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SmartNews already has more than 12 million users worldwide, with high levels of engagement.
The app was awarded Best of 2013 by Apple and The Best App of the Year 2013 by Google.
We have strong partnerships with major publishers both in Japan and the United States.
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As SmartNews’s Co-CEO, Ken is responsible for its business and corporate operations, as well as its product vision and strategy. Ken co-founded SmartNews with Kaisei Hamamoto in 2012, and has been a member of the board of directors since then. In 2009, he received a Ph.D. in complex systems from the University of Tokyo, where, as a project researcher, he continues to study complex systems and the future of the Internet. Ken was honored as a Super Creator by the MITOH Program of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2003. His first book, published in 2013, has been widely read in Japan's academic community, where he's regarded as one of the most significant thinkers about the Internet society.
Kaisei is a passionate code-lover who began programming at age 13. While working for another company before founding SmartNews, he produced a number of web applications as side projects. One of them, Blogopolis — a visualization of the Japanese blogosphere — won the first prize in the 2009 Yahoo! Japan Internet Creative Award competition. Kaisei developed SmartNews’s client-side user interface and server-side news discovery algorithm from scratch. His main interest is in visualizing and organizing large amounts of information to help people better understand the world.
Rich joined SmartNews in 2014, and is responsible for its relationships with U.S. publishers and content providers. Prior to joining the company, he wrote a widely read column on personal technology for Bloomberg News, and has appeared frequently on Bloomberg TV, NBC and National Public Radio, among others. Rich was the first Managing Editor of WSJ.com, and founded and was first president of the Online News Association, the preeminent professional organization for digital journalists. He also was an award-winning reporter, columnist and editor for The Wall Street Journal, where he was the White House correspondent and National Political Editor.
Bernie joined SmartNews in August 2014. He is responsible for developing strategic media partnerships in the U.S. He is an Adviser to Tidal, and was formerly Vice President of Business Development at Liquor.com, and Director of Business Development at Condé Nast. Bernie's mix of start up and media experience dates back to 2000 when we was a Product Manager for ScreamingMedia, which was acquired by MarketWatch in 2003. Bernie has also worked at Reuters and TheStreet.com.
Craig Mod is a startup adviser, investor, writer, and designer. He is a 2012 TechFellow recipient, and MacDowell writing fellow. He was previously a product designer at Flipboard. After co-founding an award winning publishing company in the early 2000s, he has helped publishing, news, and writing related startups in Silicon Valley, New York, and Tokyo shape their products.
Dr. Okazaki, who has served as an adviser to SmartNews since 2013, is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University. He previously worked as a research fellow at the National Centre for Text Mining (NaCTeM) in 2005, and as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Tokyo from 2007 until 2011. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology in 2007. His research interests include natural language processing, text mining, and machine learning. He has published a number of papers on natural language processing, and has received several awards from, among others, Microsoft Research Asia (2008), the Information Processing Society of Japan (2010), and the Japanese Association for Natural Language Processing (2010, 2013).