Hiro Shinohara

Co-Founder and CEO of Hotaru Inc.

Co-Founder and CEO of Hotaru Inc.
Co-Founder and COO of SIVIRA Inc.
Founder of BitBiteCoin.com
Adviser at GMO Internet Group
Adviser at OKWAVE

After encountering my first Macintosh computer at home when I was a kid, I learned the joy of creating through a computer. Right after that, I was strongly influenced by a tv program on Marc Andreessen’s Netscape-driven internet revolution.

As a middle-schooler, I visited the US for the first time and encountered the phenomenon that would later be termed the dot-com bubble. This was when I decided to pursue a career in the tech industry.

Back in Japan, I devoted myself to software development. After tasting initial success by creating a mobile website, I founded my first startup at the age of nineteen. Since then, I have been involved in numerous internet-based startups in fields including mobile applications, cloud hosting, IoT semiconductors, and have founded companies in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and the US.

I was inspired by the emergence of Bitcoin and its aim to create a decentralized society, and since then, I have chosen to focus my work on Bitcoin and Blockchain. In 2013, I founded the website BitBiteCoin.com to provide news about Bitcoin. In 2015, I co-founded a company called SIVIRA to research and develop Blockchain in order to establish an “economic zone of autonomous and decentralized data” aimed at the IoT market. Furthermore, in 2017, I founded a startup studio specializing in Blockchain technology, Hotaru Inc. It was the evolution of a company that was originally founded in the US in 2016, dealing with asset management of cryptocurrencies and ICO investments.

I currently serve as an advisor and Japanese representative of several companies involved with Bitcoin, such as GMO Internet Inc., and Genesis Mining.

On a different note, as a person who shuttles frequently between Tokyo, Asia, and the US, I am a permanent Airbnb resident. I am also the author of a number of popular blog articles concerning the Evangelion anime series.

Masato Tsumamoto

President and CEO

About CellSource
The mission of CellSource is to provide regenerative medicine to every person. As a biotech venture founded to promote industrialization of regenerative medicine, we mainly supply the orthopedic community with regulatory support on matters relating to regenerative medicine and perform culture and engineering of adipose-derived stem cells.

Enactment of the Act on the Safety of Regenerative Medicine led to the founding of CellSource. It is a law formulated to promote commercialization of regenerative medicine. Under this law, strict regulations govern organizations engaged in regenerative medicine. It is a system that obligates organizations to file various applications and to be reviewed by authorization committees. CellSource has dedicated staff to support clients in meeting these requirements. As the law now permits outsourcing of cellular culture and engineering, CellSource offers these services at the Center for Regenerative Medicine (MHLW-licensed facility for manufacturing specific processed cells). CellSource provides one-stop solutions ranging from regulatory support to cellular culture and engineering to create an ecosystem for swift and safe regenerative medicine services delivered by medical institutions.

In this age of longevity, when an increasing number of people can live to be 100, the focus would be the number of years spent in good health. We aim to improve those years through development of regenerative medicine.

Miss Fujimoto

Today, I will Graconize Mr. Tsumamoto of CellSource and Mr. Shinohara of SIVIRA. Actually, we have some things in common. First, all of us are from Hyogo. Next, Mr. Murakami, the former Vice President of Google and President of Google Japan, has been welcomed to CellSource as a director and to SIVIRA as an advisor. From those common points, I felt a fateful thing. I was convinced that two of you should be Graconized. It will be the best Gracone ever. Let’s start.
“First of all, would you introduce yourself, please? Also, I’d like to hear what you focus on the most.”

Mr Shinohara

“I’m working on a lot about Blockchain. It is Cryptocurrency that I focus on the most. The important thing is what Cryptocurrency will change. It can make a mechanism to gather support from all people who have a will to make the world better. As the new flow of money is starting with the Cryptocurrency, I am mass-producing the new start-up companies that match the new era. My idea is not just starting one company. “A startup creates many startups." That’s what I want to do. I'm trying to do something pretty destructive using Cryptocurrency funding and Blockchain technology.”

Mr Tsumamoto

“I’m working on industrializing regenerative medicine correctly and safely. I was so-called sports-oriented like I did kendo and triathlon. After graduating from university, I worked for Sumitomo Corporation, a general trading company, for about 10 years. About five years out of that decade, I was in Russia and had a resource business. To be more specific, in the snowy mountains far away from the urban areas of Russia, I was in charge of a project to construct a wood processing plant and established a business to export processed goods to Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan. Through various business and meeting with many people, I was thinking about what business is needed in the future. Then, I am convinced that medical treatment is definitely one of the necessary things, and decided to make a new challenge with the theme of medical care. At the same time, it was also a major factor leading to this decision that the Act on Securement of Safety of Regenerative Medicine (commonly known as the regenerative medicine law) was enforced in Japan ahead of other countries. CellSource is currently putting the most effort into building a business as a service as soon as possible, while regenerative medicine is not yet in the actual clinical application phase or the business phase. All the members are making serious efforts to make the world a better place through medical treatment while offering reliable value to society and getting the price. Humans are based on health as much as anything else. If we are not healthy, I think it’s very difficult to create new value. ‘How do you want to live in the future?’ When various types of successful people were asked such a question to approach the fundamental desire, ‘Health’ was definitely a keyword that came out. ‘Eternal youth and immortality’ also came out several times. It is closely related to medical treatment, and it is a very meaningful theme. It’s not just about money- making. It is a very important theme for the future human beings.”

Miss Fujimoto

“You two have some things in common. First, both of you are from Hyogo.”

Mr Tsumamoto

“People from Hyogo like us are very happy when we meet others from Hyogo, aren’t we?”

Miss Fujimoto

“I know. Then, we suddenly start to speak with Kansai dialect. Haha. Now, tell me what brought you to enter this industry.”

Mr Shinohara

“I started working on Bitcoins and Blockchain in 2013. When I first started my business, I had the purpose of making my personality digital data and transplanting. I was in the cloud business and IoT projects for that. In that process, I noticed some points would be a bottleneck, which are distributed authentication technology and how to store decentralized data that would not be tampered with. Just then, I learned about Bitcoin. Instead of Bitcoin as a currency, I was interested in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain as a distributed database and authentication technology. Then, I began to write commentary on Bitcoin on my blog. That was my start.”

Mr Tsumamoto

“Of course, it was one of wonderful options to stay in a trading company. However, it is more important than anything to keep challenging in any environment. I considered what is really necessary for society of the future and what makes the world really happy. It is very easy to say, but it is not easy to create a business with such themes. CellSource now creates business based on themes of something truly necessary for society. For
example, I think it’s a new great value to suggest regenerative medicine that can take a slight knee pain. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, more than half of people over 60 years old have some kind of knee pain. I regard it as a very serious social problem. Our lifetime will surely extend to 100 years old or 120 years old. The time of the 100-year life is just coming.
In such a new age, if the amount of activity of people who haven’t yet reached half of their lives declines, for example, due to the pain of the knee, social and economic loss would be significant. It might sound tough today, but the future society wouldn’t work unless you are still active at the age of 80. In the coming 100-year life, we will need to be active for a longer time. Therefore, I am convinced medical treatment is one of the most important points.”

Miss Fujimoto

“I lived with my grandparents when I was a child. My grand-mother couldn’t walk because of the knee pain. She got kind of depressed since she couldn’t go out. It was tough for me to see my family member was facing pain. I greatly respect you, Mr. Tsumamoto, for not only research, but also establishing a business firmly. No one can continue without doing it properly. No one can deliver value to many people without it. It is very important to exist as a business. "

Mr Tsumamoto

“Most bio-venture companies start from the perspective of engineers and scientists. For example, someone finds a university professor has an amazing technology. He thinks this technology should be realized by all means. So, let’s collect investors and make venture companies from the university. This is the starting flow we often see. However, it’s also a fact, when the technology is actually realized, there are just too many venture companies without careful planning how it changes the world and who will be happy. Though the technology is certainly amazing and might be innovative, there is often a lack of a market perspective of how much it provides value to society and how much it changes the world. Since I am not a doctor in the first place, I went into the medical industry from the perspective close to the market, such as what the market is seeking, how the world trend is changing in the future and so on, which I cultivated in the trading company. There is a problem that the knee hurts; if it is solved, it is assumed that the healthy life expectancy will be extended; then, it will bring tremendous impact on society and economy; surely, the world will be a little happy. Cellosource started with the market perspective to seek a new, safe and correct medical care to solve the knee pain that half of people over the age of 60 are suffering. It can become business because there is an exit strategy. When we talk about business or money in health care, people concerned sometimes try to avoid. However, what we confidently define is that "Sales and profits are consideration of the value offered to society". It is not embarrassing to pursue it properly and seriously, or rather I think it is absolutely necessary. Creating a long-lasting company is directly linked to fulfilling responsibilities to society. Of course, the life of our employees is also important. If there is no profit, the research stops halfway and the value that can be offered in the future will be small. In other words, it is impossible to attain the company's goal unless the business is running smoothly. This idea is considered natural in a general capitalist society, but I define it as extremely important in the medical industry as well. I always work with it in mind. It’s by no means profit-first principle. The greatest goal is providing the right value for society. Profits will always come as a result.”

Miss Fujimoto

“An image came up in me, like a main character in a comic is saying his lines. Haha. We can say the same thing for Bitcoin. Researchers don’t like talking about money or business, but I think it’s also necessary.”

Mr Shinohara

“Many people are dissatisfied with the current capitalist problems or current money
flows. That would be fine if there are such people in the decentralized society. However, it had to be a mechanism following the current system in order to change the world continuously. I always think so even in the art world or the technology world. Unless it is evaluated as a business and it provides the value, it will simply boil down to ‘Someone just made an amazing technology,’ after all. Speaking in the technology world, it ends up with being thought that engineers are just playing. It was a big point that I became an entrepreneur as well as an engineer.”

Miss Fujimoto

“You mean, even though something that can be solved is created, it is meaningless unless it is used, right? How will regeneration medicine develop in the future? Rather, what do you want to do with it?



藤本 真衣 (著)



馬渕 邦美 (著, 監修),絢斗 優 (著),藤本 真衣 (著)


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