After graduating from Waseda University, majoring in Commerce, Shinya joined a Japanese investment bank Daiwa Securities SMBC (now Daiwa Securities) in 2003.
He supported the listing of venture companies and small/medium enterprises, and provided advice to listed companies regarding financial strategy and securities issuance. During his tenure at the company, he was assigned to the Corporate Planning Department for one year to formulate and manage corporate strategies, and then to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for more than two years to implement and revise the Industrial Revitalization Law.
As of 2009, he engaged with the strategic team at Accenture, a foreign-affiliated consulting firm, to support the formulation and implementation of management and business strategies for domestic and overseas operating companies, financial institutions, government agencies, and NPOs. After working as CSO & CFO of Linkers Corporation, he established TRINUS in 2014.
Creating excitement through connecting buried technology with creators
– What was your motivation to found TRINUS?
Since my school days, I have dreamt of starting a business. So, after graduation I studied how to raise funds and run businesses in practice at securities companies and consulting firms.
There were two triggers that inspired me to create the TRINUS business model. Firstly, through my experience as a consultant for manufacturing at facilities supporting the disabled. At these facilities there was a reality that products that were carefully and passionately created would rarely sell.
I focused on “design.” I wrestled with how to make products with higher design value but with a lower budget. This led me to the idea of hosting a competition to solicit ideas from a wide range of people and to reward for outstanding designs. During the 1 month application period we received 382 designs. Through the success of this competition, the situation of disabled people was widely publicized. With this experience my certainty became galvanised – there were more people than I expected who wanted to use their abilities to help others. I think that is the origin of TRINUS, now we have supported the actual commercialization of the collected designs.
Another major turning point was my experience at Linkers, a manufacturing support venture company. At the request of major companies, we found unmatched small and medium-sized companies and research institutes that had the necessary technologies for commercialization. No matter how niche the technology was, I was impressed by the fact that there were manufacturers who had a technology that met the requirements of a planning company. There were a lot of great manufacturers with amazing technologies in the world, but they were undiscovered … I was just as moved as with the design competition to support the disabled. “Wow, so many designers!”
How can I discover buried outstanding technologies, shine a light on them for the public and solicit ideas from designers and engineers to develop new products? With the encouragement of the president at the time, I decided to launch TRINUS independently.
We as a Manufacturing Company will see our products through to the world
– What are the strengths of TRINUS?
Our strength is the wide network of designers and engineers, and the fact that rather than a matching company, we are a manufacturing company.
TRINUS has about 10 members, but has a network of about 4000 designers and creators. By attracting a wide range of ideas for the technologies that have been developed, it is possible to refine products and meet the needs of various perspectives.
Rather than just collecting ideas, TRINUS is proud of running together with companies until their products are released into the world. The company’s name TRINUS means “Trinity” in Latin, creating new values through bringing three parties together: manufacturers with technology, designers, and end users.
It involves discovering buried technologies, soliciting ideas that use the technologies, evaluating the gathered ideas to commercialize, and putting them into mass-production… Some products, in fact, took 2 years to reach the market. Still, when such products are launched, the response is massive. I have a burning desire to bring out the potential of Japanese manufacturing.
Continuing to discover and shape technologies and ideas around the world
– What does TRINUS envision?
From the broad point of view of manufacturing, I think we need a system that is more flexible for creating businesses. Even if a big manufacturer has an interesting product concept, it may not be realized unless sales of several billion yen are expected. If a venture company like TRINUS starts a business, its technology will have a new lease of life. And when it grows, the technology will be bought by the big guy.
We will continue to create products and services that will drive people forward by gathering the power of creators and technologies not only in Japan but also around the world.
Further reading about Shinya Sato is available through NIKKEI STYLE (Japanese only):
Part 1 デザイナー4千人束ねる 起業家が問うものづくりの形
Part 2 埋もれた技術で一歩先へ ものづくり信じる起業家の志