GRITDAILY - Mariko Tokioka could be described as a unicorn in the startup world. Forbes Japan named her to their Most Influential Women in Business list, and also featured her in their 55 Women in Global Leadership. Her first startup, Quipper, was sold for $40M and turned her second startup, EME Hive, into the world's largest Asian American dating site. She has raised ~$12M for EME Hive.
Q: What advice do you have for startups struggling during this downturn?
A: Act fast and focus on long-term growth. Options you can take include, strengthening customer service with the goal of decreasing customer churn. Or, enhancing up-sell and cross-sell programs for existing clients to add a long-term value while strengthening cash position.
Q: What advice do you give for startups running out money?
A: You typically have three options: raise more money from investors, sell more products, and cut costs. If you are in the pre-seed or seed stage, VCs mainly look at the team and potential rather than financials. If you are in later stages, you should be ready to take a low valuation.
Q: How are you preparing for the downturn at your company, EME Hive?
A: We have raised plenty of cash to withstand any economic downturn. We have plenty of runway, and continue to develop and improve our live streaming platform. Our live streaming revenue has grown 4x since 2021. For now, our plan is to stay the course and keep doing what we're doing.
Q: What do you see on the other end of any recession for startups?
A: Labor gets easier to find and it's more affordable, especially in the tech space. Ultimately, recessions help eliminate the weak ideas and fortify the strong ones, so stay strong and focused on making your startup dream a reality.