The Negotiation

This episode of The Negotiation is Part 2 of our conversation with 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.

This second half of our discussion focuses more on Asia's startup and investment landscape. We look at how business guarantees were detrimental to the growth of the startup culture in Japan; the emergence of female founders in Japan; deal structure in Japan, and why Akio prefers to invest in companies who have shared equity among cofounders on the cap table; a nuanced discussion around blockchain and gaming, and why gaming may be the catalyst to the second wave of crypto; we also discuss institutional barriers to expansion in Asia compared to that of Europe. Enjoy!

Show Notes

The APAC region is witnessing the most exciting innovation of recent times. Technology platforms and disruptive business models are entering industries traditionally dominated by incumbents. Traditional business practices are being challenged and disruptors are leading the way. In the coming years, the digital economy in APAC will continue to expand at a faster rate than in any other region. The adoption by private institutions of technology and innovation is no longer an option for every entrepreneur, but an opportunity for every entrepreneur. The capacity for startups to address market failures and create new value is growing exponentially. 

This episode of The Negotiation is part 2 with Akio Tanaka, Co-Founder and Partner at Headline VC. Headline VC is a technology-focused venture capital firm that sees the world’s future through the lens of exponential technologies. The aim of Headline is to identify, fund, and partner with companies who are building these new products and services—and to make them more accessible to mainstream consumers. Akio has over 20 years of technology experience. He served as the Senior Director & CTO at Macromedia Japan; in 2005, he spent less than a year as the Vice-president and technology advisor to the CEO at Macromedia Inc.; since June 2008 he has been the Co-founder and Managing Partner at Infinity Venture Partners. Akio Tanaka is one of the most influential investors in Japan and has been known to be passionately committed to the local ecosystem.
Incredible insight into the investing landscape in Asia with Akio Tanaka. He gives us his thoughts on the investment landscape and what drives success, discusses the characteristics he looks for when evaluating founders and startups, shares unique insights into the failure of startups there and how they address it and talks about private and public markets, Blockchain gaming and cryptocurrency - one of the biggest opportunities we've seen in years. You don't want to miss this episode!
Let’s delve in!
Topics Discussed and Key Points:
  • How investment in internet/software eliminates the physical limitations of traditional businesses. 
  • Why business guarantees were detrimental to the growth of the start-up culture in Japan.
  • The emergence of female founders in Japan.
  • The structure of investment deals in Asia.
  • Why it’s better to have multiple co-founders with significant equity stakes on the cap table.
  • Headline’s increased investment in blockchain gaming.
  • How traditional gaming concepts are becoming applicable to modern blockchain technology.
  • What is going to make crypto a mass phenomenon instead of a playground for a minority of Internet users?
  • Institutional barriers to expansion in Asia compared to Europe.

What is The Negotiation?

Despite being the world’s most potent economic area, Asia can be one of the most challenging regions to navigate and manage well for foreign brands. However, plenty of positive stories exist and more are emerging every day as brands start to see success in engaging and deploying appropriate market growth strategies – with the help of specialists.

The Negotiation is an interview show that showcases those hard-to-find success stories and chats with the incredible leaders behind them, teasing out the nuances and digging into the details that can make market growth in APAC a winning proposition.