Mentor Corner: Meet Hiroki Kudo
Mentor Corner is a monthly feature highlighting the incredible contributions made by our mentor network to our venture community.
At entrepreneurship@UBC, we are privileged to work with a pool of 250+ mentors across the Vancouver and BC innovation ecosystem who invest their time, expertise and insights into growing the early-stage ventures of tomorrow. From entrepreneurial leadership development to scaling venture creation, our mentor network is fundamental to what we do here and we are excited to introduce you to them in our monthly feature, Mentor Corner!
Meet Hiroki Kudo
Having a broad work experience from IBM, GREE, and Locondo, Hiroki Kudo is the CEO and Founder of MerryBiz Inc, a startup company that provides back-office outsourcing services for more than 300 enterprises. He brings his expertise in startups and project management. He is also the founder of Fintech Association of Japan, which works together with Japanese Ministries to strengthen the Fintech ecosystem in Japan. MBA and MEng holder, Hiroki has been a mentor with entrepreneurship@UBC's Spring 2022 cohort, working with CORE ventures like Isempower and Stamp Sounds.
Learn more about how Hiroki works with ventures as a mentor, what advice he’d give to our community and the most important lessons he’s learned along the way.
How did you get into mentorship? What brought you here? What keeps you coming back?
My family and I had moved to Vancouver July 2021. As a startup founder, I wanted to connect with like-minded people. Networking heavily through people I knew when I was in Tokyo, I got connected with a Canadian VC who introduced me to the Vancouver Economic Commission, which introduced me to Chang Han, Lead Entrepreneur in Residence at entrepreneurship@UBC.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your mentorship career?
Active listening and understanding each startup. People, in general, see/hear things through their own experience. You might accidentally shove a startup into a framework that you are familiar with. Being humble and always being in the “beginner's mind” is crucial. And don’t advise. Asking the right questions is the key.
"People, in general, see/hear things through their own experience. You might accidentally shove a startup into a framework that you are familiar with. Being humble and always being in the “beginner's mind” is crucial."
- Hiroki Kudo
Working with early-stage startups, you have the opportunity to make a huge impact on the founders you are working with. What impacts have founders made on you?
Rediscovering the world with a different set of eyes. The pain points that the startups are solving, the new technology that the startups bring to the table are often eye-opening. I feel privileged to be able to see this at first hand.
If you could impart one piece of sage advice for our community, what would it be?
Own what you do. What you are doing has never been done before. Do utliize secondary data. But believe in the primary information that you see in front of you. You are at the frontier of humankind. Believe in yourself and push forward.
What book are you reading? What playlist are you listening to? What is the app you can’t quit?
I am reading books and watching videos around how our mind factors as a receptor of knowledge and information beyond our existence. Currently, I am reading Osamu Tezuka’s “Budda” (a comic).
What is the most important element as a startup founder?
Metal health is important, especially for startup founders since the ups and downs are dramatic. Meditate, bathe in sunlight, walk for more than 20 minutes, eat a hot meal, and find someone you can talk to who will always be supportive.
I also prepare videos about tips and tricks on startups. Have a look!
"Metal health is important, especially for startup founders since the ups and downs are dramatic."
- Hiroki Kudo
Thank you Hiroki for your expert insights and continued impact on our community!
Are you interested in joining our mentor network?