We operate an app called “akippa” which allows property owners to list available spaces that are currently unused or underused, such as monthly parking lots without contractors, garages at home, empty land and parking spots at shopping malls, so that users can reserve a space for parking online by as short as 15 minutes. Anyone can share spaces for parking with this app.
Today, we have accumulated the highest total of spaces in the parking reservation/sharing service industry in Japan. As of November 2019, 31,000 parking spaces are listed and over 1,600,000 registered members are using our service through the app, both of which prove that we are the No.1 company in the business.
――What problem are you trying to solve?
We aim to solve a problem that is “people being unable to see those whom they want to see because of problematic traveling” by providing the support that helps people go see each other. As the first step to achieving the goal, our shared parking service was developed and is solving the problem of being unable to travel because of the difficulty in finding a parking spot.
――Why did you choose Osaka?
Osaka is my hometown and I live here. As we grow to become No. 1 in the world – not just Japan, – choosing whether to locate in Osaka or Tokyo was a no-brainer. Luckily, Osaka offers lower rents, hiring is easier and investment is accessible. There are many good reasons to do business here.
――What do you think about Osaka’s startup community?
The financing situation has improved as the startup community has grown by centering on governments and supporting agencies. However, I still feel the information is lacking.
――How has Osaka’s Governments (City & Prefecture) helped your startup?
The Osaka Innovation Hub has been the space for startups and supporting agencies to get together, and the chance we were given to pitch our business ideas there led us to obtain some funding.
――Where is your favorite place in Osaka and why?
Namba is my favorite. The place has a sense of groove.
――Do you have advice for people considering doing a startup in Osaka?
Osakans traditionally have a “merchant’s mindset” in that they dislike being in deficit or refuse to accept capital from investors. The fact that not many entrepreneurs here have the determination yet to ignore the conventional advice and scale towards big goals leaves many opportunities for those who do. You can absolutely do it in Osaka.