Guest: Akio Tanaka

Backing Technical Founders & Growing Businesses In Asia (Part 1)

September 21, 2022

Episode Notes

In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak to an old friend of mine, Akio Tanaka, Co-Founder and Partner at Headline VC, a technology-focused VC firm headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with investment teams deployed in Beijing, Taipei, San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and Sao Paulo.

Akio talks about his own professional backyard and walks us through his investment methodology with some examples of the companies he likes to invest in and why. He also talks about his own startup background and the acquisition by Adobe, along with some insights on the Japanese entrepreneurial ecosystem, and some conversational dabbling into personal-interest verticals like ski equipment-on-demand services and self-storage in Japan, among other interesting topics.


Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How Adobe was created.
  • Why geeks can create far bigger companies than salespeople.
  • Who performs better, technical founders or non-technical founders?
  • The story of  Freee the Cloud-based accounting company and why it was created.
  • Why an entrepreneurial society in Japan was started.
  • Headline VC and their early-stage investments.
  • The beginning of the entrepreneurial culture in Japan.
  • Lessons learned from Groupon in Japan.