Asia Tech Podcast – Episode 58 – Akemi Tsunagawa – CEO of Bespoke – Now It’s About Scaling and Processes

by | Nov 20, 2019

I caught up with Akemi Tsunagawa, the Founder and CEO of Bespoke, a real-time engagement platform for tourists and the tourism industry.  When we last spoke in September 2018, the team had no intention of expanding to the United States.  However, after being introduced to Gabe Klein, now an advisor to Bespoke, all of that changed.  Notably, Gabe has been the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation and the Commissioner of Transportation for the City of Chicago.  These roles, along with myriad other experiences, give him connectivity to United States based clients that would not have been possible previously.

Making further progress and seeing strong interest from US potentials, led Bespoke to open an office in San Francisco and set up a proper entity to operate in the United States.  Akemi had been following the career of Tobias Wessels for a while.  She noted jokingly that she had been ‘cyber-stalking’ him since they met at a conference almost three years ago…and when the timing was finally right, she offered him the role of running Bespoke’s international business and Akemi was happy when he accepted.  Tobias also came with a great client list which is helping to accelerate the growth of Bespoke’s business.

Akemi noted that even just a year ago, it was difficult to explain what a chatbot was.  Fast forward a year and the world has caught up to the notion of what a chatbot is and how they can be useful.  One of the places where the Japanese government is working with Bespoke is during crisis management.  This is a place where this type of engagement platform can be super useful.

Bespoke’s growth has clearly entered a new phase, which means that the staff make-up has to change as well.  Akemi and I talked about how this growth requires a different mindset and skillset from her management team.  This is one of the new challenges that Akemi is encountering.

Asia Tech Podcast - Episode 58 - Akemi Tsunagawa - CEO of Bespoke - Now It’s About Scaling and Processes

by Akemi Tsunagawa | Asia Tech Podcast

Latest Episodes:

EP 324 – Creating a Canon for Progress: Empowering Global Entrepreneurs with Essential Knowledge – Tamara Winter – Commissioning Editor of Stripe Press

EP 324 – Creating a Canon for Progress: Empowering Global Entrepreneurs with Essential Knowledge – Tamara Winter – Commissioning Editor of Stripe Press

“Well, we think of this catalog as, ideally, a kind of cannon for progress, both in a very sort of explicit sense when it comes to, again, growing the GDP of the internet, making it much easier for people who have very ambitious ideas about a company they want to build to do that, and in an easier way than they might have to do if they were just trying to figure out everything themselves. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” – Tamara Winter

read more
EP 323 – Building Businesses and Breaking Barriers: A Global Entrepreneurial Odyssey – Meenah Tariq – CEO of Metric

EP 323 – Building Businesses and Breaking Barriers: A Global Entrepreneurial Odyssey – Meenah Tariq – CEO of Metric

In this episode of the Asia Tech Podcast, ⁠Meenah Tariq⁠, CEO of ⁠Metric⁠ and an experienced entrepreneur with deep roots in emerging markets, shared her journey and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Meenah discussed her early introduction to entrepreneurship in Pakistan, beginning with childhood ventures that sparked a lifelong passion for business.

read more
EP 322 – Stripe’s Strategy Shift: How Open Payment Systems Benefit Primer – Gabriel Le Roux – co-Founder and CEO of Primer

EP 322 – Stripe’s Strategy Shift: How Open Payment Systems Benefit Primer – Gabriel Le Roux – co-Founder and CEO of Primer

“What we are saying is, hey, right now you have this unified infrastructure that allows you to do payment experimentation. And guess what, if you want to try and test different services, now you have access to an app store of services, you go in, in the Primer dashboard, they can just like toggle on and off, like the services you want to use. You can add test them, AB testing in the world of payments is simply impossible, right?”—

The Asia Tech Podcast welcomed Gabriel Le Roux, a co-Founder and the CEO of ⁠Primer⁠ back to the show for a quick catch up. Gabriel had written a post on how Stripe’s new openness would change the payment space and I wanted to record about it.

read more