Revitalizing a Stagnant Industry with New Technology and Innovative Marketing: Airweave Mattresses and Weava Japan

Motokuni Takaoka, CEO,Nippon Koatsu Electric Co., LTD and Weava Japan

What do you do if you inherit a struggling company based on manufacturing equipment for fine thread (such as a fishing line), and your existing main business is supplying electric power distribution equipment to power companies, railway companies, etc.?  If you are Mr. Motokuni Takaoka, CEO of Nippon Koatsu Electric Co., you take a highly entrepreneurial step into a new business domain.

Come hear the fascinating story of the creation, growth, and global market strategy of weava japan, which repurposed the manufacturing equipment so as to three-dimensionally weave and cast fine resin fibers into a very soft but highly resilient fabric.  Rather than merely licensing the technology, Mr. Takaoka opted to use it to make unique mattress products.  He immediately adopted a global marketing strategy that began with very high end reference customers, e.g. international airline first-class cabin blankets, top-class hotels, and Olympic and World Cup soccer teams.

Mr. Takaoka's innovations in marketing and technology have yielded amazing market success since product launch in 2007.  Mr. Takaoka is a Stanford alum I've known for a number of years, and so I'm certain that his presentation will be inspiring as well as informative and interesting. I'm delighted that he can find time in his busy schedule to visit Stanford in order to make this presentation.

Mr. Takaoka holds a M.S. in Engineering from Stanford University. He graduated from the school in 1987. He also has a M.B.A. from Keio University in Japan and a B.E. in Applied Physics from Nagoya University in Japan.

He has been serving as an outside auditor of eAccess Ltd., an internet service provider listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange, and a director of various associations in Japan, such as Chubu Economic Federation and Japan Stanford Association.

Mr. Takaoka is an active investor in start-ups in the areas related to his own businesses.  Included in his portfolio are a couple of thin-film PV cell manufactures in Silicon Valley, Miasole (Kliner Parkins is a co-investor.) and NuvoSun, and IT service providers in Asia.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011 | 4:15 pm — 5:30 pm
NVIDIA Auditorium, Huang Engineering Center

US-Asia Technology Management Center