Elon Musk. Mark Zuckerberg. Jack Ma. These are the names people think of when we talk about disruptive tech businesses. Yet, not many are aware that some technical founders from Japan could be changing the world.
The Land of the Rising Sun, although known to most as a “closed” market, is actually home to one of the most intelligent and competitive tech. Home to “deep learning” – software that learns and creates connections, like the human brain – as well as beautiful and intelligent humanoids, Japan gathers tech geniuses and researchers who work with the belief that computers can discern what data is important and what isn’t.
Japan also tends to be an early adopter of technologies, such as the smart home experience, and is starting to open its doors to the world and embrace tech. Their ability to change the world with their technology and innovative minds should not be undermined – especially with these three technical founders who could be changing the future of global tech.
Katsuaki Sato, CEO, Metaps
Last year at Tech in Asia Tokyo, Katsuaki, a bold visionary, spoke about when to IPO. This came from someone who shocked Japan’s #startup ecosystem with its own announcement to take Metaps public. Metaps’ core product is a marketing automation platform for mobile apps, driving acquisition to monetisation using big-data and machine learning. They’ve done spectacularly well, with 200 million users and 2 billion downloads from around the world.
Katsuaki’s also aiming for the final frontier: space, with the help of artificial intelligence. With a joint research partnership with microsatellite firm Space Shift underway, satellite data will be analysed to make meaningful conclusions on the changes taking place on Earth.
Closer to home, their tech is used for gaming. Working with SEGA Networks, goPlay will aid developers with game publishing in emerging and global markets. Metaps will provide the framework needed to support gaming apps in their marketing and localisation of their product.
Intelligence revolution is changing the game, and Katsuaki is one of those at the forefront of it, both globally and soon, in space.
Toru Nishikawa, CEO, Preferred Networks
By 2020, you might see cars using turn signals and changing lanes perfectly – without a driver. And all these would have been made possible by the help of Toru’s startup. Late last year, world’s largest automaker Toyota acquired a 3 percent stake in Preferred for US$8.2 billion, valuing the latter at US$321.5 million. This investment underscores Toyota’s belief in the startup’s tech in helping the car manufacturer crack the code to its own self-driving cars. Should this partnership bear fruits of success, Toyota would inch ahead of General Motors and Ford in the race for automated driving – and Toru’s startup would be worth more than what it is today.
Toru Nishikawa predicted the rise of big data analysis and found his calling in setting up his startup to shape the future with tech. He’s already started with Nintendo’s smartphone games by partnering with game provider DeNA, and with Fanuc Corp for machines capable of fabricating and fixing other robots.
Simply put, Preferred Networks is a company with substance and innovation you should watch closely.
Yuka Kojima, CEO, Fove
Fancy attending a conference in virtual reality and interacting with founders simply by putting on a headset? Yuka Kojima might make that possible.
In fact, they claim that they are even better than other VR headsets available on the market. Offering interactive eye-tracking, Fove’s VR headsets provide depth of field just like the human eye, allowing for realistic virtual world. This is fueled by Yuka’s belief behind the hardware – she views gaming as a “complex, emotional experience”. Fove offers us a nuanced look into a virtual dimension we’ve never explored, and felt.
Meet these game-changers in the flesh
Space, games, driverless cars, virtual reality. If futurology is right up your alley, you’ll have to meet these three technical founders who are changing the world at Tech in Asia Tokyo 2016, happening soon on September 6 & 7.