Team Spotlight on Hajime: The reliable and hardworking unsung hero, who gets things done with…
Fondly proclaimed “the number guy,” Hajime is managing finance activities and fund accounting. Hajime works with both the US and Japan teams on finance and investments and is responsible for delivering fund financials and performances to the investors., He has high praise for the welcoming and homely culture at DNX as well as its unique and outstanding presence as a cross-border investment fund based in both Silicon Valley, the center of the startup industry, and Tokyo, a city where the startup is rapidly booming.
Born in Chicago, raised in Japan, but eventually finding himself back in the US, his career started out as an auditor at EY, transitioning into financial planning roles at gaming companies, and even as a CFO in a Japanese startup, where he raised $8 million in capital at its Series A. After achieving this lifelong goal of becoming a CFO, he became intrigued by the VC industry, and how VCs evaluate and grow startups, which is how he finds himself now at DNX. One of the aspects he’s passionate about in finance is that it gives objective insights into analyzing or evaluating companies. He feels finance is intricate since where to look in financials always varies, depending on what he desires to understand or evaluate. He enjoys the casual corporate culture at DNX, where management is always happy to hear different opinions in a welcoming environment.
What is your advice for entrepreneurs?
I’d say: always pay attention to the cash flow with a mid-to-long-term “concrete business plan” in terms of generating revenues. As an ex-CFO, I’ve truly learned the importance of having such a vision for your finances, in order to avoid cash burnout before the company establishes its business model.
What sectors or trends excite you?
SaaS is currently growing really fast and is expected to grow even more, and this is the investment sector where DNX has the greatest strength. Being exposed to this cutting-edge trend is exciting and educational. At the moment DNX doesn’t invest in entertainment and gaming but hopefully, that is an area of expansion in the future because I have worked for a startup and a company that represents that sector, and I believe that it is an industry that will grow significantly in the future where Metaverse is expected to develop.
What are some challenges you have faced in your VC career?
I’ve found that managing multiple funds can be difficult. As of right now, I manage over 20 funds across international borders, and I find that it’s imperative to be organized to stay on top of it all. In the meantime, growing fund sizes mean DNX has been growing rapidly, and I’m very honored to be a part of the growth in the position responsible for Finance. Going forward, I would like to deepen my knowledge not only through numbers in fund finance management, but also about the business model, current status, outlook, and industry trends of the portfolio.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
I love to surf and go camping- I’ve always been mesmerized by the ocean, and I love the experience of physically being in nature. And, needless to say, spending time with my family is irreplaceable, fun and important in my life.