Shinya Shimizu, Co-founder, CEO, and Board Member of Elephantech Inc. tells us about making the world sustainable with new manufacturing technologies.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Shinya Shimizu: We’re all fortunate to be in good health and continue to take precautions to stay that way. Washing our hands and gargling are simple preventive measures that we will continue to employ going forward.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Elephantech.
Shinya Shimizu: Having graduated with a master’s degree in electronics and information engineering from the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, I joined McKinsey & Company in 2012. After 6 months or so in the United States, destiny played its part in a chance meeting with my mentor from my university years. I felt a strong attraction to the printed electronics technology we discussed then and started my company in 2014.
How does Elephantech innovate?
Shinya Shimizu: At Elephantech, we’re a manufacturing startup, and we use our own Pure Additive™ processing to manufacture printed electronics by only printing metals as needed. When compared to conventional manufacturing methods, this method allows electronic circuits to be made at less than one-tenth of the environmental cost.
With a mission to make the world sustainable through new manufacturing technologies, we hope to make a better world by developing technologies that allow manufacturing to be carried out with vastly reduced environmental costs and less effort.
Amid the current Covid-19 crisis, we will continue to manage risks but also pursue technological development to make our method the de facto standard throughout the world for environmentally friendly electronic circuit manufacturing and thus making the industry more sustainable.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Shinya Shimizu: We are fortunate that our business has been growing despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Shinya Shimizu: We weren’t really affected in that way; in fact, the number of employees working for Elephantech has increased by 20% since the beginning of the crisis. We will continue to face the threat of COVID-19 as a unified team.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Shinya Shimizu: Under such unprecedented circumstances, we tried communicating and running our business differently, adopting those that worked and continuously seeking more effective methods. For instance, we held online press conferences, seminars, and conferences on Zoom, and we intend to carry on holding hybrid seminars even beyond the current crisis.
Your final thoughts?
Shinya Shimizu: Nobody foresaw the arrival of the COVID-19 crisis and how it would affect us, but I feel like we’ve learnt a lesson about the necessity, even during a pandemic, to manage risks and devise measures to overcome crises, but also the necessity to remain creative in finding new growth.
With restrictions being placed on factory visits and face-to-face meetings, we were forced to move our meetings, seminars, and press conferences online, but we remained positive about it, taking it as a new challenge instead.
Moving forward, we plan to further accelerate our technological development in pursuit of achieving a sustainable world.