President Susumu Fujita
From when I was a child I was thinking that I don’t want to become a salaryman when I grow up. I was once seriously intended to become a musician. I gave it up in my third year of high school, as I started to doubt my musical talents, and started thinking about one day starting my own business.
Initially, I thought coming to Tokyo and attending a university here would be the best way. However, I wasn't satisfied with business administration classes at the university, so I began to work part-time at an advertising agency where I sold ads for a free paper. As the company treated me as a full-time employee, it was a quite tough experience, but rewarding nonetheless.
Upon my graduation from university, I entered the company Intelligence. But in my second year, I decided to establish my own company. The president of Intelligence persuaded me to stay at his company, but eventually he understood my passion about launching a new company and offered to make a 50 percent investment in it. That was how CyberAgent was founded in 1998. I was still 24 years old.
In the early days of the company, we served as a sales agent for Internet businesses. As the Internet is full of business opportunities, the number of companies that wanted to do business with us increased rapidly. There were companies that are having trouble making money due to their weak sales divisions, despite having many engineers and creators, or having good media or content. While doing agency work, I found the business of pay-per-click banner networks to be especially promising, so I concentrated my management resources in that area.
At the same time, I declared that we would get our company listed on the stock market in two years after the founding, and actually got my company listed in Mothers of TSE in March, 2000, at the age of 26, making me the youngest president to ever have his company listed on the stock exchange.
However, later on, we experienced hard times when the dot-com bubble burst. Our stocks fell sharply. Amid mounting criticism from our stock holders, I even had to consider the prospect of selling the company. We had to continue to make investments without achieving profits, and many employees left the company.
I somehow got through those difficult times. From that experience, I learned the importance of developing an organizational structure. Today, I think, when compared to other business managers in my position, I spend much more time focusing on the recruitment of new staff. For example, I hold about 200 interviews every year, and I always personally make the company presentations at recruitment seminars for new graduates. These measures have made it possible to expand our business by utilizing our highly motivated young employees, instead of resorting to hasty M&A's.
As a result of these efforts, our social media business Ameba, the largest blog hosting service in Japan, moved into the black in 2010 for the first time, finally obtaining a solid position alongside our existing ad agency. We will endeavor to expand our business further, but not excessively.
Our goal is to be a company that represents the 21st century. Like Sony or Honda, which stand as icons of the 20th century, I want to make my company to be successful on the global scale and have an influence on society.
- CyberAgent Inc.
- Internet media business, Internet advertising business and investment development business