Growing up as a Japanese-American in East Los Angeles county during the 70’s and 80’s; not much of William H. Saito’s early childhood experiences could have prepared him for the unparalleled business successes that would define much of his adult life. But Saito does does believe that fate favors the bold and may partially explain why he has experienced so many triumphs when many of his business contemporaries have failed. Saito had no idea that his teen interest in then fledgling tech arena of IT cyber-security would later lead him as a college student to create I/O Software Inc.,—an innovative IT Security Software company. I/O developed groundbreaking biometric and identity authentication systems; becoming one of the early global pioneers to offer this technology. Microsoft later acquired the I/O patented software and integrated it into all future Windows operating systems. Saito became the golden boy of startup businesses and was named by Ernst & Young as the 1998 recipient of it’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Never content to rest on his laurels; Saito did a reinvention of sorts and turned his vision east towards his familial place of origin—Japan.
He leveraged his prior IT security software business expertise to become a trusted IT security advisor to many higher ups in the Japanese government; including then Prime Minister, Shinze Abe. Saito’s acumen was widely sought after in Japan, and he eventually found himself working as an advisor within various governmental agencies. One of the most notable was his advisory role within the National Diet Committee—the agency that had been assigned the daunting task of investigating the recent 2011 Fukushima Nuclear leak. After eventually finding as much success in the public sector as he had previously enjoyed in private enterprise; Saito’s achievements were once again publicly lauded when he received the 2011 Young Global Leader Award at the World Economic Forum.
Never one to shy away from a challenge; Saito eventually chose to pursue the previously uncharted arena of academia; becoming a professor at Japan’s University of Agriculture and Technology. He also eventually committed to sharing his vast experience, insight and successes with prospective entrepreneurs and became a published author—another achievement in a long list. These days William Saito has a renewed passion and commitment to helping start up business owners navigate the often treacherous waters of venture capitalism. He fervently believes that fate favors the bold and points to the fact that the most successful business start ups have found that success during the most depressed of economic times. And, it’s not really surprising that Saito would entreat small biz startups to step outside their proverbial comfort zone—his entire life exemplifies this credo.
Read his work on Bloomberg.