About Us

Evan Burkosky Bio

Originally from Vancouver, Canada I've lived and worked in Japan since 2003

I’ve started 3 businesses in Japan, brought several tech companies to the Japanese market as Country Manager or consultant, and helped many with digital transformation (DX). This site is a collection of the lessons I’ve learned through that process. I hope it will be useful to Japanese startups, companies looking to enter the Japanese market, and those undergoing DX.

My specialties are Digital Marketing, B2B SaaS sales, Japan market entry, digital transformation (DX), and AI. My career in Japan has included co-founding martech-related startups, working at digital marketing agencies, and helping several software companies enter the market and scale up their teams here. My personal mission has been to help Japanese society through innovations in sectors such as AI, machine learning, and automation which are essential technologies for increasing productivity in the face of an aging workforce and declining population.

Early Career & Education

I started my career working summers on the deck of my father’s fishing boat off Vancouver Island where I learned the value of teamwork, how to follow directions, seamanship, navigation, and the thrill of being a self-employed small business owner. Winters I worked in retail jobs at electronics shops and got my first sales training. This combination of summer and winter jobs helped me pay my way through school. Initially, I planned to follow my father as a fishboat captain, but increasing government restrictions on the small-boat fishing fleet made this difficult. I explored a career in the Coast Guard for a time and received my Marine Emergency Training certificates, then attended Mechanical Engineering courses at Malaspina University and Marketing & Business Administration at CCTC in Vancouver where I learned the basics of digital marketing and web design. During College I apprenticed as a house painter with my uncle then started my first small business as a painting subcontractor, hiring fellow students to paint homes evenings and weekends which gave me valuable entrepreneurial experience. Continuing to work part-time in electronics sales I became a specialist in mobile phones and was recruited to work at Rogers AT&T in B2B sales.

Career & Education in Japan

In 2003 a desire to see the world lead to me obtaining a teaching English as a second language (TESOL) certificate and working holiday visa for Japan, where I intended to teach English part-time while exploring the viability of creating a business for the import and marketing of Canadian seafood in Hokkaido. I had the opportunity to work with JETRO on this project and learned a great deal, but realized that I needed to improve my Japanese skills for this business to be viable. English teaching turned out to be a good business opportunity so after a year of teaching at NOVA I founded my own school called EES 英会話 and attended Japanese classes at the Muroran Institute of Technology. I was subsequently recruited by the Muroran Board of Education to be an Assistant English Teacher (AET) and taught at Junior High Schools during the day and my own school at night and on weekends. 

After several years of teaching and utilizing the digital marketing skills I’d learned in school to promote my own business, several of my corporate students began to ask if I could show them how to use the internet to promote their businesses. In response to this need I co-founded a marketing agency in 2007 called konnichiwa-japan 株式会社 which grew to become one of Hokkaido’s largest multilingual digital marketing agencies doing branding, web development, SEO, PPC, analytics, and social media campaigns. This coincided with the increase in inbound tourism to Hokkaido, especially in the Niseko region, and we had the privilege of working with Hokkaido Prefecture, Niseko town, large corporations like Nitori, and the Niseko Hilton, YTL Hotels, etc. During this time we developed the code base for what was later to become my 3rd business in Japan, a B2B/B2G SaaS platform called TourismBuilder.

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and resulting nuclear incident at Fukushima caused a decline in the inbound tourism industry which harshly impacted the konnichiwa-japan business, so I moved to Tokyo and took a position at e-Agency, one of Google’s largest solutions providers for the Google Analytics Premium (later Google 360) platform, Adobe Test & Target, and Optimizely AB testing platform. Our team helped Japan’s Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation efforts. There I helped build a team to sell and service Optimizely and bring them to the Japanese market. Through this partnership, I had the opportunity to visit their office in San Francisco several times, attend their sales training, learn CRM-based data-driven sales processes, and implement them in Japan. While at e-Agency I also collaborated with the data team in the Works department at J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) as a consultant, building out analytics and data-driven dashboards in Data Studio for client pitches.

After several years at e-Agency I switched from a full-time to consulting contract, continuing to work with the Optimizely teams, Works department at JWT, while simultaneously founding my company TourismBuilder.com. TourismBuilder was a cloud-hosted drag-and-drop website builder for multilingual tourism destination websites. Several official tourism websites around Japan were built on this platform, including those of Okinawa and Shizuoka prefectures. After a few years of initial success selling this platform, increasing competition from Wix and SquareSpace eventually crowded the market and caused us to pause the business.

Having helped Optimizely enter the Japanese market and applied Silicon Valley-style data-driven sales practices to my own startup I was approached by several startups looking for market entry consulting services. After helping SaaS companies like Parse.ly, Fullstory, and Dynamic Yield get an initial foothold I was hired by Dynamic Yield to be the Country Manager and build out a local team and partnership ecosystem. After Dynamic Yield was acquired by Mastercard I accepted a position at Meltwater as Sales Director helping to rebuild the client acquisition team which had been disrupted by the pandemic and the need for a remote, distributed sales team. After this team hit the revenue goal I moved on to TechnoPro, Japan’s largest engineering staffing company where I am currently working as the General Manager of the Enterprise Digital Marketing team as they undergo a business transformation from staffing to solution services business. 

For the past several years I have been active as a startup Angel investor and mentor, helping share the digital marketing and sales practices learned in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv with the Japanese startup ecosystem. I am a mentor for the Founder Institute Japan, Board member at TELL an NPO which servese the mental health needs of the expat community in Japan, and an instructor at theNPO Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron. My passions are mentoring and advising startups, helping with Japan’s digital transformation, traveling, surfing, and ocean sailing.

Evan Burkosky