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Taisuke Sasanuma – Representative Partner

Representative Partner, Advantage Partners. Founded Advantage Partners in 1992, took office as Representative Partner. His research papers and contributed articles include “Venture Kigyo ni Mirareru Atarashii Kyoso Genri” (New principles of competition as seen in venture businesses), “Nihon no Venture Kigyo no Kyoso Senryaku” (Competitive strategies at Japanese venture companies), “Nihon Kigyo no Baishu-go no Togo Senryaku” (Integration strategies after acquisitions at Japanese companies), “Chuken Kigyo no Choki Keikaku” (Long-term plans at mid-sized companies), and “Venture Kigyo no Kyoso Senryaku” (Competitive strategies at venture companies). After graduating from university, Sasanuma experienced the sales department, the human resources department, the corporate planning section, and new business development at Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. Upon completing his graduate studies, Sasanuma worked for a strategic consulting firm, Bain & Company Japan Incorporated and the Monitor Company where he was engaged in creating corporate strategies for major companies in Japan, the U.S., and Europe; competitive strategies for individual businesses; and the planning and implementation of plans for improving profitability. A graduate of the Department of Law and MBA holder from the Graduate School of Business Administration at Keio University, specializing in strategic theory and management theory. Master of Public Administration from Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, specializing in financial management and international relations.


Richard Folsom – Representative Partner

Representative Partner, Advantage Partners. Founded Advantage Partners in 1992, took office as Representative Partner. His research papers include “Nichibei Kigyo no Keiei Style no Hikaku” (Comparisons of management styles in Japan and the U.S.), “Kokusai Takakuka Kikai toshiteno Shinkokabushikishijo” (Emerging stock markets as opportunities for international diversification), “Oubei Kigyo no Nihhon Sannyu Senryaku ni okeru Gobyo” (Logical fallacies in Japanese market entry strategies of U.S. and European companies). Joined strategy consulting company Bain & Company Japan Incorporated after graduating from university. Studied at an overseas business school as a Bain scholarship student, after which he had been engaged in duties such as offering proposals for Japan entry strategies for prominent U.S. and European companies, corporate strategies for major Japanese companies, competitive strategies for individual businesses, and implementations of new product development programs and cost reduction programs. A graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in Japanese and economics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Master of Business Administration and venture management (MBA).

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Hideo Nagatsuyu (Senior Partner)

Joined Advantage Partners in May 1998. Responsibilities to date include BMB Minijuke, ICREO Co., Ltd., Hiramatsu Inc. (currently serves as independent outside director), Kokunai Shinpan Co., Ltd., Kokura Enterprise Co., Ltd., Pokka Corporation, REINS International Inc., Seiji Ishii Co., Ltd., Credge Limited, MEGANESUPER Co., Ltd., Ray Cassin Co., Ltd., and FMI Corporation. His contributed articles and lectures include “Kigyo Kachi Kojo o Mokuteki toshita Hikoukaika MBO Jidai no Torai” (Arrival of an nonpublic MBO era aimed for corporate value improvement), “Nihon no MBO/MBI Keieisha Shijo Hatten ni okeru Buyout Fund no Yakuwari” (Role of buyout funds for the development of Japanese market for MBO/MBI managers), “Kouri / Service Kigyo no Jigyo Hatten ni okeru Buyout Shuho no Igi to Ryuiten” (Meaning and points to note in buyout methods for the business growth of retail and services companies). Engaged in new market entry strategies, channel strategies, alliance strategies, new product development, cost reduction, and outlining and implementing corporate reform for industries such as consumer goods, food products, machinery, telecommunications, software, construction, and engineering at strategy management consulting company McKinsey & Company after graduating from university. Graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo; majored in business administration.


Shinichiro Kita (Senior Partner)

Joined Advantage Partners in October 2003. Responsibilities to date include ACTUS Co., Ltd., Seidensha Co., Ltd., Keyport Solutions Inc., MEI Inc./NIPPON CONLUX CO., LTD., CommunityOne Co., Ltd., Interac Co., Ltd., KATITAS CO., LTD., ESG Holdings, United Cinemas Co., Ltd., SBI Life Living Co., Ltd., and HUKUBA DENTAL Corporation. Responsible for projects to develop management strategies for auto, finance, telecommunications, food products, trading houses, and healthcare at Bain & Company Japan after graduating from university. A graduate of the Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo. MBA from business school at UC Berkley.


Katsuya Baba (Operating Partner)

Joined Advantage Partners in January 2002. Responsibilities to date include Polygon Pictures Inc., Nihonkaisui Co., Ltd., GST AutoLeather Inc., and Xacti Corporation. Currently chiefly responsible for improving corporate value for existing portfolios. Engaged in the planning and execution of business strategies, cost reduction, the rebuilding of chain stores, marketing channel strategies, Japan entry strategies for finance, software, auto, electronics, consumer products, and the healthcare industry at strategy consulting company Bain & Company Japan Incorporated after graduating from university, after which he was engaged in incubation activities for e-commerce and software-related ventures as a founding member of New Media Japan. Bachelor of Arts and Sciences, Asian Studies, University of Tokyo; Master of Business Administration (MBA), Harvard Business School.

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Yusuke Ichikawa (Principal)

Joined Advantage Partners in March 2003. Responsibilities include Nihonkaisui Co., Ltd., Kracie Holdings, Ltd., The Tokyo Star Bank, Limited, and MEGANESUPER CO., LTD. Joined the Industrial Bank of Japan (currently Mizuho Bank, Ltd.) after graduating from university. Engaged in derivatives sales and marketing, structuring, and customer dealing for interest, money exchange, crude oil, weather after experiencing sales to foreign companies in Japan.
Involved in marketing and the creation of restructuring plan proposals for financed companies in advisory duties at Mizuho Bank with a focus on M&As after the launch of the Mizuho Financial Group. Bachelor of Law, Hitotsubashi University.


Toru Indoh (Principal)

Joined Advantage Partners in March 2005. Responsibilities include Diana Co., Ltd., Kracie Holdings, Ltd., Xacti Corporation, SBI Life Living Co., Ltd., and FASFORD TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. Also responsible for the management of activities to cultivate new issues as a part of the sourcing team. Engaged in duties such as support for public stock offerings, due diligence for finance with a focus on audits for commercial law and the Securities and Exchange Act at Tohmatsu Audit Corp; engaged in advisory duties for the compilation of business restructuring plans, the adjustment of creditors, and for creditor verification of business restructuring plans in the business restructuring services department at PricewaterhouseCoopers Co., Ltd. A graduate of Keio University Faculty of Economics and a certified public accountant.


Takeshi Sasaki (Principal)

Joined Advantage Partners in July 2007. Responsibilities include Community One Co. Ltd., Interac Co., Ltd., TeleGuam Holdings, LLC, and United Cinemas Co., Ltd. Engaged in the planning and execution of business strategies, marketing strategies, and business improvement for food products, finance, insurance, and the computer industries at strategic consulting company Gemini Consulting after graduating from university. Joined UBS Securities Japan Co., Ltd. in 2000 and became involved in corporate finance for the media and technology industries before moving on to an investment fund where he handled asset management and fund procurement duties. Graduated from Keio University Faculty of Economics, University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business MBA and MA, Business Administration and East Asian Studies (Chinese).

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Tamon Nonaka (Principal)

Joined Advantage Partners in April 2009. Responsibilities include investments in REINS international inc., WILLCOM, Inc., Wireless City Planning Inc., TeleGuam Holdings, LLC, HUKUBA DENTAL Corporation, and Japan Popocorn Co. Ltd. Engaged in auditing at KPMG AZSA LLC after graduating from university, after which he engaged in advisory duties on M&As and capitalization strategies in the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs Japan Ltd. Engaged in corporate investment, project financing, and other duties at a U.S. hedge fund from October 2012 through September 2013. A graduate of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo.


Shigenobu Yamagata (Principal)

Joined Advantage Partners in May 2006. Responsibilities to date include AiCo Technologies Co., Ltd., Diana Co., Ltd., Tokyo Star Bank Limited, KATTITAS CO., LTD., Hokuyo Service, and Customer relation tele-marketing Ltd. Joined The Sanwa Bank, Limited (currently The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Tokyo) after graduating from university. Engaged in corporate sales, financial analysis/advisory duties, and the composition of syndicated loans before being seconded to Sanwa Securities Co., Ltd. (currently Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co., Ltd.). Engaged in designing finance schemes employing strategies based on finance and alliances and new methods such as classified shares, M&As, and advisory duties related to the redevelopment of group management structures through spin-offs and the formation of holding companies. Seconded to Advantage Partners since November 2004; engaged in overall investment banking duties at the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities from April 2005, handling advisory services pertaining particularly to M&As and finance for telecoms and media-related companies. A graduate of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Economics.


Daisuke Murakami (Principal)

Joined Advantage Partners in March 2006. Engaged in cases for MEI Inc. / NIPPON CONLUX CO. LTD., SEIJO ISHII CO., LTD., REINS international inc., Xacti Corporation, and Riraku Co., Ltd., where he was responsible for projects such as the establishment of management philosophies, support for the establishment of business plans, the structuring of business management indices and operation structures, support for the promotion and implementation of finance strategies, support for the structuring and implementation of strategic IR/PR plans, and domestic and overseas alliances and support for considerations of M&As. Worked with portfolios and the trading of convertible bonds at Goldman Sachs Japan Ltd. after finishing graduate school. Served as market maker for trust banks, investment trust companies, and hedge fund clients. Graduated from Kyoto University Faculty of Engineering Undergraduate School of Engineering Science and obtained a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Energy Science at the same university.

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Toshiya Tsukahara (Executive Director)

Joined Advantage Partners in June 2007. Responsibilities on portfolio team include Diana Co., Ltd., REXZ HOLDINGS CO., LTD., Nissen Holdings Co., Ltd., The Tokyo Star Bank Ltd., and MEGANESUPER CO., LTD. Considers cases with a focus on retail services. Engaged in branch liaison, loans, and M&A advisory duties at The Fuji Bank, Ltd. (currently Mizuho Bank) after graduating from university before joining strategic management consulting company McKinsey & Company, where he spent 10 years planning and implementing strategies for business and products and took part in projects such as organizational design, marketing, and sales productivity improvement chiefly for industries such as retail, consumer goods, finance, pharmaceutical, and medical devices. Graduated from Waseda University School of Law and obtained a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Hiroshi Hayakawa (Executive Director)

Joined Advantage in April 2008.Responsibilities as portfolio team member include MEI Inc. / NIPPON CONLUX CO., LTD., GST AutoLeather Inc., FMI Corporation, and FASFORD TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. Also involved in the examination of cases in the manufacturing industry, high-tech, and B2B. Engaged at strategic management consulting company McKinsey & Company since 2000 in consulting activities such as the proposal of business strategies, the development of new businesses, industrial marketing, R&D management, and planning and promotion of turnaround plans, chiefly in the areas of manufacturing and high-tech with a focus on auto, telecommunications, factory automation, enterprise computing, and semiconductors. Graduated from Waseda University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering; Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in Engineering and Public Policy.


Jun Iwaki (Director)

Joined Advantage Partners in September 2006. Responsibilities include Polygon Pictures Inc., Nihonkaisui Co., Ltd., Credge, Limited, INTERAC Co., Ltd., and Ray Cassin Co. Ltd. Engaged in corporate sales, planning, and investment banking upon joining The Sanwa Bank, Limited (currently The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Tokyo). Seconded to Advantage Partners in 2001, after which he was sent to a bank-affiliated PE fund operator where he conducted investment duties for the manufacturing, retail, and services industries. He later handled M&A and IPO advisory duties at numerous Internet-related companies. A graduate of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Economics.

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Takahiro Miyazaki (Director)

Joined Advantage Partners in December 2004. Responsibilities include 1st Holdings Inc., The Daiei, Inc., KAZAKA Financial Group Co., Ltd., WILLCOM, Inc., Wireless City Planning Inc., Riraku Co., Ltd., and FMI Corporation. Worked on bad debts and corporate rejuvenation cases in the strategic investment division at Goldman Sachs after graduating from university and held responsibility for security and business value ratings. Also responsible for the formulation of rejuvenation plans after funding for rejuvenation cases and the processing of legal procedures. A graduate of the University of Tokyo Faculty of Economics.


Takashi Nishimura (Director)

Joined Advantage Partners in April 2007. Responsibilities include Credge Limited, United Cinemas Co., Ltd., and Ray Cassin Co., Ltd. Engaged in corporate investment duties in the investment banking division at ORIX Corporation after graduating from university. Responsible for rejuvenation cases and management buyouts; engaged in improvement initiatives for management through launches of various task forces and project management after funding in addition to corporate evaluation and execution duties. A graduate of Keio University Faculty of Economics.

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Emmet Thomas (Partner, Head of Asia)

Holdings, Ltd., and TeleGuam Holdings, LLC. Also responsible for adding value in Asia, the destination for Japanese investment, while also serving as Harvard Business School Association director and on the MBA advisory board at the University of Hong Kong. Engaged in the planning and implementation of organizational design and human resources systems at SMC Corporation (1st section, Tokyo Stock Exchange) after graduating from university, after which he spent 18 years at the Monitor Group, a global strategic consulting company, 10 of which he held general responsibility for the Asian region. Holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated from Duke University with a BA in Economics. He has lived in Asia for more than 20 years.


Vivian Zheng (Partner)

Ms. Zheng joined Advantage Partners in July 2015 and is playing a leadership role in AP’s Greater China activities. She has extensive experience in private equity, management consultancy and corporate management over the last 20 years. Prior to joining the firm, she was Managing Director at PineBridge Investments (former AIG Investments) from 2008 to 2012, where she led the China PE investment team as well as investments in Asia for the automotive, luxury, entertainment, and education industries. Before joining Pinebridge, Ms. Zheng was a senior partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and a Principal with the Boston Consulting Group. With more than 12 years in management consulting, she has extensive experience in strategy development, organizational restructuring, brand management, global sourcing, JV strategy, and post-merger integration. Ms. Zheng also served as Group Vice President and President of Brilliance Auto Group (BMW JV partner) Sales Company during 2003-2004 to lead restructuring as an outgrowth of a consulting engagement. She started her career in the computer industry in China and in the US. Ms. Zheng has a BS in Computer Science from Beijing Normal University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.


Cindy Yan (Director)

Joined Advantage Partners in April 2008. Responsibilities include GST AutoLeather,Inc. and Hisense Broadband Multimedia Technologies, Ltd. Worked in expanding sales in the North American and European markets for the herbal medicine treatment division at Sankyu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in China after graduating from university, after which she had been engaged at the Boston Consulting Group in market entry strategies, growth strategies, and evaluations for M&As and improving business operations at portfolio companies for private equities for an array of industries such as healthcare, consumer goods, telecommunications, finance, chemicals, and media. Graduated from Sichuan International Studies University; holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Jing Shi (Director)

Mr. Shi joined Advantage Partners in 2008. He has over thirteen years of private equity and strategy consulting experience. As a member of Advantage Partners’ Hong Kong office, he has focused on deal execution and portfolio management in the Asia region and played an active role in supporting investment activities in Japan. Some of his activities include: transaction execution and portfolio management of the investment in ESG; leading the efforts to drive the performance of Pokka outside of Japan through business alliances and JV restructuring; and supporting due diligence for investments in FMI, Nissen and MeganeSuper. Prior to joining Advantage Partners, Mr. Shi was a senior project manager and a founding member of TZG Partners, a venture capital investment firm in China. At TZG, he created a number of start-up businesses in the financial services, telecom, tourism and real estate sectors, with a total investment amount of more than USD250 million. He also formerly worked with McKinsey & Co. in the Shanghai, Beijing, Munich and Tokyo Offices, where he was engaged in over 20 consulting projects in basic materials, industrial products, automotive, TMT, consumer products and financial services sectors. He received his MA in International Finance from Fudan University and BA in Management from East China University of Science and Technology.


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