Where to look for Japanese speaking tech. co-founder?


I have a sort of "specific" dilemma.

I am a founder of start-up (business networking platform) which target market is East Asia and Japan being one of the most important markets. Our beta is ready to launch, however my lead programmer decided he would like to concentrate fully on his own projects in Europe.

Therefore I am looking for a new co-founder with programming and web design background (Java, MYSQL, PHP, HTML, XHTML ... ) to take over and develop our business further and work on future add-ons for the website.

Since I would like to find bilingual English-Japanese programmer (due to reasons stated above), you can imagine I am running out of places to look. I tried some "directly pitching" some guys on social-media, but most of them didn't reply (maybe due to language barrier) or said they really like mu project are fully committed to their own businesses and are not able to take additional work.

Any ideas where to look or how to find a new Japanese speaking technical co-founder?

Thank you all, your help is much appreciated.

Co-Founder Technical Web Dev

asked Dec 8 '11 at 17:31
Peter K.
194 points
  • I don't understand why you need a developer to speak Japanese? If the dev isn't dealing with business issues, surely translation is just a properties file for a translator to deal with in a day? – David Benson 12 years ago
  • Hi David, thank you for your comment. Yes you are right, if I can't find a Japanese speaking developer I can still go about it different ways. However as I mentioned the target market is Japan, and in order do develop Japanese language website you need a Japanese developer... the language cannot be translated directly and some strings and codes need to be implemented in the very source considering unique structure of sentences. Trust me this is how I was working so far and there's been a myriad of problems translating the whole app... its much easier to have a Japanese speaker do the job. – Peter K. 12 years ago

3 Answers


If you cannot find the person for the position perhaps you should consider other alternatives to what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a bilingual(En-Jp) programmer your are probably looking for specific skills for specific tasks:

Are you in need of a technical co-founder? Which tasks is he going to handle?

If you look for some specific tasks:

  • Programming: Find a developer or workshop to do the job. Nowadays most developing tools have I18N (internationalization) mechanisms (e.g.: Ruby On Rails has the I18n gem) that allow you to developing a multi-language programs whilst the developer doesn't need to know the language(the Business team should now both culture and language).
  • Contact and engage customers: Find a Japanese speaking co-founder to do business critical process such as sales/customer development. Alternatively, hire one. . Customer Support: again, you need somebody able to communicate with your customers, again knowing their language is a must.

To look for Japanese speaking contacts, you may get in touch with your local JICA representation which may be a good starting point.

Clarification: the Japan International Cooperation Agency is present in many developing countries, not in North America.

answered Jan 26 '12 at 11:33
532 points


I would specifically target universities in you area. Basically, there are a lot of international students, and probably a lot are hungry for a job. This assumes of course that this is a paying job.

It doesn't matter if the person has a lot of experience. Students fresh out of university work like dogs (unless they don't and you just fire them).

answered Jan 26 '12 at 11:45
234 points


Most people capable of being a technical co-founder, have ideas and projects coming out of their ears. So not only do you have the task of finding the person, you have to be able to convince them that your startup is worth dropping their current/planned stuff for.

Looking for a co-founder is mostly like looking for a needle in a haystack. Looking for a tech co-founder that happens to speak Japanese, is going to be an exercise in futility.

I would focus on the assumption that no such person exists - and figure out how else could you solve this problem.

answered Jan 26 '12 at 21:06
Nick Stevens
4,436 points

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