Introducing Headline Asia’s New Advisor, Koichi Maruo

Koichi Maruo

It’s our honor to announce that Koichi Maruo joined Headline Asia as Advisor on June 1, 2021.

A little bit about Mr. Maruo is that he was born in Osaka in 1960. He graduated from the Faculty of Law, Kwansei Gakuin University in 1984, and joined Daiwa Securities Co in the same year. In 2006, Mr. Maruo became General Manager of Corporate Banking Division №7, and in 2009, he was named Executive Officer in charge of Corporate Banking. In 2012, he was appointed Managing Executive Officer in charge of Corporate Banking and Corporate Planning. In 2015, he was promoted to Senior Managing Director in charge of Corporate Banking and Corporate Planning and Vice President of the Corporate Department. He retired from those roles at the end of March 2021 and was appointed as Executive Advisor of Daiwa Securities in April 2021.

We’re thrilled to welcome Mr. Maruo, and we asked him for a little bit of insight into what made him decide to join Headline Asia, as well as what words of advice that he has for entrepreneurs.

How did you meet the Headline Asia team and what made you decide to join as an advisor?

I started my involvement in IVS, Headline’s invitation-only conference for executives, more than 10 years ago. As the first LP from a securities firm, we have had a long relationship in various ways, including investments in funds. Although many other startup conferences and several pitch events appeared, IVS was the pinnacle of startup events. As I became a regular judge for LaunchPad, one of Japan’s largest pitch contests that’s held at IVS, it somehow became a regular occurrence that Akio Tanaka, Partner and co-founder of Headline, would joke with me every time I made a comment.

When I retired from my position at Daiwa Securities in March 2021, Mr. Tanaka offered me the opportunity to assume this new position in Headline Asia. I was a big fan of IVS and wanted to support it. That’s why I participated as a judge and spoke in sessions.

Networking, one of the most valuable parts of the event, has become difficult due to the pandemic. We’re pushed to change how we host events, and I see the value of being behind the scenes to make the events more interesting. I would like to apply my career to the conference and add a new taste that has never existed in IVS before. On the other hand, I have been participating in IVS for a long time, but of course I have never seen the inside of the firm, Headline. Now that I have decided to join as Advisor, I hope to make the most of my career to date.

As you have supported many startups on their way to IPO. What advice would you give to startups who are aiming to go public?

First of all, I would like to encourage people to take on the challenge of an IPO. There are some things that you can do because you work for a company, but I would like you to aim for the option of starting your own business. I also believe that not everyone will do well, but even if you fail, there is always something to learn. I also have the impression that the number of such bold people is decreasing these days.

“I also believe that not everyone will do well, but even if you fail, there is always something to learn.”

I want Japanese startups to create a trend that will become the next GAFA. I would like to see Japan become a world leader in innovation. This will also lead to the growth of Japan. In other words, I would like you to aim for an IPO that can challenge the global market.

  • This interview was translated from Japanese, and edited for content and clarity.

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