Our History

A long-term bet on innovation in Japan

At Creww we work with innovative startups in Japan and around the world. We are a startup ourselves and since our founding in 2012 we’ve been at the center of Japan’s startup community. We both offer essential services to the community and work with large enterprises to help them work with small startups. (It’s more challenging for them than you think)

Before founding Creww, Sorato Ijichi moved to Los Angeles when he was 16 and was inspired by innovation and risk-taking spirit he found there. Sorato started his first company when he was a student there and sold it seven years later.

Returning to Japan after the great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the future looked very uncertain. It was not simply the devastation caused by the earthquake. Japan’s GDP had recently been surpassed by China. The nation’s manufacturing industry was being hollowed out, and even in industries, such as electronics, where Japan had been historically strong, she was being overtaken or even surpassed by neighboring countries. After has experience in California, it was obvious the Sorato that the only way Japan would regain her former status would be through innovation, and the only way to achieve consistent and important innovation is by having a sizable and dynamic startup ecosystem.

Of course, Japan and America are different and Japan’s ideal startup ecosystem is very different from what we see in Silicon Valley. Japanese companies are new to working with startups, and they value long-term relationships. Japanese startups are more willing to work with, rather than against the established players. And Creww is right in the middle. Making introductions, cementing partnerships and making sure that relationships go smoothly.

Japan’s startup ecosystem is growing into something very different than San Francisco. One with less disruption, perhaps, but with more meaningful and profitable cooperation.

TEAM MEMBERS

We come from all industries and all walks of life, but we all have a passion for startups.

At the core of Creww is a crazy mix of startup founders, creatives and former executives from some of Japan’s biggest companies. Somehow we manage to work together smoothly and we use that culture to ensure that large companies and startups all over Japan work together as well.

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Sorato Ijichi

Founder, CEO

Sorato started his first business in the US when he was 21. That company was acquired by a major American movie streaming company. He also sold a company he founded in the Philippines after three years of operation. Today, however, Sorato is back in Japan and fully focused on making Creww a success and making a difference in the Japanese startup ecosystem.

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Yoichi Ogino

CTO

Yoichi was an engineer at Yahoo!Japan, but launched several innovative web services while he was still a student. He tried his hand at freelancing after he left Yahoo, but found his home when he became a founding member of Creww.

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Satoshi Endo

CFO

Satoshi spent his formative years in investment banking at multinational finance firms including UBS and Credit Suisse. Satoshi later moved into venture capital where at different times he was responsible for both investment and M&A. He is a graduate of Waseda University and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

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Eiki Segawa

Marketing & Planning Dept Chief Director VP

Eiki’s first experience in massive startup growth was his planning and managing a music distribution site from launch to stability, He has since been involved as a turnaround expert in over 50 businesses. Eiki is formerly a representative director of an Impress Group subsidiary.

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Tomoyuki Mizuno

Managing Director Open Innovation Business Management

Tomoyuki founded Wazoo, a ticketing services pioneer in Japan and was responsible for marketing and sales. After Wazoo’s growth phase, he spun out a subsidiary and sold it. Tomoyuki has been involved in the founding of several other business before joining Creww.

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Dong Cheol Lee

Open Innovation Business Development Manager

Dong Cheol get into the music business at 18 when he was a college student in the U.S. After driving sales at web-marketing companies in the U.S. and Japan, he became the representative director of a Japanese firm before going Creww. He speaks Japanese, English, and Korean.

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Ataru Ijichi

Open Innovation Marketing & Planning Senior Manager

After working in sales in Japan, Ataru joined an IT company in the Philippines as the representative director. He was responsible for managing all local staff and the Japanese partner firm. He joined Creww after selling the company and returning to Japan.

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Kozue Ishii

Community Manager

Kozue is a founding member of Creww and an expert in PR, marketing and sales. Throughout her high-school and college career, she’s studied in both Japan and the United States.

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Tim Romero

Market Entry Advisor

Tim Romero is the host of Disrupting Japan podcast and a Tokyo-based entrepreneur, investor and author who has started four companies and led Japan market entry for others since coming to Japan more than 20 years ago.

OUR ADVISORS

Creww work closely with an distributed team of influential executives and visionary entrepreneurs.

Together we are working to develop the Japanese startup ecosystem into one of the most  innovative in the world.

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Yukihiro Akimoto

Advisor

Served top management functions at KFC Japan, Pepsi-Cola Japan, Nike Japan, and LVMH Guerlain Japon

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Nobuyuki Idei

Advisor

Founder & CEO of Quantum Leaps Corporation,
Former President, Chairman and Group CEO of Sony Corporation

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Wayoh Suzuki

Advisor

Senior Director, Cisco Systems G.K.

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Ikuo Yasuda

Advisor

Former Country Head of Lehman Brothers and Head of its Investment Banking Division

STATUTORY AUDITOR

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Kozo Hiramatsu

Statutory Auditor

Former President of Livedoor Inc., Yayoi Inc., Former Vice-President of American Express Japan, Sony Corporation, Sony America Corporation

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