Celebrating Two Years of GoConnect!

Since GoConnect’s inception in 2020, we have shared a great number of articles, posted some really cool offers and worked with some fantastic partners! This week, we will be celebrating GoConnect’s second anniversary. This article takes a look at the timeline and highlights some great moments and exclusive deals of both past and present.

In 2020, GoConnect—first known as Connect—was created as a way to provide small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs) with a platform where they could advertise products and services for free amid the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Custom Media—creators of GoConnect—gathered to brainstorm and ideate what soon became a great deals platform that provides insightful content to the expat community in Japan.

Winning Beginning

A few months after GoConnect launched, Custom Media was named overall winner of the Best Corporate Social Responsibility category at the 2020 Best Business Awards for its initiative to help local businesses and charities worldwide affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

That year, the Best Business Awards had a large and diverse panel of independent expert judges who selected winners according to strict criteria for each category, industry and sector. Judges included the multi-award winning entrepreneur and political reformer Lord Rami Ranger CBE and corporate, political and institutional leader Sir Michael Lockett KCVO, who spearheaded campaigns for the London and Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The judges said: “With many people’s livelihoods lost because of the global pandemic, Custom Media in Japan came to the rescue with the launch of Connect, a free digital marketing platform that offers companies, charities and individuals a unique chance to promote themselves to new audiences. Connect has put businesses and individuals in touch, created a total reach of 5,000 plus on social media, helped raise funds for charities, and generated dozens of business leads. This is a brilliant effort by Custom Media that has given Japan a real boost in these challenging and unprecedented times.”

Acknowledging Our Partners

As the pandemic continued, the GoConnect team worked hard to partner with firms looking for a platform to advertise. Some loyal partners—gugu sleep, Hyperice and Argentum Wealth Management—have been working with GoConnect from the beginning to not only provide members with exclusive offers and deals, but also to team up with Custom Media to create insightful articles and interesting videos to share with GoConnect readers.

Custom Media CEO and GoConnect founder Robert Heldt said: “It is extremely rewarding to see our team’s initiative to support the community through a challenging time gain momentum over these two years. During this time we have learned a lot about what you, our members and partners, want from GoConnect. This has encouraged us to do more to continue improving the platform experience. Our team is working to launch a robust and interactive GoConnect 2.0 in the coming months, so stay tuned.”

GoConnect has always been about more than just business. It is our aim to make a difference in the lives of the people in our community. Non-profit organizations such as Animal Refuge Kansai, SEGO Initiative, and Yamathon continue to be a driving motivation in our campaigns and our content. GoConnect was created to help others in a time of need, so we are proud to continue that tradition and spread the word about volunteering and charities who need our support.

Custom Media publisher Simon Farrell said: “Given our long-time support for various great causes with strong UK and Japan links, it was only natural for GoConnect to add a special place—called What’s Your Passion?—to introduce volunteers and interns to charities, NPOs and employers in our vast network. This free service soon attracted and motivated those interested in helping animals, refugees, orphans, sick children, the homeless, minorities and the environment. The organizations that serve such causes were inspired to welcome, train and share skills with dozens of volunteers and interns in areas such as advocacy, innovation, business, healthcare, events, communications, IT, legal and funding.”

Expat Expo

In November 2020, GoConnect worked with Innovent, Inc., as media partners for Expat Expo, the first-ever business-oriented public exhibition that targets the English-speaking community in Japan. The annual expo is, and continues to be, a great way for platforms, businesses and service providers to advertise themselves, as well as connect with both expats in Tokyo and other similar businesses.

In 2021 and 2022 GoConnect attended Expat Expo as exhibitors, reaching out to existing members, as well as potential new members. The team was super excited to get out in person to spread the word about the exclusive offers on GoConnect, as well as network with the attendees and other exhibitors.

“It was really great to get to interact with our target audience, which gave us a better understanding of how to curate content for articles and videos. I also enjoyed meeting people who had already partnered with GoConnect, as well as existing readers who had already used the offers from the platform,” said Megan Casson, a GoConnect writer and editor.

Elevating Our Content

In the early days of GoConnect, it was a smaller platform that was dedicated only to promoting our offers, but we found that there was an opportunity to share more. To go along with our special offers, including guides of interesting places around Japan and local wisdom in weekly articles was a great way to interact with our audience. These pieces are incredibly fun to write, and we are humbled and grateful for all the positive responses we have received.


Recently, we are striving to build more interactive content. You may have seen the exclusive interview with Olympian sabre fencer Kaito Streets. We had a blast bringing our article to life by inviting Kaito to our office and shooting a full video interview. It added a new dimension to what sort of content we can make, and we are looking forward to expanding into new ways to share stories in the future as well.

Nick Moulds, video producer for GoConnect, spoke about his experience brainstorming and filming the video: "Seeing GoConnect grow and branch into new styles of content creation has been really exciting. A particular highlight was the interview with Kaito Streets. He was a great guest and his interesting and insightful interview shows exactly what GoConnect is all about, highlighting the exciting content that the talented team at GoConnect always strives to create."

Moving Forward

Diversity has always been a central pillar to GoConnect. Our team hails from Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Argentina, India, China, Italy, and other countries around the globe. GoConnect has created relationships with partners both in Japan and worldwide. This has allowed GoConnect to provide content and offers to a wide variety of people, and we strive to continue doing this in the future.

GoConnect is always looking for the next best restaurants, travel destinations, art, and culture around Japan. We can’t wait to keep discovering and sharing, so be sure to stay tuned to our social media and weekly newsletter.

Thank you for two years of GoConnect, and we look forward to many more!

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