Agatha CEO Talks About Japan’s SaaS Startup Success

by | Apr 25, 2022 | Blog, news and events

Chiemi Kamakura

Agatha’s CEO, Chiemi Kamakura, joined the Disrupting Japan podcast to talk about Japan’s SaaS startup industry, her company’s success, the role of female founders, and much more.

Here’s what they talked about:

  • The real reason Japanese hospitals can’t get away from paper
  • Why it’s hard to innovate from inside a company
  • Can Japanese SIs survive in the SaaS era
  • Agatha’s commitment to being global from Day 1
  • How global and Japan SaaS markets are different (and how they’re not)
  • How SaaS can thrive in highly regulated industries.
  • The importance of a personal network in high-trust products
  • How to develop more female founders in Japan
  • Some good advice on going global with a SaaS product

On Why She Started Agatha

“Actually, I found this issue. There are so many papers in a clinical trial. I found that in 2007, when I visited one of the hospitals. At the time I was working at Hitachi and I was looking for new business.

And in one meeting room, I saw that a lot of paper, like 30 centimeter paper per person, then they are for 20 people. So I was so shocked. What is this paper? And then I asked the person at the hospital, and then she answered :

‘This is a document sent from a pharmaceutical company. It’s for an application for a clinical trial. And then next week, there’s a meeting for that. And then after that, everything will be destroyed.’ I was so shocked.

So Hitachi should be the company who solves these kind of issues by IT. ? When I talked to my colleague, he said, ‘Yes, Hitachi has a great product that costs 2 million USD’. But these hospitals could not afford that.

Then after 5 or 10 years, I saw many services moving to cloud. And if you use Cloud, there are many systems downsizing and going off-premise, not just life sciences companies.

Hospitals are a little bit conservative. It’s always other industries to change first, and then healthcare or life science. I saw that many SaaS startup companies bringing new innovation to many business processes. Then in 2015, I thought it’s the time, we can bring that innovation to hospitals and pharma.”

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