Welcoming Hajime Sugino as Finance Manager

DNX Ventures
Dec 17, 2020 · 5 min read

Please extend a warm welcome to the newest member to join the DNX team: Hajime Sugino.

Hajime came onboard DNX Ventures after having worked in the US as a certified public accountant at Ernst & Young, then for Japanese listed companies’ US offices, as well as a CFO at a Japanese startup, handling their business development in the US. At DNX, he hit the ground running as the finance manager at our US office, bringing with him his experience as a CFO at a startup and the professionalism of a US certified public accountant. We are so excited to have Hajime join the team! With the establishment of our third major fund, we are confident that we are building a stronger finance team to provide a more accurate and hospitable financial accounting system for our valued clients.

We asked Hajime about his career thus far.

About Hajime

US Certified Public Accountant. Engaged in financial accounting throughout his career. After experiencing accounting audits of major operating companies as a certified public accountant at the US offices of Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte / EY), engaged in FP & A work at Japanese companies including SEGA. In 2018, he returned to Japan to join a startup based in Tokyo as CFO. After engaging in corporate finance including fundraising, in-house accounting, and building a management system, he returned to Los Angeles in the summer of 2019 to launch a US business. Building on his work as a CFO, he moved to Silicon Valley in the summer of 2020 and joined DNX because he wanted to continue working in the dynamic startup industry.

Seijo University graduate, US Certified Public Accountant (Credential ID WA36083 / Active)

Fun fact: Hajime engaged in formula car racing as a racing driver for years after his graduation from the university and has a passion for automobiles.

Hi everyone. My name is Hajime and I joined the team at DNX’s Silicon Valley office in July 2020. As a finance manager, I mainly manage investment information and financial information of US funds.

Extensive experience in accounting, legal, human resources, fundraising, and business development as CFO at a startup

Before joining DNX, I worked as an auditor at the US offices (Detroit / LA) of Big Four accounting firms as a certified public accountant, gaining experience in performing accounting audits.

After that, I worked in the business management of two Japanese listed companies, and in 2018, returned to Japan with the desire to be involved in the management of operating companies, and joined a Japanese VR startup as CFO. There, in addition to accounting and finance, I had a chance to wear many hats, in a wide range of fields from managing the back office department of legal affairs and human resources to financing and business development, I had the deepest and most meaningful experience in my career.

The following year, I came back to the stateside(LA) to lead the business expansion in the US, but then COVID-19 hit, and it hit hard enough that the company made the decision to withdraw from the US, but I had a strong desire to continue taking on the challenges here in the US, and so I decided to stay put.

That’s how DNX Ventures and I met. My choice of joining a VC firm was influenced by my experience being the CFO at a startup. At the time, I was literally staring at the cash runway on a daily basis as I went about my business, scrambling to raise funds. Although it was only for a short period of time, and as exhausting and trying as it was, this experience of having faced work genuinely and sincerely head-on, left a strong impact on me. It made me want to continue to be in this industry, next as a VC in the position of nurturing startups. In addition, I was deeply involved with VCs and shareholders of operating companies, and the various guidance I received from them also influenced my desire to be involved with startups as an investor.

Exercise my start-up experience in Japan and accounting finance experience in the US.

DNX is one of the few VC firms that supports everything from investment execution to business development across the US and Japan.

Since each DNX fund is investing across Japan and the US, the fund itself has a complicated structure, and its management is not straightforward, but this is a rare place where you can experience the latest trends in Silicon Valley, while also being involved in investing in Japanese startups that are gaining momentum. It was also a place where I could fully exercise my experience in startups in Japan and financial accounting in the US.

DNX Ventures is where great talents from various backgrounds are working freely in a corporate culture that encourages openness and frank discussion; it is truly a wonderful environment where I am entrusted with a wide range of discretionary work. July 2020, when I joined, was in the midst of the pandemic, and even though everyone was WFH, it was business as usual, no issues whatsoever. I have been WFH from day 1, and now that I think about it, there are a lot of members that I have yet to meet face-to-face, but thanks to the great rapport of team DNX, I am thriving, and able to do good work!

Establish the administrative aspects of the core organization and further develop accounting and finance.

DNX has grown rapidly in just under 10 years since its first fund was launched, thanks to the efforts of its talented GPs and members. With the growth of the fund size and the participation of prominent companies as LPs, I believe that it is increasingly important to establish the administrative aspects of the core organization and further develop accounting and finance and provide LPs with accurate information. I would be honored to be able to play a part in this process with my experience to date. In the future, I would also like to expand my business to support startups on the finance side.

Startup investment is a business that creates the future. Through my experience with startups, I learned that the world is full of entrepreneurs and startups who are trying to do interesting, exciting things. However, I also learned that many startups are born, and then disappear every day simply because their ideas don’t catch the attention of investors, their messages don’t get through, or the times or the direction of their business are just a little bit off.

At DNX, as a finance manager, I hope that LPs can partner with us with a sense of security, so that a cross-border investment between Japan and the US will be further enlivened through us, creating a ground for many potential startups to grow. It would be my great pleasure if I can make a contribution toward this goal.

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