In the Rapidly Growing Space Business, the COO is Required to Build a Cooperative Relationship [Inaugural Interview]
On March 31, 2022, WARPSPACE announced the election of two new directors, the creation of a new COO and Chief IP& Corporate Strategist, and the appointment of one each.
In this article, we will have four diverse members talk about their enthusiasm that could not be fully discussed in the press release. The first interviewee is Hiromitsu Azuma, who has been appointed COO.
Hiromitsu Azuma [Chief Operating Officer (newly established) and General Manager]
Career: Embedded control, communication, and various software engineers, starting and expanding IT business in Osaka and Tokyo. He has a career in both business and engineering.
Most recently, he has been managing all aspects of WarpHub Intersat, an optical inter-satellite link service, based on his experience in cybersecurity technology development and business development in the deep-tech domain.
Joined the company in August 2019 and became General Manager in the same month.
For more information on how Hiromitsu Azuma joined the company, please also see the member interview.
-What is the role of the General Manager that you have been in charge of?
I had experience in both management and development, so I was in charge of designing services to meet the needs of the market and organizing development.
This position is responsible for actually running the business, such as determining how much it costs to make a product, roughly estimating the required resources and deciding the landing point, and considering how to proceed as a business.
-What is the role of the newly appointed COO?
Essentially, the COO’s duties are not much different from those of the General Manager, but the COO’s focus will be to oversee the overall operations together with the other CXO members. Space development is moving from the dawn of the industry to the emerging stage, and it is essential to negotiate and build a cooperative framework. I believe this is the role of the COO. It is necessary to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the industry while increasing the interests of each.
I am now both COO and General Manager, but as the scale of the business grows, it will become more and more difficult to remain committed to the field, so I think it would be desirable to eventually assign the General Manager position to someone with a development and management background like myself.
-What is your enthusiasm as COO?
The role of COO is an extension of what I have been doing as General Manager, so there is nothing to be enthusiastic about. But the newly created position of COO is an event that I feel the company is growing.
WARPSPACE announced that it closed Series A round in October 2021, bringing the total amount raised since its inception to approximately 9 million US dollars. In the next series, we plan to further increase the amount of funding and more than double the number of employees. To expand our business globally, we need to get ready at this point.
To do so, we need to allocate and optimise our resources for outward communication with both domestic and international governmental organizations, customers, and suppliers, which led to the creation of the new COO position.
-Finally, what do you hope to achieve through the WARPSPACE business?
WARPSPACE’s business model is like a cellular phone network. Cellular phones have base stations all over the world so that they can be used wherever they are. We are aiming for a world where satellites can communicate at high speed by launching relay satellites, which serve as base stations, into space.
Disaster management and national security, which have been mentioned as areas of application for satellites using optical communications, are gradually becoming a reality but real innovation may lie ahead. Applications using optical will develop in the coming decades and we will see something unthinkable now. Various advanced technologies are being researched around the world. I hope we can weave together optical technology with some other new technology to create something disruptive innovation! I feel that imagining the future and conducting operations in this way is different from General Managers.
For Azuma, the appointment as COO, while an extension of his previous role as General Manager, was an important turn in the expansion of WARPSPACE’s business.
In the next issue, we will bring you an interview with CFO Kitahara, who has been appointed to the Board of Directors.