Swimmy Minami, A99

Soichiro “Swimmy” Minami, A99, has always been one to keep busy. During his time at Tufts, Minami was a member of the varsity soccer team, an active leader in the Tufts Community Union Senate, and a brother in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, all while double majoring in international relations and quantitative economics. Despite his constant involvement on campus, however, Minami’s transition into college was a bit of a culture shock.

A native of Shizuoka, Japan, Minami recalls, “I went from a 100 percent, all-Japanese public high school to a very diverse environment in a different language. To me at the beginning, it was like walking onto a 90210 show.”

Since his time at Tufts, Minami has worked as an analyst in the Investment Banking Department at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo and served as a founding member of the Rakuten Eagles, a professional Japanese baseball club.

In 2009, he founded BizReach, an online professional networking service that directly connects Japanese professionals and actively hiring employers, which is currently used by almost half a million professionals and more than 3,000 employers, including Google, Accenture, GE, Sony, Amazon, and Oracle.

Minami has also initiated several other industry disrupting online services inside of BizReach, including LUXA, a discovery e-commerce site focused on empowering consumers to find unique products and experiences, and Stanby, a job search engine, which allows jobseekers to find the perfect job in just one search. Now in its sixth year, the group employs more than 530 staff, and has raised more than $20 million from various investors.

In March 2014, the World Economic Forum, an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation, selected Minami as one of its Young Global Leaders representing Japan.

In April, he was a recipient of the U.S. Business Award given by the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the entrepreneur who best represents the risk-embracing spirit of Silicon Valley, at the fifth annual Entrepreneur Awards Japan.

How does his Tufts education apply to his entrepreneurial work?

“Tufts really opened my eyes to respect different values,” he says. “By learning about people from different angles, I was able to learn that you are allowed to be different—and founding a start-up means sticking to your own values when everyone tells you that you are wrong.”

His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Just step up to the plate, and enjoy the adventure.”

His advice, however, is not all daunting: “Work hard, play super hard, and have fun. That’s the main reason I’m doing the start-up right now. If you’re not having fun, there’s no reason to do a start-up. Business is entertainment, so just have fun.”

 

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