Garry Point Ventures Co., Ltd. (GPV) is a boutique consultancy specializing in building web businesses for small businesses. GPV has also allowed me to dabble in some side projects and spend time pursuing my passion for the science of learning.
Piku was Japan’s first daily deal website. Quickly funded by both Japanese and international venture capital firms, Piku grew to several million in revenue and attracted a subscriber base that ran into the hundreds of thousands in less than a year. The Piku experience was one of extremes - both highs and lows. When a planned round of financing didn't materialize - due to stalling growth - Piku shrank as fast as it grew.
The founding of English OK was ignited as a result of a personal experience with a business in Tokyo that refused to provide service to 'foreigners' in Japan. English OK was a proposed solution with its customer service and language training programs built to improve cross-cultural communication and its marketing services (online directory, events, benefits program) to help the businesses willing to provide service to the international community succeed.
"English OK! is an English school for the service industry."
"Understanding and valuing the idea of hospitality, English OK! provides highly detailed materials for the needs of each industry."
Nihon Keizai Shimbun
"(English OK) wants to make Japan a more foreign tourist- friendly country."
Nikkei-CNBC “Business Trends
"Improve the cross-cultural communication for service businesses."
The Asahi Herald Shimbun
Soon after meeting my future business partner, Dave Mori, we decided that we wanted to start a business together in Tokyo. As Dave was doing a lot of the initial legwork, he realized that there were few resources and little support for entrepreneurs in Tokyo (in 2002 - things have changed now). Thus, he initiated our first collaboration - The Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - a not-for-profit organization. Founded in 2003, the Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo ran 60 seminars supporting entrepreneurs over 7 years that were attended by more than 1,500 participants.
Kudos was acquired in 2009 in response to the financial crisis that hit in 2008. The 'Lehman Shock' as it was called in Japan significantly affected English OK's training revenue as hospitality businesses froze hiring and paused training contracts in their bids to wait things out. Since English OK had established relationships with service providers in Japan, the Kudos program provided a product that English OK could quickly generate revenue from to make up for the lost contracts (and keep its staff employed).
Between 2005 and 2008, twenty-four charity dinner events were held in Tokyo to raise funds for international and domestic charities. Gourmet Nights promoted local businesses - hosts and prize sponsors - created a mixed international and Japanese community, and raised funds for worthy causes.
EOK.jp - Japan's Premier Shop Directory launched in 2005 - played the leading role in English OK's promotional services (until Kudos came along). The directory was set up to take advantage of our growing web business building knowledge, to deepen the relationships with our training clients, and to ultimately promote the businesses in Japan that were willing to provide service to the international community.
After a couple of years of toiling around building websites as a freelancer an opportunity to contribute to a large corporation's website arose. BCD was founded to allow me to work on the project as most Japanese companies would only work with registered corporations and not freelancers. BCD exceeded expectations and ended up working on loyalty and promotional sites for well-known automotive, entertainment and government organizations - and proved to be an ideal training ground for future online business endeavours.