Yuliy Kakimoto first envisioned Shiru Cafe during his early years at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. He was a member of a local snowboarding club that largely consisted of professionals: bankers, engineers, software developers, lawyers, doctors, and brokerage executives, who shared a love of snowboarding. Regularly driving 6 hours to the best snowboarding venue in Japan, located in Nagano where the Olympics were held, Mr. Kakimoto spent countless hours talking to over 80 professionals about education, careers and industries.
As Mr. Kakimoto recalls his interactions with these professionals, one story in particular sticks out in his mind. The car he was driving entered a long tunnel and one of the people in the car was the engineer who had helped design and build the tunnel. The engineer explained to his fellow passengers how the tunnel was conceived, designed and built. In short, the end product, the tunnel, was much more than what it appeared to be: thousands of hours, dozens of companies, and hundreds of people came together to create the tunnel.
Mr. Kakimoto distilled so many ideas from his experiences talking with executives in the car and on the ski slopes, so when Mr. Kakimoto graduated from Doshisha he met with officials to pitch his idea of creating a similar experience for freshmen and sophomores at his alma mater. Doshisha was intrigued by the idea, but in the end, they encouraged him to start a business and reach even further than Doshisha alone.
It was at this time that the idea for Shiru Cafe came to him. Mr. Kakimoto’s experience had been in a car. A cafe, he surmised, could provide a similarly comfortable and intimate experience where students could relax and hear stories from professionals across industries. In fact, Shiru Cafe “meetups” are purposefully limited to 5-10 students in order to duplicate the experience he’d had on his trips to Nagano.
Today thousands of people in Japan, India, and the United States are benefiting from the services Shiru Cafe provides. Shiru Cafe is developing a platform that is changing daily. Mr. Kakimoto, a millennial, understands the unique needs and opportunities facing students of his generation as well as employers seeking to hire the best and brightest. Mr. Kakimoto wants millennials to have the same benefit of advice from seasoned professionals that helped him explore and find his path beyond college and into the professional world.