Startup founders claiming their company is going to “change the world” has become a cliche. But rarely do we see a product that could clearly and significantly make someone’s life better. D-Free is one of those products.
Atsushi Nakanishi and his team have developed a wearable device that monitors your bowels and bladder, pairs with your phone and notifies you a few minutes before you need to go to the bathroom. At first this seems almost like a joke, a company solving a problem that does not exist, proof that anyone can raise funding these days. But its not.
There are millions of people all over the world who because of disability or disease, cannot regulate their bowels, and a device like D-Free would, quite literally, be life-changing for them.
Atsushi and I talk about his rather unique inspiration for the company and the team’s hight;y unusual path in testing and development.
It’s a fascinating product and a great story, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
Show Notes for Startups
Who needs to be told when to go to the bathroom?
What is the potential market size?
The (embarrassing) origins of D Free
Why many Japanese startups are formed by High School friends
The challenge of turning hype into reality and testing in the real world
The challenge of selling to hospitals and nursing homes as a startup
Why government partnership programs are important in Japan
The advantage Japanese hardware startups have over their Silicon Valley counterparts
Links from the Founder
Check out DFree
DFree’s Facebook page (English)
DFree’s Facebook page (日本語)
Friend Atsushi on Facebook
Leave a comment
Transcript from Japan
Disrupting Japan. Episode 50.
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, Straight Talk from Japan’s most successful Entrepreneurs,
I am Tim Romero and thanks for listening.
This is a milestone episode of Disrupting Japan, Hemingway only published 19 novels, Shakespeare only wrote 37 plays, Mozart only composed 41 symphonies but as of today, Disrupting Japan has released 50 episodes. When I started this podcast, I never imagine that it would grow into what it is today and I want to thank you for listening and for your support. And also to let you know that we have some big things planned in the near future as well.
Before we get started with today’s episode however, I want to give you an update on the Crowdsourcing My Career project where I asked you, the Disrupting Japan listeners for advice on what I should do next in my career. I received 82 emails with ideas ranging from “come and join my startup” to “working for the C’s or consulting firms” to some very interesting consulting ideas. Oh, and one multilevel marketing pitch. I still haven’t fully decided on what I am doing next but I appreciate all the creative feedback and I tried to be certain to answer all of emails individually, except for the multi-level marketing guy, screw that guy.
Anyway, on with the show.
Today we are going to be talking about poop, yes you heard me correctly. We will be sitting down with Atsushi Nakanishi, CEO and maker of DFree, an internet of things device that monitors your bowels and lets you know when you need to go to the bathroom.
Wait, wait. Stop rolling your eyes. This is not a stupid application, this is not proof that there is way too much money being spent on startups, this is real. There are millions of people who because of disability or disease, cannot regulate themselves. And a device like Dfree can literally be life-changing for them. Atsushi and his team are trying to build something genuinely new and have taken a rather unique path to get to where they are. In fact, as you will hear in the interview, the team has really suffered and struggled for their goals. And in that spirit of seriousness,
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