The Responsibility of Finance is Shaping the Possibilities of Team. A Story About a Woman Joining a Space Venture Company From a Major Financial Company.
Ms.Kitahara, who became CFO in August 2021, will appear in the eighth member interview. We asked about her experience as a financial institution, her encounter with WARPSPACE, and what she wants to do as CFO.
“What I want to do is a rewarding job”. It was a foreign financial institution that jumped in
-Ms. Kitahara has joined WARPSPACE for half a year ago and has been appointed CFO for two months. First of all, please tell us about your job.
We announced the final closing of the Series A round on October 6, but most recently, we have been formulating financial strategies for that purpose and responding to questions from investor candidates.
-What kind of work did you do in your previous job?
At a French financial institution, I was involved in the planning and sales of financial products for institutional investors, IR support for overseas issuers, and promotion of green bonds. Since joining a financial institution as a new graduate, I had been focusing on finance. This is my first time doing space-related work.
-What made you decide to get a financial job?
When I was interviewed during job hunting when I was a student, I felt that I could do a rewarding job. I wasn’t focused on this area from the beginning.
At that time, only a handful of women were hired for career-track positions. I wanted to work in a way that gives me a good balance between work and private life, but there were few companies that had an environment in which women could work well, and there were only men who gave up their vacations and worked. That’s how it was.
Under such circumstances, I heard from a senior at the university that “foreign-affiliated companies, women are also working vigorously.” That’s why I went to an interview at a financial institution that I entered as a new graduate. It’s easy to imagine what kind of work I will do, and I remember deciding to join the company because I thought, “I wish I could work with such people at a company like this.”
-So, did you have many opportunities to work with overseas colleagues and clients?
I agree. I spent half of the day interacting with foreign countries, and I often traveled abroad.
Actually, I spent four and a half years in elementary school in Saudi Arabia because of my parents’ work. With that background, I’ve been familiar with overseas since I was a kid.
－It’s a rare experience.
Saudi Arabia has different customs from Japan, such as drinking alcohol and banning women from driving. There were restrictions, but everyone was having fun. It is a good memory to drive across the desert to the sea with my acquaintance’s family. I was sad that I couldn’t eat Japanese rice, but I was satisfied because I could get European sweets.
In this way, I like to feel the atmosphere of the place with my skin, and I often go on trips, so I always enjoyed overseas business trips.
The deciding factor for joining the company is people and the city
I was told that you were really enjoying it. By the way, what made you think about changing jobs?
In my previous job at a financial institution, while belonging to the sales and trading department based in Tokyo, I set up a network to promote the active participation of women and a committee to promote the plastic reduction campaign.
I like the work of shaping the possibilities that are there. I searched for something else in the company, but I did everything. I felt like I was exhausted, so I decided to start something new and started to look beyond financial institutions.
-It’s powerful. How did you meet WARPSPACE?
A friend from the University of Tsukuba told me at an alumni association that he was looking for someone to take charge of finance at a space venture company.
-What was your impression of space development and space business until then?
I know a little from the news. But I felt great potential in the space business and was curious. Besides, I like traveling, so I wanted to go on a space trip someday! I heard that space travel reservations have begun, and I was following the information. That’s why I asked for a casual interview because I would love to hear about the universe.
-What was the deciding factor for joining the company?
The decision to accept the offer was quick. When I first came to the office, I felt like the city of Tsukuba.
There are many parks, nature is close by, and it is a good impression that the city is developing. I was also interested in efforts toward smart cities.
I was also interested in the SDGs, and from that perspective, I was also interested in the infrastructure business. I was wondering what kind of mechanism would make the world better, and when I heard about the WARPSPACE business, I got the image that it would be possible to return the benefits to the ground.
-Did you have any concerns about taking on the challenge of space business?
When I told my family that I would work in space, everyone would be so happy.
I wanted to try a job in a new field, so I was actually talking to a friend who works for a venture company related to new technologies such as AI and block chain. Therefore, I had a little image of how to work and income at a venture company, and even when I joined the company, I didn’t feel much of a gap. In addition, being able to work flexibly is one of the points that made me decide to join the company.
-While you are in charge of finance in WARPSPACE, do you find it difficult?
Previous clients were mostly large companies that already had enough information to analyze when considering something. But venture companies are in the stage of creating everything from now on. That’s why it’s difficult to judge. There is only possibility, good or bad. However, sympathizing with that possibility, many people have come together and I find it rewarding.
-What is the role of the CFO that Ms. Kitahara thinks?
WARPSPACE has a vision of “We want to create this kind of world.” But to make it happen, we really need money. Conversely, if you have the funds, you can do more.
If the engineers and members in charge of business development are in the spotlight, it is the CFO’s job to prepare the soil for shining well. I would like to utilize the financial knowledge I have gained so far to support everyone in the WARPSPACE so that they can efficiently realize what they want to do.
Right now, I’m a little fluttering about what’s in front of me, but I think it’s also important to disseminate information firmly so that everyone can know more about the WARPSPACE.
-Finally, I would like to ask you about the WARPSPACE Code of Conduct, “Compass of Behavior.” Which is Ms. Kitahara cherishing?
Our Compass of Behavior
02. Goal oriented
03. Decide with fact
04. Chase one chance
05. Resilient spirit
06. Respect your crew
07. Love family
09. Be attractive
When I say that, the ones that come to my mind are “Leap” and “Respect your crew.”
“Leap” expresses the attitude of thinking about things with flexible ideas and making decisions. Venture companies have some restrictions, but it would be nice if they could always act without shrinking “I can’t help it because I don’t have the money”. On the contrary, it is a part that tends to be lost as the company grows, so I would like to take good care of it.
“Respect your crew” represents a mutual understanding and respect. The WARPSPACE has experts from various fields. Regardless of age, there is a culture where you can freely exchange opinions without hesitation. When we make a decision, we listen to each person’s opinions, so no one is buried.
I think it is a place where excellent human resources can really play an active role.