We were privileged to be able to speak to Akiko Naka, Founder & CEO of Wantedly, during her trip to Singapore for their launch this week. Wantedly is a Tokyo-based startup that uses the web to ‘build a world where work meets passion.’ They have created what is now Japan’s largest business networking platform where people and companies meet based on passion and values, rather than money or benefits. Unlike other web recruitment services, Wantedly does not allow their clients to disclose the salary of the job listing. They want clients to focus on the vision of the companies instead.
At the back of their huge runaway success in Japan, Wantedly has been moving swiftly to expand into other parts of Asia. ConnectOne has been an integral partner helping Wantedly put together a core team regionally as part of their expansion plans.
Launched in Singapore on 2 March, they are here to make Singaporeans' dream jobs a reality and help exciting companies find the right talents.
Wantedly’s Expansion Strategies in Asia
Wantedly has established their presence in Indonesia and with the launch of the Singapore office, investment banker-turned-entrepreneur Akiko Naka has plans to focus on expanding into other English-speaking countries in Asia.
In the future, she hopes to be able to expand into the US, UK, and North America. However, it will be a step-by-step process to ensure they hire the right person and scale-up with culture being intact across the company globally.
When asked what her strategies to ensure expansion success are, Akiko did not hesitate and gave a firm answer that the right strategy is to find the right people in the local space who are familiar with the culture and have the best network to lead a local team.
Three Must-Have Qualities Of Ideal Startup Talent
As we know, rapid expansion means hiring the right people with the right skills has never been more crucial. Akiko looks for these three must-have qualities when looking for talent.
Smart. The success of a startup depends on the team of highly qualified people who are committed to the mission and objectives of the company. Hiring people who are smarter than you is the best way to grow the capability of your company and build the strength of your business.
Optimistic. People who are optimistic are very valuable as they help to keep the spirit up in the startup world where challenges in building new products abound and rejection is very common. Optimism helps boost your ability to thrive.
Share the same vision. When your employees believe in your product, they will naturally be optimistic and motivated to make your business success.
Akiko believes that these three qualities are interdependent and one will not work without the other.
Crystal Clear Mission
During the interview, we discovered that the mission of a company is extremely important to Akiko as she learnt it the hard way. Without a crystal clear mission statement, she had hired the wrong people in the past based on skills she needed then. It took her two years to come up with a mission statement that is super clear such that “even your mom or a five-year-old kid can understand,” Akiko said. After various attempts, Akiko is finally satisfied with their current catchy, short and concise mission statement:
“Build a world where work meets passion“
This mission statement has helped Wantedly stand out and attract people to their platform, like-minded people who believe in the same mission and are keen to join their dream company.
However, Akiko warned “People tend to be confused between 0 to 1 and 1 to 10. If you are in stage 0 to 1, you have to focus on getting your product done and used by consumers, not worried about the mission. Else, you will run out of cash and fail. If you are at stage 1 to 10, i.e. you get your product right with a decent number of growing users, and in the phase of scaling your team, then you need to work on your mission statement.”
We wish Wantedly all the very best in their international expansion plans and look forward to partnering them!