Rob is the managing partner and CEO of CityBlock Capital, a venture capital platform issuing security tokens backed by equity or tokens in blockchain companies. Rob is also the co-founder and managing partner of Edgewater Equity, an early stage venture capital fund based in New York City. He manages a portfolio of early-stage companies around the globe. Outside of CityBlock & Edgewater, Rob advises a diverse group of operating businesses that range from restaurants to medical cannabis dispensaries. Rob holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Winthrop University and Master of Science of Law in International Taxation from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
AnyPay is a leading Asian FinTech company with offices in Tokyo and Singapore. Founded by Shinji Kimura, a Japanese serial entrepreneur, the company has been providing a number of services, including a digital payment platform and ICO advisory, through which AnyPay helped ICO projects to raise over $80M in total. Having already advised on 3 Security Token Offerings (STOs), AnyPay's newest venture is a software platform that provides an integrated and one-stop solution for companies to launch STOs. With its extensive network of partners in Asia, the company aims to build an STO infrastructure for one of world's growing markets.
Hey everybody, it's me again, Adam Chapnik, with the Security Token Academy. I'm here at the Security Token Industry Launch Week and I'm joined now by a very special guest, the CTO of AnyPay, Tomo Nakamura. Thank you so much for being with us.
Hey, nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you. So, AnyPay is something that in the US we don't hear about much. Can you tell us what is it, first? Then we can talk about it some more?
Sure. AnyPay was founded back in 2016, and the founder is Shinji Kimura who is our senior entrepreneur and the investor, very famous in Japan, and who ... So at the previous company he worked as the CEO, did exit IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
And we initially started with Japanese payment company, like in the US Shopify and Venmo, that kind of stuff we were developing.
In 2017, last year, we expanded into the ICO Advisory Service because, essentially, what we want to do is make the money better.
Okay, so you started off with sort of a Shopify, with some Venmo, and now you do ICO Advisories?
Right. Right. Right.
Okay. Wow, that's a lot of stuff to do in one company. My gosh! So, do you still do all of that?
You do? Okay. And what kind of usage do you get in Japan? Have you grown to a large scale? Are you still finding your users or what size is the company now?
The company has about 35 members now.
35 team members? Okay.
Oh no, 35 members overall. And the payment services, like Shopify and Venmo are very difficult right now, because Japan is still cash-oriented. It takes much more time to change than we anticipated. And that's one of the reasons why we also expanded to the ICO Advisory Service.
Wow, how popular is the ICO environment in Japan right now?
It used to be very popular, but some Japanese SEC called FSA, hasn't ... So it's still struggling to define integrations for the security tokens, or utility tokens. So we talked to IV, actually moved onto the SDO platform for the actual advisory service.
Very exciting. Now, do you have your own platform or are you just advising for people who are using other platforms?
We are now developing a new security token insurance platform.
Oh, exciting! Okay. So, is that entirely because of the vague, sort of the lack of clarity from the regulators or do you see another kind of promise, something exciting in the security token future?
Yeah, one of the biggest triumphs we had is called Drivezy or RentalCoins, which is the Indian car sharing company. On every single security token offering, they purchase a set of cars or bikes and share with other end users. And the profit that set of cars or bike make will be paid back to investors on monthly basis, dividends.
And what is the name of that again, sorry?
Drivezy. Okay got it.
And so because it was successful and we know in the emerging markets like India, Indonesia, those kind of solid state Asia, the opportunity is huge. So, we decided to make a platform so that our fundraisers can make token issuance much easier.
Terrific. Have you found that to be more challenging or less challenging than you expected?
As you know, ICO initially was created so that people with opportunities can raise money from anyone easier, right? Because there were many scammy issues back in last year. So, there would be a means for the regulations. In my understanding, that's one of the reasons why ICO is getting popular right now because for the traditional securities world there are regulation and compliance in place.
Yes. Yeah, it helps people understand, be more confident that they are getting away from the scams.
I hope that's true.
That's true. That's true.
How about you? You're the CTO. What were you doing before AnyPay?
After taking a Master's degree in Computer Science, I joined Goldman Sachs in the technology division, and I was in charge of settlement and clearance for stocks and bonds mainly for the Asian markets. That's actually now one of the reasons why security token is very-
Nice to me, because I was in a settlement, and the trade and settlements are done quite separately in a traditional world, but if both the trade the and settlements are done in the same blockchain, then the entire system life cycle will be much more efficient.
Yeah, absolutely. And you're particularly well suited to do this.
I mean what an interesting ... It's a perfect sort of marriage of your experience and this opportunity. Tomohiro, that must be great for your CEO. What are your plans, let's say, in the coming six to 12 months? I guess you're working on your STO platform. Is it developing the advisory service and the platform? Is that your sole focus or are you going to build these other lines of business also?
So the world is changing rapidly, so for the next three to six months-
Three to six. Maybe better, yeah.
-we will focus on the developments of the security token issuance platform with our ICO advisory service. At this point, we have just yet another platform because there is only the platform. Actually people don't know much about how to structure the entity or the legal tax, et cetera, right? So it's important that we have the ICO advisory service in place with the new security insurance problem, and after that I guess we're going to check how the world status in six months. Yeah.
And if nothing terrible happens, you're still in line, you keep doing. So, who do you have that's running the ICO advisory service and how did you find them?
Who is overseeing the advisory service and how did you find them or what is her or his background?
Okay. Our founder Shinji is big dreamer of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies-
He's a believer?
Yeah, believer. He invested in one of the biggest crypto exchanges called BitFlyer in 2014. It's more than four years ago, right? No one knows about bitcoins but he invested on that, so he's a believer and he focused it, and ICO was coming and the foreign STOs.
That's great. Okay. So if you had to predict, now that you are a part of this ecosystem, if you had to predict what was going to happen a year from now with security tokens in Japan, is there going to be an adoption or are you going to be entirely outside of Japan servicing other people because the Japanese haven't actually come around to security tokens?
They are going to adopt, we believe, but the problem is FSA hasn't determined very much about the regulations about the Security Token, but we believe they will come up with the idea. And we always talk with FSA and help each other. So, they will adopt.
Good. Got it. What do you think the mix will be at AnyPay in terms of Security Tokens? Is it going to be 20% Japanese 80% international, 80% Japanese 20% international? What do you think in terms of Security Token issuances?
Good question. Actually, we are not sure.
That's why we primarily now focus on other part of the Asia, and once the time comes, we will adopt Japanese market again. But actually now, we do get invested from the Japanese investors side, so even though the insurance side is primarily focused on the farthest Asia, but investors side are global.
Oh, that's interesting. Great. Well, thank you so much for sharing what you can tell us about AnyPay. It's great for us to learn about you, please keep us posted and we'll have you back on again some other time.
Thank you, Tomo.
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