Indiegogo expands its Global Fast Track Program to Japan

Indiegogo plans to help more Japanese entrepreneurs run successful crowdfunding campaigns through a new expansion of its Global Fast Track Program.

Indiegogo first launched the program several years ago in China. The idea behind Global Fast Track is to provide an extra level of support to entrepreneurs in specific markets, guiding them through the process of creating campaigns for global consumers, particularly those in the U.S. and Europe.

In fact, Lu Li, the general manager for Indiegogo’s global strategy, told me that the program has already supported more than 670 entrepreneurs launching campaigns, with 40 of those campaigns raising $1 million or more. To support this, Indiegogo has a team in China “doing sales and marketing and really focusing on bringing on the most high-quality campaigns,” Li said.

And although there have already been successful campaigns launched from Japan, it sounds like Indiegogo will be expanding its presence in a similar way in Japan. In this case, it’s also partnering with the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO).

“We are very excited to announce JETRO’s partnership with Indiegogo,” said Noriya Tarutani, executive director of JETRO San Francisco, in a statement. “Thanks to more than 40% annual growth of crowdfunding in Japan in recent years, we have been receiving a lot of inquiries from Japanese startups about how they can leverage crowdfunding as a way to bring their amazing products to the global market. We are confident that our collaboration will be mutually beneficial to Indiegogo as they enter Japan, as well as Japanese startups expanding overseas.”

In addition, Indiegogo says it will start supporting campaigns using Japanese yen, and it will also showcase campaigns from the country through a “Made in Japan” collection.

Indiegogo CEO Andy Yang said that this is the right time to expand into Japan because of a “vibrant startup ecosystem” that has emerged in recent years to challenge the dominance of traditional giants.

Yang added that the company has become cashflow positive, and that it has continued to see growth during the pandemic.

“There was a crowdfunding peak or heyday in 2016, and then the industry overall went through an awkward period where entrepreneurs were still learning and backers are still trying to understand what to expect,” he said. “That’s a continually evolving process … but we’re seeing lot of great tailwinds, specifically from entrepreneurs with a lot of appetite to find new sales channels.”