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Drop out of high school, a Japanese guy was kicked out of his home, living a homeless life, going to Vietnam to hire an engineer to build a billion-dollar technology startup

Kobayashi’s career history is one of the most notable stories in Japan in recent times. Sun * Inc., the company he runs, specializes in helping startups and other companies design and create new products and services. They went public in July.

It was a result few could have imagined two decades ago. Kobayashi said he was kicked out of his home by his parents at the age of 17 after he dropped out of a prestigious high school to pursue his passion for his own band.

During the day, Kobayashi plays music, and at night he sleeps on the street, using cardboard boxes to keep warm during cold winter nights. The young man had been homeless for about a year and a half.

A series of events and different encounters ensued that prevented Kobayashi from “falling asleep and sleeping” and became a software engineer. He is one of the core members of the predecessor company of Sun * Inc. is Framgia in Vietnam in 2012.

Recalling the homeless days, the 37-year-old businessman shared: “Winter was very cold. At one point everything felt like hell but I got through it. My parents refused to drop out of school in the middle. They made a financial plan so that I could go on to college, and after I got kicked out of my house, I couldn’t contact them Even though it was difficult, I wanted to live up to what I was passionate about. through two harsh winters Tokyo’s Shinjuku and Shibuya districts “.

Portrait of Taihei Kobayashi.

Life “screen projection earth”

“I might have died,” Kobayashi recalls. “I sleep wherever I can. Up to 80 percent of my day is outdoors.” When Kobayashi was 19 years old, the manager of a live music club gave him an opportunity to get a job and sleep at the club due to pity on his situation. The guy worked here for about 6 years.

However, after such a long time, Kobayashi thought it was time to move on. First, he made money running an online music business. Then, he came across a job ad that didn’t require any qualifications or experience, just took a test.

The six-hour test assesses candidates in areas such as math, logical thinking and IQ. Koyabashi passed the exam and started working at the company that trained him to be a software engineer.

Start a career

At the company, Kobayashi befriends Makoto Hirai, one of the founders of Sun *. after that. The two argue that there are many excellent software engineers in programming, but few can use that skill to come up with effective business models. Therefore, they decided to start a company.

Kobayashi moved to Vietnam in 2012 to hire staff from its young engineering team. In March 2013, Framgia Inc. was established in Japan (later renamed Sun * in 2019).

Over the years, Sun * has expanded its business and currently has more than 70 customers. After the IPO, the company’s shares increased 6 times to their highest level in September, thereby raising the company’s market value to more than $ 1.4 billion. At the end of September 2020, Sun * announced a net income of $ 6.2 million. Currently, the 7.9% stake in Kobayashi is worth about $ 71 million.

Challenge

Mitsushige Akino, CEO of Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co., said the demand for Sun * services is still quite high but revenue and profit are still low because of fierce competition in the market.

For its part, Kobayashi said the company is entering into several business contracts with large companies. One of their major customers is SoftBank Group of billionaire Masayoshi Son.

Sun * is looking to increase its income by at least 20% to 30% a year and to double the number of employees in its Tokyo office to around 130 this year. Vietnam continues to be the company’s largest office with approximately 1,300 employees.

Kobayashi is aware of the challenges in the business process but is not discouraged by them. He said he has faced many more difficult challenges than before and has overcome them all. At present, he reconnects with his parents.

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