In July, WOVN raised 3.6 billion yen in funding from Hong Kong-based Tybourne Capital Management (“Tybourne”) and other investors.Tybourne is a medium to long-term institutional investor with a focus on global investment. As Tybourne is actively investing more in Japan, we asked them about their impression of WOVN.
- About Mr. Masayuki Mochida of Tybourne
- Crossover investor focused on the medium to long-term investments
- What’s important when investing
- A word to WOVN members
1. About Mr. Masayuki Mochida of Tybourne
Experiencing diversity in the world when leaving your small nest
“Please tell us about your career up until now.”
I was born in the U.S. and came back to Japan about six months later. After graduating from university, I joined an investment bank in New York, where I worked for five years in corporate fundraising and business planning.
“What was working at an investment bank like?”
I came to the office at 9:00 a.m. and went home at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. every day, so it was pretty hard work (laughs). But it was fun. At first, I couldn’t speak English at all, but I was surrounded by foreign colleagues and experienced many things in this line of work. At that time, everyone was very understanding of foreigners struggling with English like myself, and there was an inclusive culture of helping each other.
“And so you worked your way up in this diverse environment?”
I’ve never lived in such a diverse environment until then. I went to the same school from kindergarten to university in Japan, so having grown up in such a narrow world, I knew I had jumped in at the deep end going to the U.S. It was tough and it gave me a culture shock, but in retrospect I think it was a good experience.
2. Crossover investor focused on the medium to long-term investments
Dissecting a pre-IPO company and supporting it long-term for post-IPO growth
“Now, can you tell us about the institutional investors at Tybourne once again?”
Tybourne, founded in 2012, is a global institutional investment firm based in Asia with headquarters in Hong Kong and offices in San Francisco. While we are in Asia, we also have significant positions in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. We are a crossover investor, which means that we originally invested in listed companies, but now we also invest in unlisted companies and hold or buy more shares even after IPO.
“Please explain to us the difference between venture capitalists and institutional investors.”
In principle, venture capitalists stop buying once a company goes public. However, we also have the ability to buy post-IPO shares. So, I think the key difference is that we can hold and buy more shares over the medium to long-term, taking advantage of our observations and understanding of the company from its pre-IPO days.
“So you support companies with the expectation they will grow after going public?”
That is correct. I think that’s a great advantage for the company receiving the investment. If a venture company goes public too early in its growth process, it may not be prepared for the responsibilities of a public company. Financial results and forecasts become vital, and of course the business must grow. Also, much better governance will be demanded of the company. My desire is to help get all of this in order before going public.
3. What’s important when investing
Successful SaaS products all have a killer function that resonates with customers
“What are some things to watch out for as an investor?”
There must be a good Product Market Fit (PMF) and a large Total Addressable Market (TAM) along with a competitive advantage. These are important for any investment.
We are not investing in the early stages of a product, but because the company already has an attractive product. Our investment is for helping to scale up the business.
“I hear that you scrutinized WOVN from many angles to get a deeper insight into the business environment and products.”
Rather just having nice functions, I feel that successful SaaS products all have a killer function that you just can’t do without anymore. For example, accounting SaaS are something that everyone should be doing, so it’s very easy to understand why they are must-have products. As WOVN localizes websites, it’s a lot easier to resonate with users if you have a killer function like an easy-to-use glossary, or other similar features. For this reason, it’s especially important to figure out who truly wants to localize their websites and understand what really resonates with WOVN users.
Also, I think in the next phase, we should discuss how and where to approach particular use cases, and how to subsequently sell it. For example, a very interesting point to consider would be whether the same sales team should be assigned to potential clients trying to localize EC sites and branding sites. The more evidence we have regarding this sales structure, the more I think we can grow.
4. A word to WOVN members
The opportunities with WOVN are endless
“Lastly, do you have anything to say to all the WOVN members?”
I am convinced that WOVN is an exceptional product. The TAM is large and there is much more that needs to be done, so I believe that WOVN has the potential to take on the world.
WOVN’s mission and worldview really resonate with me, and I support you all the way.
I feel the opportunities with WOVN are endless. However, I’m sure that tough times await all of you working at WOVN as you attempt to scale the mountain ahead. But WOVN is a great company and we can all do this together!
“Thank you for the encouraging words, I’m sure they will raise motivation among all the WOVN members. Thank you very much for today!”