Tomonaga Tejima, India-Japan serial entrepreneur; Co-founder OkayGo

Tomonaga Tejima, India-Japan serial entrepreneur; Co-founder OkayGo

  • Tom is an India-Japan serial entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of OkayGo.

 

Podcast

Overview

India, as we all know, has a booming startup ecosystem with a lot of foreigners coming to benefit from it. In a strong competition with China, India has become a major business player for a lot of Japanese business people. Today, we have a Japanese entrepreneur who started his entrepreneurial journey in India. He talks about the several key points a budding entrepreneur must consider in his/her journey.

[00:35] – About Tomonaga Tejima

  • Tom is an India-Japan serial entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of OkayGo.
  • He was earlier with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, the second-largest Japanese pharmaceutical company, where he served as Asia region, head of the pharmaceutical business.

[00:48] – Tell me about your journey from the time of “The Great Hanshin Earthquake” in 1995

  • It was the first time I chose the internet-related career. It wasn’t very popular at the time, and I was one of the few people who was exposed to it.
  • In the Hanshine Earthquake, about 6,000 people were killed. There was a text based system, where particular information was added, like a person evacuating to a particular school.
  • An idea struck me that I can use this information for something internationally big and socially impactful.

[06:47] – What attracted you to India?

  • While working at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, I travelled to multiple countries, including India and Pakistan.
  • I was always passionate about startups. On my visit to China in 2008, I realized there were multiple local Japanese entrepreneurs along with local Chinese entrepreneurs. I realized I was too late to join them. The situation was similar in other markets as well.
  • On my visit to India, the startup market was still in infancy. I found it to be a great opportunity, though there were many challenges and difficulties.

[14:30] – Should an entrepreneur or a startup founder bootstrap as long as possible, or should they raise money whenever it is possible?

  • People have different perspectives. As an entrepreneur, you have to have multiple scenarios. You cannot stick to only one scenario.
  • It is important to always have a backup plan.
  • I always believe conservative spending is better than overspending. Raising minimum amount is a better approach than more. A frugal approach is much better.

[18:16] – How do you manage the imbalance of most assets with no valuation vs no assets with massive valuation?

  • In Japan, we have a lot of corporations with a huge amount of cash reserve but due to less innovation or due to the comfort of the current business, there is no strategic investment or decision-making to create the next generation business.
  • If you have to create business energy or a business together with staff, the overall expectation whether to grow or not in five years, is a fundamental difference.

RESOURCES:

You can connect with Tomonaga Tejima- LinkedIn

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Profile

  • Tom is an India-Japan serial entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of OkayGo.
  • He was earlier with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, the second-largest Japanese pharmaceutical company, where he served as Asia region head of the pharmaceutical business.

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