways that Disrupting Japan has changed, and what that tells us about how things are changing for Japanese startups.

    • 20 min
    How this silkworm startup is taking on the pandemic

    How this silkworm startup is taking on the pandemic

    Bio-tech is messy because life is complicated.



    A lot of attention is given to computers sequencing genomes, but some of the most advanced and important work is done by studying and using other living things to make our own lives better.



    Kenta Yamato co-founded Kaico to commercialize a technique that uses silkworms to manufacture small-batch custom proteins. And Kico is involved with everything from veterinary medicine to Japan's search for a coronavirus vaccine.



    We also talk about the challenges or creating startups based on university technology and the one e-commerce model in Japan that just won't go away.



    I think you'll enjoy the conversation.

    • 32 min
    How to travel to the one place your GPS can’t find

    How to travel to the one place your GPS can’t find

    We have always loved maps. Maps combine artistry and utility in a way that very few disciplines allow. 



    But of course, it's always been a trade-off. The beautiful, ornate maps from centuries past told you where the major landmasses were, but provided little detail. And today's GPS-based maps provide an unprecedented level of accuracy but uninspiring in their presentation. 



    Machi Takahashi, founder and CEO of Stroly, has a best-of-both world's solution. 



    We also talk in-depth about the unique challenges facing women founders in Japan, and what can be done to make things better for everyone.  



    It's a great discussion, and I think you will really enjoy it.

    • 40 min
    Selects: Why Japan’s Geisha are disappearing in the social media age

    Selects: Why Japan’s Geisha are disappearing in the social media age

    You don’t usually think of Japan’s geisha as being an industry, but it is. In fact, strictly speaking, it’s a cartel. A cartel that is now being disrupted by internet-based booking agencies and low-cost substitutes. It seems that even geisha are not immune to internet-based disintermediation.



    In this special interview Sayuki, Japan’s only geisha that holds an MBA, explains the business model behind geisha. We talk about the way things used to be, the current threats that have many geisha concerned that the traditional art form and the lifestyle will not survive, and how some geisha houses are trying to adapt.



    This is a rare, behind the scenes look at the business of being a geisha and a chance to see how Japan’s geisha might survive and even thrive in the coming digital age.



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

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

kasiamich ,

面白いですね⭐️

Educational and interesting - glad I heard of this podcast and look forward to more!

Hahaahaahaa ,

Leading podcast for the Japan tech scene

As an avid listener of tech podcasts here in the US, I was excited to find one that focused on the burgeoning Japanese tech scene. The host is great at getting to the meat of the conversation and looking forward to a continued mix of strong guests and eclectic topics.

kirillzubovsky_us ,

Tim's got great radio voice

A friend told me about this podcast and I found it quite enjoyable. Tim shares interesting bits of information, and I kid you not, has a very good "radio voice." It's a huge deal for a podcast and he's got it. Wishing Disrupting Japan 1M more listeners.

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