Some of the most important startups are ones you never hear about.

Some industries are so complex and arcane that its hard for people on the outside to understand the problems that startups are solving or the long-term gain of solving them.

Freight forwarding is one of those industries.

Today we talk with Taka Sato of Shippio, a startup trying to change the way freight forwarding works in Japan.  We talk about the challenges involved in trying to disrupt a low-tech, low-margin industry and also the potential rewards if Shippio succeeds.

We also cover some of the bight spots in Japanese entrepreneurship and talk about how one large company, in particular, has had to change their hiring practices to respond to the fact that so many of their best young employees are leaving to found startups.

It’s a great discussion, and I think you will really enjoy it.

Show Notes

  • What is freight forwarding and why is it important?
  • The biggest advantage of moving from corporate life to startups
  • Why so many startups are coming out of Mitsui
  • The challenges of building a platform in a low-margin industry
  • How to decide between a service-based or SaaS-based business model
  • Why there is finally enough pain in Japan to drive change
  • How the logistics industry reacts to new technology
  • Why the global logistics industry is a myth
  • The paradox of Japanese logistics quality

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.

You know, there is nothing more interesting than startups in boring industries. They are the ones that are taking on entrenched interests and business convention, and because so few outside of their industry really understand what they do and the problems that they solve, they tend to get a lot less funding and a lot less media attention than consumer-facing startups.

No, the startups in boring industrial B2B spaces are old school startups. They may not have the party atmosphere or the easy customer adoption, but the truth is that on average, they have the best chance of success.

Today, we sit down with Taka Sato, the co-founder of Shippio, a Japanese startup trying to change the nature of the freight forwarding business in Japan, and if you’re not exactly sure what freight forwarding is, don’t worry, Taka explains it simply and really well at the start of our conversation.

We also talk about the challenges of pivoting in a B2B space in Japan and how to balance the very real trade-offs between the scalability of offering B2B SaaS products with the stability of offering a service direct to the customer.

And if you’re interested in the freight forwarding industry, and by the end of this interview, I think you will be, we also talk about how the global market is likely to play out. Freight forwarding might seem like a winner take all marketplace, but Taka explains that this is probably not going to happen.

Oh, the industry is going to be disrupted — that’s already happening, but it’s not going to play out quite the way that Silicon Valley thinks it will.

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


Tim: So, I’m sitting here with Taka Sato of Shippio. Thanks for sitting down with me.

Taka: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me today.

Tim: No, it’s been great. We’ve been trying to make this happen for a long time now.

Taka: Yeah, I know, I know.

Tim: I’m glad you’re finally here. So, Shippio is a digital freight forwarder, but for the audience, let’s explain what freight forwarding is, so let’s say for example, I’ve got some construction equipment sitting in a factory in China, I’ve got to deliver it to a construction site in Japan, what happens and what does the freight forwarder do in the process?

Taka: Okay, so if you want to ship your equipments from China to Japan, firstly, you need to study the regulations of China and you need to arrange trucks, warehouse, and custom clearance from China, and then ocean freight, and then when you bring it to Japan, then you need to again study the Japanese regulation and you need to pass Japanese custom clearance and you need to arrange Japanese trucking, warehouse, and everything, but freight forwarder will arrange it on behalf of you everything and they arrange everything by using foreign email or faxes.

Tim: No, that makes sense, so a freight forwarder makes all the arrangements, prepares all the documents, but they don’t actually own the warehouses or own the ships, or the plane.

Taka: Yeah, we have access to the actual asset holders’ warehouse, like planes or vessels. We arrange it on behalf of those guys.

Tim: So, freight forwarding is a really well-established business, but tell me about Shippio’s customers. Who’s using Shippio?

Taka: Okay, right now, our customer is SMB, like small, mid-size companies, especially we have like middle class companies, they have 10 to 30 shipments per month.

Tim: Is it a particular type of company? For example, do you work with a lot of, I don’t know, apparel companies?

Taka: Right now, a lot of furniture companies and generic goods, maybe.

Tim: Okay, and is it mainly outbound of Japan or imports to Japan?

Taka: Imports to Japan, mainly.

Tim: What is the size of a typical order in terms of container size?

Taka: Okay, we quote through container. Inside the container, we have 100s of furniture sometimes or if it’s a bigger table, then two or three tables inside the container, so it sort of depends, yeah. Obviously, we don’t ship a bottle of wine, or if we import the wine, we did once from Italy to Japan, it was like, 8000 bottles.

Tim: So, I mean, a typical order would be something that would be at least what, a quarter of a container or something like that?

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: Okay, that makes sense.

Taka: We also have the air freight, so we have ocean freight and also, we have the air freight. We cooperate with ANA, plane company.

Tim: Yeah, actually, I want to talk about that. Actually, I want to talk a lot about the business model, but before we dive into that, let’s talk a bit about you.

Taka: Okay.

Tim: So, I mean, you started Shippio in 2016.

Taka: 2016, yes.

Tim: But before that, both you and your co-founder were at Mitsui, a very traditional Japanese trading house, and you joined Mitsui like, right out of university.

Taka: Yes.

Tim: So, when you joined, did you think you were going to be a lifetime salaryman?

Taka: That’s a good question because my father and my grandfather, they ran their own business, so since I was a kid, I just see what they were doing. I don’t think I will be the lifetime salaryman, but yeah, I did enough.

Tim: Just like a safe path?

Taka: Yeah, yeah.

Tim: Yeah?

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Actually, my father, he was happy I joined Mitusi because he knows all risks about entrepreneurs.

Tim: Oh, so what did he think when you announced you were quitting Mitsui to start your own company?

Taka: Yeah, after 10 years, he was also glad to hear that?

Tim: Yeah? That’s great. You know what, I find that so many Japanese startup founders now have — one of their parents is some kind of a role model, either they were a startup founder themselves or they had kind of a different career that it seems to be really common.

Taka: Yes, yes.

Tim: I mean, after six years, like one changed your mind, what made you say yeah, this is what I want to do?

Taka: So, after 10 years, actually, 10 years in Mitsui. I lived in China five years out of 10 years. I saw a lot of challenges in entrepreneurs in China. At that time, in Japan, it was like 2015 or something like that, at that time, there were not so many entrepreneurs and yeah, we had a chance to dive in that market. We built our own business model, so I asked my co-founder Takashi, and because we met in China, in Beijing, I asked him like, “Hey, let’s go back to Japan and let’s build our business model,” and he said, “Yeah, why not?”

Tim: So, you both had that experience in logistics between China and Japan when you were at Mitsui?

Taka: Actually, not really. I’m really focusing more on investment side and Takashi was handling the logistics, especially energy.

Tim: All right, so why logistics? It’s a tough low margin business. I mean, it’s a hard business to be in.

Taka: Yeah, yeah, but I saw a lot of logistics in Mitsui and I knew they’re so inefficient, like it’s really annoying. Everything is done manually right now — at that time, 2016, but I always explained that that logistics, especially the global logistics of freight forwarding, it has not changed in the last 50 years.

Tim: So, you still have to send a lot of faxes?

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: Yeah, actually, Mitsui though, Mitsui — I mean, because they’re a trading company, so they kind of have this kind of deal-making in their DNA, I think, but there’s a lot of pretty successful startup founders that have come out of Mitsui in the recent years.

Taka: Yes, liek Terada-San from SanSan.

Tim: Inada-san?

Taka: Inada from AtamaPlus. Actually, he’s my douki.

Tim: Oh, yeah.

Taka: And we stayed at the same dorm in Mitsui.

Tim: So, is Mitsui, are they supportive? Is there like a Mitsui alumni group?

Taka: We have Mitsui Alumni Association, kind of, but it’s just like situations.

Tim: Just casual over drinks kind of thing?

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: All right.

Taka: Actually, venture capitalists, we also have ex-Mitsui guys. For example, Kuraboashi-san from DNX, Ito Kengo from DforB.

Tim: There’s something interesting going on there because on one hand, it’s a trading company, so yeah, it’s natural but you don’t see the same level of entrepreneurial activity at, say Marubeni or Mitsubishi, right? So, something interesting going on there, I think.

Taka: Yeah. I don’t know if I can explain well, but the DNA of Mitsui is basically like entrepreneurs, so kind of 50 years ago, one younger guy, he built Mitsuibusan with 17 people I think, so our origin is kind of entrepreneur. Maybe that’s why, I don’t know.

Tim: Well, back to Shippio, yeah, let’s talk more in detail about Shippio itself. So, what is your fundamental business model? Are you just being a better more efficient freight forwarder or are you trying to build a digital platform for freight forwarding?

Taka: Okay. We have several milestones and our first milestone, actually, we achieved it already, we got all the regulation from Japanese government and we built simple freight forwarding service, and also, we developed a dashboard. Again, we are a digital freight forward, so the customer can get the quotation from our website and they can check the calculation through that website.

Tim: And see things like bills of lading and see all the documentation online?

Taka: Yeah, yeah, they can upload their documents on our cloud service. So, this is our first business model and we just earn the commission from clients and suppliers. The business model is not so special right now, but after this, a lot of freight forwarders these days are asking us, “Hey, Shippio, do you sell your system or software to the freight forwarders?” and right now, we don’t sell it. We provide the software and logistics, the actual logistics, to clients, and that’s all, but after this, we can provide our services as a SaaS to those providers.

Tim: What’s your thinking on that? Because those are two — the technology’s the same but it’s two really different businesses, and if you’re a platform provider, your customers won’t be too happy with you competing directly with them. So, what’s your thinking long term on that?

Taka: Long term, we have two ways, but we think about this. One way is more platform, and another way is we’ll go into more trade finance business, because we are a freight forwarder and we have a lot of transactions, we know the flow of the money, we can leverage it.

Tim: Well, that’s true. I mean, if you become a platform, you could get commission on insurance and all kinds of little things that are part of the process.

Taka: Yeah, yeah. Freight forwarding, we have a lot of transactions between suppliers and clients, we have a lot of cash point, like if we arrange the warehouse, then we can get the commission for that and if we arrange the trucks, then we can get the commissions from them.

Tim: So, you’re thinking more of moving back into the platform rather than being an actual freight forwarding company per se?

Taka: It really depends, but actually, we are going to be more direct freight forwarding. It’s really difficult to be a platform of the global logistics because there are so much players.

Tim: Yeah, it’s a weird, like you mentioned, the technology is from the 70s, it’s really low margin, there’s hundreds and hundreds of tiny little players, so I guess it’s kind of stuck that if you just try to be a platform, no one will take you seriously because you can’t integrate with everyone; it’s messy, right?

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: So, I guess you have to go out there and prove yourself as a business as a freight forwarded before the other companies start saying, well, maybe we should take a look at this system.

Taka: Exactly, because when we established our company, we developed software as a SaaS for freight forwarders and shippers, but we failed it.

Tim: Oh, okay, that was your first try?

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tim: Oh, okay.

Taka: And then, okay, so this is really interesting for me, like as you mentioned, the business margin of the global logistics is pretty low. They don’t have money to invest into those softwares, so if we develop a nice software but nobody can buy it or nobody wants to buy it, so we decided to get the regulation and we will provide the software and actual logistics to the shippers.

Tim: Yeah, that makes because I mean, I used to work in logistics — well, in customs clearing, actually, and it is a cost-driven business and it seems like costs get pushed down, right? So, the farther down you are, the less incentive there is to invest in new technology. So, if you’re the company that own the ships, forget about it.

Taka: Yeah, yeah.

Tim: You have to absorb every cost cut, and so it seems like the only time that people invest in new technology is when some of the really big customers demand it, someone like Walmart or Amazon. So, how can you get around that? How do you get these companies to invest in something like this when they’re notoriously cheap and don’t have money to invest?

Taka: Fundamentally, the Japanese labor population will decrease dramatically in the next 20 years. Even now, they are struggling to find the guys who can manage logistics. They really need more efficiency, to improve their operation.

Tim: You think the pain is high enough now that they’re looking to make those investments?

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tim: But what about in terms of the minimum viable product you need? Because again, this is a very conservative industry and Japanese demands for quality and completeness, and customization is really, really high, so like you said before, you can’t integrate with everyone, so how much of a complete product did you need before these companies started saying yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll try you?

Taka: For example, right now, we have around 130 clients using our service every day. They export or import from 30 countries right now. I think this is really minimum viable product.

Tim: Well, that’s for the customers that are actually shipping things now, right? And so, that is — I mean, you can do what every SaaS company does, yeah, as long as you look nice and shiny, and polished on the outside, you can be sending faxes behind the scenes. That’s all good — nobody knows.

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tim: But for the next step, when you’re trying to maybe pivot back to being a platform, how much…

Taka: Okay.

Tim: Yeah, because it’s almost endless, like what you would need to do to provide a solution.

Taka: Yes, yes, yes. So, I need to walk step-by-step, but the next step is last two years, we really focused on the shippers, the clients. Freight forwarders are basically the middleman for the logistics, so we’ll develop the service for most suppliers, so they can sell their cargo or container, or the ship easily.

Tim: So becoming more of a marketplace?

Taka: Marketplace…

Tim: I know, it’s not that simple.

Taka: Yeah, it’s not a marketplace, but if the suppliers show their space to us, then we’ll take it. In the future, they don’t need to sell the space through form or fax.

Tim: Okay, so the advantage there would be if they’ve got half a container empty and they’ve got a shipment that was not delivered to the warehouse that morning and they’ve got half a container, if you can fill it in the next 24 hours.

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.

Tim: Okay, yeah, that gives you that really driving costs down because otherwise, they’d be shipping it empty.

Taka: But to achieve that future, firstly, we need to gather more and more shippers and clients, so this business model is really focusing on get demand first, and then walk up to the suppliers.

Tim: Well, that makes sense because then you have something all the suppliers want, customers. What’s been the reaction within the industry? Have the suppliers thought this is a good idea? Have they thought this is a threat to them? Have they just been very conservative and just said, “This is new, we don’t want to deal with it yet”?

Taka: It totally depends again, but for shippers, they enjoy to see the situation. I mean like a lot of people say like, “Hey, Sato, we waited for this kind of service for a long time and eventually, it happened, but for suppliers, some of them think we can be the gamechanger of this industry but a lot of people still say this is really stupid.

Tim: Really?

Taka: Not stupid, but it’s super complicated.

Tim: Ah, so like why bother? Why is it necessary?

Taka: Yeah, and like, as you mentioned, it’s endless game war, it’s endless product development.

Tim: Even integrating, it’s almost an endless number of systems you’d have to integrate with.

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: Well, let’s see, how many countries are you operating in now?

Taka: Right now, from Japan, between 30 countries right now.

Tim: 30 countries?

Taka: 30.

Tim: And is it mostly inbound to Japan or is it a mix of import and export.

Taka: It’s mixed but mainly we’re doing import business right now.

Tim: All right, so what is the big challenge? What is the limitation in bringing on a new country? Is it legal, it is customs forms, is it integration, is it just finding the customers in that country?

Taka: Risk and regulations, and custom clearance. Why we start from furniture? It’s because simply, it’s easier. For example, if we send perishables form Japan to China or to Indonesia, for example, it’s really difficult.

Tim: Oh, yeah, and things like — anything that’s kind of like mixed materials, it’s never the same when it goes through customs on two different days, so yeah, that makes sense. Furniture is furniture.

Taka: Yeah, furniture is furniture.

Tim: So, did you target certain markets to find those customers or did you kind of have the customers bring you into a market and decide that okay, China is important? China is obviously important, but have you been kind of following customers and following leads into new markets or do you target them strategically?

Taka: No, we set a target strategically. So, right now, we’re focusing on the import business from China and others in Southeast Asia. The goods, we are focusing on furniture and general goods.

Tim: Okay, so your expansion plans are on one level, it’s more markets, on the other level, it’s more types of goods.

Taka: Yeah, so we have several layers. Countries which import/export and ocean freight or air freight, so the combination of those.

Tim: Okay. Let’s see, you recently raised about $11 million.

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: Congratulations.

Taka: Thank you.

Tim: Is that mostly for global expansion and global growth?

Taka: Yeah. For example, we will open our Osaka branch next month, maybe, so expand our business to all over Japan first, and then also, we’ll try to open the office in some of the Southeast Asian countries. Also, we’ll try to experimental operation, for example — just for example, but we rent the big warehouse and we’ll operate it by our self or something like that.

Tim: Okay, so maybe moving into more of the actual operations and less of the platform?

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: All right. As you become more global, what about companies like Flexport? How are you going to compete with them?

Taka: How do I compete to Flexport? They already raised one point something billion dollars.

Tim: Billion dollars, yeah, yeah.

Taka: Huge, but yeah, let’s say we’ll compete directly. For example, in Japan, the biggest company is Nittsu. Actually, they don’t compete to DHL and FedEx because we have a lot of Japanese regulations, so it’s more like located business, I think.

Tim: Yeah, I see where you’re coming from, but one of the things I think is so interesting about software platforms is logistics, customs clearing, freight forwarding has always been an incredibly local business. That’s why there’s hundreds, probably thousands of companies doing this.

Taka: Thousands, yeah.

Tim: But if you look other industries, as business moves onto a platform, you get more standardization and you get more kind of consolidation, and a lot of these local business go away, and so I’m wondering, do you see the future of this kind of logistics platform, the future of digital freight forwarding? Do you think there’s going to be two or three global players or do you think it’s still going to be hundreds of thousands of small local players?

Taka: In my opinion, there are several big freight forwards at every big area — how can I say, like in the US market, in Europe, in Southeast Asia, China, maybe — regional players. It’s not like country by country, but small region by region, and they will consolidate together.

Tim: So, you think that in the future, we’ll have a small handful of companies, but each with regional expertise?

Taka: Yeah, yeah.

Tim: Yeah, and so that makes sense, so that’s why you’re targeting Southeast Asia, Asian expansion.

Taka: Yeah, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, maybe.

Tim: All right, and why is that? Do you think it’s just the importance of government relationships and expertise in local laws, is that what’s going to keep it local?

Taka: I think so, and maybe…

Tim: What will prevent one company from being the Amazon of — it might be Amazon — but what prevents one company from just being like the Amazon of global logistics? What would prevent that from happening?

Taka: There are two reasons maybe. The first one is government regulation and there’s local laws, and second one is, I don’t know how to say in English, but program of business rules kind of?

Tim: Kind of a business culture kind of thing?

Taka: Yeah, kind of business culture, business culture. For example, in Japan, a lot of people want to customize their logistics.

Tim: Oh, yeah. It’s crazy.

Taka: Yeah, it’s crazy, so we’ll bring more standardization but not too much.

Tim: Interesting, so we’ll probably end up with a few regionally dominant firms?

Taka: Yeah, yeah, I think so. So, China has Chinese culture and maybe Europe, they have also another culture, the US and Japan.

Tim: Let’s talk about Japan, and actually, with Japanese logistics, this is something that has always been a mystery to me because Japanese shipping companies, Japanese logistics in general, their information technology systems are terrible, everything’s way out of date, it’s all on paper being faxed back and forth, but the delivery companies here are really good. I mean, they’re incredibly efficient and on time, and much better than anywhere else.

Taka: It’s really organized, right?

Tim: How? How do they do this?

Taka: Yeah, like last one mile is great in Japan, like B2C delivery or — it’s, I think, the greatest in the world, but B2B business, it’s very dinosaur.

Tim: All right, okay, so it’s that thin layer of polish and friendliness on top of some really ugly processes behind the scene?

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: All right, that makes sense.

Taka: So, the situation in Japan is great. Oh, yeah.

Tim: Okay, Taka, 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, how quickly people adopt technology — anything at all to make it better for startups in Japan, what would you change?

Taka: I don’t know how to say gaman suru in English.

Tim: Ooh, gaman, that’s a really Japanese thing, just the endurance or stubborn endurance.

Taka: Really, I want to change this culture. Like, when I was in China, what I felt, what I saw is that their culture is, “Hey, I’m doing freely. I do what I want to do, so you can do what you want to do. I don’t care, that’s your life.” This is their culture, but in Japan, “Hey, I keep this to you, you need to keep this too. I watch you.”

Tim: Let’s see, do you mean things like so for example, like I’ve noticed it probably at Mitsui too but at any big Japanese company, there’s always a lot of stupid annoying things that the freshmen have to do and everyone knows they’re stupid and not productive but because the boss had to do that when he was a freshman that, well, these freshmen have to do it too. That kind of a thing?

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tim: Okay.

Taka: So, I did this and why you done this? Yeah, I think this culture has changed little by little.

Tim: One of the things that surprised me when I first moved to Japan, and I can’t say I’ve ever completely gotten used to it, was that if you ask someone like, well, why are we doing this? They’ll say, “Oh, well, that’s the rules,” and that’s the end of the conversation, right? And if you ask, “Well, why is that the rules?” that’s just not a conversation you have in Japan.

Taka: Yeah, we need to change the education, like this is totally based on our education from kindergarten or elementary school, if teachers say, “Do this, and then we need to do that,” there’s no conversation like, “Hey, why do we need to do this?”

Tim: Well, I’ve also heard that in general, in Japanese schools, there’s always one right answer, it’s there’s no discussion and there’s one right answer.

Taka: It changes a bit but basically, yes.

Tim: But you do see it — how do you see it changing so far?

Taka: Some of them recognize this is really stupid or it cannot stand for discussion or global leadership, someone recognized that and then tried to change it, but a lot of teachers, they don’t change what they’re doing right now.

Tim: But you know, I think startups are changing it on the business side because for a startup, there is none of that history. No one had to do anything as a freshman, there’s no such concept. And I guess another part might be that even the existence of startups, so 40 years ago, someone who is going into Mitsui was almost certainly planning on retiring from Mitsui. It’s just, that’s what you did, but these days, there’s no more guarantees, so maybe like the younger people are less willing to put up with that kind of nonsense.

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When I joined Mitsui, it was 2006 and at that time, the number of freshmen is like, around 120 and now increased to 160 to 170 because 20% to 30% will leave Mitsui after five or ten years, so it’s interesting.

Tim: Wow, and that’s because they decide to leave, not because they get fired for bad work.

Taka: No, no, no, no, no, but they still need to keep some number of the freshmen, so yeah.

Tim: Actually, I think that’s a really encouraging sign.

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tim: So, maybe I mean, maybe that now, all of these freshmen and young employees have an escape plan, they won’t have to put up with all of — they don’t have to gaman through all this stuff anymore.

Taka: Not escape, but they are not afraid to take a risk.

Tim: Well, it sounds like things are already starting to change for the better.

Taka: Yeah, yeah, yeah, so in Japan, I think after this, a lot of startups will be established by those challenges. Finally, this country can be changed.

Tim: Oh, I’m looking forward to that.

Taka: Yeah.

Tim: Hey, well, Taka, thanks so much for sitting down with me.

Taka: Thank you very much, thank you.


And we’re back.

You know, I loved Taka’s insight about hazing in Japan, about how at big organizations, new members are made to suffer because, well, the leadership had to suffer when they joined. Now, many Japanese, particularly those currently in leadership view this hazing as generally beneficial and as a way to build up a sense of teamwork, but Taka, I think correctly points out how damaging it is.

With lifetime employment a thing of the past and with the most talented young employees having startup options, more and more of the best and the brightest are venturing out on their own and these founders are serving as role models for the next generation of potential founders.

So, this situation is only going to get worse for big companies in Japan, but it’s only going to get better for innovation in Japan.

After Taka and I ended our discussion, I gave some more thought to his prediction of the freight forwarding market consolidating into a few regional players. I don’t think he’s wrong — I mean, he understands global logistics a lot better than I do, so I’ll trust him on that, but I wonder if he’s not underestimating a very real danger.

Even if the market ends up as a handful of regional players, it will not be a coalition of equals. While customs and regulations will always provide some protection for local companies, the fact is, firms like FedEx and DHL are already international companies; they are already major regional players in most regions, and over time, economies of scale, increasing standardization, and the ability to hire and acquire local talent will allow the biggest firms to nibble away at the market share of the weaker regional players.

This may not be a winner take all market but it will be a winner take most and the winners are going to be the companies that play a strong game of offense.

If you want to talk more about exciting startups in boring industries, Taka and I would love to hear from you. So, come by and let’s talk about it, and hey, if you get the chance, check us out on LinkedIn or Facebook, but even better, if you like the show, tell people about it. Disrupting Japan is grown not by social media marketing or advertising but because listeners like you enjoy it and they tell their friends about it.

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

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