Startup Entrepreneur Earns Massive Income from App Selling Secondhand Goods

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. make one’s mark / meɪk mɑrk / (idiom) – to become successful and famous

    Jason certainly made his mark as a musician.

  2. overnight success / ˈoʊ vərˌnaɪt səkˈsɛs / (idiom) – something that becomes successful after just a short time

    The band was an overnight success after launching its first album.

  3. flood / flʌd / (v) – to receive or get a large amount of things at the same time

    The center was flooded with donations of bags, shoes, and clothes.

  4. capitalize / ˈkæp ɪ tlˌaɪz / (v) – to use something for someone’s advantage

    He capitalized on the huge demand for shoes in his hometown and built a shoe store.

  5. audacity / ɔˈdæs ɪ ti / (n) – a person’s quality of being confident and bold

    The younger generation has the audacity to be creative and try new things.


Read the text below.

Startup entrepreneur Yusuke Mitsumoto recently made his mark on the e-commerce industry by launching a successful online flea market.

Mitsumoto began with the idea of buying people’s secondhand goods online and paying for them instantly, even without the full guarantee of getting the actual items. From there, he developed an app that allowed people to do just that.

To his surprise, the app became an overnight success, with hundreds of clothes and gadgets flooding his small office in Tokyo just a day after the service was launched. Mitsumoto reintroduced it two months later and renamed it Cash.

The service makes money by appraising an item based on photos sent by users, and then reselling it.

Currently, Japan’s secondhand sales market is valued at ¥1.6 trillion. Mitsumoto saw the potential of this market and used technology to capitalize on it.

Mitsumoto started his career by joining the New York-based company Ogilvy & Mather, to gain a better understanding of how businesses work. Later on, he quit and used his own savings to start Bracket, the mother company of several Japanese online services including, CaFoRe, and most recently, Cash.

The recent success of Cash drew the interest of bigger industry players, including Keishi Kameyama, founder of well-known e-commerce company DMM. Kameyama admits that he admires Mitsumoto’s audacity, but he strongly believes that managing an online business is not just about capital and equipment.

Knowing that rivals would soon launch similar offers, Mitsumoto sold Cash to Kameyama for ¥7 billion to ensure its continued success.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you prefer buying secondhand goods over brand new ones? Why or why not?
• Do you consider the rising secondhand goods industry a threat to other retail businesses?

Discussion B

• What do you think is the key for a startup business to be successful?
• What kind of startup businesses usually thrive in your country? Why do you think so?