An Insider’s Vantage on 20 years of Japan’s Startup Ecosystem, its Current Challenges, And Attempts to Harness Silicon Valley

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
616 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

  • Hiroaki Yasutake, Co-founder and CSO, Junify, and former CTO, Rakuten

Hiroaki Yasutake has had a front row seat in the development of Japan’s startup ecosystem for the past 20 years as he joined Rakuten as one of its earliest employees, spending many years at its CTO. In this talk, he will share various insights gained from being an integral part of the rise of Rakuten as it grew rapidly by introducing new services, buying much larger and established companies, and the process by which it made itself a reputable, established company in Japan. He also experienced Rakuten’s famed “English-nization” and the company’s aggressive global push. More broadly, many of his friends, associates and acquaintances fanned out to drive the growth of Japan’s startup ecosystem, which has transformed dramatically in the past two decades, and he will share many of their experiences, along with challenges facing Japan’s stage of the startup ecosystem. Yasutake also co-founded Junify, and he will introduce the business itself, his motivations for moving to Silicon Valley, and his observations of specific efforts by Japanese entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. 


Hiroaki Yasutake, Co-founder and CSO, Junify, and former CTO, Rakuten


Hiroaki Yasutake joined Rakuten (founded 1997) in its infancy in 1998 as an engineer after briefly working at NTT. At Rakuten, he was in charge of creating various services and served as CTO before departing in 2016. He moved to Silicon Valley and co-founded a new startup, Junify, and currently also assists various large and small Japanese companies about their technology and innovation strategies as external board member and advisor. He graduated from Waseda University’s Graduate School of science research, mathematical sciences, and in 2015, attended the Stanford Executive Program (SEP) at the Graduate School of Business.


4:15pm: Doors open
4:30pm-5:30pm: Talk and Discussion
5:30pm-6:00pm: Networking


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Please note there is significant construction taking place on campus, which is greatly affecting parking availability and traffic patterns at the university. Please plan accordingly.