William Saito – Venture Capital Samurai

Very few people have accomplished so much in 47 years as William Saito has. He owes his success to being born when computers were first becoming truly accessible to the masses. A love of math and computers made him the first to develop fingerprint recognition software while he was a student at the University of California, Riverside Biomedical Science Program.


Saito’s first venture into the business world netted him enough money to live extremely well for the rest of his life. His technology is still used by tech giants like Microsoft. Saito styles himself as a serial venture capitalist. His autobiography explain how an incurable entrepreneur went about forming or funding more than 25 successful companies in Japan.


Saito based his operations in his home country of Japan. He served his country and government as a technical adviser in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident and in matters of cybersecurity.


Saito has concentrated his efforts in training other entrepreneurs to meet the challenges that face Japan. He seeks to restyle the concept of entrepreneurs in the minds of the majority of Japanese to be more on a par with the same people’s acceptance of the success of companies like Sony. He sees the future growth of the Japanese economy as a change in mind first.


Saito has had sufficient experience with financial turmoil to have developed definite views about how financial turmoil has an impact on startups. He sees financial turmoil as a good thing for startups.

Saito speaks from the experience of being startup consultant at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo. He states that many of the most economically productive and well-known Japanese companies were created in times of economic turmoil.


The abundance of funds that are available during bubble periods of growth and prosperity tend to produce more startups that do not have the basic underpinnings for long term success according to Saito. Financial management skills become much more of a factor in bad economic times. This produces better money management in the future good times.


Saito notes that Asian cultures are much more averse to failure than Western cultures. He sees failure as a potential stepping stone to better things. This is one of the positions that he has stressed in his blogs, books, and seminars in Japan. Learning to fail so your venture can grow is a skill Saito wants to teach Japanese entrepreneurs about startups.


Saito uses the example he learned from being a part of the rebuilding of homes and businesses devastated by the hurricane that caused the Fukushima catastrophe. He explains that a real failure in preparedness produced a huge development of entrepreneurial spirit. More young people and women had the drive to rebuild.


William Saito has set himself the task of changing the minds of the vast majority of people in Japan. A change in mind is much needed as Japan becomes the first nation with more older people than younger.