This was a special episode of the Asia Tech Podcast. We brought together three gentlemen that have decades of combined experience living and working in Japan. Specifically, I was joined by Maurizio Raffone – Founder and CEO at Finetiq Limited, Jeff Wentworth – co-Founder of Curvegrid, and Lars Schouw – Cheif Data Officer at SBI Security Solutions.
We were fortunate to be able to cover a wide range of topics…including finance, cybersecurity, blockchain, venture capital and the FinTech Association of Japan. Japan passed amended open banking regulations in 2018 which mandates that Japanese bansk provide API connectivity to account information services with other services to come by 2020. There is also a very active Japan FinTech Association based in Tokyo. The Japan FinTech Association was created to develop strong relationships with new FinTechs and the establihsed financial system. Maurizio mentioned that the Association also promotes cooperation and coordination with the associations in Singapore and Hong Kong, among others. It also promotes cross border FinTech business building on both an inbound and outbound basis.
Jeff Wentworth and I dug deeper into the Blockchain space in Japan and what made Tokyo a great place to start a business. This fact actually surprised Jeff a bit, but there were a few contributing factors that he noted. While the Japanese economy is currently growing nicely, it had been stagnating for decades. This stagnation created a resource supply / demand mismatch and means that if you are developing for a global audience, but are based in Japan, you may actually have lower relative costs. Commutes are super easy and commercial space continues to lag price increases in places like Singapore and Silicon Valley.
There was so much more in this episode…I am sure we will do more of these country-focused roundtables.