Kota Yamaguchi: A Serial Entrepreneur with Zeal to Succeed

Successful entrepreneurs are driven by the zeal to achieve something new with their dedicated endeavors. They are team players who always focus on building team spirit who believes in teamwork and dedication. They are leaders who never give up in the face of adversity and turn every challenge into opportunities. One such devoted serial entrepreneur who is transforming the face of business is Kota Yamaguchi, Co-Founder and Managing Director of ARIGATOBANK. 

The ardent entrepreneur began his career by joining DeNA in 2010 and developed several new products and services. In 2015, he became the founding member of the subsidiary of Sprinklr, a global unicorn (Sprinklr went public on Wednesday June 23, 2021), and built a software business from the ground up. Later, Mr.Yamaguchi joined the subsidiary of the hospitality company OYO in 2018 as a founding member and expanded the business in various roles. In addition to ARIGATOBANK, he also manages a beer company, TRYPEAKS which plans concepts, tastes, manufacturing, and sales of craft beers. 

Kota Yamaguchi
Kota Yamaguchi, Managing Director, Arigatobank

The Inception Tale of ARIGATOBANK

 “As we all know the gap between rich and poor is rapidly expanding all over the world and most people are worried about money. It is like we are dominated by money. So I was wondering how we can change this mindset of everyone because I want everyone to focus on what they love,” shares Mr. Yamaguchi. In a short time, he met Yusaku Maezawa, owner of ARIGATOBANK and a humanitarian who has donated money to thousands of people through his social media for over 2.5 years. Mr. Maezawa believes that people would be happier if they got enough money and used it for what they want to do. Keeping this in mind, Mr. Yamaguchi proposed an idea to build a wealth redistribution ecosystem by a non-official organization. With this objective, the duo is currently developing a fintech infrastructure focusing on the donation C2C platform system. “And then we might expect some businesses will be integrated into that infrastructure later on. Yusaku loved this idea and decided to develop the service,” affirms Mr. Yamaguchi.

ARIGATOBANK is based on a strong vision, mission, and value. “By staying true to customers, we believe that all stakeholders would understand what we are striving to achieve,” says, Mr. Yamaguchi. In terms of recruiting, the company has clear evaluation criteria according to its core values. The company has implemented OKR incorporating company values for performance management. With a vision to reduce the number of people facing financial difficulties, ARIGATOBANK follows three core values:

  • Be a professional
  • Grow to be kind
  • Be a giver

Attributes of a Leader

According to Mr. Yamaguchi, a good leader is someone who can be clear where to go, hire great people who resonate with corporate culture, build a team and motivate it, empower the team to manage the operational tasks and stick to absolutely critical points, remove future obstacles in advance, and make decisions swiftly based on all of the above.

“In December 2020, I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and underwent surgery. After going through that experience, I recognize that my life can be taken away at any time, and it motivates me greatly to become a better entrepreneur,” asserts Mr. Yamaguchi. As a result, the entrepreneur aims to create an infrastructure that makes people worry less about money. ARIGATOBANK allows people to build warm and strong relationships by exchanging ARIGATO which means Thank you in Japanese and help find their own life instead of caring too much about the money. “I’m passionate about not only challenging myself but also supporting challengers; I support a lot of entrepreneurs and some venture companies,” says, Mr. Yamaguchi.

Sustainable Future

ARIGATOBANK launched its first product, “kifutown”, enabling its concept and vision to fit in the society at this moment. “We will make a solid strategy after that. As we have a strong point that our owner, Yusaku Maezawa, has 10 million followers on Twitter, which is 10% of the Japanese population, and his financial assets are so huge, we would take a characteristic approach. If our approach is accepted by many users, our service will get many users and become an infrastructure for the circulation of money. It could be a business-like Alipay in China,” concludes, Mr. Yamaguchi.