Aruna Basnayake, Japan Cloud

As 2021 comes to a close, on behalf of my partners Allen Miner, Yasutaka Fukuda and the entire Japan Cloud team, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our portfolio partners, their customers and our investors for another remarkable year of learning and growth. The disruptions created by the pandemic have accelerated positive change in Japan, and thanks to all of you, Japan Cloud was able to stay true to its mission of transforming Japanese business – through the innovative companies we introduced, the next-generation leadership we recruited and developed and our relentless pursuit of operational excellence and customer success. I’m delighted to share with you the highlights from this year.

Introducing our new partners – Coupa, Braze and Xactly

Signed in April, Coupa is a leader in Business Spend Management. Coupa’s platform enables companies and its suppliers to manage all of their business spend in one place. The parent company is showing exceptional growth globally. Takashi Ozeki will lead the company in Japan. Takashi was formerly senior director at Japan Cloud and will continue to serve as an advisor to the firm.

Although Braze entered Japan and was signed in October of last year, its growth this year has been truly remarkable. The company will hire close to 25 employees by year’s end! Braze is led by Masayuki “Max” Kikuchi, whom we recruited from the Japan Cloud talent base. Previously, Masayuki held sales leadership positions at INTEC, Adobe and SAP Japan. Braze provides a comprehensive customer engagement platform that powers relevant and memorable experiences between consumers and their favorite brands. The company completed a blockbuster IPO on the Nasdaq last month.

We signed Xactly in November. A leader in intelligent revenue solutions, Xactly enables companies to forecast beyond the short-term and secure revenue streams for long-term growth. The company is growing at a rapid clip. We welcomed Soichiro Fukuma as Xactly’s country manager last month.

Partner momentum

Our current partners are also winning exciting new customers and growing their presence in Japan. Together they hired over 80 employees in the past year!

  • Apptio – New customers include Fujitsu and Mitsubishi Chemical. Apptio also accelerated its collaboration with Accenture.
  • BlackLine – Personal care giant Kao and manufacturing equipment distributor TRUSCO Nakayama went live on a joint solution with SAP. The company also launched the BlackLine Japan User Group.
  • New Relic – New customers include Daikin Industries, Kakaku.com and Mitsukoshi Isetan System Solutions. The company also convened the first meeting of the New Relic User Group. In addition, a member of the Japan team published “The New Relic Handbook: From Monitoring to Observability.” Amazing!
  • nCino – nCino just signed Kiraboshi Bank, a major feat given the challenges foreign companies face engaging Japanese financial institutions.
  • WalkMe – New customers include chemicals leader Asahi Kasei Corporation, McDonald’s Japan, Mitsui Chemicals, NEC Networks & Systems Integration Corporation and mobility data innovator SmartDrive

Japan Cloud welcomes new team members

The Japan Cloud team continues to grow as well. Kazuyo Kawakami joined us to advise partners on Go-To-Market strategy and sales operations. Kazuyo came to us from Salesforce where she spent 17 years running sales operations and sales program development.

We have two more employees joining us in January to bolster our talent acquisition and Go-To-Market marketing efforts. With the addition of our new team members, I’m proud to say that the Japan Cloud team is more diverse than ever!

I’d like to thank my colleagues from the bottom of my heart. Shuji, who leads organizational strategy, talent acquisition and development was involved in evaluating most of our partners’ new employees.

Teppei, who’s in charge of Go-To-Market strategy and the implementation of our playbooks, which we continue to expand, led the launch of Braze, Coupa and Xactly, and worked closely with other partners throughout the year.

Our head of PR and events Sachie consistently drove coverage for our partners in top publications including high-impact features in the Nikkei and Toyo Keizai.

An employee who recently joined BlackLine told me that, when she spoke to her parents about possibly going to work for the company, her mother immediately identified it as a Japan Cloud partner and that it would be an excellent choice for her. Apparently, her mother, a freelance trainer for software companies, knew people who had joined Coupa and New Relic and spoke highly of Japan Cloud. So nice to hear such stories!

Looking ahead

Japan is changing fast. Companies are betting on a hybrid future – and they are counting on the cloud to get them there. By staying attuned to the changes taking place in Japan, Japan Cloud will continue introducing world-class cloud solutions that enable Japanese companies to be more productive and global. A new generation of leaders is also emerging in Japan. They are more independent, proactive and less tradition-bound. They appreciate diversity. They want greater flexibility. Japan Cloud aims to empower Japan’s new leaders with the skills and growth mindset that will enable their ongoing success.

As travel restrictions ease further, I look forward to traveling with Fukuda to meet with our global partners and investors more frequently. The more we travel together, the more our thoughts align on how to enable our partners’ success in Japan. I could not imagine having a better partner than Fukuda.

We look forward to meeting with all of you again soon. Until then, please have a safe and happy holiday season!

Kind regards,
Aruna