Dr. Takahisa Karita: An Entrepreneur with a Stellar Vision and Business Acumen

op 10 Business Leaders to Watch in 2023 by International Business Times. Top Serial Entrepreneur of The Year 2024 by IAOTP. Forbes Business Council Member. SDGs, Climate Action, Blockchain, AI, IP licensing experts

Many people aspire to be an entrepreneur. Some dare to realize that dream. A few aspirants fail in their attempt and a few succeed. Rare are those who have a knack for understanding the right opportunities and creating not just one but many successful businesses. Dr. Takahisa Karita is one of them. Known as a “serial entrepreneur” not only in Japan but also worldwide, Dr. Karita has extensive experience in creating and growing businesses in various sectors and regions.

Starting Young

While a student at a university in Japan, Dr. Karita worked as a volleyball coach for three years at a girls’ high school, one of the strongest schools in Japan. This led him to plan and get a high school teacher’s license after graduating from a university in Japan and getting a job at a private high school in Japan. However, at the time he was working as a coach, sports medicine was not yet widespread in Japan, so he keenly felt the need for it, and studied sports medicine in the United States. Soon, he dropped out of university and returned to Japan, and while working as a tutor at a cram school, his father invited him to participate in the launch of a bio-venture as a managing director at the age of 26. That was the start of his managerial career.

Later Dr. Karita became the representative director, launched a bio-venture company, and served as an officer and advisor to various companies. Currently, he is the CFO of CDTEC China, a company that operates a service platform for educational institutions that has been installed in more than 5,000 kindergartens in China. Dr. Karita is also a co-founder of Unify Platform AG in Switzerland, which operates UNIPLAT. The UNIPLAT is the world’s first online platform that promotes the matching of entrepreneurs and researchers who support the SDGs advocated by the United Nations, regardless of their economic or geographical conditions and their supporters (investors, VCs, accelerators, HNWIs, etc.) from all over the world. In addition, he serves as a senior advisor to more than 10 institutions and provides management support to each organization.

“The reason why I chose the current SNS industry is that I wanted to build a global ecosystem that works with everyone to solve the SDGs and confront climate change, without being aware of the borders of the whole world,” he says.

Tapping Potentials

In most of the institutions Dr. Karita works with, his role is to pioneer new and untapped business areas and build a global ecosystem to follow. As an idea his team has developed, the credit rating of participants on the supported side in UNIPLAT, the NFT conversion of all posted content (live streaming archives, videos, documents) and the throwing of money by Ethereum to the content, and the AI for creating business plans are all attracting attention as innovative services worldwide. It was covered by many media outlets.

In addition, Vector Holdings Inc., a listed company (TSE Standard Code: 2656) for which he serves as an advisor, began providing regular information on climate change and AI, which still need to be recognized in Japan, as the cornerstone of its new business last summer. While incorporating cutting-edge information from around the world, it delivers information that even complete beginners can understand Climate Change and AI and has been well received.

A Unifying Platform

Pharmaceutical research has often been driven by incentives and publications, limiting the scope of open collaboration. However, Dr. Karita envisions a future where individual researchers can join and share research projects and outcomes. Therefore, he saw the need to build the world’s first platform for recruiting research partners, enabling more researchers and companies to work together and achieve innovative research outcomes, such as patent filings (protection of research results) and others.

Launched in September 2021, Unify Platform AG has more than 100,000 participants from 135 countries as of December 2023, with 52 advisory board members and 84 companies and organizations participating to promote UNIPLAT’s idea generation and the development of a global ecosystem. As an online platform, UNIPLAT maintains its unique marketability in terms of its specialization in solving the SDGs, the diversity of participants and their content, and the introduction of many of the latest technologies such as Web3 and AI.

This platform is a new way for researchers to share their work and get funding. It allows them to livestream their research to a wide audience, including potential collaborators and sponsors. It also enables ordinary people to interact with and support various

researchers, creating a democratic funding model similar to crowdfunding. Unify’s goal is to foster a network of specialized knowledge literacy and to achieve a fair and balanced distribution of knowledge that supports the SDGs and world peace.

Facing the Hard Days

The hardest moment in his career was during the Lehman shock, which was a global economic recession. Due to the sudden closure of the public underwriting department of the lead underwriter securities that Dr. Karita had contracted with his company at the time to apply for listing, he was forced to abandon the management of the company that was in the period immediately before the IPO and sell the company. That is why he decided to reset all his businesses and start his career from scratch.

“As a business owner, I learned a lot from that experience about how vulnerable businesses are against uncertain risks. I don’t know if I was able to overcome that situation at the time. However, even after that, I continued to participate in various projects regardless of my own preferences, just to survive day by day. As a result, I was able to identify the business that I really wanted to do, and I think it led to overcoming the challenges,” he shares.

Guided by Innovation

Innovation, per Dr. Karita, leads to higher customer satisfaction for users who use the service. In addition, he says, we live in an era in which the culture and economy centered on users are constantly changing. Innovation is necessary to ensure that it is always applied optimally. In addition to differences in countries and ethnicities, users in the same market will become increasingly diverse, including the generation gap. Innovation is always needed to include them.

Challenges in the Industry

Dr. Karita shares that one of the challenges that must be solved in the online platform industry is the protection of the vast amount of data storage, especially the protection of users’ private information. Currently, there are regulations such as the GDPR, which was enacted in Europe and is considered to be the strictest internationally, but it cannot be said that this problem is uniform worldwide. He explains that there are two main solutions. The first is a blockchain, based on distributed data storage that supports internationally

unified quantum technology. The R&D in this field is progressing very well in many places, and Dr. Karita is personally optimistic that it can be achieved. The second is the construction of data centers in borderless regions (including extraterrestrial planets) that have been internationally agreed upon. He is personally concerned that this will take a lot of time to achieve consensus among the stakeholders.

“In the online platform industry, software development tends to take precedence and hardware countermeasures tend to follow, and I think that there are many cases where it is not perfect. The earth itself is prone to natural disasters, and there are many issues to be addressed, such as the development of places and facilities that can withstand them, and the construction of a system that can minimize power consumption and utilize renewable energy. The development of specialists and developers in the field of hardware is also an international issue,” he shares.

Predicting Industry Trends

Dr. Karita believes that the borderless online platform and the diversity of participants will be greatly improved. He also predicts that the need for democratic, autonomous platform systems, such as DAOs, will increase. UNIPLAT has already taken these measures, and they believe that they will be able to build them by 2024. In the next 5 years, they would like to increase the number of countries of origin of UNIPLAT participants to 196 countries (the number of countries in the world as of 2023). “And even if I don’t get involved, I want to make full use of the current GenZ generation, the DAO, and the AI so that we can run UNIPLAT autonomously,” he says.

Currently, we can easily obtain not only information on the Internet but also timely macro information and customer-level information on SNS. Dr. Karita thinks it is a good idea for managers to constantly acquire and share information on various SNSs. It’s also important to build a collection with key people in the industry. In order to build connections with these key people, he feels it is a good idea to share management information other than confidential information on SNS.

Words of Encouragement

For the young and aspiring entrepreneurs, Dr. Karita’s message is as follows:

“I want entrepreneurs to determine the business they want to do for the rest of their lives

without compromising. No matter how difficult it is, if they can contribute to society in their own way, there will always be supporters. I want them to not care if it’s big or small, and to push forward as entrepreneurs.”

Quote: “When in doubt, make your own way.”

Quote: “We want to support more entrepreneurs and researchers around the world, and people who want to start their own businesses as much as possible. To that end, we believe that we can build a stronger relationship of trust as a team.”

Rapid Fires:

1. How would you sum up your 2023: It was a time when we had to adapt to change.

2. A Contemporary Leader You Admire: Mr. Bill Gates

3. A Book/Audiobook you are currently Reading/Listening: “Principles for Dealing with The Changing World Order” by Ray Dalio

4. Your biggest role model: Hideo Karita, my late grandfather, wanted to build an international sphere of peace centered on Asia.

5. Success to you is: To produce many leaders who can bring peace to the world.