Justa’s Founding Story

Justa was founded in the early days of Japan’s current startup boom.

When we launched Justa it was hard for startups to hire (it’s still not easy!, but Justa is making it easier). Startups were not a “thing” in Japan yet. Most people were not open to join a startup. There wasn’t a curated pool of candidates that you could easily tap in to. Growing startups had to network aggressively, move beyond simply tapping in to their friend’s networks, or using an expensive recruitment firm with their limited cash. 

We were meeting founders who were struggling with this daily. Startups were slow to grow in Japan, partly because there wasn’t the ready talent to join them when they needed. Founders were struggling to accelerate their growth, spending so much time on recruiting, often not bringing in the level of talent they wanted.

We struggled too. As we were building our first startup it was really hard to attract great talent. You have no brand, you have no megaphone, no-one knows you. Once we could get them to take the long walk from the station to our small startup office, seat them in our IKEA furniture, we could excite many people with our dreams and can do attitude. But getting them there was so hard! Not many people would listen to our opening pitch, and we didn’t have an efficient way to tell our story.

Being foreign founders we couldn’t use Japanese twitter to hire in to our startup (like you can today), it was still cat and food pictures back then. Facebook had not yet become the LinkedIn of Japan, and LinkedIn had almost no presence. There were just massive un-curated job boards like Recruit Navi. You’d be digging for hours through candidate databases, sending out tons of scout mails with a minimal response rate before you got the hint of a real bite of interest.

But we stuck with it. Justa wasn’t always pretty. The first versions, and dare we say the 2nd, were not the most beautiful tools to work with. But startups wanted to use it, promote their brand, and find an efficient, affordable way to get to their targeted talent quickly.

Our candidates liked it too. Now we’ve grown to a group in the tens of thousands that use Justa to find startup jobs in japan. We didn’t set out for Justa to be a way for foreign engineers to join startups in Japan, but we have gotten good at it. We have some fantastic foreign engineering talent joining Japanese startups weekly, enriching the quality of the startup ecosystem here.

We are going to ride this trend of more foreigners coming into Japan. Every day we work hard to make Justa better. Our work will help startups promote themselves better, find that perfect candidate quicker, and allow our candidates to find more accurate information about exciting startups in Japan.

Justa is in it to win it.

Push us hard to be better for you. We welcome your feedback. We want Justa to build and enrich the startup talent ecosystem in Japan much, much more. We envision a world where the talent levels in Japan are matching those of silicon valley. Justa is working to make that happen.

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