- Chief Executive & Founder
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 12 (as of February 2019)
It was through shows like “Astro Boy” and brands like Sony and Nintendo. At 17, I started learning aikido and decided to learn Japanese. I signed up for an exchange program and later studied at Saitama University. During my early years here, I saw a poster in Kayabacho Station that said “Nihon wa monozukuri no kuni” (Japan is a country of making things). I wondered why there wasn’t a Japanese Microsoft or Google. This grew into a desire to start a global software company in Japan. Eventually, I did.
I try to live by aikido’s philosophy of “Nana korobi ya oki” (fall down seven times, stand up eight). When you fall down, you need to keep getting back up, in every single aspect of life. Regardless of your nationality you get knocked down a lot. Approach the problem from an angle where you can win, regardless of how strong your opponent is. Don’t give up, find a strategy to win.
The digital banking experience in Japan could be much better — that’s why we originally created the Moneytree personal finance app. Among our biggest achievements, I am proud we were the first company to receive simultaneous investment from all three “mega banks,” Mizuho, MUFG and SMBC. We also received Apple’s Best of App Store award twice, all while standing firmly by our principles of privacy, security and transparency.
My goal is to take Moneytree global. We already launched in Japan and Australia, but I would like it to reach every market. We want to show the world Japan can be a force to be reckoned with in software. That's why we apply a universal approach to our app design and company strategy. Moneytree is a Japanese company started by Japan-experienced foreigners, and we intentionally think global and local.
When I was learning Japanese, people told me unless you start studying Japanese language from an early age, learning kanji “is impossible.” Thankfully, they were totally wrong. It does take a lot of effort, dedication and time, but if you are planning to be a long-term resident of Japan, make a long-term investment and learn how to read. Putting in the effort to become literate makes a huge difference. People who say it’s impossible simply did not or could not dedicate the time required.
My other piece of advice is if you have a bank account and you do not read Japanese, try the Moneytree app. It’s free, and definitely makes daily life in Japan much easier.