12 episodes

Welcome to the Coral Capital podcast, where we discuss startups, technology, and the future through the lens of Japan and Asia broadly. This is your typical VC podcast, with an atypical cross-cultural and multilingual flair. よろしくお願いします!

The Coral Capital Podcast Coral Capital

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    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Welcome to the Coral Capital podcast, where we discuss startups, technology, and the future through the lens of Japan and Asia broadly. This is your typical VC podcast, with an atypical cross-cultural and multilingual flair. よろしくお願いします!

    #12: Upfront Ventures' Mark Suster on Overrated Unicorns and Other Startup Truths

    #12: Upfront Ventures' Mark Suster on Overrated Unicorns and Other Startup Truths

    Welcome to another episode of The Coral Capital Podcast, a show about startups, technology, and venture capital with a focus on Japan and Asia.

    In this episode, we chat with Mark Suster, a Partner at Upfront Ventures. Upfront is one of LA’s most prominent venture capital firms, renowned for backing companies like Ring, GOAT, Overture, and even Starbucks back in the day. Mark was previously the founder & CEO of two successful enterprise software companies, the most recent of which was sold to Salesforce.com. Prior to being a founder, Mark was a software developer at Accenture where he lived and worked in Europe, Japan and the U.S. 

    In this episode we discuss:


    How Japanese startups can win globally
    Uncovering the truth about unicorn companies
    Top VC firms reducing the size of their funds
    50% of seed funds disappearing
    Advice for startups considering fundraising
    Love decay - how entrepreneurs and investors can nurture "love"

    • 41 min
    #11: Grab President Ming Maa on Mission, Growth and Hyper-localization

    #11: Grab President Ming Maa on Mission, Growth and Hyper-localization

    Welcome to another episode of The Coral Capital Podcast, a show about startups, technology, and venture capital with a focus on Japan and Asia.



    This episode is a fireside chat with Ming Maa, the Group President of Grab. Initially established as a taxi-hailing app in Malaysia back in 2012, Grab has evolved into the leading super app in Southeast Asia and the region's first decacorn. It empowers the region's economy through a diverse range of services, including transportation, delivery, and finance. As President, Ming is responsible for corporate development activities, such as strategic partnerships and investment opportunities at Grab. Ming has over 12 years of experience in private equity investment at Softbank Group, Ancora Capital Management, and Goldman Sachs. During his tenure at Softbank, based in Tokyo, he oversaw investments in the ridesharing and e-commerce sectors, including Softbank’s Series D and Series F investments into Grab. 



    In this episode, we discuss:


    How Grab started as a for-profit, social enterprise


    What is a super app and how Grab approached its super app strategy


    What differentiated Grab from Kuaidi Dache and OlaCabs


    How hyper-localization wins customers and markets


    How Grab hyper localized to beat Uber


    Experimenting and measuring platform success


    Concentrating on the North Star


    Strategic investments through Grab Ventures

    • 27 min
    #10: a16z General Partner Andrew Chen on The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects

    #10: a16z General Partner Andrew Chen on The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects

    Welcome to another episode of The Coral Capital Podcast, a show about startups, technology, and venture capital with a focus on Japan and Asia.

    In this episode we chat with Andrew Chen, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he invests in games, AR/VR, metaverse, and consumer tech startups. He is on the boards of Clubhouse, Substack, Z League, Sleeper, Snackpass, All Day Kitchens, Sandbox VR, Reforge, Maven, Practice, and others.

    He is a prolific writer on user growth, metrics, and network effects at andrewchen.com and has been cited on Wired, WSJ, and The New York Times.

    In this episode we discuss a broad range of topics focused on his book, The Cold Start Problem: How to Start and Scale Network Effects, which was just published in Japanese. We cover:


    What motivated Andrew to write a book on “network effects”
    The power of network effects and and real-world examples
    Why it’s critical to identify the “hard side” of a network
    How Tinder solved the cold start problem
    Why Google+ didn’t take off despite enormous distribution channels
    What are the key metrics that signal network effects
    What was going on behind the scenes when Clubhouse went viral

    If you enjoy this episode, please make sure to follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.

    • 36 min
    #09: Is Fusion The Future or Fantasy? Richard Pearson, Shutaro Takeda of Kyoto Fusioneering on Commercialization of Fusion Energy, and Why Japan Is Uniquely Positioned to Lead The Industry

    #09: Is Fusion The Future or Fantasy? Richard Pearson, Shutaro Takeda of Kyoto Fusioneering on Commercialization of Fusion Energy, and Why Japan Is Uniquely Positioned to Lead The Industry

    Welcome to another episode of The Coral Capital Podcast, a show about startups, technology, and venture capital with a focus on Japan and Asia.

    In this episode, we chat with Richard Pearson, Chief Innovator & UK Director and Shutaro Takeda, Chief Strategist at Kyoto Fusioneering (a Coral Capital portfolio company). Kyoto Fusioneering is a nuclear fusion startup founded in 2019.

    Their business model is unique in that they develop and sell key components and technologies for fusion power plants to other companies focused on building the reactors themselves. Since they are selling the “picks & shovels” to those mining for fusion gold, they are able to generate revenue much earlier than other fusion startups.

    Japan is uniquely positioned for this industry due to the fact that it has a wide-range of manufacturing and nuclear engineering expertise, as well as companies that can assemble equipment to cater to the needs of the global fusion industry.

    In this episode we discuss:


    What is fusion is why it is the holy grail of clean energy
    Why nuclear fusion has yet to be commercialized
    How Kyoto Fusioneering is the Levi Strauss of the fusion industry
    The Japanese manufacturing companies that are behind the nuclear power industry
    Kyoto Fusioneering’s integrated testing facility for fusion power plants
    Advice for deep-tech founders aiming to build a global business

    If you enjoy this episode, please make sure to follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.

    • 51 min
    #08: Sho Nakanose of GITAI on Building Space Robots, Business Opportunities In Space, and Why Japan Is Uniquely Positioned to Lead The Industry

    #08: Sho Nakanose of GITAI on Building Space Robots, Business Opportunities In Space, and Why Japan Is Uniquely Positioned to Lead The Industry

    Welcome to another episode of The Coral Capital Podcast, a show about startups, technology, and venture capital with a focus on Japan and Asia.

    In this episode, we chat with Sho Nakanose, founder and CEO of GITAI (a Coral Capital portfolio company). GITAI is a space robotics startup founded in 2016. Prior to founding GITAI, he successfully built and sold a tech company in India.

    Since founding, GITAI has been able to recruit some of the best roboticists in Japan, including the key engineers from SCHAFT, the Japanese robotics company acquired by Google in 2013. In 2021, GITAI’s autonomous robot arm successfully demonstrated two tasks in the International Space Station (ISS): 1) assembling structures and panels for in-space assembly; and 2) operating switches & cables for intra-vehicular activity. GITAI aims to reduce human labor costs in space by more than 90%, similar to how SpaceX revolutionized the space industry by drastically reducing costs.

    In this episode we discuss:


    GITAI’s three businesses: space stations, satellites and the moon
    Why it makes sense to send autonomous robots into space
    What are the space businesses that will take off in a short term and long term
    How agile development can reduce the cost of space robots
    Leveraging the talent pool in Japan
    Key ingredients to attract top talent

    If you enjoy this episode, please make sure to follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.

    • 27 min
    #07: Sam Rosenblum of Haun Ventures on Crypto Regulations, Japan’s Crypto Environment, ETH Merge, and How Web 3 Differs From Web 2 Investing

    #07: Sam Rosenblum of Haun Ventures on Crypto Regulations, Japan’s Crypto Environment, ETH Merge, and How Web 3 Differs From Web 2 Investing

    Welcome to another episode of The Coral Capital Podcast, a show about startups, technology, and venture capital with a focus on Japan and Asia.

    In this episode, we chat with Sam Rosenblum, a Partner at Haun Ventures. Haun Ventures is a crypto focused venture capital firm founded by former a16z Partner Katie Haun in 2022 with a record $1.5 billion debut fund. Prior to Haun Ventures, Sam was a Partner at Polychain Capital, another leading crypto-focused investment firm. He was also an early team member at Coinbase, where he focused on business development, traveling across the globe to meet both government officials and crypto enthusiasts.

    In this episode we discuss:


    Why Sam left Visa to join Coinbase, a fledgling startup with just 30 people
    Global crypto regulations, and how Japan compares
    Why Japanese authorities were so eager to learn about crypto early on
    Differences between Web 2 investments and Web 3 investments
    Will Ethereum ever surpass Bitcoin? Thoughts on “The flippening”
    When will the crypto winter end?

    If you enjoy this episode, please make sure to follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.

    • 44 min

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