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visasQ

VisasQ is an expert network specialized on Japan. It was launched in 2012 as Walkntalk Inc. and later rebranded. In June 2020, the company had 108 employees and a network of 100 000+ expert advisors. Most of VQ’s experts are based in Japan, but the firm’s network also densely covers India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the US. VisasQ is headquartered in Tokyo and has a second office in Singapore.

In August 2021, VisasQ acquired Coleman Research for $102m. At the time, Coleman had more than twice the revenues of VisasQ. The combined entity has a strong presence in Japan and the US.

The company operates two business areas:

  1. A standard expert network called VQ

  2. A DIY marketplace called “spot consulting”

Aside from standard expert calls, VisasQ offering also includes expert surveys, on-site visits accompanied by experts, and the possibility to hire advisors for short term assignments.

The founders and management team combine experience from investment banks (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan) and investment firms (Sumitomo, Unison). VisasQ is the leader in the Japanese expert network market, which has seen strong growth in recent years as both GLG, AlphaSights, Atheneum and Guidepoint established offices in Tokyo.

Buildup for the 2020 IPO

  • VisasQ closed its 2016 fiscal year with $~1m revenues (Feb 2016 - Feb 2017).

  • The 2017 fiscal year saw $~2.6m revenues (Feb 17 - Feb 18).

  • The 2018 fiscal year had $~6.4m revenues (Feb 18 - Feb 19), and a profit of $~0.3m. VisasQ hired former GS banker Hidetoshi Uriu as CFO to prepare an IPO "before too long". At the time, the firm was said to have 40 employees and some 60,000 expert profiles in its database. The company was awarded 6th place in "2019 Japan Technology @ Fast 50 (Technology company growth rate ranking)".

  • In January 2020, the company opened its first overseas office, in Singapore.

  • In March 2020, the company went public through an IPO on the Tokyo stock exchange.

  • The 2019 fiscal year saw $~9.8m revenues (Feb 19 - Feb 20) and a profit of $~0.5m.

In July 2020, the firm invested $0.3m in Boston-based DeepBench. VisasQ intends to use Deepbench's technology to streamline its matching capabilities and process overseas advisors.

Information disclosures as a public firm

VisasQ is the first and only expert network to be publicly traded. Japanese securities laws require it to disclose many interesting details on its business. Here are our top nuggets:

Number of individuals in Japan registered as advisors or users on the platform (x10,000). 91,000 as of February 2020.

Number of registered client companies using the VisasQ interview service: 485 as of Feb 2020.

VisasQ lists BCG as a significant client generating revenues of JPY 140m ($~1.3m) in the year ended Feb 2020 (14.2% of total revenues).

VisasQ shares the focus on Japan with its domestic competitor Mimir Expert Research. In 2020, Mimir's owner Uzabase Inc. made a similar step to VisasQ and also acquired a US-based expert network, Enquire.

Inex One identified VisasQ as a regional champion in our review of the 2019 expert network market size. Regional champions have a particularly strong foothold in their respective regions.

Visit the company website here.

VisasQ logo

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