Hiroki TAKAYANAGI Nationality: Japan



Hiroki Takayanagi
Born in 1976 in Tokyo, currently residing in Hakuba Village Hakuba Valley, Nagano Prefecture (a designated special heavy snowfall area). After graduating from the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences at Rikkyo University, completed the master’s program in Sociology at the same university’s Graduate School. Specializes in media technology determinism, information industry theory, information society theory, and technology management theory.

Business Activity Summary
Since his student days, he has founded TECH ventures developing software and cloud services, experiencing multiple exits. Concurrently, since 2000, he has long managed a fund investing primarily in venture companies in the US and Japan, with recent focuses on EdTech, ClimateTech, ResortTech, cross-border content, and local real estate.

In 2017, he acquired a stateless venture company that localizes and deploys unique Japanese content in the APAC area, focusing on Hong Kong and Taiwan, indicating active involvement in growth sectors. He has also provided highly regarded “Tech Driven Management®” advisory (TDMA: Tech Driven Management Advisory) through Guardian Advisors and others, leveraging his management and investment experience to executives of major corporations for many years.

We have over 50 years of experience in the real estate AM business, traditionally focusing on investments in Tokyo’s 23 wards but recently emphasizing real estate AM business involving development in tourist areas domestically, using his experience as a snow resort reviewer. All these efforts adhere to the philosophy of “Tech Driven Management®,” focusing on “value creation through the implementation of appropriate technology,” considering the behaviors of digital natives, the users of real estate.

Main Software Company Example
Encountered the Internet upon entering university in 1995, and during his graduate studies, researched the history and technology determination/standardization of TCP/IP, which forms the technical backbone of the Internet, while also diving into the actual IT business world. In 1997, during his sophomore year, he founded WEBHUT Communications, a company focusing on software development, and became its CEO. Initially, the company focused on contract software development, but around 2000, it started offering BtoB cloud services. It launched and released services like JobCommunicator™ for time-shift management using mobile phones and WEB給® for electronic pay slip distribution via cloud, maintaining service offerings for nearly 20 years. Additionally, desknet’s Sync for smartphones, which synchronizes with NEO Japan’s groupware deskNET’S, became a long-term hit. Other ventures include QuickGate™, a cloud ticketing service integrated with various gate systems from SKIDATA (Austria).

Main Software Company Financing
In December 2004, conducted third-party allotment capital increases with OBIC Business Consultants Co., Ltd. (TSE1: 4733), holding the largest domestic market share for the “勘定奉行” series ERP package, and with NEO Japan, Inc. (TSE: 3921), which holds the largest domestic market share for the “deskNET’S” groupware. In 2007, a similar financial arrangement was made with Impress Holdings, Inc. (TSE: 9479).

In February 2006, he merged with Cyberspace Japan Co., Ltd., a longstanding venture company operating “CSJ Index” Japan’s first search site, and became the president of the newly named WEBIMPACT, Inc. Although he transferred the presidency to the second president in 2018, he returned as the third president after becoming a subsidiary of NAVITAS Co., Ltd. (TSE: 6276) in 2020, before eventually resigning. His investment activities are not limited to minority investments; in recent years, he has been actively acquiring overseas ventures in the five key areas mentioned earlier.

Work Style
He has introduced a “Nomad Working Life Style” to all employees in companies he is involved in managing. He has compiled the philosophical background and practical examples of this work style in his books “The Practice of an Entirely New Work Style – ‘Tech Driven Management’ for Local Revitalization” (published in March 2017 by Harvest Co., Ltd.) and “Continued: The Practice of an Entirely New Work Style – Why Work Styles Do Not Become Free in Japan. The Pathology of a Society Incomplete in Digital Transformation (DX)” (published in March 2022 by Harvest). He also practices and teaches this work style, living a multi-locational life based in Hakuba Village, Nagano, and Tokyo, and traveling domestically and internationally, a principle he refers to as SuperMobility®️, in line with Tech Driven Management®️. He is also a director at Legal Literacy Corporation, discussing policies on “Nomad Working Life Style” and “Side Jobs issue in Japan”

Investment Activities
Established an investment firm in New Jersey, USA, in 2000. Through a unique network spanning business and academia, he has repeatedly invested in late-stage software companies, among others. Later, his investment operations were transferred to Arowana Partners, which, along with other entities in the group, continues to actively invest in EdTech, ClimateTech, ResortTech, cross-border content, and local real estate as its five key areas. In the early 2000s, he invested in an IT security company led by a group of white hackers in the US and subsequently made successive investments in a similar IT security company in Canada, achieving exits. Also, in the early 2000s, he made early-stage investments in an Israeli venture company specializing in rich content web advertising. From around 2015, he revitalized investments in the five key areas, including acquiring a stateless venture company in 2017 that localizes and deploys unique Japanese content in the APAC area.

Academic Activities
With a strong interest in the collaboration between business and academia, he has been involved in industry-government-academia collaboration projects and expresses his thoughts through writing and speaking. In April 2002, he was invited as an expert witness to the 154th session of the National Diet’s House of Councillors “Survey on Public Life and Economy – Issues in Deregulation and Entrepreneurship Promotion” along with Hiroshi Tasaka (SophiaBank) and Seiichiro Yonekura (Professor at Hitotsubashi University).

Since 2002, he has taught at RIKKYO University’s Graduate School of Business Administration, holding positions such as Specially Appointed Associate Professor and currently Visiting Associate Professor. He lectures at RIKKYO University, Tokyo Denki University, Ferris University, Toyo University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Kirirom Institute of Technology (Cambodia), and various national universities in rural areas on topics such as information society theory, information industry theory, media theory, information network theory, startup strategy, business presentation, small and medium-sized enterprise theory, and technology management theory. Since 2016, he has also been invited to teach at RIKKYO Ikebukuro Junior and Senior High School to convey information to younger generations. He is involved in various public roles, including a committee member for Shinjuku Ward’s industrial promotion plan, a researcher at KEIO University’s Institute for Media and Communications Research (April 2009 to March 2013), a researcher at an Institute of Business Design at RIKKYO University (current), a Visiting Professor at BUNKYO GAKUIN University Graduate School (from 2024), a specialist committee member of SAJ (SKI Association of Japan) (current), a selection committee member of the Takashima Science and Technology Promotion Foundation (current), and a councilor of the Innocensio Dream Challenge Foundation (current), among many other public positions.

As a Proponent / Advisor of Tech Driven Management®️
In recent years, as a proponent of “Tech Driven Management®️” he has been actively involved in lectures and advising on the appropriate introduction of technology into corporate management. His experience managing multiple TECH ventures and his investment experience have been utilized since 2016 when he joined Guardian Advisors an independent M&A and TECH advisory firm, as a partner. He has established and currently leads the TDMA (Tech Driven Management Advisory) team, which provides advanced support and advice on the appropriate introduction of technology to businesses.

Affiliated Academic Societies
He is a member of several academic societies, including the Information and Communication Society (as a peer reviewer since the 2001 fiscal year), the Public Policy Society, the Japan Venture Society, the Japan Media Society, the Society of Business Creators, and the Japan Management Association, among others.

Main Publications
Recent works include “Continued: The Practice of an Entirely New Work Style – Why Work Styles Do Not Become Free. The Pathology of a Society Incomplete in Digital Transformation (DX)” (Harvest), “Tech Driven Management Transforms Organizations – Working with Digital Natives” (Kindai Kagaku Sha), “The Practice of an Entirely New Work Style – ‘Tech Driven Management’ for Local Revitalization” (Harvest), “Digital Design & Digital Transformation – DX and Design-Oriented Future Strategies” (co-authored, Sozo Sha), “Global Communication – Understanding Life, Culture, and Society through Keywords” (co-authored, Minerva Shobo), “The Sociology of Globalization – Circulating Media and Life” (co-authored, Koseisha Koseikaku), among others. His major solo papers include studies on the decision-making and adoption process of core technologies in the media industry, the innovation and social acceptance patterns of media technology, the typology of risks and growth potentials of venture companies in Japan’s software industry, and considerations on the socialization of facial recognition technology within a social science context, among many others.

Music Activities (Composer / Arranger)
Began playing the Electone at age 4 and piano at age 6, starting to compose music for competitions during his early childhood. From his third year of high school, he began providing music for video games, TV programs, plays, and artists, as well as arranging classical music. Since December 17, 2011, he has been performing charity concerts with ocarina/kalimba player Mineaki Hotta, including the “Hatachi Fund” Charity Concert 2012 and, with the cooperation of event producers, music directors, and stage directors who share his aspirations, the “Hatachi Fund” Charity Concert 2013 on December 14 at the Jiji Press Hall. From 2014, the concerts have been held at Art Cafe Friends in Ebisu, Tokyo. The charity concerts have continued for 12 consecutive years as of 2022. During the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022, online streaming was conducted on Peatix LIVE, achieving nearly triple the usual attendance. Although he does not usually perform piano in public, he participates as a player in these concerts. He is a full member of the Japan Artists Association. In 2018, he released a CD album “biotope” a collection of music composed for the “Hatachi Fund” Charity Concert, followed by his own collection “biotope II” released by Arowana Entertainment the next year. At the end of 2021, he released his first single “A fog of calm,” which quickly ranked 6th in the New Age Music category on the Apple iTunes Store (Japan) and entered the top 10 on TuneCore. He released the vocal track “eternal lands” in 2022 and “cloud and twilight” in 2023.

Ski / Snow Resort Activities
Originating from alpine skiing during his student days, he now focuses on backcountry and basic skiing, based in HAKUBA VALLEY, Hakuba Village, Nagano Prefecture, and also travels to North American and emerging Chinese ski resorts. He has moved to and resides in Hakuba Village, Nagano Prefecture, to practice the aforementioned work style, aiming for a minimum of 50 days of skiing annually and actively working as a snow resort reviewer. He is a co-founder of SNOWTECH and a certified senior evaluator. He has received numerous inquiries about “Tech Driven Management®️” in snow resorts and has taught courses such as “Tourism Regional Economy” at RIKKYO University Graduate School (MBA program). He is a member of the JSK (SKI Association of Tokyo: No.279 / Director). Since 2020, he has been commissioned by the SAJ(SKI Association of Japan) as a specialist committee member of the International Information Committee, advising on organizational and service DX. He is a certified senior ski instructor and B-class examiner of the SAJ and a specialist committee member of the federation’s Education Department. He also serves as an external independent director of NIPPON SKI RESORT DEVELOPMENT, INC. (TSE: 6040), among other roles.

Car-Related Activities
A sports car enthusiast, he began his journey with an old Italian sports car during his student years, maintaining it himself and has since driven European sports cars, including EVs and PHEVs, as a practitioner. He frequently receives inquiries from R&D departments of car manufacturers and Tier 1 companies in the supply chain and shares his opinions through blogs and other mediums. Especially in relation to his main profession, his critiques of infotainment/car informatics from the perspective of “Tech Driven Management®️” are highly regarded for their usability evaluations, and his academic commentary on “negative technology assets” from a technology management standpoint, focusing on impairment accounting, has attracted attention.