Ad-fraud is one of the most profitable activities for organized crime today. The scammers are sophisticated, disciplined, and numerous, and they might be using your IoT devices to rip people off.

Over the past decade, there has been relatively little of this kind of cybercrime in Japan, but that’s changing as the ad-fraud crime networks go global. Japan has to catch up and catch up fast. Unfortunately, Japan defenses have been rather poor.

Today we sit down and talk with someone who is fixing that.  Satoko Ohtsuki is the founder and CEO of Phybbit, Japan’s largest ad-fraud prevention network, and she’s going to explain the biggest scam you’ve probably never heard of.

Of course, we talk about the different kinds of ad-fraud and what is being done to combat them, but we also talk about how she was pushed into entrepreneurship, and the challenges of raising money (and raising children) as a female founder in Japan.

It’s a great discussion with one of the most interesting founders in Japan,  and I think you will really enjoy it.

Show Notes

  • The global scale of ad-fraud
  • How to bluff your way into starting a leading software company
  • The main kinds of ad-fraud
  • Google & Facebook’s conflict of interest in solving ad fraud
  • How scammers try to get around the fraud countermeasures
  • Who exactly are the ad-fraud scammers and where are they located?
  • How your devices and home electronics are helping the scammers
  • The challenge of raising venture money as a woman in Japan
  • Satoko’s advice for women raising money in Japan
  • Balancing the demands of a growing startup and growing children
  • How Japanese VCs stop Japanese startups from going global
  • How the 2020 Olympics are affecting venture investment in Japan

Links from the Founder

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Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

Today we are going to be talking about ad-fraud. Ad-fraud is a multi-billion-dollar problem that a lot of people don’t really want to see get solved.

You see, when you run an internet ad campaign or participate in an affiliate network, some of the clicks or installs you pay for are from real people interested in your product or service, but a lot of them are bots that are simply scamming money for the site owners.

In fact, a surprising number of ad-clicks are bots. Internet advertising is a $280 billion global business and it’s estimated that somewhere between 25% and 50% of it is fraud.

Well today, we are going to sit down with someone who is doing something about that.

Satoko Ohtsuki founded Phybbit to combat ad fraud, and it has now become the largest ad fraud detection service in Japan.

Satoko and I talk about how Phybbit is using artificial intelligence to combat the seemly endless stream of online ad fraudsters, the challenges she faced raising money as a woman founder in Japan, and how you, yes you in particular, might be helping out the ad fraud scammers without even knowing it.

But you know, Satoko tells that story much better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.


Tim: Cheers!

Satoko: Cheers!

Tim: So, I’m sitting here with Satoko Ohtsuki of Phybbit, so thanks for sitting down with me.

Satoko: Thank you too. Thank you for your time.

Tim: Phybbit makes Spider AF.

Satoko: Yes.

Tim: And the AF stands for ‘Anti-Fraud’? ‘Ad Fraud’?

Satoko: Ad Fraud.

Tim: Ad Fraud.

Satoko: So, let me introduce what is Ad Fraud first. Ad Fraud is exactly as it is written, it’s advertisement fraud. For example, if I was a blogger, I will put some advertisement spot inside of my blog and if you saw my blog and clicked us, I will get some, like 10 Yen or $1, or something like that. If I was a malicious actor, I will try to abuse it to steal the revenue, right?

Tim: Right, so Ad Fraud is basically people clicking on online banners and things but not real customers?

Satoko: Yeah.

Tim: Bots, things like that.

Satoko: Exactly, to steal revenue. This is Ad Fraud, and now, our service, Spider AF, Ad Fraud prevention tool.

Tim: Okay, and you guys released a white paper recently where you’re saying that in Japan, a huge amount of traffic is ad fraud and it was almost like 20%, so does that mean like, in Japan, 20% of advertising clicks are bots and fakes, and scams?

Satoko: Of course, 20% is very big, but compared to global market has kind of the same amount of ad fraud or even more.

Tim: Okay. Well, we’ll get to the details of how the fraud works and the different kind of scams later, but before we do that, tell me about your customers. So, are you selling to ad networks and affiliate networks, or are you selling to people running websites to make sure that they’re not getting scammed by their advertisers?

Satoko: Our service is especially for ad networks and affiliate networks, yes, and also advertisers.

Tim: Okay, so it’s both sides, it’s the ad networks themselves and the people who buy ads, and what is your monetization model? How much does it cost? Is it like a monthly SaaS service?

Satoko: Yeah, monthly SaaS service based on the traffic.

Tim: So, like, about how much would it cost?

Satoko: For networks, from 200,000 Yen to 700,000 or something.

Tim: So, about $1,600 to around $6,000 for a network, per month?

Satoko: Yes. For advertisers, it’s going to be a little bit cheaper.

Tim: And it’s quite a range for individual sites, so I guess the idea is they save much more than that by reducing the ad fraud?

Satoko: Yeah, exactly.

Tim: Okay. Well, listen, before we get into the details of Ad Fraud and the different kinds of scams, let’s back up a bit and talk about you.

Satoko: Me?

Tim: You. So, when you started Phybbit, you were getting your Master’s in Atomic Physics at Tokyo Metropolitan University, right? And you actually started Phybbit while you were still in school?

Satoko: No, just when we finished university, I graduated in March, and then I started Phybbit in April.

Tim: And you started it with a lot of your friends in university, right?

Satoko: Yeah.

Tim: And a bunch of Physics majors?

Satoko: Not everyone is from Atomic Physics. Some people are from space area …some people are from several types of Physics.

Tim: And at first, you were just doing like, contract development for other companies?

Satoko: Yeah, because at the time, we never work in other companies or we didn’t know what is a business card or email, right?

Tim: Well, and it’s hard to get a job in Physics. I was a Physics major myself.

Satoko: Oh!

Tim: Yeah, yeah, undergraduate, but Physics is sort of like, it’s almost like the Liberal Arts of the Sciences – you know a little bit about everything –

Satoko: Yeah, so most of my friends, they are still working in the university.

Tim: So, why did you and your fellow Physics majors decide to start a software company instead of doing Physics?

Satoko: It’s a very funny story. It was 2011. At the time, the Japanese Government decided to start to make not so much budget for not only Physics, Scientists, or Mathematics – everything, so many friends, PhD friends, lost jobs because of that. While we were drinking alcohol and we had just joked and complained, but like, they cut it.

Tim: Well, yeah, Japan had always funded a lot of basic research. They funded fundamental research really, really heavily and they’ve cut back in the last 10 years.

Satoko: Yes, that’s right. So, we complained about it, but some of our friends who already worked at the time, he said, “Okay, you guys could get money for what you want to do.” Of course, we were drunk so we said “Okay, let’s do it!” So now, we are here.

Tim: So, did you all have basic programming skills from university?

Satoko: Unfortunately, …  usually, well, yeah, we have very basic programming skills, but not that much.

Tim: So, how did you get your first contract? If you have a bunch of very smart people with some basic like, hacking skills and some really solid Physics knowledge which is useless outside of the laboratory, how did you get your first contract?

Satoko: First contract is we need to make some iPad application for education for kids, I think.

Tim: But like the iPad programming environment, that must have been brand new to you guys, so did you just start studying again?

Satoko: Yeah, but please remember that 10 years ago, just iPhone came or Android came in Japanese market, so nobody can do anything.

Tim: That’s true. It was new to everybody.

Satoko: Exactly, so that’s why.

Tim: That is one thing I do think Physics teaches you: it teaches you how to learn continuously.

Satoko: Yeah, that’s right, exactly.

Tim: And so, you’re obviously successful that you have more and more contracts, so what made you decide to watch an ad fraud prevention tool?

Satoko: By chance.

Tim: By chance?

Satoko: Honestly, like three years ago, one of my friends, he gave me an advice: “Why don’t you use it for ad fraud?” because ad fraud is also Big Data. Many people need such an automation tool.

Tim: What was the initial reaction? I mean, did people understand that ad fraud was a problem or did you have to go to the networks and the customers and educate them about ad fraud?

Satoko: In this case, everyone knew the problem. Not only that, at that time, we have some contract development with an advertisement company already, so we knew this problem as well.

Tim: Okay, so you the experience you got from the contract work led naturally to this?

Satoko: Yes, that’s right.

Tim: I think that’s like, almost every software development company, that’s like, their dream. They want to find this one project that they can turn into a product, and you guys have actually done it.

Satoko: Finally, after nine years.

Tim: It took a while, but you’ve done it!

Okay, let’s dive into ad fraud. I know there’s lots of different kinds of ad fraud, but can you walk me through an example? Can you give me an example of a really typical type of ad fraud?

Satoko: An easy way is just clicking on blog advertisement. Five years ago, there were many click-farms in China.

Tim: So, for example, would the scammer, would he register like an affiliate of an affiliate network or would he put up a fake site that people would put banners on?

Satoko: It really depends, like some people will make a thousand or more websites by themselves or in Japan, what was the trend the other time was asking many guys to build their own website and ask them to put the botnet in their website. Then, they will make a click-link in China on the same date in Japan.

Tim: So, it looks like the clicks are coming from Japan?

Satoko: Yeah, and because we have to use Japanese IP, right? Or recently it’s going to be more like high-level. People will not even make a website, they will just fake our click log. Even if I don’t create a website, they will send a click log to our server.

Tim: How much money are the scammers making per click?

Satoko: It really depends. Some banners cost like $0.20 to $1 or even less, but for financial things or for houses, it probably cost like 30,000 Yen.

Tim: So, $250 or so per click?

Satoko: Or something like that.

Tim: That’s valuable, like it’s easy to make money paying people just to click on that.

Satoko: Yes.

Tim: Is this something that’s a problem like on the major ad networks as well, like Google and Facebook, or is it only the smaller ones that have this problem?

Satoko: I’m not sure I should answer that.

Tim: We won’t talk about Google or Facebook specifically, but let’s just talk about the big ad networks as a whole.

Satoko: Usually, even big ad networks are still ad networks. For example, that kind of big ad networks doesn’t know, like some Japanese market – I mean, like for example, in Japan, nobody buys, except Docomo shop or Au shop, Softbank shop, right? But they don’t know that if the Samsung was from Docomo shop or Amazon, how the ratio should be.

Tim: How does Spider AF detect the fraud? What is it looking for? So, I mean, you mentioned whether the phone was acquired from a retail shop or Amazon as an indicator of possible fraud. What other kinds of things are you looking at?

Satoko: We are looking at how different with normal Japanese market distribution. Another one is like the frequency of click or impression, or installs, and how many times.

Tim: So, for example, like the usage patterns of the people, how frequently they click?

Satoko: Yeah, we will check. Honestly, we will check many, many types of metrics.

Tim: Okay, if you’ve detected fraud or you’ve detected a pattern that looks like fraud, what does the advertiser do? So, I mean, can they go to Facebook and Google and say, “Hey, this looks like fraud. Give me money back”?

Satoko: Yeah. Actually, yeah. Honestly, right now, how we are operating is exactly like you said: we will send a report and they will give back money or usually, for Japanese networks, they will not ask for an invoice, even, for such a traffic.

Tim: Really? So, the ad networks have been really supportive of this and are funding the money?

Satoko: In terms of Japanese market, we are top-tier, so most of the networks are our customers, so they will not ask you for such extra money, and recently, we started to expand it to several global networks.

Tim: Well, no, because that is an interesting dynamic that happens here because there’s kind of a financial incentive for the ad networks not to want to solve this problem too quickly because the ad networks also make money from ad fraud, right?

Satoko: Yeah, but recently, things get changed a lot. For example, like Cheetah Mobile in China got rejected from Google because of ad fraud products. Some ad networks are fighting in the court with Uber. This is because of an ad fraud problem. This will make sense even if it kills some amount of revenue.

Tim: Okay, so I guess the problem has got – I mean, ad fraud has been a problem for 20 years, so I guess it’s finally gotten big enough and enough people understand it that they have to take action.

Satoko: I think yeah, the market – right now, the market is already enough matured.

Tim: Alright, actually, the term AI is used a lot these days, so is Spider AF a pure AI or is it more of heuristic system?

Satoko: That’s a good question. Sometimes, as much as people will try to avoid our detection, if they find such a type of thing, then they will make the same type of model for a thousand or even more, but other times, machine learning will work well because machine learning will get such a similarity, right?

Tim: Couldn’t an ad fraud scammer just sign up for your software?

Satoko: I think we have such experience as well, like a few months ago, we found some ad fraud website which has our tags and we banned the customer.

Tim: Well, you can’t blame them for trying. That was a clever thing to do.

Satoko: Exactly.

Tim: Okay, so the scammers, I mean, they are smart people. Well, how do the ad fraud scammers respond to this once they have been found? Do they just buy a new site? Do they just get a new provider? It sounds a lot like whack-a-mole.

Satoko: Exactly, exactly, it’s like a mogura tataki, exactly. They are everywhere, like some publisher will do such a fraudulent thing and also, again, they are putting some bot traffic with organic traffic, so it’s really, really different, and sometimes, a half year ago, we found very big and fraud application and they had installed 100,000 people in Japan, and in the global, more than Japanese humans.

Tim: Oh, really? So, millions of people?

Satoko: Yeah, but in the application, we found ad fraud malware, so .. everywhere!.

Tim: That’s tens of millions of dollars in scammer revenue, in ad fraud revenue.

Satoko: Exactly, so that’s why. Recently, like the United States and fraud became second revenue or second income for Mafia.

Tim: For organized crime, they are getting that?

Satoko: Yes.

Tim: So, who are the ad fraud scammers? Are they inside Japan? Are they outside Japan? Where are they? Who are they?

Satoko: In terms of Japanese market, I think 60% or 70% is not Japanese. Fortunately, Japanese organize crimes don’t have so much high skill.

Tim: Yakuzas, they are very traditional, they are not tech savvy?

Satoko: Yeah. Actually, if it is such a level, most Japanese networks already save it or kills them, but honestly, the global people are really, really smart. Every day, I think even 20% is not that much. I don’t know, but really, really, they are smart.

Tim: It sounds like you have kind of respect for their skill anyway.

Satoko: Yeah, I don’t know why they don’t use the skill for –

Tim: Something more productive? But are they coming from China or Russia, or Australia, or I mean do you even not know?

Satoko: Yeah, but recently, we found a lot from even the United States, so not only China or Russia.

Tim: Every ad network has the option to only restrict to Japanese IPs, but I guess the ad fraud scammers are smart enough to be able to –

Satoko: Fake it.

Tim: To sleuth an IP, fake an IP so it looks like the traffic is in Japan.

Satoko: Especially recently, we have many IOT things , like pet monitoring or car-monitoring tools, so these devices are very weak for security.

Tim: So, the scammers are hijacking pet monitors to make it look like clicks are coming from within Japan?

Satoko: Yeah.

Tim: Wow. Well, now, IOT, it is everywhere. There is far more IOT devices than real computer devices, and IOT security is awful.

Satoko: Exactly.

Tim: Okay. Wow, I did not expect that as like the attack vector for ad fraud. Okay. When I was doing my research for this interview and our discussion, I read a lot of the interviews you have given, and there are in fact a lot of women founders in Japan, but the press tends to treat them as if they are unique and unusual.

Satoko: Yeah, women entrepreneurs are very rare in Japan, and not only that, I’m trying to raise our fund right now. I mean, how are company’s Series A, but sometimes, I had some people who don’t want to invest money for a woman entrepreneur, so I think still, Japan has such a big problem compared to global.

Tim: Now, this is something I actually have heard quite a bit. I mean, there are a lot of women entrepreneurs in Japan, but I have heard from a lot of them that fundraising is difficult.

Satoko: Yeah, especially if the amount of money gets bigger and bigger, it’s going to be even harder.

Tim: And did the VCs tell you that directly?

Satoko: No, it’s from other guys or the story which I had was from Korean VC. Korean VC introduced to me another VC and another VC said – and they cannot say that to me directly, so they said to the Korean VC, and the Korean VC told me.

Tim: So, what did they say? We don’t want to invest with a woman CEO?

Satoko: No, just they don’t feel comfortable. If it’s the same condition they feel comfortable with the guy founders, but honestly, I think it couldn’t be helped because we have such traditional things, and compared to India, our situation is even better, right? If we go outside of Japan, from Japan, I feel kind of the same things because I’m Asian, right?

Tim: Do you think there are also advantages of being a female founder in Japan?

Satoko: Sometimes, yes. For example, for going to south, if you are young enough or if you are – and no, it’s not only Japan, but if we are women, sometimes, customers will choose us compared to guys, right? I have many negative points and also, I feel positive points as well.

Tim: Yeah, everything is kind of a balance, right?

Satoko: For example, even for business dinners, if it is only guys’ business dinner, they won’t invite some women. But in terms of investment things, my advice for female entrepreneurs is we have a kind of hunger for competitive guys, so just focus to get more revenue. If you have enough revenue, you can get investments.

Tim: I think that is good advice for anyone. If you have got sales and you have customers, you can choose on any VCs.

Satoko: Yes. I think this is the best way.

Tim: But you are also trying to balance the startup with a young family as well, right?

Satoko: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So now, they are freaking. That’s why I can do my best.

Tim: So, you have two kids, right? A boy and a girl?

Satoko: Yeah.

Tim: And how old are they?

Satoko: Three-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl.

Tim: So, how do you balance that? Because being a mom to a three-year-old and a two-year-old is kind of a full-time job and running a startup is more than a full-time job.

Satoko: Yeah, but they are in kindergarten right now, so we can ask them to keep kids from eight to eight or eight to seven every day. Not only that, honestly, I think the best way is to not manage people at all because I don’t have time to do even management, right? I need to go back home and take care of the kids.

Tim: I mean, that’s great that it is so doable now.

Satoko: Thank you.

Tim: Well, listen, Satoko, before we wrap up, I want to ask you what I call my “Magic Wand” question and that is, if I gave you a magic wand and I told you that you could change one thing about Japan – anything at all – the education system, the way people think about risk, the way people think about women founders and innovators – anything at all to make it better for startups in Japan, what would you change?

Satoko: I think the most important thing is we should change our mind. I think education itself for English is not that much bad] in Japan because my kids are getting interested even if they are three years old and they are in public kindergarten, so I don’t think the education itself is not bad, but why Japanese people don’t speak English is because our thinking, we don’t need it because Japanese market is enough big, right? I know you are from the United States and the global is not that much big but still, it is…

Tim: So, you can build a very, very big successful company without ever leaving Japan.

Satoko: Yeah, I know, I know, but Japanese can make some kind of success without speaking English even now. These things are sadness for us. I mean, we are happy, we are really in a happy situation, but still, at the same time, it is killing our motivation for English, so I started to feel confused, like what is the…

Tim: Yeah, would it just be like trying to get people more interested in the global markets?

Satoko: Not only interested. We need a bit more seriously, like for example, I have many friends in Korea, they are really serious to go global because they can also survive in Korea, they are very, very aggressive for global, and so just interest will not make such western sense, right? We need to be more, I don’t know what it is, but something to push us more outside of Japan.

Tim: You know, a lot of the founders I have spoken to have said that a lot of times, there VCs don’t want them to go global.

Satoko: Exactly.

Tim: They want them to focus on Japan and just focus on that IPO because glowing global, it’s risky, it takes a lot of money.

Satoko: Yeah, they will ask me to go global after IPO.

Tim: Right, when it is much harder to do, actually.

Satoko: Yeah, and honestly, I think this is until the Olympics, right? Recently, the Smart-HR or B-Dash has got a big fundraiser from the United States investors but why could they get such an amount of money? Because I think they can go IPO before this Olympic – after the Olympic who knows?

Tim: That is the big unknown, right? Everyone knows because up until the Olympics next year, I mean, the government is basically turned on the money faucets, right? There’s all kinds of construction going on.

Satoko: Yeah, a few years after the Olympics is fine, but I think our company takes a bit more time to go IPO, so just focus in Japan. In any case, the IPO is not the goal, just one step, right?

Tim: That is a big shift in attitude in Japanese startups and VCs where I think 10, 15 years ago, the whole way that venture capital worked in Japan was you’d find a company and you would get them to IPO.

Satoko: They are still like that.

Tim: Yeah. Well, I think a lot of VCs like that model because they understand it.

Satoko: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s right, exactly, and they know the success model.

Tim: And so, like okay, well, no, no, we don’t want to IPO as a $20-million company. We want to IPO as a $500-million company or billion-dollar companies. It is kind of a new idea for Japanese VCs.

Satoko: Yeah, exactly. I think Japanese VCs will change minds. I think it will take time a bit more, but just saying that the Japanese market, it doesn’t like woman or that is just too old or too legacy.

Tim: Yeah, but I mean, I think particularly with women entrepreneurs, I think what you said before, like if you have results, then okay, sure, there might be one or two people that just don’t want to invest in women founders or whatever but there’s going to be all the others who look at the results.

Satoko: Yeah, I have a funny story, like I got rejected by one VC because of the reason, but recently, we raised our revenue even more, so they changed minds. Now, they want to invest money to us, so in any case, the result is the best to make people move.

Tim: Yeah. I think that’s what attracts so many people to startups, the results matter. If you’re going to a big company, you will never actually know the results from your own actions, do you know what I mean, you are just part of a much bigger organization? But in startups, it is very clear. If you get the results, you get rewarded. If you don’t get the results, then you go bankrupt.

Satoko: But this one will make me work harder for revenue, so I think in the end, it is nice, right?

Tim: I think so.

Satoko: For example, guys don’t feel like us, so they cannot be aggressive like I feel, right?

Tim: Yeah. Maybe it goes back to that same idea before where 50 years ago, 60 years ago, the Japanese market was small and Japanese companies, they had to go overseas, they had to be aggressive because it was like their only option. It could not be safe to just focus on the domestic market.

Satoko: This is happening in Korea and Israel just right now, and it’s exactly what we don’t have.

Tim: Yeah, it is motivation.

Satoko: Yeah. Honestly, even me, I feel a bit sorry to my kids when I was working or went I went to a business trip, just leaving keys in Japan, going on a business trip, so that is what I need to make a reason to not feel sorry to kids. So, that’s why what I want to say is that women entrepreneur can make such a motivation, right? More than guys, I think. This will work positive for women.

Tim: Yeah, I mean, but again, like you say, it’s that plus and minus that I think women, they have to risk more, but because you are risking more, you are much more motivated.

Satoko: Even my mom want me to be with my kids more, like every weekend.

Tim: Be a more traditional mom?

Satoko: Yup.

Tim: Was she a traditional mom?

Satoko: I don’t know, she is working in the university, but still, she’s … I guess compared to her, my grandma was a bit more traditional type, she was the one like when I went to university for Physics, she was asking, “Okay, you are a woman. What you will do is Atomic physics or Physics, right?”

Tim: Yeah, the same thing a man would do with Atomic Physics, right?

Satoko: Yeah, but she does not want to destroy me or she just worries about.

Tim: No, no, I think that’s true. I mean, parents always want to protect their children, they want what is best for their children, and so it just sounds like your family is getting less traditional every generation.

Satoko: Exactly, yeah, it’s grandma and my mom is working in the university. Now, I’m here.

Tim: You’re an entrepreneur.

Satoko: It’s little by little.

Tim: Okay.

Satoko: Probably, next generation is maybe they will go to the moon.

Tim: There we go.

Well, listen, Satoko, thanks so much for sitting down with me. I really appreciate it.

Satoko: Thank you. Thank you for your time.


… and we’re back.

Long-time listeners of Disrupting Japan know that I am fascinated by artificial intelligence and machine learning, and ad fraud seems like one of the best possible tests of pitting AI against human intelligence.  Sure, the fact that computers can beat humans in chess or go is impressive — let’s put two points is the computer column — but those games have clearly defined rules and a limited number of known, possible states.

Those games are self-contained. Something like ad fraud or stock trading, however, is a different kind of game altogether.

Many of the rules are known in advance, but all kinds of information can be brought in from outside. There is no way for a computer to know what is relevant and what is not, and even when data-mining reveals a pattern that might give the computer an edge, we humans adapt almost immediately. The AI doesn’t really stand a chance, at least not at the moment.

And that’s why it makes sense that Satoko and the team are pretty secretive about exactly what parts of Phybbit’s ad fraud detection involve AI, which parts involve more traditional heuristics, and which parts are plain old-fashioned blacklists.

Now, Satoko’s story about how she founded and grew Phybbit is really interesting not just as an inspirational story on its own, but because it contradicts the startup stories we have come to expect, that we have come to demand, from our startup founders.

Now, the worst advice you can give to an aspiring founder is “Follow your passion.” As if somehow simply having passion will lead to success.  Actually, more often then not, the passion story has to be invented retroactively. After the company has become successful, the founder will make up a just-so story to explain their motivation for starting the company.

Satoko’s story, however, is far more typical and far more honest.

She and her friends founded Phybbit because it was their best option at the time. It took a while (several years in fact) before they could find a way to apply their skills in a way that really added value to something that would scale. Solving ad fraud.

The passion came later. The passion came when they saw they were having an effect. They were making a difference. That their customers appreciated what they were doing. That they needed them.

You see, you don’t become successful because you are passionate.

You become passionate because you are successful.

If you’ve got a story about internet advertising, whether it involves fraud or not, Satoko and I would love to hear from you. So come by, and let’s talk. And if you want to drop by our Facebook or LinkedIn groups, that would be great too.

But most of all, thanks for listening. And thank you for letting people interested in Japanese startups know about the show.

I’m Tim Romero, and thanks for listening to Disrupting Japan.