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Helping apps grow around the world--Repro Inc. provides marketing tools for apps, as well as support for all aspects of app strategy planning and operation. Yusuke Hirata, President and CEO, looks back on the eventful journey to achieve this business model.
I spent two months in Europe on my own during my sophomore year of high school, which led me to a life of entrepreneurship.
Everything I saw and ate was exciting for the first time. There were times when I had to run and run away, smiling as I was bullied into the slums I had wandered into without knowing it, but it made me realize that there were still exciting and fascinating sights out there that I didn't know existed in the world.
I was so excited, moved and amused by the prospect of stepping into unexplored places and experiencing local life that I set my goal in life as "to get rid of places I've never been before in the world.
In order to achieve this goal, she decided to pursue an entrepreneurial path, believing that she needed to "create time and financial leeway by the age of 45 and retire from economic activity while maintaining a healthy body.
After that, I created enough stock to live on for a few years with the business I started when I was a university student, so I never looked for a job, and after graduating from university, I embarked on a journey to eliminate unexplored areas. In the first place, I had no intention of becoming a salaried worker (laughs).
Two years later, however, something happened that changed my thinking completely.
When I returned to Japan after my trip, I was reunited with my college classmates.
He had become an "office worker," which I had once half taken lightly, and he shone like a different person. As he talked about his current work and his motivation, I felt that I was being overtaken and defeated. I couldn't convince myself that I was overwhelmingly losing.
When I saw how much he had grown up compared to when he was a student, I was overwhelmingly impatient, so I asked my seniors how I could make up for the two years I had fallen behind, and at the same time, see if there was a way I could grow up overwhelmingly. So I decided to work for the strategy team of a foreign consulting firm, which was said to be the most demanding at the time.
The last five years have been really hard to die for.....
Before joining Farm, I thought I was a "do-it-yourself" guy, but on my first project when I got hired, my boss at the time told me that I was fired from the strategy team. Pride is shattered.
After that, I got results with another team and got back into the strategy team, but I was really cornered at the time... I don't know how many times I wanted to kill that boss (laughs).
However, I feel that the attitude of my seniors back then towards their work and the professionalism with which they continued to think of good proposals for clients until one second before the start of the meeting shaped who I am today.
I'm really grateful to my boss at the time (laughs).
After that, I was contacted by a senior who had quit his job and started his own company, so I decided to quit my job and start my first company at the age of 27.
However, the business failed.
We are launching a second company, but this one was also folded in the blink of an eye.
Until I crashed my second company, all I had in mind was the self-centered goal I had set when I was 17 years old: to be able to retire both in time and financially by the age of 45.
When I started my own business, I forgot the most important thing that my seniors had told me over and over again when I was a consultant: "Our business is based on receiving money from our clients and giving them something more than that in return.
Looking back, I think that my self-centeredness was reflected in the services that should have been provided for the users, and that led to a failure both in terms of the company and society.
After these two failures, I decided to start my own business with the goal of giving back something more than just the money I received, something that was obvious but important.
The experience I gained at my second company came to life in the "Repro" business that I launched here.
I was building a website for my second company, and I used a service to visualize user movement on the website as a video and grew my website tremendously. 400% improvement in CVR in one month.
He thought that if he could create an app version with the same features, he could help people who had the same problems as he did.
But when you open the lid, it doesn't sell at all.
It bothered me.
I went around to clients on my own and begged them to use the beta and kept trying to figure out why it wasn't selling.
I finally came to the conclusion that clients don't want analytical tools, they just want a way to grow the KPIs of the services they are involved in, or in other words, a way to grow their business.
It took me a year to realize that, and I'm thinking of implementing a feature in "Repro" that will improve the KPIs of my clients. As a means of delivery, the message that the client wants to deliver can be easily delivered as a push notification or in-app message (pop-up) to the user who wants to deliver it at the desired timing.
We decided to steer the development of "Repro" not as an analysis tool, but as a marketing tool that could be used to communicate with users at the same time.
And just when you think you've finally made it through the long tunnel and that it's all going to be smooth sailing, the cost of the year-long detour comes back to haunt you.
It's a money shorting crisis.
At the time, Repro had the vision of a product it could be confident in and the enthusiasm of its members to be fully committed to the success of its clients, but it had little visibility and sales.
As a result, we have been turned down by 17 companies in the fundraising process. Just as we were on the verge of bankruptcy, Masayuki Sarukawa of DG Incubation (DG) saw the potential of Repro and the enthusiasm of its members, and decided almost immediately to provide financial support.
If I hadn't met Mr. Sarukawa at that time, I'm sure that Repro would have died there.
With the funding from DG, "Repro" will evolve as a marketing tool.
However, once again, sales have not gone up.
Even before we received the financial assistance, our sales were only about 100,000 yen per month.
With a balance of 10 million yen and only two and a half months to go, and on the verge of bankruptcy if no new investors were found, I won the B Dash Camp Pitch Battle and Pitch Arena.
I'm very good with adversity (laughs).
And through winning the B Dash Camp, I learned firsthand the essence of marketing, which is not just about creating a good product, but also about the power of a brand that can only be appreciated by the world.
Before we won, "Repro" was making "good products," but no one would buy them even if we tried to sell them.
After winning the B Dash Camp, "Repro" was signed by a number of clients and the company took off for the first time since starting up. Two weeks after sales had increased about tenfold and an air of happiness began to flow within the company that, for the first time, they would be able to cover their salaries with their own sales, all hell broke loose.
All of a sudden, all of our clients couldn't analyze their aggregate data in "Repro" anymore.
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