The Era of Space-Democratization Has Come; SDGs-Driven Storytelling Required of NewSpace [Inaugural Interview]

On March 31, 2022, WARPSPACE announced the appointment of two new directors, the creation of a COO and Chief IP&Corporate Strategist.

In this series, we ask four members to share their enthusiasm for the company, which was not fully expressed in the press release, and the third member is Yuka Tanimoto, editor-in-chief of the web edition of the economic media “Forbes JAPAN Web” and newly appointed external director.

Yuka Tanimoto [External Director
Career summary: After working at a financial securities company and as a financial and economic anchor at Bloomberg TV, she graduated with an MBA in the U.S. She has also worked as an anchor and the company’s first female commentator at Nikkei CNBC. She has interviewed over 3,000 people, including Audrey Tan, Taiwan’s Minister of State for Digital Affairs, Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.

Currently, she is an economic commentator for J-WAVE’s “JAM THE PLANET,” TBS’s TV program, and others. She is also active as a judge for government startups and open innovation awards, and as a corporate executive, including Senior Executive Officer of Royal Housing Group and Advisor to All Personal. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for 21st Century Social Design, Rikkyo University Graduate School, and joined “Forbes Japan” in February 2016.

Meeting CEO Tsunemachi was the catalyst for his participation in Forbes Japan.

-Ms. Tanimoto has been participating in WARPSPACE as an advisor since 2019. How did you decide to join us?

I have known CEO Tsunemachi-san since his previous job…… before WARPSPACE was established. As you know, “Forbes JAPAN” is a media focusing on startups. In the course of working with startups, I had the opportunity to meet him, who at the time was a board member of an IT startup.

The reason why our relationship has grown so deep is that he was an unusual person in a good sense. I had the impression that he had a high viewpoint. For example, even when I talked about philosophical matters or 100 years-scale, he always responded to me from a similar perspective. I think it was easy for our conversations to develop into various topics, not just business. That is why I am grateful for the role of advisor at that time.

-What was your role as an advisor?

As a media expert, my main role was to provide knowledge and skills to the business and himself.

However, I think that Mr. Tokimachi was able to draw out not only media relations but also “what a manager is” and “what kind of perspective a leader should have” that I have sensed from meeting with many business leaders. So, I would say that we have been able to share mentoring and visions beyond the framework of so-called professional advisors.

Space has become a part of the business world

-Through your role as advisor in WARPSPACE, your knowledge about the space industry is deepened I suppose. What kind of potential do you see in the space business?

Forbes covers many different categories of business, but space is the one we don’t cover as much as we would like. Actually, it is the area that we want to cover the most, but we still can’t. The reason is that there are not enough players and the so-called market is not yet established. In other words, space is the last frontier for the media, and we have very high expectations for this field.

It was a big surprise to me that ZOZO founder Yusaku Maezawa’s stay on the International Space Station in December 2021 was not covered as much as I had expected in the news, but at the same time, I was convinced. I thought that perhaps we have entered an era of “space democratization,” in which going to space is becoming more and more commonplace.

The launch of SpaceX Crew-4 ©︎NASA

Furthermore, when I talk with entrepreneurs and business executives, many of them are thinking about what will happen when they apply their technologies and services not only on the ground but also in space. We have just realized that space is not just a “romantic, unknown place,” but that the business field has expanded, or rather, the idea of being “part of the world” has entered the business world. I believe that the media can play a role in involving even more people, and that is what I would like to do.

-While there are businesses that are visually easy to understand, such as rocket-based transportation projects and space travel, there are also areas that are difficult to visualize. How should the value created by the space business be communicated?

It will be the role of those involved in space to visualize the value of the space business as a storyteller. Now that the private sector is taking the lead in space development, companies not only develop technology but also play a major role as an enlightener, explaining how society will change in the future when the technology is implemented. I would like to be involved in this together.

-We invited you to speak at our conference event “WARP STATION Conference Vol. 1” held in October 2021, and you talked about the space industry’s contribution to sustainability. With the growing public interest in achieving SDGs and ESG investment, do you think this trend will spread to the space business as well?

When we talk about the space industry in the context of the SDGs and ESG investment, many people will inevitably think of typical pictures and words, such as environmental considerations, but I think this is a matter of how to put them forward. For example, a company involved in the satellite communications business is trying to provide telecommunications, one of the most important social infrastructures of this society, to people who do not yet have widespread Internet access, which is half of the world’s population. I believe that no other SDGs-companies are doing this on such a large scale.

I think NewSpace companies in particular need to set the concept of SDGs and ESG investment at a core, and talk about their technology and services from there. The more you talk about it, the easier it will be to embody the appeal of space and attract investment. It will also be easier to create markets. What not to be left ……It will be required to break down and incorporate into your business plan the elements something that would be important in the next 100 years. I feel this could be the biggest difference between the NewSpace and OldSpace industries.

As an outside director, I am more committed.

-So far, we have asked you about the potential of the space business from your perspective. How did you come to be appointed as an external director this time?

Mr. Tsunemachi, the CEO, asked me about it, and I was happy to accept the offer. Until now, I have provided my skills and knowledge in the capacity of an advisor with no vested interest in the company. By assuming the position of outside director this time, I see my role as a responsible commitment to increasing the profits and value of not only shareholders but also many other people.

All members of the board of directors of WARPSPACE

-Lastly, please tell us about your enthusiasm for being appointed as a director.

I think that my change from advisor to external director has made it easier for me to contribute to the space business and interest in the company WARPSPACE and its business. I hope we can work together to create an era in which the Earth and space will merge.

Yuka Tanimoto, who has been appointed as an external director, talked about the potential of the space business and how information should be disseminated in the NewSpace era.

In the next interview, we will interview Mr. Kataoka, who has been appointed as Chief IP&Corporate Strategist, about the interesting aspects of WARPSPACE’s business from an intellectual property expert’s point of view and his enthusiasm for his new position.

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We are startup company started as a project in University of Tsukuba, 2011. We will provide the optical telecommunication service with LEO Sat operator by 2023.

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WARPSPACE Inc.

WARPSPACE Inc.

We are startup company started as a project in University of Tsukuba, 2011. We will provide the optical telecommunication service with LEO Sat operator by 2023.

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