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The original experience of Ryosuke Eguchi, the founder of TERASS, challenging the huge market of 45 trillion yen |

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Going on to higher education, finding a job, changing jobs, getting married, giving birth, becoming independent, caring for parents. The topic is what kind of house to live in, which is related to the transition of life stages. Everyone needs it and the amount of money they spend is large, but finding and choosing a property, as well as dealing with contracts, can be quite difficult. On the other hand, real estate agents who mediate between people looking for real estate and real estate owners also face challenges. The Japanese real estate market makes it difficult to demonstrate your ability as an agent, whether you are a company employee or you want to work independently.

To break through such a situation, I stood up TERASS Co., Ltd. is. We have prepared an environment where excellent real estate agents can focus on customer proposals, and end users can receive proposals from agents with good compatibility. As of September 2022, about 250 real estate agents will participate. Quarterly transaction volume also grew sixfold to about JPY9.0bn in one year.

Many people who are considering real estate transactions or who are engaged in real estate transactions have heard the name. CEORyosuke Eguchi, who joined Recruit as a new graduate and has a career in planning for the real estate site SUUMO. How did he choose the path of a startup when there would have been other ways to get involved in the real estate industry?

A start-up company that returned to its origins on the way to becoming a professional manager

Please tell us about your career and what inspired you to start your own business.

After graduating from Keio University Faculty of Economics, I joined Recruit Co., Ltd. (now Recruit Sumai Company) in 2012. Responsible for more than 100 real estate developers as advertising planning and sales for the real estate site SUUMO. After that, as a media producer in the trading field, I was involved in SUUMO's product strategy formulation, sales promotion, and new product development.

When I first joined Recruit, I thought I would quit and start my own business after about three years. In my family lineage, my grandfather and father were entrepreneurs, my uncle was an architect, my cousin was an assistant professor of psychology, I was also a bandman and an oil painter. Having grown up in such an environment, I had an image of myself living as an entrepreneur. Also, at that time, Mr. Fujita of CyberAgent started to attract attention, and I began to think about starting a business in the Internet business.

At Recruit, I thought it would be nice to have a large amount of money, so I applied for human resources, real estate, and a job in Tokyo, and joined SUUMO. Recruit is famous for its strong sales force, but while my co-workers were achieving their sales targets in 3 months, I struggled quite a bit, and it took me 12 months to reach my sales figures for the first time. In fact, through these experiences, my desire to start a business faded away. Startups are amazing, but I also thought that working in a big company to make a client's company better has an impact on society. Improving something big is very rewarding, and SUUMO's planning and development was very interesting.

In the midst of this, about five years later, in 2017, you moved to McKinsey & Company, a strategy consulting firm.

At that time, I was reading a lot of books on management reform, such as "Management for V-Shaped Recovery". I changed my mind, thinking that making 1 out of 10 would have a greater impact on society than making 1 out of 0. I came to think that I should aim to become a professional manager rather than an entrepreneur. When that happens, you have to experience M&A and organizational design. Nonetheless, if you're in Recruit, you won't be able to get involved in such projects unless you're promoted to department manager or higher. When I researched what kind of careers these so-called professional managers were pursuing, I found that many of them had backgrounds in strategy consulting, so I decided to change jobs to McKinsey.

I joined McKinsey as a management strategy consultant, and most of the companies I was involved with were BtoC companies, with manufacturers, beverages, banks, and telecommunications in different industries. As a project, experienced new business development, marketing strategy, M&A, PMI (integration after merger). I was more suited to growing the top line than reducing costs, so I was involved in the growth strategy and was in charge of a large project.

After that, you started TERASS Co., Ltd. in April 2019. What was the impetus for starting your business?

At that time, I was 28 years old, and felt that I had a long way to go to become a professional manager or a manager, so I took a month off to explore my next career. Rather than starting a business, I was looking for a career as a country manager for overseas startups entering Japan, or as a CXO for startups, and someone I met around this time recommended me to start a business.

I had a lot of trouble, but among the three options of getting a promotion at McKinsey, changing jobs to a startup, and starting a business, starting a business was the one that made the most sense to me. After I decided to start a business, Mr. Shimizu introduced me to Mr. Yusuke Murata, who is the general partner of Incubate Fund, and the two of us started discussing business ideas on a regular basis every week. At the very beginning, I had ideas for real estate, English conversation, and entertainment business, but since I have experience in multiple real estate transactions, and above all, I have experience at SUUMO, I thought that it would be the easiest real estate area for “Founder Market Fit”. To narrow it down to. We explored several issues such as live commerce and issues surrounding administrators, but focused on services focused on real estate agents, which were popular in the United States, and did not pivot from there.

Could you tell us about the business of TERASS?

TERASS develops two main businesses: “Terass Agent”, a platform for real estate agents, and “Terass Offer (formerly Agently)”, which receives real estate sales offers from excellent agents. The corona crisis is rather a tailwind, and with the increase in non-face-to-face customer service and the lifting of the ban on online contracts, the monthly transaction volume exceeded 1 billion yen, the number of proposals exceeded 4,200, and the total number of messages exceeded 23,000, continuing rapid growth.

What was especially difficult for you?

I struggle every day, but the most difficult thing at the beginning was to find a real estate agent who would participate in the Terass Agent platform and become a partner. I wanted to approach as broadly as possible, but since the first people had to be successful examples, they had to be overwhelmingly excellent as real estate agents. It was a lot of trial and error, such as sending letters to individuals, so I was deeply moved when Mr. Nakagawa was the first agent to join us. Although Mr. Nakagawa has a long history in the real estate industry, he has doubts about the irrationality of the industry, such as the obligation to come to work and the compensation cap for agents. I had it. It is a form that you sympathize with the value and philosophy of our service. After that, starting with Mr. Nakagawa, it really increased slowly at first, but now we have nearly 600 applicants a month, and about 40 new people are participating as agents every month.

I think there are many people who want to become an agent, but are there any conditions?

While it is highly likely that people with experience in real estate brokerage will be able to play an active role, it is essential that they have a client-first sense of values. I would like to work with someone who has thoroughly explored what kind of added value he or she is trying to create through his or her own experience. As more and more areas are being replaced by AI, we believe that there will be added value precisely because real estate agents are handled by humans. Optimal properties, financial plans, etc. are quite high-context topics, and like lawyers, human resource agents, and marriage agencies, the ability to read between the lines and personalities and match them is required.

In the United States, it is fully disclosed who is handling which real estate brokerage. In Japan, it is a difficult model from the viewpoint of information disclosure, but I hope to eventually be able to do it for optimal matching. TERASS also has an agent commendation system.

It is said that the funds raised are being used to expand the Terass service, but at the moment the series B has just been closed.

220 million yen in series A from Globis Capital Partners, Incubate Fund, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, which will lead in 2021. In July 2022, GLOBIS CAPITAL PARTNERS and SBI Investment will be co-lead investors in Series B, and 1 billion yen will be raised from five companies: existing investors Incubate Fund, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and new investors startup studio combo. I have procured Fundraising is difficult every time, but we have a business track record after Series A, and for Series B, we received more inquiries than last time, so we were able to raise funds smoothly.

Could you tell us about the organizational culture and recruitment?

Since I work fully remotely and fully flexibly, I would like to hire people who sympathize with the mission, work autonomously and firmly, and can communicate within the company without stress. In particular, we have a small number of elite members, and although we have members in Sapporo, Wakayama, Kyushu, etc., we are a team that can make a solid impact.

In addition to regular weekly meetings, we also hold off-site meetings with people from all over Japan once every six months. In addition, if we could meet physically, chatting would occur while traveling, but if we do not have a place online, it will not happen easily, so we have a corner every week called "What's new" where we deliberately talk privately. . TERASS is a company that wants to support individuals, so I want the members to have their own individuality and to be a team that respects that. The idea is not to encroach on privacy, but to ensure psychological safety through self-disclosure. There are communities and club activities for each region, but employees are free to play with each other or not. Because it's our way to provide a life with a lot of choices.

How about publicity strategy?

Real estate gives the impression that it is difficult to approach, and our service tends to have a complicated impression because it is a BtoBtoC model. However, buying and selling real estate is a very important life event for many people. We are trying to create a public relations strategy that is easy to understand and easy to understand for a wide range of people. Because of the new service, we are especially strengthening our outreach to early adopters, and we are also active as a NewsPicks professional picker. One of the publicity strategies is to make me the representative icon. My own influence makes hiring easier, and I try to do what I can.

Steady growth with listening skills cultivated in the era of strategy consulting

How did you spend your school days?

Born in Tokyo and raised in Tokyo. I took the entrance exam for junior high school, but at that time I was not accepted into the school I wanted to enter. In junior high school, he devoted himself to practicing and studying in the basketball club, and passed the entrance exam for Keio Shiki High School. When I was in high school, I did various things during my school days, such as chairing the school festival, working part-time, and running a student organization called AGESTOCK after entering university.

In terms of job hunting, I received informal offers in addition to Recruit. Companies such as Rakuten, DeNA, CyberAgent, etc. that are focusing on new businesses and promoting in-house entrepreneurship. At that time, DeNA and CyberAgent were focusing on the game field. I was concerned that my assignment to Rakuten would have a large impact, so I chose Recruit because of the high possibility of being assigned to an area I was interested in.

Could you tell us how you spend your days off and how you refresh yourself?

I'm the type of person who feels guilty when I'm resting. However, if I work too hard and fall down, it's a mistaking, so I've decided to take a rest on Saturdays.

Golf is what I do for a change of pace, and I've been doing it for about 10 years since I started working. I still go out on the course with my friends from the golf club that I made when I was at McKinsey, and sometimes I go with the members of TERASS. I also have classic hobbies such as cooking and sauna, and I try not to look at my smartphone as much as possible on my days off.

Could you give a message to startups in the pre-seed to seed stage?

It may be very obvious, but the most important thing is to borrow the wisdom of our predecessors. If you are starting a business for the first time, it will be the first time for you to raise funds, increase the number of people, and so on. However, since it's my first time, I don't know, but it's not a normal world, so I need to learn from my seniors and read books. When I joined McKinsey, I learned the importance of asking questions. Searching alone is not enough; listening to actual experiences is the best way to learn. However, what the other person talks about is their experience of success or failure, and the trick is to separate and absorb the facts that happened and the speaker's emotions. It's someone else's experience, not mine. It's up to you to decide how you perceive your experience, so practice how well you can ask questions that bring out the facts.

Finally, please give our readers a few words of advice about the worldview you want to create.

Japan's real estate market is said to be the third largest in the world. In the industry, there is also a wonderful accumulation of past predecessors. Rather than destroying the Japanese real estate brokerage industry, I would like to empower and support it. I have my own hands-on experience and am committed to growing the service, which makes me even more passionate. We want to free all of the real estate buyers, sellers, and brokerage agents. Freedom means having many choices. Until now, people engaged in the real estate business had no choice but to work for a company as a full-time employee, or to take risks and become independent. However, we offer our services as a third option. More options for real estate sellers means more options for buyers. I hope that various encounters will make real estate transactions more free and vivid. If you can sympathize with this idea, please join us.

TERASS Co., Ltd.
Address
Toranomon Hills Business Tower 15F, 1-17-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
CEO
Ryosuke Eguchi
Website
https://terass.com/
Careers
https://terass.com/recruit
JP Startups副編集長/N.FIELD代表 三菱UFJ銀行、SoftBankを経て2019年より一般社団法人Fintech協会事務局長。2020年より合同会社N.FIELD代表。TechCrunchJapanライターを経て2022年よりJPStartups副編集長。 多方面の事業に明るく、イベント登壇・執筆、スタートアップ支援、業界団体運営を通したパブリック・アフェアーズなどにより、自律分散型社会の設計を目指す。

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