03. Meet Founders

Microwave Chemical Co-Founder, CEO Iwao Yoshino

Iwao Yoshino
――What does your startup do?
We develop a production process using microwaves, as well as new materials that cannot be manufactured with conventional technologies. These core technologies of ours can be implemented to various production processes in a variety of fields such as medical, electric components, foods and fuel. We are starting businesses with various manufacturers within and outside Japan for joint development and to build our own plant.
――What problem are you trying to solve?
No key innovations have emerged over a century since the late 19th century in the chemical industry, and we still use “heat and pressure” to manufacture chemicals. Chemical plants generally occupy large lands and consume an enormous amount of energy. Revolutionizing the chemistry production process will transform the entire global manufacturing system. We have successfully developed new and original technologies using “microwaves” to bring innovation to the chemical industry.
――Why did you choose Osaka?
We got the ball rolling by collaborating with Osaka University.
――What do you think about Osaka’s startup community?
Osaka has strength in manufacturing – I mean in the context of the bigger picture, not the startup community alone. It has solid foundations in manufacturing.
――How has Osaka’s Governments (City & Prefecture) helped your startup?
We established our company in Suminoe Ward, Osaka in 2014 as the world’s first chemical factory to use microwaves. While we had to start by renting an industrial site, no company would rent out its property long term to a startup company lacking credibility. We would like to thank the Osaka Prefecture and City Governments for trying hard to help us find such a company. Ultimately, we were able to rent a property from a company that these Governments introduced to us, without which, we would have been unable to start our business.
――Where is your favorite place in Osaka and why?
The Expo ’70 Commemorative Park in Osaka – I get a sense of the large scale and innovation when I see the Tower of the Sun in the park.
――Do you have advice for people considering doing a startup in Osaka?
Osaka, with its foundation and culture that have been cultivated by the manufacturing companies of varying sizes, the contributions that famous universities and research institutes continue to make, and the cost-effectivity, is the best place to start a business for manufacturing startups.