William H. Saito is a Los Angeles born, Japanese-American venture capitalist who initially became interested in cyber security while still a junior high school student in LaVerne, California. In 1991, college student Saito began his first cyber-security venture–I/O Software Inc., which went on to become an industry innovator in the then emerging area of security software technology. Among some of its’ more notable inventions—the introduction of a system that translated English-developed software into Japanese characters and later, the development of a game-changing biometric recognition system that was ultimately sold to over 100 companies worldwide. I/O continued to blaze paths as it partnered with giant Microsoft in 2000 when it created a patented authentication technology that went on to be used in all future Windows software. Microsoft was apparently so impressed by Saito’s I/O technology that they eventually acquired the company in 2004. Saito then turned his attentions abroad to Japan and embarked on a successful foray into venture capitalism, where his business successes continued. Ultimately, this led to Saito being named the Young Global Leader at the World Business Economic Forum in 2011.
The same year, Saito become a trusted IT advisor to the National Diet Committee, which had been appointed by the Japanese government to investigate the disastrous 2011 Fukushima nuclear breach. He went on to be appointed to other important IT and cyber-security roles in the Japanese government: a Cabinet Office level cyber-security advisor to then Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe from 2013 to 2017; as well as a direct advisor to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from 2016 to 2017. During this same period, Saito’s expertise was sought out by organizations as varied as the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. But the public sector was not the only entity pursuing Saito’s immense knowledge-base and expertise—Japan Airlines later brought him on as an IT consultant in 2015 and later in 2017, he would serve as both Executive Officer and GM at JAL.
Saito’s vast experience as an entrepreneur and consultant have formulated his opinions on the unique challenges of business startups and he has come to believe that while recent economic turmoil can present certain barriers to those seeking traditional financial backing; he also believes that historically, global financial downturns have often provided the most opportune time for many of the world’s most successful startups to grow, expand and find alternative and more creative avenues to financial backing and expansion. In other words—only those most willing to think outside of the “proverbial box” and take chances their competitors would dare not, will be those who will ultimately be the most successful.