“UK Trade & Investment are an extremely helpful organisation. They are always pulling out all the stops to introduce you to contacts and people of import.”
Sean Nichols, Managing Director – Japan
British technology company Blippar was founded in 2011 by by a team of former colleagues and friends – Ambarish Mitra and Omar Tayeb. The platform itself went live in September 2011, and after opening a New York office established offices in San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Istanbul, Delhi, Amsterdam and most recently Tokyo.
Blippar is a visual recognition software application that acts as a visual browser, allowing users to have a more interactive experience with their surroundings.
When quizzed about why Blippar chose to enter the Japanese market, Managing Director of Blippar Japan Sean Nichols said, “There are three important aspects that are necessary for Blippar to even envisage entering any market – the percentage of smartphone penetration within a country’s population, having the right infrastructure in place to handle data transfer rapidly, and media spend on advertising and digital marketing budgets – and Japan has all of these in spades.”
The British company, which counts Sir Richard Branson among its fans, came to Japan in 2014 and intends to hold its official launch in 2015. The response from clients and partners has been excellent so far, reveals Nichols. “The biggest hurdle in Japan,” he says, “has been that people see Blippar and think it’s just another Augmented Reality software when in fact it’s so much more.”
With twenty years experience working in Japan, Nichols has a few pointers for those wishing to follow in Blippar’s footsteps. “It’s so important to understand how the system works,” he says. “Having a good network is so key to the entire operation. Partnering is a great option because the big companies are always looking for innovative products. In addition, attending tech shows or trade shows is a wonderful way to get a foot in the door,” he added.
“Of course, it goes without saying that when pitching your product you need to show why it’s new, better and different than anything else on the market. If you do this the bigger companies will seek you out.” A big faux pas in his book is sending out a senior person to set up the office that knows nothing about Japan. “That is a recipe for disaster,” he cringes.
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