How to create a B2B SaaS startup in Japan

How to create a B2B SaaS startup in Japan
March 13th, 2023

Eight Values interviews Hibiki Uno, the CEO of RESTAR. We cover growing a SaaS startup in Japan, how RESTAR got their first enterprise clients, becoming a CEO.


  • (00:00) - Intro
  • (00:48) - Startup Introduction
  • (03:05) - Real Estate Industry in Japan
  • (05:38) - Why become a founder?
  • (07:47) - How did you meet your co-founder?
  • (08:45) - Early startup experience
  • (10:32) - Going full time on startup
  • (12:00) - Initial reaction from users
  • (17:45) - Getting first clients
  • (20:40) - Growing clients and sales
  • (25:30) - Why did they succeed?
  • (29:30) - unit economics
  • (30:28) - Marketing to Enterprise companies
  • (37:37) - Role of CEO
  • (41:41) - Learning as CEO
  • (47:20) - Strengths vs Weaknesses as CEO
  • (56:08) - Creating a proactive culture
  • (59:45) - Advice for CEOs


Ryohei Watanabe: Hello everybody. Welcome to Eight Values. This is your host, Ryohei Watanabe, and today I'll be talking with Hibiki Uno. He is the CEO of RESTAR, and he recently raised his Series A. Today we'll be talking about why he started the business, some of the challenge he's he faced, and what he is looking forward to next. I thank you for coming on. Thank you. For the, for the listeners who don't know what, RESTAR does, could you explain like the 32nd, introduction to RESTAR?

Hibiki Uno: The research operator are the analytics the software folder professional real asset investors such as the the real asset developer, asset management company financial institution and brokerage company. And we support their the real asset investment.

Ryohei Watanabe: And I think you recently raised your series A. But I think before, before we talk about the the company now, I'd like to go back to before you started your company, what were you doing before?

Hibiki Uno: When I was a University student, I took the Japanese CPA exam examination. After that, I went to their, the pwc, their, one of the largest accounting firms in Japan, and I was in their I manage transaction team and I supported their corporate investment managers. And after that I moved to the one us over investment company under I was in the commercial real estate investment team under, I did the, the, the real estate investment . So that I, I was in the financial industry and after that I moved to the mass, somehow the re estate industry under, I realized that some, you know, issue under the mass old fashion culture and the workflow of the the real estate industry. So that I found, found this company.

Ryohei Watanabe: For the listeners who don't know what the real estate industry is like here in Japan. Could you explain a little bit about what it was like before RESTAR?

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. There are, when I was in the previous company, you know, they are investing their you know, their building office fair or you know, huge residential building or the retail building. So, and they're so expensive, like for the price would be the highest under. The 10 million. Yeah, 10 million. More than 10 million more. Sometimes it's bit, are higher than 100 million euros. So there in that case, you know, the, the investor need to research a lot. On the other hand, in, in Japan there, a lot of the information is you know, so scattered. And it's there's no database and, addition there are. The regulation is so complicated. And all other, you know, intercom documentation is in the, the paper. So the workflow is so analog. So the when I work, work for the p c, you know, the of the process was digitalized. And I can do the more, you know detailed analysis are using some software, and I can make, some, you know, the culture tour. But on the other hand, I, after I move to the the, the re investment company, you know, the I can do the you know, the detailed nurses and I need to spend a lot of my time to you know, tackle their soldier, their, their analog or the fashion rock roll. So their their. Our company you know, correct. Wrote up the real estate or some geographical data like market when transaction price and addition, for example, the the regulation of the each area zoning or hazard map under we integrate those information into the one the platform and their the professionals have their intercompany data. So the we integrate those public data under their intercompany data and the provider, their platform to analyze or manage those datas. I

Ryohei Watanabe: see. And what was the, I dunno, the decision making process for co-founding your company. So I guess you could have continued working in the real estate industry, right? Yeah. What were some of your thoughts at the time about why you thought it was a good time to create RESTAR when you did? Yeah.

Hibiki Uno: That's a good question. You know, that I have a you know how when I work for the previous company now, actually, they salary was quite nice Yeah. Compared to they're my, you know, friends. And they you know, I enjoyed their their previous, you know, job, and it was so interesting. Yeah. And I had a you know, very great opportunity to work with great colleagues, boss. Partners. Now, on the other hand, you know, the my own other task or, you know, the way of the working was so analog. And they addition at that time, you know, I, you know, could meet their, to the, the in current, our, cto And I was so surprised of to the, the, the, all right. Current, you know, the IT technology or the web crowd. And and I saw that, I can do that, I can do that. And, but you know, there you know, I checked the market and there was no, you know, the, you know, specific competitors Sure.Competitor and the you know, and addition that my, you know, their friend who work for the, you know, similar, you know, industry, you know, they have a similar, you know, issues. Yeah. So they, and at, at that time, you know, the eye was, 27 or eight. And, I, I thought that my eye was still young and you know, I like to challenge a new thing. So there, I started this company.

Ryohei Watanabe: And how did you, so you said you met, Masashi Yokota. who we've interviewed before on this. how did you end up meeting, Masashi? Yokota?

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. You know, the, he's a great guy and super positive. And you know, when I explained there are my, you know, business plan on the future Target he was, you know he shoulder great understand, you know, he didn't know their, their the real industry, but he showed a great in understanding for the our business. And, he agreed with my idea. So yeah we started there.

Ryohei Watanabe: And so when you initially started working with, Masashi Yokota what was it like? Could you describe where you were and what, like, do you guys have an office together or, what was the initial stage there? Like?

Hibiki Uno: yeah. When I started to work with Masashi, you know, before there, I quit the, previous company, you know math, math was a university student. After, there, we had a, a weekly or weekly meeting at the weekend and, weekend under, you know, we discussed their business brand or their, their design, the software. And but, to honest, you know So my, you know, the, we are, we are, the weekday job was super busy. So there we couldn't, you know show the great progress of the discussion. So I, and I didn't have enough time to make, for example, presentation and design their software. So, we just, have a chat, chat and, and sometimes we have the, you know, the ranch dinner and, but you know, we could know each other at time. But after that, you know, I had, some frustration, you know, I couldn't, proceed with the, the project. So the, I decided to, quit the, the job. Sure. And I, decided to focus on the, our, you know, current project.

Ryohei Watanabe: Was it scary, quitting your job? to focus on the current project, or, which is, I guess, REMETIS what ended up being your main product, REMETIS? what were you thinking at the time, before you quit? well, I guess what you said you quit your job to focus on Yeah. ES RESTAR. Yeah. Very full-time. what were you thinking before you quit? what was the, the decision making behind, you know, you remember what you're

Hibiki Uno: thinking actually there? yeah. you know, there, you know, having the, meeting with Masashi, you know, the, I, you know, spend much time to consider this project. And, I, you know, have an idea. on the other hand, you know, that I. You know, could not, inform it, with, because, you know, I didn't, I didn't have enough time to make, some documents. Sure. And so it was my, you know, your biggest, frustration. So the, the additionally there, I, I thought that I could have a, somehow enough, you know, understanding for the, real estate industry. Under, so that I, I would like to start as, as possible. Yeah. Okay.

Ryohei Watanabe: And when you started, focusing on it full-time, who are the people in the real estate industry receptive to your idea?

Hibiki Uno: Unfortunately, no. You know, there, the, before we launch their, product, you know, I, I made one presentation and show, show showed my idea, to the, r the developers and. Some bcs, but, you know, unfortunately, most of the real estate guy and some VCs, did not accept You know, the ma the, somehow the, my pre presentation, was not good. And, I couldn't inform the the, my idea well, but, you know, the. You know, their Japan, Japan real industry. So you know the tradition, you know? They say that please don't, disrupt their, this industry, you know, they, don't want to change their work. And, yeah. So, and some people are, you, was angry to me and, uh I was so, you know, depressed at the time. But, uh You know, somehow that's a good, you know, the response, you know, that they soldier, the, our project, can be their, threat, uh Of the industry. It means that, our project can be the, huge, huge impact to the industry. So their eyes, you know, their. keep to, you know, make the product pro, project, product and you know, I tried to, have a more interview with the, the, And, yeah,

Ryohei Watanabe: I guess if you weren't threatening then I think that might have been like bad thing, because if he is like you were, I think, I dunno, supporting everybody or you weren't, if you weren't threatening, then I guess there wouldn't have been so much of an impact or like the product is just like, yeah, that's cute. Like, keep doing that. Yeah. Oh, so I guess after, what were these people scared of? Exactly. Like, the people that you talked to in the industry that were threatened by you and this product, when you explained it to them. Actually

Hibiki Uno: there, they, you know, didn't, understand, well, you know, the, my explanation was that we directly just support their, their macro business process. That's it. on the other hand, you know, at that time, you know, the, in Japan, the auto people, didn't use their, software or it, so they, they just, and on the other hand, you know, their, for example, the ai, that kind of their, you know, was increased and, they just, have, you know, spread, for the thought, you know, keywords. So, and that will be the, one reason. So, I, you know, have a route meeting with the potential client and I. You know, around how should I explain it? And, after that, you know, I could have their, you know, how do the people who have their, interest in the, our project Project So that I, you know, I could have, some company. Sure.

Ryohei Watanabe: And I guess in the very beginning when you didn't have revenue, you didn't have clients, what was that like in the very beginning? because like, I mean, how did you like keep on going when you didn't have any clients and like, Hmm.

Hibiki Uno: Actually there? Yeah. I was so fun, you know, you know, I found the company and I operate their, there was no business, but, uh I operate a company and, I, made the, made the. projection and, make a presentation. And think there this idea, . And I had a, an opportunity to, to talk with potential client. And, I showed their, my idea, understand, you know, some people, accepted my idea and, show the interest, interest so far. And, of course, I, at first in, I didn't, we didn't have, have, revenue. but, you know, I was, somehow to be optimistic, but, uh Other, some confidence, we will be able to get the, the revenue. So at least, you know, the. I, work, work for the previous company. We, as the company, I, thought that I would drive to purchase this product. So, that's, you know, the main, you know, the resource over my, you know, motivation.

Ryohei Watanabe: I see. And I guess, how did you actually get your first clients? You remember some of the first clients that you got? Yeah,

Hibiki Uno: actually they're, our, the first client, it's, you know, they're my, you know, they're my friends. Yeah. Friends. he, my, he's some samek Samek, like a

Ryohei Watanabe: senior, like, upper class. Yeah. Yeah.

Hibiki Uno: But we graduated the same high school. And, I know Meno, me very well. so I think that, you know, he thought that our pro product was, not enough, but, uh And he, decided, to purchase it and try to explain that his career. it was so helpful. But it, that's our, you know, cost revenue. And

Ryohei Watanabe: after the first client, was it easier to, was it easy to get clients after that? Like the second clients? The third clients? Yeah. Well, af.

Hibiki Uno: Actually there. Yeah. You know, the first client logo was, super helpful, you know? That, you know, one of the largest asset management company, so in Japan,

Ryohei Watanabe: oh, it's a big company. The the first company? Yeah, the

Hibiki Uno: first client. Huge. Okay. Yeah. Huge companies, but, you know, the one division and only user was only him. Yeah. So that, materials, there was not so, you know, huge in usage, but the, at least, I could, get a logo After that, you know, we could get, several, huge client. Sure. And, but, for example, the, the, the one division was a huge client. but, we could correct the, the, the kind of the logos. So, and after there, we could get, some rolls, you know, with the, our in revenue growth, was I see. So

Ryohei Watanabe: is it like, if you can. One division out of a, a really like famous company, right? You use the, the famous company's logo. It's not, there's not like a division logo, right? It's like the full company's logo and then you show it to other, potential clients and you say, Hey, look at the big companies that are using this, software. Would you like to purchase? Is that how it kind of goes?

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. yeah. at that time, you know, there, I was, the, and too young. And, our people, did not order their, our company name. And, my name, and so I, we does not have a enough, you know, credit. But you know, that kind of logo, that kind of really happy

Ryohei Watanabe: Yeah. It's like a credibility or something. Yeah. Yeah. I see. I see. And so I guess after you got these, the first like, let's say 10 clients with awesome logos, and then after that, is it pretty easy to get new clients now? Or from the,

Hibiki Uno: not pretty easy, you know, they, you know, you know, they, they the real estate industry, industry either. So all the passion, so the auto, the people, don't, have not, user their, their, the software. They don't know the, a difference between the, for example, the browser, pc, internet. Okay. So, and, and they don't know the, the, for example, Google Chrome. So in that industry, you know, somehow it was, so difficult to explain the, our, the concept or of our software. Hand, at, at that time, you know, the corner, came. So, the corner, because of the corner in how people use, start to users, for example, zoom or teams. so that kind of, the trend, was so helpful us

Ryohei Watanabe: So what were they using before? like Reis and RESTAR? Like were, or are they like writing in pencil? The Yeah, yeah, of course.

Hibiki Uno: You know, they're, yeah, that's right. You know, on paper, just on paper, you know, on, it depends. But, you know, some companies, Africa, for example, Excel or, you know, point, but You know, I, you know, one company is a, a paper map and they have a huge, you know, book and of their map and you know, they, you know, memo the, all of the historical range transaction innovation on that map, wow. Using, you know, pencil

Ryohei Watanabe: Wow. So you say, Hey, I have this awesome new invention, it's called Rames. It does all of this for you. And they're like, yeah, but what's the internet? what is the, what is Google girl? I see. Wow. That must been, yeah. What is the, can I just ask what is like the most like common reaction you get when you show, potential clients about, ramus?

Hibiki Uno: they're, you know, they were so surprised, you know, that I, for example, basically they don't know their, their power of the technology. And the, so, you know, Basically there are, you know, most of the people are surprised and, at that time, at the same time, you know, some people, you know, show a strong interest. And, they direct improve their work crew on their business process. Investment, you decision making. On the other hand, I point that some people show there some, you know, you know, they don't, have enough and confidence to use it. You know, they have not used, software or Software. You know, they don't know Salesforce and And some, other people have, have used their effects on Excel or PowerPoint, but So, yeah, that, no, they're basically two type of the reaction. It, it

Ryohei Watanabe: seems that like, You, you not only have to sell your product, it seems you have to sell, like technology in general as a good thing for their business. Yeah. you said that Corona was a big, help for you. Yeah. do you think that it's the industry is changing? Like from, your point of view to like be more welcoming? Yeah, I

Hibiki Uno: think so. you know, the recently the out of or out of the company have a, you know, digitalization division, you know. They, oh, dx, yeah. Okay. Yeah. DX division. So the out of the company, created the, DX division, you know, digital, digital transformation division. And they try to accelerate their, you know, digitalization, their, as they, you know, the under, they like to improve their entire company process or macro. But on the other hand, you know, the, the. The people in the, dx, division, don't know their IT so much. They're in the beginning of the very beginning and they doesn't cover, you know,

Hibiki Uno: uhk for their, their it. So that we need to teach them. I see,

Ryohei Watanabe: I see. And, now that RESTAR has raised its Series A, now when you look back at like, all the time, from the founding, did the series A, like what do you attribute your success too? Yeah.

Hibiki Uno: in order, in several milestone. But, after I founded this company and, there, you know, there we have. You know, some, you know, stairs, period, or ma to be honest, you know, I didn't work much, you know? after the, after I quit my previous company, I have some vacation and I, you know, wait for the, you in, was in the university. After the, he graduated the university in, I started to work hard. So that some, you know, the vacation and after that, you know, we could get the, the seed, the money from the And, after that, we could get the revenue. But, you know, the one, the milestone would be the one milestone be the, the revenue, you know, and the logo. the logos accelerate are, you know, the revenue growth. And, additionally the, after their, their, you know, series, seed round, you know We could, you know, the increase of revenue. And, to be honest, before the series, we could, our, the cash flow was posted. You know, the, our sales exchange sheet and their, for the business profitability was. Quite nice. And that we could show it under How we could confirm the, you know, unique economics of the ours. Sure. At the same time, you know, that we could show the amount enough, you know, the revenue growth. the, yeah, the two, you know, xray, the, the revenue, one of the key point partnership. You know, the, we correct our, we correct out of the real estate geographical information. But at that time, you know, we purchased a data from the Saudi party, that time, you know, the, before the, when, we have a, you know, so limited revenue, you know, there no company sell the data to us. but, you know, the one company, there, I, you know, have a discussion with the one company under try to. you know, purchase their data. And, to be honest, they, don't sell their, data to the South Party. but, I try to, I ask, them to, sell it. And, we could you agree, with contact and, uh We could, provide, zero data to our client. that was, so helpful under browser, you know, breakthrough of our business. After that, you know, other company, accepted to, sell their data to us. So there, yeah, it was also important.

Ryohei Watanabe: so were the unit economics of the business. Always good. As in like from the very beginning, were the unit economics of the business just, positive. Yeah. Okay. was there anything you did in particular to get, the unit economics of your business to be, I guess, profitable from the very beginning? Like,

Hibiki Uno: so there, well, we did not, you know, spend so much, you know, the money for the, for example, marketing. And there we could get, other client and revenue, beer. The referral. Yeah. Referrals, that was our, you know, point. Under, you know, We didn't hire so much engineer, you know? the master have a great capability. And he could do the, out of the, out of things. So the, at that time we don't, didn't have so much engineers and so much sales. And we could get, we don't have, you know, a marketing expenses. No, that's be the reason, I guess, for

Ryohei Watanabe: B2B SaaS products, like, those that are geared toward like big enterprises. Do you think you need, like, need to do marketing?

Hibiki Uno: I think there, you know, if we would like to, you know, sell the product to their, you know, B2B enterprise Enterprise company, you know, the. typical marketing record, you know, the Google or Facebook Or tv, it's not enough, you know? The out target, is not, the consumers. So the, we need to have a relationship. And, we need to, you know, the, the maintain it. that's will be super important. And, addition that, you know, the logo will be also important in our current capability so that our current capability and, the addition that we need to show the, you know, their, their, their security requirement is so high. You know, for example, the, especially the bank Or the security company, that kind of financial industry company. have a so strict, other security requirement. but to be honest, you know, out of the, company have a very, you know, complicated, requirement, but, you know, their requirement does not, you know, fit the, the crowd software. So their No. The most important point is rogo. I mean, the, if the, for example, BA other bank or insurance company or security company touches the, our product,

Ryohei Watanabe: you can show that to

Hibiki Uno: everybody else. Yeah. So that we know that we can show that, that our, you know, product, you know, what's past the other companies, our financial, industry companies, security requirement.

Ryohei Watanabe: Okay. Alright. And then I guess the other thing that you said was also like the partnerships, right? that you got, to give data to your clients. Like when you think about the image of your users and your clients, like with Ruis you can do, like, manage their data, but you also integrate with the APIs and the public data and third parties, right? what do you think is the most important thing for your clients About why they use

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. you know, the, when, we are, we started their, the business, you know, the market data was also important. you know, the, the market range, transaction price, that kind of data was so important, but, through the, increase of the number of the client or size of the client. And number of the, the users, you know, the importance of their, their, our company's intercompany data management function, was getting, you know, important. So the, the current that we focus on, the, that kind of the functionality and, you know, especially in the enterprise company, they have a, a so they potentially have a, you know, a wrote a bunch of the data. You know, on the other hand, those information are. Saved in the paper. Okay. For the brain of the h, you know, employees. So they, if they could, you know, output, you know, the import as though they, those in the paper or, the, the, the data in mind into their, our software, it's, in sure for their, so there, under, we could have, that kind of a use case. So, and then there, our clients say that this kind of, the. That kind of change, you know, the paper to their we, they, they knew their, that kind of a transition was so, you know, strong Powerful for their, for their business. so after that, you know, they increase the, you know, the, the rise number of the Verizons Sure.

Hibiki Uno: Under, the number of the users of the company was increased. So, we realize that kind of functionality or use case, would be the, you know, key success factor over our business.

Ryohei Watanabe: And you talked a little bit about, in, in your answer about intercompany data functionality. Yeah. Could you explain a little bit more about, what that, function does?

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. you know, the, The real estate company, they have a, two type of, real estate, real estate data. You know, the, the data of the, the, their, the, their own? Yeah. Real estate, like, the rental, the address of the, the, each building of their, of

Ryohei Watanabe: I guess their buildings. The buildings that they

Hibiki Uno: own. Yeah. Their Okay. They own, their building data. And addition, if you go to the investment, team, you know, they got the other, a lot of the, the property information, from the brokers. And the brokers ask, them to, purchase the, property. I see. I see. So the, they don't own the, property, they're, sinking, to purchase the,

Ryohei Watanabe: these like buildings that are for sale.

Hibiki Uno: But, you know, the, those information, was not, you know, the public. you know, the, the, the broker, shared those, you know, confidential information to the Rey potential investors and the, the, the, those, potential investor manage the, the information from the brokers. So the, they, manage those information in the, in, in their company. I see.

Ryohei Watanabe: Okay. And can we, switch, topics a little bit to, like I guess your role as CEO, yeah. How do you think about your own role now and like what do you do, within, I guess, RESTAR the company?

Hibiki Uno: you know, my role, is safety, you know, the, when I started this company, you know, I did, you know, all of the, you know, stuff accept the covid. So the, but, you know, the, you know, after that, we hired out the people, sales guys, the engineer, HR department. So the, you know, I pass, you know, each, you know, task to, their, you know, my colleague. And, still, you know, the, my, you know, their role or task or is a so But, you know, it changing and, Yeah. And, we, I more focus on the management Sure. Or, you know, and the, we, I spend, much time to, think about the, the, the next year. Or next, next year or wrong time. Uh

Ryohei Watanabe: And I guess, do you enjoy, did you enjoy the time when you did all the work? And then do you enjoy also managing as well?

Hibiki Uno: that's, that's a difficult question. You know, that when I started the, this company, you know, I could discuss about the, for example, the core of the each bottle and the size of the, each, you know, the object on of the product. And I, I was so fun to discuss about that, that kind of the, details of product you like, you

Ryohei Watanabe: like talking about product. I remember

Hibiki Uno: when I worked with you. Yeah. I love it. And, yeah. And, I, the addition that I, I, I love to talk with, our client and I, you know, it's, you know, I, I, I can know their, their work and their real issue. And, their real business model. And, there's business plan, it's, it's sofa, and sometimes, you know, I, I can get some English of the, for example, scan. Sofa you. Yeah. That, you know, the inter intercom, super confidential English. It's so far. on the other hand, you know, the recently, I don't have enough time to talk with, You know, detail details of the products.

Hibiki Uno: And, I don't have a time to talk with, clients so much. So, on the other hand, you know, I, you know, can't focus on the, projection of the, company and the future, the company. And, you know, I can do the next project order to increase the revenue. It also fun. So, of, unfortunately I don't have so much time, you know, the one they have only there 24 hours. so ma I think that I can enjoy their, you know, my life.

Ryohei Watanabe: Yeah. And I guess since you've been CEO now for a while, I guess, how many years has it been now?

Hibiki Uno: there, I, you know, there, of she, you know, the, this company, was founded in there 2016. But, in, at that time I was in the previous company. So that this is a secret. So the, you know, the, I, fully work on this company from the 2008 now. Okay. So it's, five years.

Ryohei Watanabe: And when you look back on the five years that you've been, the CEO of RESTAR, can you point to a few things that, I guess made, like you a good ct, e o if you consider yourself a good CEO or like the stuff that you've learned along the way about what it means to be a good CEO o versus a bad one. On this can be your, to your personal opinion. but,

Hibiki Uno: you know, there. You know, originally, originally there, you, I thought the good ceo, should be there, you know, ato, the, an employee or client support him, and, he's also, you know, confidence And, have a good relationship with, you know, outdoor guys.But, that they can, reconcile their, conflict among their, several, stakeholders. that be their, one of the CEO work. But, recently, I'm thinking the, the founder, important capability, the CEO e would be the, the, the readership. So strong readership. that's, most important, capability of the c o. So there, shell need to show the, you know, direction of the company. And, or, yeah, Heer, you know, top of the company as he need to direct the, the, the other guys. And, organize a structure. Unfortunately, there I can't do the everything. And I need the, the help of each, you know, colleagues. Yeah. So the, to, yeah. So I think that that, their key point. And

Ryohei Watanabe: I guess, have you found good ways to provide, strong leadership, in terms of like, being a CEO and like, have you also made some mistakes, about being a CEO that you've learned from, in terms of how you manage people or how you provide leadership?

Hibiki Uno: other, you know, sometimes, you know, the, I have mm, made difficult, you know, but still, I'm, you know, other tackling that kind of issue. And, I, I, I'm not enough. So the, on the other hand, you know, I would like to improve it. So, and I need to, you know, accept my mistake Or errors, and of course, you know, I sometimes I cannot, you know, change or, you know, fix it. And, some, you know, I have a lot of feedback from the different direction. For example, the one employee said, you know, CEO should be the blah, blah, blah. But, for example, the, the bank capital said,and there, for example, the bank, said different things and the clients said different things, and I need to decide it. You

Ryohei Watanabe: have like 50 different options. You like, should do this and

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. Yeah. sometimes I, I, you know, unfortunately I cannot reconcile it. You know, the, you know, there, you know, in a direction of the view is completely different. So I need to select, or sometimes I need the, you know, the response. We did explain it, but, yeah, I, yeah. So that's a, difficult point.

Ryohei Watanabe: And I guess, When you see other CEOs or other founders, I know, I think you, you must know quite a few of them as well. Um What are some traits that you admire in other, founders that, you know, that you want to kind of emulate and copy and,

Hibiki Uno: you know, the, I try to copy their, my, I did, I, I realized that, you know, I cannot copy the, you know, the, the capability or the other shield. You know, I, I need to find, my own style. you know, for example, the, one shield is a super, a great motivator. And he's a . And, in a motivate or, you know, encouraged team members. he's so good that to do that. On the other hand, to be honest, I, I, I don't have that kind of a capability now. so, Yeah. I need to, you know, know the, the, my capability is different from the answers. Sure. And, somehow I need abandon, of course. You know, I try to improve it. But, sometimes I, we, I should focus on my, you know, strengths.

Ryohei Watanabe: Strengths, yeah. Yeah. So this is, something that I've heard quite a lot from also as well about. like, but he was talking about the engineers, you know, it's like, I want to create a team where everybody can take advantage of their strengths, is what he said. can you, like, when you look at yourself, like how do you define your own style or like, what do you think of as your strong points that you wanna focus more on as opposed to, the weaknesses that, you know, not weaknesses, but you know, the, the stuff that you're not so strong at. Like, what are your strengths in terms of being CEO.

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. You know, their, their. Know, the recently there are, you know, the management team, is, you know, increasing and the day, gimme some feedbacks. And, you know, there, I, for example, the Massachi said that I have a, a great agility. You know, the, when I, the, we didn't have a revenue. We have no revenue, you know, you know, but I have a, you know, strong, you know, the mo motivation And tried to keep the, the business. And, actually the master said at that time, he was a bit nervous. but, you know, he was so, you know, so my attitude to, the work was, motivated. Yeah. Motivated him. So the, that's a, his feedback. And the other guys, for example, say that, you know, their, my way of thinking is, so clear. And I try, it's very, I'm really good at to find the issues and, break down their issue. So there that kind of other, so kind Hmm. That, I don't think that, I have a strong, you know, capability of the road thinking, but some people say so, that I could realize it, realize it. So, yeah, the destroy, I have a strong motivation for the, this business. You know, as you said, I rather this product. And I'd like to, keep the, the, the, the, this product. It's should be cool. Yeah. And, you know, and three or most of the enterprise software are, is, So may they have a, you know, out functionality, but, may And, not, not easy to understand or easy to use. So they, I Right in keep, keep the, some, you know, the feature

Ryohei Watanabe: I remember when I worked with you and, I think we were looking for a new QA person and because you use the product so much, like, you know, the product so well and like you were like, you would find like the bugs from the developers. Like we should, I know he has a job already, but he should be our QA guy.

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. you know, there, yeah, I have, you know, I have a different, you know, you know, viewpoint, from the engineers. You know, I, I use our product as a user. And, I try to find the error and, yeah. Yeah.

Ryohei Watanabe: okay. So you also said about your style, like about your CEO style, let's say, or your leadership style that, Like within the, the explanation that you just gave, you said you were getting feedback. Right. And another thing that I heard from quite a lot of people, and from what I saw as well, it's like, it's kind of, it's flat, you know, there isn't like some like very like, overwhelming hierarchy, right? Between you and like, let's say the engineers, right? Cuz that's the, the team that I was on, everyone was like, yeah. like I like working with Unos Sun and like Creating the product together. is this something that you developed over time or is this the, the kind of flat organization, is it something that you intentionally set out to create? Or is it just, I guess, your personality and who you are?

Hibiki Uno: I think that, the reason why our, you know, the team. So, due to the number of the people, you know, the, the number of the people, was limited. But, you know, the, you know, the, currently there are the number of the employees increasing. So that, af so after that, you know, we need to have some kind hierarchy, you know, each people, can manage already. So they're, recently, you know, I, I don't have, enough time to talk with each, each members. Unfortunately, three. so, of course I would like to keep the fra I'm not sure Fra, but, you know, I would like to talk with her, each members and I would like to discuss with them. Sure. with her same level of the, the peer. but you know, unfortunately, three, you know, some people think that he's a CEO. And, it some, it's hard to talk to you sometimes. Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, somehow I'm suffering that kind of the atmosphere.

Ryohei Watanabe: So you, you go to the, you try to talk to somebody and they're just like, CEOs here, and then they kind of

Hibiki Uno: like, yeah. That they just, they

Ryohei Watanabe: they get nervous.

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. So if they get nervous, you know, I should not be in that this, or I don't, I dunno. But, you know, but on the other hand, you know I love the, I love to talk about the, for example, each product and sometimes I would like to talk with each member to know the detail of the Sure. So I hope that I will be, or our, you know, the teams atmosphere will be will make us, make me able to, you know, have that kind of discussion. Sure. Yeah.

Ryohei Watanabe: Yeah. And so when you think about the kind of team that you wanna create for RESTARing the future about the culture, like What is your ideal, culture at RESTAR? Like, what kind of team would you like to build?

Hibiki Uno: Yeah. The one culture is a, I, I think the one important culture is a, you know, the current, our team is so international. You know, the all other Japanese companies say they're our, our companies. Yeah.

Ryohei Watanabe: Every company says the global international.

Hibiki Uno: But compared to those companies, you know, they're, I, you know, Maria, our, in a company. It's very our, our company have a very international atmosphere. And of course, you know we have a lot of the Japanese But you know, the some com some people come from the, you know, America, us and, Asia, Europe south. So, that each, each people have a different background Way of thinking. so there I would like to respect their those idea way of thinking. And we need to embrace their idea and, but at the same time, you know, we need to, you know, shoulder their, their own idea. So that, and E three, you know we don't, we should not hesitate to, you know express it. They, they are here. So, yeah, that well, the important point, and after addition, addition, you know, at the same time, you know, we should have a proactive and attitude. Yeah. So we need this shorter, our idea, proactive. yeah, that's paper. And

Ryohei Watanabe: so I think one of the, in your answer, you said that you shouldn't hesitate to say your idea. Um I found that, like as an engineer, I could work on like, let's say the referral program for other engineers, you know, and stuff like this outside of my job as an engineer. how, how are you creating, an atmosphere where, people can, give their opinions on, I guess just hand or propose things?

Hibiki Uno: That's around a very great question. You know, unfortunately, are we, that kind of values? but, you know, some people I think that, that, that kind of barrier, don't work well. Of course, we have that kind of atmosphere, especially the engineer gym, you know, their engineer gym is so super international. they have other atmosphere though I would like to, you know, expand their, those wave thinking to their other gym. and addition the, to, you know, utilize our, you know, values in a way of thinking through other new, you know, project. and addition that, you know, I should repeat. This

Ryohei Watanabe: is repeated every single day. Just, you know, do like two days or something that morning meeting, just, hey,

Hibiki Uno: that's right.

Ryohei Watanabe: yeah. So I think now that RESTAR has grown quite a lot. Right. like what are some of the exciting projects that you're going to be tackling this year and next year?

Ryohei Watanabe: Yeah.

Hibiki Uno: holder, this year, uh uh Okay. So there, originally our, you know, main, the client was a real asset developer of the or, real asset asset management company, so the Bay of the Real Estate. on the other hand, in this year, we focused the brokerage company. So the brokerage company, introduced, selling property to their, potential. So the somehow, So, we, would try to increase, those client and try to connect or make the network among the US brokerage company and that, our, and make a network effect among, in, under our product Our platform that's, our, our main target of this year. And, at that, at same time, recently we hired the, the in charge of the global, global operations. So we are going to the, the, we're, we start to talk with the, foreign, real estate investor. of course, currently that we have a several, you know, the foreign client, but they, the foreign company, Japan place. So they're, they, they're, each user are Japanese, but they work for their, foreign company. Yeah. The Japan branch or Japanese, Japanese ary. but, they need to report to their, headquarters or, office. So, currently we are developing the English batch of our product. Okay. About the, after that, we would like to sell our product to the, the foreign Uh In the foreign. I see. So, there, we would like to connect there, on the Japan office and their office on our product. So, currently we are going to the global.

Ryohei Watanabe: For the interview, but, do you have any advice. For anybody that's, starting a company like as CEO, like, like in the position that you were in when you were at, PWC and Angela Gordon.

Hibiki Uno: we should challenge, you know, there're challenges. So it fun. It, that's fun. so the, of course, there, there might be the risk, but I don't think it's risk. You know, that that's a great experience. Right. And, the, we should do the, you know, unique challenge. that's, you know, I don't know their, Actually, when I started this company, you know, I didn't have a, in a, for example, so one. And, I did, somehow I calculate the profitability of a business. It's so, it was so rough, and I just saw the, and, addition, you know, I thought that to challenge the new things, that's, that's a great experience for the, my life and my career. And, of course, you know, the, the number of the people who, you know, founder, the company in Japan is so related, but, and, I pointed ato, the enterprise work and ato, the campaign does not hire the people who have that kind of experience. But, in the future, if I have, the experience too, operate a company, manage the people, started a new business. That kind of, the expense, must be the, helpful for the buyer. So, so the, if you have a great motivation And, if you have a great agility you know, so we should try.

Ryohei Watanabe: that was from RESTAR. Thank you very much for being on today. Thank you so much. And thank you for listening. Okay. and time.


In this show, Ryohei Watanabe talks with founders and engineers in Japan's startup ecosystem. We talk about their journey, their products, and their learnings.

Ryohei Watanabe