Over the past seven years, I was incredibly fortunate to play a role at Amazon Web Services as they became the worldwide leader in cloud services. It was a privilege to build the Japanese business from scratch before leading the global sales and BD teams for database, analytics, and AI services. In these roles, I saw AWS grow from a company that primarily provided technology for early adopters into a global platform with over one million customers, including both startups and some of the world’s largest enterprises.
It has also been my privilege to collaborate with an extraordinary group of colleagues and mentors, and an equally extraordinary group of visionary customers. From fast-growing startups to established global enterprises, helping customers and enabling developers to access the unlimited resources of the cloud has been a source of great pleasure.
I joined AWS because I believed in what the cloud would make possible. I know how fortunate I’ve been to have the opportunity to contribute to such a successful business that has grown to a $20 billion run rate. I believe that Soracom has the same potential to transform the global communications industry and honored to join Soracom as CEO for the Americas.
In recent weeks, friends and colleagues have inquired about my transition from leading a high-performing team with an established global leader to a startup that is not yet well known in the US. The more entrepreneurial among them understand that I am not really stepping away at all and that I am in fact stepping forward.
Today, the Internet of Things is positioned where the cloud used to be. The underlying technology is new and not fully explored, while the transformative potential is both obvious and enormous. Early web developers adopted cloud computing because AWS democratized server resources by delivering unlimited computing on a pay-as-you-go basis with easy-to-use APIs. IoT developers are also looking for ways to minimize up-front investments and easier access to secure, on-demand services for networking and connectivity. Soracom frees IoT developers to focus on their technical solutions, ensuring that their cloud connectivity will grow with them.
Soracom is positioned where AWS used to be. While Soracom is not yet well known here, the software-based connectivity-as-a-service model that Soracom pioneered has proven ability to lead the market, and the team includes a number of former AWS colleagues who know what it takes to deliver on a global scale. As someone who has staked his career on bringing new capabilities into the world, the opportunity to build a strong team here in the US and empower a new generation of developers and enterprise users was simply a no-brainer.
In the 24 months following Soracom’s public launch the company has attracted over 9,000 customers in a wide range of industries, including agriculture, transportation and manufacturing as well as real estate, retail, and logistics. On the strength of this growth and the underlying team and technology platform, Soracom was acquired in September 2017 by KDDI, one of the world’s leading mobile operators. While we still operate as a startup, KDDI’s support gives Soracom the ability to engage globally with both high-growth startups and leading enterprises.
For enterprises, Soracom’s existing customers include names like IHI, which uses Soracom for remote maintenance for industrial gas turbines; Komatsu, which uses Soracom to track heavy equipment used around the world; and DyDo, which uses Soracom connectivity to optimize performance of 100,000+ vending machines located throughout Japan. Among startups, we are excited to support organizations like WHILL, whose intelligent wheelchairs continue to gain recognition for advancing the state of the art for personal transportation; Farmnote, whose livestock management systems are building a real-time internet of animals; Safecast, whose open platform for environmental sensing is building a safer world through the power of citizen science; and most recently Opendoor’s smart locks which make it easier to preview homes for sale with your smartphone.
At AWS, I learned first-hand that it’s always Day One. In my first days here at Soracom, I’m excited to begin growing the business in the US, just as we did with AWS. Soracom’s co-founder and CTO, Kenta Yasukawa, is now located in California to support this effort, and we are actively growing our team on the West Coast (San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle Area) with multiple roles available in solution architecture, technical business development, partners & alliances, marketing and customer support. If you are interested in joining a highly motivated team, in a fast-paced, high-growth environment, find me on LinkedIn and drop me a line!
Most of all, I am excited to work with our customers across the Americas to help create the connected experiences that will define the future of IoT.